Personalized Salvation: Right and Wrong
We Americans use the word "personal" incessantly. By it, we usually mean customized or selected according to our preferences, tastes, whims, consumer values, ad nauseum--YouWorld and all that.
Danger ensues, though, when we think of salvation--a restored standing with God through Jesus Christ--as "personal" in the sense above. A customized salvation by our own personalized definition is God on our terms--a comfortable God, a God in our own image. But this is not the triune, holy, just, loving, Incarnation God of the Bible and space-time history, but a customized counterfeit.
God is not an iPod play list or a fashion statement. He is not a selection of foods on the smorgasbord. God has a fixed and determinate character. Christ has "made him known" (John 1:18) uniquely, finally, and incomparably through his life, death, and resurrection.
God has now commanded all people to repent (Acts 17:30; Matthew 4:17), to believe on his Son (John 3:16), and to receive forgiveness and justification through Jesus Christ (John 1:13-14; Romans 5:1-8). This is not customized, but it fits every receptive soul who heeds the divine call. This salvation is not automatic and you cannot presume upon God to provide it on your terms. However, it is highly personal in that you must give yourself--body and soul--to God. Jesus said, "Come to me..." (Matthew 11:28). What does God want from us? He wants us for himself forever--and nothing will ever be the same again.