Peter Eldersveld, child of the Covenant
Peter Eldersveld's early experience of God's covenant mercies conditioned his own understanding of life and the power of God within it. His own testimony concerning God's faithfulness was expressed in typically covenantal terminology some months before his death. This is what he said in a sermon on Acts 16:31:
"[There are] friends of mine [who] often open a discussion by saying to me 'Would you like to hear my personal testimony?' And of course I always tell them I certainly would like to hear it. And they tell me some wonderful stories of the grace of God and how they were rescued spectacularly and dramatically out of a life of sin, maybe in the middle of their years, or maybe after a wasted youth…
"But you know there's always one thing about it that bothers me. I get the uncomfortable feeling that somehow they think that I'm a kind of second-rate Christian because I can't tell a story like that. I never had that kind of an experience. And I don't feel like a second-rate Christian. And that is why I want to tell my personal testimony to them and to you…
"It goes like this. I can put it in one sentence: I have never known a day in all my life when I could not believe that I was a child of God. Now don't misunderstand. That doesn't mean that I haven't been a great sinner. I have been as great as any and worse than many. We won't go into that. But I just want you to know that no matter how great the sins, there has never been a night in my life when I could not lie down my head and believe that God forgave my sins. My parents brought me up that way from the very earliest moments of my life. They brought me up to believe a promise, a covenant promise. They promised me that their God would be my God even if it cost him the blood of his Son.
"And that promise has been fulfilled in spectacular ways. Maybe that isn't a spectacular story, but I think it is the most spectacular thing in the world. Not that a man in the middle of his years could suddenly come to this discovery, but that a man who is conceived and born in sin, from the moment he draws his first breath can be a child of God, and he can be the child of Christian parents, and they can bring him to the church and have him baptized as a child of the covenant.
"Do you know anything better than that? I wouldn't change places with the Philippian sailor who had to come to that later in his life. I'd rather have been one of his children."