Should every Christian be able to give the time and place of their salvation?
Many of our dear brethren preaching the gospel insist that all professing believers must have a time when, a place where, and a manner how they were saved. This is pointed and needful preaching. For example, if anyone had asked the apostle Paul when and where he was saved, I am sure he would have very readily replied with the time, place, day and year of his conversion. He recalls the crisis of his own conversion in his testimony to Agrippa nearly thirty years after the event recorded in Acts 9! There he mentions the place on the way to Damascus, and the time of day "midday". No doubt he could have given the very day and year. So Paul knew where and at what time he was saved. He certainly lived in the good of his salvation, for he recalls it with joy in the prison cell at Rome when he wrote of Gods grace to him: "Who hath saved us" (2 Tim 1.8). Are we living in the good of our own salvation?
Generally speaking the above should be true, but it is a fact that not all believers can recall the exact day and time when they were saved, but at the very least if they are truly saved then they certainly must be able to look back to an experience when they came to Christ for salvation. Salvation is an event. It is a real experience and it is the work of God in the soul. It is a strange thing to claim to be saved and yet not to remember a crisis point in the life when salvation was experienced. A difficulty has been known to arise with some who have been brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord by Christian parents and yet have said they cannot remember a time when they did not believe. This would be wrong and dangerous ground. In the later life of such persons it is important that while they may not remember the day or hour of their trusting Christ, especially if this was done as a child, they should have no doubts of the experience and be manifesting in their lives the evidence and fruit of Gods saving grace.
John J Stubbs
How long can saints in an assembly be allowed to absent themselves from some of the gatherings with no good cause, and what action should be taken?
Local churches are composed of baptised believers gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together" (1 Cor 5.4); the Lordship of Christ must be owned. Such believers meet together regularly in a particular locality, "they continued stedfastly (i.e. they persevered) in the apostles doctrine and fellowship " (Acts 2.42).
The first mentioned exercise is "the apostles doctrine", the teaching of the Word of God; the authority of the Scriptures must be acknowledged. This is the very basis of fellowship. No one gathering of the Lords people is more important than another, since the Lord Himself is in the midst of His people each time they gather to His name (Mt 18.20). The writer to the Hebrews says, "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together" (10.25), after having given the exhortation "let us consider one another" (10.24). It is necessary to give diligence to attend all the meetings of the assembly in the furtherance of this mutual helping of one another.
Some, even in that day, had been "forsaking the assembling" of themselves, for the writer adds, "as the manner (custom, habit) of some is". To neglect the gatherings of the saints is to the spiritual detriment of all concerned. It is very sad when believers have developed a habit of not attending the meetings.
The questioner suggests that some may absent themselves from some of the meetings with "good cause"; there are those who have pressing family responsibilities, some do not enjoy the best of health, others are well advanced in years. However, it is the responsibility of those who shepherd the flock to follow up others who are slack in their attendance, to give them a word of encouragement, to remind them that their presence is needed and to endeavour to convince them of what they are missing by absenting themselves from the gatherings of the Lords people.
There is a sense in which an individual puts himself out of fellowship by prolonged absence from the assembly meetings with no good cause.
David E West