I will venture to say that most Christians don’t know how God saved them. I don’t mean how God paid for their sins, but how he brought them to faith. That means many Christians miss out on at least six benefits, which I’ll mention at the end.
God saved us by raising us from spiritual death, opening the eyes of our blind hearts, and giving us the gift of faith. Let it sink in now from God’s word, that he did this, not you.
Dead and Blind
Whether you or I remember it or not, we were all once spiritually dead, and therefore children of wrath. This is true even if we never remember being an unbeliever. You have it on God’s authority. “You were dead in trespasses and sins . . . and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1, 3). All humans are, or were, spiritually dead. That’s what Paul means by the phrase “the rest of mankind.” That’s what God saved us out of.
“You did not open your blind eyes, or raise yourself from the dead, or create your own faith. All of it was owing to God’s sovereign grace.”
Another way God describes our spiritual deadness is by saying we are natural rather than spiritual. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him . . . because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).
So our natural state of being spiritually dead makes us unable to discern and accept the spiritual truth of Christ — that he is supremely beautiful and desirable. The devil could see that Jesus was the Son of God, and know he died for sinners (Mark 1:24). But he could not see Jesus as supremely beautiful and desirable. Neither could we when we were dead and merely natural.
So God says that the eyes of our hearts were blind to the glory of Christ: “The god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4).
Raised from the Dead
This means that the way God saved us was by giving sight to our blind hearts. “God . . . has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). If you see Jesus as supremely beautiful and desirable so that you embrace him for the Savior he is, God has healed your blindness.
And he has raised you from the dead. “Even when we were dead in our trespasses, God made us alive together with Christ” (Ephesians 2:5). And he has given you the gift of faith. “It has been granted to you [to] . . . believe in him” (Philippians 1:29).
So you did not save yourself. You did not open your blind eyes, or raise yourself from the dead, or create your own faith. All of it was owing to God’s sovereign grace. You may have resisted this for a long time (Acts 7:51), but if you love Christ, God overcame your resistance and brought you to himself. What was impossible for you, God did. “With man it is impossible, but not with God” (Mark 10:27).
Why does it matter if you know this? It matters because there are at least these six benefits from knowing it.
1. Knowing how God saved you enables you to feel a fitting thankfulness to God. You can’t be thankful for what God did if you think you did it (Romans 6:17).
2. Knowing how God saved you enables you to admire and worship the freeness of God’s saving grace (Ephesians 2:5), the greatness of his particular love (Ephesians 2:4), and the sweetness of his overpowering strength (1 Corinthians 1:18).
“Your testimony is not boring. Being raised from the dead can never be boring.”
3. Knowing how God saved you teaches you to live and serve in the ongoing supply of that same empowering grace. “Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? . . . Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith?” (Galatians 3:3–5). “[Serve] by the strength that God supplies” (1 Peter 4:11).
4. Knowing how God saved you shows you that you are to evangelize others with the expectation that he must do the decisive work, not you. In evangelism your witness is indispensable, but God’s work is decisive (1 Corinthians 3:5–7).
5. Knowing how God saved you gives you hope for the hardest of sinners and the most resistant mission field. “For all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:27).
6. Knowing how God saved you reminds you that you have a stunning testimony to share. You were blind, but now you see. You were dead, but now you are alive. You were unbelieving, but now you embrace Jesus as supremely beautiful and desirable. You can share this not on the flimsy authority of your memory of it (which may not even exist), but on the unsurpassed authority of God. And it is not boring. Being raised from the dead can never be boring.