John Piper’s Testimony
Three emails came in this week asking you to share your testimony of coming to Christ and your earliest memories of being a Christian.
Well, God saved me out of a life of drugs and crime and sex when I was six years old. I got that from David Michael.
God saved me at my mother’s knee in a Florida motel on vacation. I am blown away 61 years later (I was six then) even though I cannot remember it. I want to encourage people here who don’t remember the precise moment of their conversion. How can I say, “It blows me away that God saved me” if I don’t remember it? How can I say that? Isn’t that ridiculous or a contradiction? No, it is not a contradiction. I have got two reasons.
The Bible Tells Me So
One reason is that the Bible tells me what happened to me, not my memory and not my experience. I would tell those who have a stunning testimony that they do remember to be careful. Your memory and experience are fallible and can be misled. At the root, you had better find out what happened to you from the Bible. And at root, then, we are both going to have the same testimony. What happened to me was that I was raised from the dead. I remember our youth pastor, Kempton Turner, said to hundreds of young people, “The resurrection of the dead is never boring. None of you has a boring testimony.”
That is absolutely true. I was raised from the dead when I was six. God Almighty took out my heart of stone and put in a heart of flesh. He opened my eyes to see the light of the gospel. I was blind and he let even a six-year-old see the mansion of his truth. I received the gift of faith. It was a pure miracle, a pure gift. Repentance was given to me by a sovereign act of God. That is my first reason for saying that I am blown away. I am blown away by something I don’t remember, because the Bible tells me what happened to me. That is way more reliable than if I could remember it.
Not by Works
Here is the other reason: I am blown away by my conversion that I don’t remember because of the unbelievable sinfulness of John Piper that I have watched for 61 years. I have watched myself for a long time, and I have hated the remaining corruption in me for a long time. There is a lot in me that I do not like. The more mature I become, the more I see how tendentious I am, how prone I am to wander. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that if there was not sovereign grace at the beginning, and sovereign grace at every moment along the way, what I see of my sin since my conversion is enough to totally damn me. Therefore I am amazed.
“I don’t have to remember a horrible life of sinning before I was saved in order to tremble at my sin.”
I don’t have to remember a horrible life of sinning before I was saved in order to tremble at my sin. If anybody wishes they had gone some awful way and then been plucked out of that awfulness and had a nice story to tell, I just don't think they are looking at the mirror very carefully. There is enough corruption in us to make us tremble and to make us feel how incalculably horrible sin is. There is enough to show us how precious grace is. There is enough to blow us away that God broke into our life and created this hatred for sin and this longing for righteousness and our reliance on God.
My story is one that I can’t remember, and I hope it encourages many.