Getting saved and being truly born again by accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior has to be the greatest experience any person can have this side of heaven, because with the gift of eternal salvation comes forgiveness of all of our sins and entrance into heaven when we die and cross over. We also receive the Holy Spirit, who will come and live on the inside of us in our human spirits at the moment of our salvation with the Lord.
There thus can be no question that with all of these benefits and blessings, that the gift of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ has to be the greatest experience any of us can have down here on this earth. So if that is really the case – then how can you logically explain such a disturbing statistic? How can this many newborns be dropping out of this most incredible experience within the first year or two after initially getting saved?
Were they ever really saved in the first place? If so, have they just lost their salvation? Obviously only God the Father will know all of the answers for each one of these newborns who have dropped out of their walks with Him in such a quick period of time. But this statistic is telling us that there might be something wrong with some of these salvation experiences. A 50% dropout rate is simply too high of a number for something that is so powerful to be so easily discarded.
I believe one of the main reasons these salvation experiences may not be sticking is due to something that is occurring in the actual salvation experience itself. The following Scripture verses I will list below are giving us a major clue as to what that something may be.
If you look very closely at the wording of the Scripture verses I will list below, and then examine some of the ways in which some of these newborns are being saved – you will quickly discover that there may be a missing ingredient in some of their salvation experiences. As a result of this one missing ingredient, some of these people are either not truly getting saved in the first place or if they are, they are quickly falling away from it in a very short period of time as a result of missing this one key ingredient.
This one, key, missing ingredient may be the word “repentance.” Repentance means that you have a full realization of what a sinner you truly are, that you are willing to accept that Jesus’ death on the cross will save you from your sins, and that you will then be willing to make every effort to turn from those sins and start living a new life in the Lord.I believe that what really happens in a true conversion experience is that the Holy Spirit will move in on that person and give them full realization and conviction of what sinners they really are – and that only Jesus and His death on the cross will save them from their sins. If you have full realization and full understanding of that when you go up to get saved – then there is no way you can possibly throw this experience away a year or two later after the initial excitement of the experience wears off.
I think some of these so called salvation experiences are people getting too caught up in the moment at their churches with some of their friends, and they are going up for the altar calls with no idea of what they are really doing.
There is no true repentance, sorrow, or realization of their sinful states. As a result, they quickly fall out of it after a year or two because they did not have full realization as to why they needed to get saved in the first place.
Now here are some key verses from Scripture that will tell us that a true repentance from the heart is one of the main ingredients that is really needed for a true salvation experience to occur with the Lord.
1. True Repentance Will Lead to SalvationThis first verse will hit the nail right on the head. Here it is:
“For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation … (2 Corinthians 7:10)Notice two things. The word “repentance” is linked to the word “salvation” – “repentance to salvation.” In other words, you cannot get truly saved in the Lord unless you are first willing to repent.
To repent means that you are willing to turn from the sins you have been living in. It means to have a change of heart and a change of mind. However, you cannot be willing to turn from the sins you have been living in unless you have full realization that these are sins in the first place and that you are a sinner in need of a Savior!
If you think some of your sins are not really sins – then you will see no need to receive any forgiveness for your sins through Jesus and His death on the cross. This is why the above verse is directly linking the word “repentance” to the word “salvation.”
Then notice that this verse starts out with the words “For godly sorrow.” This godly sorrow will be what will actually cause this repentance to occur in the first place. You will start to experience a godly sorrow once the Holy Spirit moves in on you to start the conviction process and illuminate your mind of your sinful state and nature.
This is why the word “godly” precedes the word “sorrow.” This sorrow will be coming direct from God the Father through the Holy Spirit to you so as to help make you realize that you are truly a sinner in need of a Savior! When that really happens, you will be feeling a sorrow, and for some, a very deep and intense sorrow once you fully realize the depth to which we are all sinners and that we are all in need of God’s grace and mercy to save us.
When this godly sorrow starts to come in on you, it will eventually lead you to being able to admit that you are a sinner, and that you will then need to turn from the sinful life that you have been living in order to be able to receive God’s grace and mercy through His Son and His death on the cross. For some, all of this can literally occur in a matter of minutes, and they thus can get saved very quickly in a church service or through another Christian who may be witnessing to them.
However, for some others, this experience may take a bit longer. Some people will literally wrestle with God for years before they finally break and are willing to get saved. In either case, some kind of repentance has to be experienced for the person to really have a true conversion experience with the Lord.
2. God Commands All to Repent to Be Able to Receive Eternal Salvation Through JesusIn these next 4 verses, God and Jesus are literally “commanding” that all repent before they can actually be saved and converted. Here they are:
The first verse is now telling us that God is commanding everyone to repent. The second verse is once more tying in the word “repent” with the word “converted.” The third verse is telling us that God is not giving us any other options. Either we be willing to repent – or we will perish!
- “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent. ” (Acts 17:30)
- “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19)
- “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. ” (Luke 13:5)
- “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. ” (Mark 2:17)
Also notice that the words “repent” or “repentance” is used in every one of the above verses – which is once again implying that this is a condition that must be present when someone is getting saved and converted.
3. The Goodness of God Will Lead to RepentanceThe very first verse mentioned above tells us that a “godly sorrow” will help produce the actual repentance that is needed to lead us into being able to get saved with the Lord. This next verse then goes one step further and tells us that the “goodness of God” will actually lead to this repentance. Here it is:
“… the goodness of God leads you to repentance.” (Romans 2:4)On one end, God is causing a godly sorrow to set in on us so we can see what sinners we really are. However, at the same time that He is producing this sorrow to help show us what sinners we really are, He is also showing us His goodness. He is showing us that there is a way of escape out of our sinful states and natures – and that way of escape is through the Blood that His Son Jesus has personally shed on the cross for each one of us.
Once a person really realizes how good, loving, and merciful God and Jesus really are in making a way for them to be able to be rescued out of this predicament – they are then more than willing to accept Jesus and what His death on the cross means for them. That is why this verse specifically states that it is the “goodness of God” that will lead one to actually want to repent and then accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior.
Again, when you combine the godly sorrow that God will produce to help start the conviction and repentance process to occur within each individual, and then top it off with the revelation that it is the goodness of God that will actually save them – there is simply no way one can walk away from such a powerful encounter with the Lord within the first year or two after they had initially been saved.This fact is telling me that some of these people may not be going through a proper repentance and conviction process with the Holy Spirit, and thus their salvation experiences may be a bit suspect.
All of the above Scripture verses are tying in the word “repentance” with getting saved and converted. I believe God is giving all of us a major clue in the way that He has all of these Scripture verses worded in that a repentant heart is really needed before one can really get saved through the Blood of His Son Jesus.
I really have to wonder if this lack of a repentant heart may be one of the missing ingredients in some of these people’s salvation experiences, and this is why they are so easily able to walk away from it after the first year or two after initially getting saved.
Just interesting food for thought.