In the Bible, you will not find the phrase, “Personal Savior.” You will find references such as Luke 1:47, which say; “My Savior,” and numerous passages that read: “Our Savior,” which are obviously “Personal” references. Such personalized texts include I Corinthians 8:3, “But if any man love God, the same is known of him”, and Luke 10:20 , “. . . but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.” Nothing is as sweet and personal as ones own name. Consider also, John 10:3, “To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice; and he calleth his own ship by name, and leadeth them out.”, and a very special reference of the parable of the shepherd leaving the ninety and nine to seek the one, and then personified by verses 7 and 10 of Luke 15, which read; “I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance . . . Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” Therefore, though we may not see the exact phrase: “Personal Savior”, without question, all must conclude that Salvation is very personal.
Compare this with knowledge of intellectual acknowledging of the gospel account with true personal salvation. In James 2:19, God’s Word proclaims, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe and tremble.” We can understand from this scripture that salvation is more than acknowledging that there was a Jesus of Nazareth and that he lived two thousand hers ago, and was crucified under the reign of Pontius Pilate, and rose from the grave on the third day. How do we know this? Because the text of James 2:19 tells us that the demons in hell also know this and we know they are not saved and going to heaven! Therefore, salvation is more than head knowledge. That is why it must be personal, to be salvation.
When I was around the age of twenty, I didn’t realize it at the time but God’s Spirit was drawing me unto Him as described in John 6:44, “No man can come unto me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” Like many folks I attended church as a child with my parents. At the age of eight I responded to the minister’s invitation at the end of his sermon and went forward in the church to be saved and baptized. Throughout the years I had numerous individuals ask me if I knew Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. Always I would answer yes, because I was baptized and joined a church. A church, I might add, that erroneously believed that salvation was only received when you were baptized. However, at twenty the phrase “Personal Savior” haunted me constantly. I began questioning how Christ could be my personal Savior. In my mind I reasoned, “How could he be my personal Savior, when He lived two thousand years ago?” A personal Savior, I thought, would be one who would jump in front of a spear intended for me. Or perhaps a soldier who would throw his own body on a grenade saving me from the explosion. That would be personal, because he did it to save me alone. Jesus, I knew died on a cross and rose from the grave. I could understand Him dying for the world: John 3:16, “For God so loved the world . . .”, or dying for a cause, Romans 5:7 “For scarcely for a righteous man would one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” How could He be my personal Savior when He died two thousand years ago and I wasn’t there!
My young bride was attending a church at that time and having very little success in getting me to join her. The minister of the church came by my office one day to visit me. At that time, in my life I believed that all protestant churches believed the Bible was the Word of God with a few differing opinions on doctrinal issues. It was later in Bible college that I learned that all churches don’t believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, infallible, Word of God. This minister, unknown to me, was one of those ministers who didn’t believe all of the Bible. Naively, I was glad to see him come by because I was to the point that I thought if I didn’t find the answer to this question in my mind that I thought I would lose my mind. When pastor So-N-So came into my office I informed him that I was glad to see him because I had a question that I thought he could answer for me. With some hesitation, I told him I was a little embarrassed to ask him this particular question because every five year old in his church probably knew the answer. The, I posed my dilemma; “How could Christ be my personal Savior when He lived two thousand years ago and I live in the twentieth century?” With that, pastor So-N-So began to speak, and speak, and speak some more, and not say anything. Then my emotions stated to spin, my hope of finding the answer from a minister was dashed, then from hopelessness, to frustration, to anger, I told the preacher I could see that he didn’t know either, would he please leave.
When I shut the door to my office, I turned on my heels and looked up to the ceiling and in frustration cried out: “God, what does it mean that Jesus is my personal Savior?” I didn’t see any visions, I didn’t hear any voices, but immediately I knew the answer. The best way I can describe my ability to comprehend this revelation was reminiscent of a student in a math class, you have the problem written on your paper, but don’t have a clue how to work it out, then as you keep staring at the paper, all of a sudden something clicks and it becomes crystal clear how to work the problem. In like fashion, the Lord gave me understand to my question: James 1:5, “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask God, that giveth to all men liberally, and unbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” At that time in my life my vocation required that I travel on occasion to the coal mining region in our country in Southwest Virginia . In that area there is a mine so large that trucks drive down into the mind. This mine also doubles as a fall-out shelter in the event of a nuclear war. The Lord gave me understanding that if He had not come to earth as of yet, that he had not come two thousand years ago, and with this understanding if I were in this particular mine by myself when hypothetically a nuclear war wiped out all of mankind except for me, that because of His love for me, He would come to earth. And upon His appearance to me He would in my sinful condition, permit me to curse Him, nail Him to a tree, and hurl insults at Him. In the midst of this horrible scene He would look up to heaven and then down at me and say, “Father forgive him, for he knows not what he does.” Then, after He died He would allow me to throw His dead body in a hole in the ground and three days later He would appear to me and say, “see here the wounds in My hands, on My brow and in My side, if you will believe that I suffered these things for you, because I love you so much that I want you to spend eternity with Me in heaven, I’ll be your personal Savior.” Then immediately the Lord gave me knowledge about what had transpired two thousand years ago on Golgotha . That made Him my “Personal Savior”. Since Jesus Christ is God incarnate, I knew and believed that God knows everything past, present and future. He is Omniscient; John1:48 “Nathaniel said unto him, before that Phillip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee.” Therefore, when Christ was hanging on the cross He looked past the maddening crowd, past the loved ones gathering near the cross and forward into time, to me in the twentieth century. Ephesians 1:3, “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundations of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” And at that time when Christ cried out as described in Matthew 27:46, “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?”, the sins that I have committed went back into time and clung to Christ’s body, as a result God the Father had to turn His head away and could not look upon His own Son; Habakkuk 1:13 “Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity”, never in all of history was ever a man as alone as Jesus Christ was at that moment because God of Purer eyes could not look upon Him because of the hideousness of my sin that was upon Him, and the world didn’t want him either; John 1:11 “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” Jesus didn’t die for any wrong on His part, it was my sin that He died for; II Corinthians 5:21 “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” The angels in heaven wanted to stop what was happening to the Prince of Peace; Matthew 26:54 “Thinkest though that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?” Christ went on agonizing hour after agonizing hour, because of His personal love for you and me. Then when he said, “Tetelestai” in John 19:30, a commercial term meaning “It is paid” or “It is finished”, He died and as He died my sins that clung to His body died with Him. And sure enough, three days later He rose from the tomb, and at that moment, in my office, He said to me; “If you believe that when I was on the cross you were on my mind, and that all that I did, I did for you, I’ll be your Personal Savior.” At that moment it could have been to thousand years ago or it could have been the twentieth century because time and space, at that moment, are irrelevant; II Peter 3:8 “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” Indeed, for the first time in my life I understood what it means that Jesus Christ is my “Personal Savior,” and not just to me but to all those who will believe and receive Him into their hearts!
The prayer of salvation:
Dear God, in the name of Jesus Christ, I come into your presence. I believe, Lord Jesus, that You died for me, and that You rose from the grave for me. Please forgive me of all my sins. Please come into my heart and save me and be my “Personal Savior”. Please fill me Holy Spirit. I thank you for saving me. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
Written by: Victor Young
Artwork: Jeannie Brown
Edited by: Linda Young