“What Did I Need to Be Saved From?”
I grew up a devout Baptist, though neither of my parents were saved in my early childhood. I had a large family, with nine children beside my parents. I was naturally curious and rebellious. Both traits contributed to my downward spiral. However, I was also intensely aware of God. I knew He was there but I also knew my sin. I was constantly wracked with guilt over my wrongs throughout the day and this caused me to pray at a very young age out of pure fear, begging God to spare me from Hell and to save me.
As I grew and understood more about salvation (Note: saved, salvation, and born again are Biblical concepts referring to the forgiveness of sins by God and the rescue of a person from the power and penalty of that sin. This is God’s requirement for everlasting life.) I would incorporate what I considered to be the correct combination of words, careful to not leave out anything. It was the prayer for Him to save me, complete with forgiveness of sin and affirmation of faith in Him. Then I would rise, feeling relief and joy and tell everyone that I had been saved. I would be congratulated, I would read my Bible faithfully for a few days, but then came the doubts and the fear again. I would tell myself it was a ploy of the devil, and continue in this state for many days before forgetting momentarily.
“I grew older, and bitterness at God crept in.”
I was never changed, and it seemed that everyone I knew personally had never experienced this change either. I knew this was not how it was supposed to be and I became disenchanted with religion.
During this time, my brother was saved. I watched him very closely, ready to disregard it like I had before, but I started to notice a definite change. Despite my cynicism, I felt hope. If he was changed, perhaps I could be changed too.
Shortly thereafter, we had a Youth Conference at our church. Even though I attended rather unwillingly, halfway through the message I became convicted of my condition before God. I was unsettled all the way home and halfway through the night but I couldn’t bring myself to pray. I knew this was it. I would either settle it tonight, or I would not.
I asked Him one thing: to bring me to salvation. I was tired of trying to save myself through my perfect prayers and half-hearted efforts to be “good” afterwards. So what was I missing? Then God showed me my sin like I had never seen it before. I remember being shocked. I had sinned.
“I remembered many of the things I had done, and they disgusted me.”
Previously, I had considered Hell to be the thing He was saving me from. This time, I pleaded with Him to save me from something that was destroying me, my family, and everything good – my sin. I repented and acknowledged my guilt before God. He saved me. He gave me peace and assurance that night. It was settled.
Moving forward I can remember some of the mistakes I made. The people I still hurt. The decisions that I regret. All things I did after being saved. I had always thought that salvation would change me all at once but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I found that I continued to struggle with my desires and my sin. So what did change?
“The price for my sin has been paid. I now have a relationship with Him.”
So even through my horrible mistakes, He is guiding me through them, teaching me a lesson. There is comfort in knowing that through every trial, He has a purpose for me. He has repaired my relationships, provided for my wants and needs, and given me perfect assurance of where I am going when I die. I’ve learned that change is a life-long process but one that I trust Him completely for.
”Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phillipians 1:6