I experienced a faith crisis in high school. It all stemmed from not knowing the day that I believed in Christ. When was I born again? Was it in 3rd grade, the first time I prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer” at our church’s summer camp? Was it the next night that I prayed it? Was it the next summer? Was it years later when my love for Jesus grew exponentially? Teenage me wrestled with doubt—If I don’t know the most important day of my life, maybe I’m not saved?
You can see how I spiraled into a season of doubting my salvation in Christ. This severe doubt led me to sit in my pastor’s office where I heard an analogy from Spurgeon that continues to comfort me. And if you struggle with doubt and assurance, I trust this will aid you as it did me.
Birthdays Don’t Help
I sat down in my pastor’s office and explained my doubts, “I don’t know if I’m saved. I can’t remember the day I believed. Did I really believe? When did I?” He lovingly listened and then began with this surgical spiritual help from Charles Spurgeon.
He told me how this famous preacher from the 1800s named Charles Spurgeon made a helpful illustration for finding assurance on whether or not you are saved. It went like this:
"Do you need to know your birthday to know you are alive? If you wanted to make sure you are alive, would you go look for your birth certificate and find your birthday? No, of course not. There is no comfort in knowing your birthday. Rather, you look at your life and realize, ‘I’m alive.’ There are vital signs. So, let’s look at your spiritual life now. What do you believe today? Do you believe that Jesus died for your sins and rose again? That he’s your Savior?”
I answered, “Yes, absolutely. I believe in Jesus. I love him. I want to follow him.” My pastor looked at me and said, “Then you are alive.” Doubts vaporized. Soul consoled.
I was reminded of this spiritual comfort from Spurgeon because today is Spurgeon’s birthday. I was looking for a great quote connected to his birthday and I stumbled upon this birthday illustration and assurance of salvation. I'm so grateful my pastor shared it with me. Here’s how CHS put it:
“I hope I am saved,” says one, “but I do not know the date of my conversion.” That does not matter at all. It is a pleasant thing for a person to know his birthday, but when persons are not sure of the exact date of their birth, they do not infer that they are not alive. If a person does not know when he was converted, that does not prove that he is not converted. The point is: Do you trust Jesus Christ? Has that trust made a new man of you? Has your confidence in Christ made you feel that you have been forgiven? Has that made you love God for having forgiven you, and has that love become the mainspring of your being so that out of love to God you delight to obey him? Then you are a healed man.
It’s neat to know when you first believed in Christ, but it only matters to know who you believe in. If you are struggling with doubt, or know someone who is, consider this birthday illustration. Look for the vital signs of faith: trust in Christ, love for God, grief over sin, turning from sin, doing good works, craving the Scriptures, worshiping God, and more. What do you believe today?
While you may not know the day or the hour you were born again, you may know the One who is the Beginning and the End. You can know that you were chosen before the foundation of the world. You can know Christ was crucified and raised in the first century for you. The timestamp of every Christian’s conversion is dated 33 AD, geotagged to Golgotha and the Garden Tomb.