When did Peter get saved? We all know when it happened for the Apostle Paul: he’s walking down the road to Damascus, off to kill him some Christians, and BOOM! Blinding lights, a voice from the sky, a sudden realization, a complete reversal. Paul could give you the exact date and hour of his conversion, his coming to Jesus, his rebirth, his asking Jesus into his life. (Though it was more like Jesus intruding into Paul’s life than Paul asking for anything.)
But what about Peter? When was the date and hour of his conversion? Was it when he met Jesus? His brother, Andrew, had been a disciple of John the Baptist, and one day John pointed at Jesus and said, “That guy is the Lamb of God!” So Andrew followed Jesus around for the rest of the day, and when Jesus invited him to stay the rest of the night with him, he went and found Peter (who was still called Simon at that time), telling him, “I have found the Promised King (or Anointed One or Messiah)!” So Peter left and started following Jesus. You can’t be a follower of Jesus and not be saved, right?
On the other hand, Peter doesn’t quite get who he is following. Later on, Jesus says to him, “Okay, so everybody thinks I’m a prophet, or maybe even Elijah come back to life; but who do you say that I am?” And Peter boldly proclaims, “You are the Christ (or Messiah or Anointed One or Promised King), the son of the living God!” Sounds good, right? When you accept Christ you confess that he is the Son of God and the Christ. That’s what you did when you got saved, so maybe this is the point of Peter’s conversion—when he confesses that Jesus is Savior (or Christ or Anointed One or Promised King) and Lord (or Son of God or God Incarnate). But then in Mark 8 Jesus follows Peter’s confession with the declaration that he would be arrested, beaten, killed and resurrected, and Peter says, “No way!” Actually, it says that Peter pulled Jesus aside and started rebuking him—he gave him an angry tongue-lashing for saying such stuff. In essence, Peter is rejecting the death and resurrection of the Messiah! How can you be saved and reject the death and resurrection of the Messiah?
Then Jesus responds by calling him Satan. Satan! Can you be saved if Jesus is calling you Satan? Hmm.
How about after the resurrection? Is that when Peter is actually converted? In John 12, the resurrected Jesus shows up on the shoreline when Peter and some of the other disciples are out fishing. At this point Peter has seen the empty tomb for himself, and then he has seen the resurrected Jesus for himself. He saw him on the day of his resurrection, and again a week later when Jesus mysteriously passes through the closed doors of the house and shows himself to doubting Thomas. So there’s not doubt that Peter believes in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. And isn’t that what you must do to be saved? We often quote Paul on this point: “Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, through which also you are being saved...that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.” (1 Cor. 15:1-4)
And yet, Jesus finds Peter fishing. He has gone back to what he knows. He’s gone back to his life before Jesus. How can you go fishing after you’ve met the resurrected Jesus? Once you’ve accepted Christ, you can’t go back to life B.C. Right?
After realizing who it is, they come to shore where Jesus has made breakfast for them, and after eating, Jesus says to Peter, “Do you love me?” Three times he asks, and three times Peter confesses his love for Jesus. Surely if Peter isn’t saved by then, with this three-fold confession he gets saved, right? What else does accepting Jesus mean if it’s not professing love for the resurrected Savior?
But then, Paul says that one of the marks of a Christian—if not the mark of a Christian—is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and that didn’t happen to Peter until more than a month after the resurrection, at Pentecost. So was Peter saved before then?
I'll give my answer in another post, but until then, how about it? When was Peter saved? When was he converted? What say you?