May 26, 2020
....Not only that, but we also have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees. But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (Romans 8:23-25) NKJV.
By the vast majority of Amish, this was their signature bible passage when teaching on our salvation, declaring that according to this scripture we can not be certain of our salvation, but we can only hope i.e. we wish to be saved—we desire to be saved, but we simply don’t know, we can only hope....(hope being translated into wishful thinking by their teaching.) They taught that those who say that we can know the certainty of our salvation are most certainly deceived. This spectrum of not knowing about our salvation placed universal fear throughout the Amish church over many generations.
For many years God seemingly held a veil over our eyes to the true meaning of this passage. We remained blinded to the sure message of our salvation, often wandering through life in stark fear lest we miss heaven at the end of our earthly journey.
At the age of 17, I, with others was baptized and became a member of the Amish church. Even so, from this point on I lived in much fear and heavy conviction of my sin. Not knowing the destiny of my soul, I lived in deep anguish—often driving me to my knees while in the barn doing my chores, or out in the field working with a team of horses.
For 20 years I repeatedly and relentlessly searched out this passage in Romans 8 attempting to find solace and assurance for my battered soul within its context. Often in desperation I would drop what ever I was doing, run into the house with renewed hope to again search out this passage. Even so, up to this point I was unable to capture its mystery, it continued to elude me. (I, as all Amish do, we used the “Luther” translation, all other translations were suspect)
So it was on a dull November day in 1981 while at work on our farm in Missouri, when this passage once again entered my mind. This time however, as it did so, I was instantly engulfed in the presence of the Lord—the moment was unspeakable—instantly and forever changing the course of my life. I was no longer my own, but was now a child of God—captured in His love and embrace....and yes this passage in Romans 8, including the whole bible took on a complete new meaning. In the next two years Barbara and I were overwhelmed by the new revelations in the Word of God, as its meaning opened up new horizons bringing untold fulfillment to our souls. I was 37 years old at the time. Today 39 years later this encounter still remains in the forefront of my heart. A moment in Gods dynamic presence will forever change the course of ones life.
It would be this encounter that would eventually bring universal convulsions through out the Amish church, slowly changing the misconceptions on the doctrine of “Hope”—to the true measure of our salvation as given in many scriptural references throughout the bible.
But this is another story, perhaps for some other time.......
Learn more about Ben and his ministry by vising his website: www.anabaptistconnections.org
This letter has been published with permission from the owner.
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