Another topic I was wondering about is that of experience. Sorry for such a long post! When you hear of some people coming to the faith (I’m talking being born again, not coming to the reformed faith...though maybe linked?) sometimes they can talk about some experience they’ve had. It could be big or small. An “encounter with God”. I’ll admit sometimes I get worried because I don’t think I’ve had that “big experience” though on a few occasions in prayer I’ve felt close to God. So when people talk like that I think to myself, “What does this encounter with God” look like? If you took 50 or a 100 stories what is the common thread in them all? Lately I’ve really enjoyed looking / thinking about three conversion stories in the Book of Acts: Lydia, the Phillipian jailer and the Ethiopian eunuch. In reading the Lydia story again just now I noticed it said, as well as the eunuch (emphasis mine): Act 16:14 “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” Act 8:27 “And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,...” I’m not too sure of the jailer, but these two seemed to have a religious background, both Lydia and the eunuch knowing something or other about God and the scriptures. That I suppose can be like people today having been in church most of their lives knowing about God but not knowing God. But this ties into my question on what is the hallmark of being born again? One could say with Mary: Joh 11:25 “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: (vs.26)And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this? Joh 11:27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.” I would imagine only someone having been born again could say that. I want to add one more thing Spurgeon said at the end of one of his sermons (Struggles of Conscience), emphasis mine: Come as thou art; come in all thy poverty, and stubbornness, and hardness, just as you are now, take Christ to be your all in all. Sound your songs ye angels, smite your golden harps ye redeemed ones; there are sinners snatched from hell to-day; there are men who have trusted Christ this morning. Though they scarcely know it, their sins are all forgiven; their feet are on the rock; the new song shall soon be in their mouth, and their goings shall be stablished. Farewell, ye brethren, turn to God this morning; God shall keep you, and you shall see his face in glory everlasting. Amen. So here he seems to acknowledge that some people may not even have any experience! Is this correct? I’ve been raised up in church and I could go on how my mind has been renewed and that past doctrine and teaching has been replaced by better doctrine and teaching...but have I had this “encounter with God”? This (almost Sproulish) “aweful encounter with His Holiness” objectively experiencing the substance of His Holiness around me? (Aweful in a good way). I would say I don’t think I’ve had this objective substantial encounter like that. Does this mean that if someone has been going to church their whole life and believes and trusts Jesus for salvation they might not be saved but the hallmark is this “encounter”? Spurgeon didn’t think so. Yet their are people that say that they have. And I’m not about to rain on their parade but want to rejoice with them! Rom 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. But it still bothers me. I feel sad inside and want that too. But is the substantial foundation trusting in the salvation Jesus offers? Or should experience be added to it? Can one trust and not have an experience? 1Jn 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1Jn 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? I’m a very inward looking person wondering if person x had something happen it should happen to me too.