Man often thinks of his own salvation as an event that has taken place in his own history. Many professing Christians point to a day they, ‘prayed the prayer with Billy Graham on television,’ or walked an aisle of a church or signed a decision card. But can we really say that we live forever because of the day we confessed belief in Christ?
In verse 7 of Amos chapter 9, God reveals that He does not look with favor upon the nation of Israel because of any particular privileged historical day in their past. Lest they get an overinflated notion of a relationship with God based upon the flesh, God reminds Israel that their exodus from Egypt was no different than that of Philistia or Syria. In verse 8 God calls Israel a sinful kingdom, as He is not interested in their ability to call upon their spiritual past, but is more concerned with their moral present. Even so, the purpose of God in judgment of the nation was not complete annihilation, but salvage (verse 9). So God shakes up the pretending people in order to shake out the fakes and to purify a people marked by holiness. While sifting out the chaff, He safeguards every kernel of wheat so that not one falls to the ground.
In the same manner, many in what constitutes the church of today are relying upon a once-said faith, but God is not interested in your spiritual past; He is interested in where you were last night. In order to make your calling and election sure, you must not dangle before God what you did on some past day, but rather the true mark of your election is your present life and your present and continuing faith – a persevering faith that is tried and purged in the sieve of affliction.