By: Tiago Hirayama
Reading one of my assignments for one of my classes, I found the “Engel Scale.” If someone has studied missions, you must be familiar with this scale. It depicts the stages in which a person is found, as far as salvation goes. Developing from that idea, I will make my own list.
STAGE 1 – Complete ignorance of Christ. This stage is when people never heard and don’t want to hear about Christ. People like the Athens in the book of Acts 17.
STAGE 2 – Awareness of Christ. This stage is when people know just a little about Christ; it is probably a very vague notion and most likely have distorted images in their mind. In Mark 8:27-29, Jesus asks the disciples who the people were saying he was, which the reply was that people were very confused about who was Jesus.
STAGE 3 – Understanding Christ. These people know more about the word of God and the work of Christ on the cross, but it’s only head knowledge. Like Judas Iscariot, the traitor, had knowledge but didn’t penetrate his heart and change his behavior.
STAGE 4 – Personal involvement with Christ. These people are interested in what Christ has done on the cross. They are analyzing the data in order to make an educated decision. Acts 24 presents us an interesting character called Felix who heard about Christ for two years, staying in the position of merely wanting to hear about Christ but not enough to make him desire to follow.
STAGE 5 – Regeneration. This stage is when the Holy Spirit applies the truth and convicts the sinner of his guilty state, leading him to the recognition of the need for Christ. These people are like Paul on the road to Damascus. Convicted but entirely Raw in the faith.
STAGE 6 – Complete adherence to the faith. This is the stage where there’s no question in the sinner’s mind; he recognizes and accepts the salvation was given to them. It is an inner conviction that the Bible is the word of God and Christ is Truly God and Truly Man. These people are like Thomas, the apostle, after seeing the resurrected Christ, had no doubt in his mind who Jesus really was.
STAGE 7 – The believer is baptized into the church. This literally means that the person is physically and spiritually baptized. Now a believer and saint, the person is counted as a member of the body of Christ, who immediately begin a process of sanctification which will last his or her lifetime. He or she grows spiritually and in the knowledge of the Savior.
STAGE 8 – Caged Stage. This is when the conviction becomes so strong that he or she thinks that everybody is wrong and only they are right. There are truths in having strong beliefs, but this stage is an intellectual advancement that though the believer wants to share the faith, it seems like always comes out wrong. He or she is always debating people over futile matters; throwing condemnation and judgment on all those who do not adhere to the same detailed beliefs they hold.
STAGE 9 – Witnessing for Christ’s cause. This stage is when the believer is fully aware of his calling of evangelism. He has quit the “cage stage,” and effectively proclaim the gospel; sharing the basic tenants and hoping in God that He might save some.
STAGE 10 – Wrestling with Sin. As the Christian hits a routine or the reality of everyday life, the awareness of their sinful state comes out in behavior; the more they get to know the Holiness of God through His word, the more conscious of their sin they become; most of the time these sins are private, nobody knows about them but the believer himself.
STAGE 11 – Abandonment of Sinful Behavior. This stage is when believers are fully aware of the power operating within them; they are assured of their salvation and are very motivated and willing to change their comportment, especially in private areas.
“THE MORE THEY GET TO KNOW THE HOLINESS OF GOD THROUGH HIS WORD, THE MORE CONSCIOUS OF THEIR SIN THEY BECOME.”