SALVATION IS OF THE LORD Dave Van Inwegen
It was a Thursday, 1951. I remember it vividly. Thursdays...the Cisco Kid came on TV. He was my hero. I was 12 years old. Now, in walks Dad and says “get up we’re going to a church function”. What? Church again? As a Pastor’s son I was saturated with church. Sundays.. I attended four services. There was Sunday School then worship service, then youth group in the evening and then another worship service. On Wednesdays..prayer meeting, then an occasional ice cream social (which I didn’t mind)...and now Thursdays also? I was churched out. Dad said.. “get in the car”. On the way he said that I just might like what we’re going to do this evening. As it turned out he was right. We went to the Kansas City Bible Institute for a function entitled “Sky Pilots of America”. Sky Pilots was a Christian organization established in 1945 with the purpose of building young boys into men that would be leaders in church, home and community. The hook was airplanes. We would build model airplanes together each Thursday evening and get a dose of the gospel message or a brief discipleship study. Then we would share our weekly experiences all with the confident expectation that we’d get to ride in a real airplane someday soon.
Now, I had heard my father preach every Sunday for as long as I could remember. He had numerous evangelistic services and guests speakers. I had heard the gospel preached, but I hadn’t heard the gospel preached. I certainly had ears, rather big ones at that, but I didn’t have ears to hear..the gospel. I remember sitting on the front row with Mom in one such evangelistic service. Then, I was around six years old. The speaker held a big shiny quarter in his hand. He said I have a gift here for someone. All you have to do is come and get it. He pointed to me. “Young man, come and accept this gift”. Do you realize how much a quarter was worth in 1946? For a six year old..it was huge. There was one major problem though. I have, all my life been an introvert. At six years of age it is called..”bashful”. I tried to hide. He kept asking me to come and get this quarter. I tried to hide. Finally he gave up on me and pointed to a kid sitting in the row behind me. “Come and accept this gift”, he said to the boy. I’m guessing that it took no more than 10 seconds for that kid to jump up out of his pew, run to the front, grab the quarter, run back to his pew and sit back down. Was I ever mad! That kid got my quarter. The speaker went on to say something about the gift of God being eternal life or something...but I couldn’t hear anything now. I was steamed.
Now it’s 1951. I’m listening to yet another gospel message at the Sky Pilots meeting. But something is different about this message. Sounds like the same words I’ve heard before but something is definitely different. I am actually hearing the gospel message. I am hearing it deep down in my soul. Something is happening. I realize I am a sinner! I am estranged from God. Christ died for sinners so that I no longer need be estranged from God ..but reconciled. Repent and believe!... is the call. Now this speaker didn’t call for a show of hands, didn’t call for anyone to walk the aisle, didn’t call for anyone to fill out any card and put in the offering plate, didn’t ask for any money, and didn’t sing six verses of “Just as I am”. He just finished in prayer. When I got home late that evening, I was on my knees beside my bed asking for forgiveness and by faith placing my trust in Christ to forgive and save me from the wrath to come. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:8,9)
So, what happened? Well, God commended His love toward me. How did he do that? They won’t tell you how on the Science Channel, but God tells us how in John chapter 3. “Have you ever watched the wind blow? It blows this way, then that way, it comes from over there, then from over here. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. He breathes on that person over there, He breathes on this person over here and so on.” (vs 8) On Thursday November 8th, 1951 the Spirit of God breathed on me and regenerated my spiritually dead heart. He brought me to LIFE, a resurrection from spiritually dead to spiritually alive. Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; And..just as a new born must take his first breath, a spiritually reborn person must take a “breath of faith”. It is as natural as the first breath of air. My ears were opened by the Word of God and applied by the Spirit of God to my regenerated heart. The Word of God by the Spirit of God opens the ears and faith is the result. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17)
I’ve got good news. Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; he was buried, and he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (I Cor 15: 3,4) Jesus said: “the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel.” (Mark 1:15) ...The gospel ... is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; (Rom 1:16) Salvation is of the Lord! The Corinthian jailer asked Paul and Silas, “what must I do to be saved?” The answer now.. as it was then... is simply, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved”. (Acts 16: 30,31)