When I was five years old, my father and mother began attending a Baptist Church. I was raised going to Sunday School classes and church every Sunday. I attended a Christian School. My circle of friends were mostly Christians or in Christian families. The church I attended was Solid Rock Baptist Church in Atco, New Jersey. Our pastor preached and taught only from the Bible. I was taught the Bible is the Word of God.
While living in New Jersey, I remember going to a nursing home every week with my family. The elderly ladies there loved to have us come. The older folks in the nursing home especially loved to have children visit them. Our family would gather a group of residents together, bringing them in their wheelchairs, or leading them by the arm, to a room where we would have a worship service. We would sing special music to those in the room. Then we would sing hymns with everyone joining in. Many of them loved the singing, and they told us how much they looked forward to our visit every week.
There was one lady I especially remember. Her name was Ruth. She told us she had been “saved” when she was very young. (Note: saved and salvation are Biblical terms 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.) “Although she was slouched over in a wheelchair, and seemed so weak and frail, you could see she had the joy of the Lord in her eyes.” Although she was slouched over in a wheelchair, and seemed so weak and frail, you could see she had the joy of the Lord in her eyes. She sang the songs in a sweet, happy voice and thanked us each week for making it possible for her to attend church right there in the nursing home. Before Ruth died, she gave me her Bible. She was 96 years old when she died—and she assured us she was quite ready to meet her Savior. I still remember that joy and assurance Ruth had in her salvation.
On February 24, 1986, at the age of eight, I went forward at church to get saved—mostly because a close friend had told me she had gotten saved the week before. I went away claiming to have been saved. No one questioned my salvation as I always tried to live a good and moral life.
In 1991, my family moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania. I was shattered! I had to leave all my friends behind. My only dream was to move back to New Jersey. One day, my mom drove past a sign pointing to the Lehigh Valley Baptist Church. As we had been looking for a good church in the area, she decided to attend. We all began attending faithfully after that, and I began to attend the Christian school there. All this time, I claimed to be saved. “But, in my heart, I knew I did not have the assurance or joy I had seen in that sweet little lady at the nursing home.” But, in my heart, I knew I did not have the assurance or joy I had seen in that sweet little lady at the nursing home.
During church summer camp in 1992, I began to sincerely doubt my salvation. I knew in my heart that I was lost, but I chose to push my doubts aside. There finally came a day when I could no longer ignore these doubts. That day was October 29, 1992. I can’t tell you the activities I was involved in that day—nor what the weather was like. All I remember is how the Lord used a surprising event to turn my life around. My family and I were all sitting around the kitchen table. My parents were sitting together talking softly about someone getting baptized. My heart raced. “Who’s getting baptized?” I asked. “I am,” my mother answered. “What,” I thought to myself, “my mother getting baptized?” My mom had already been baptized—as I had— in New Jersey. Then my mother told me she was getting baptized because she had received Christ as her Savior on that past Tuesday.
Many times, when trying to reassure myself that I was saved, I would compare my life to my mother’s life. If my mother was not saved before now, then how could I be saved? All at once, all my doubts came flooding back. I realized that all this time I had been running from these doubts and that I had been caught up in my own deceit. While I had been trying to convince myself that I was saved, my eyes had been blind to the truth.
Laying in my bed that night, I could not sleep. I kept thinking, “What if I fall asleep and never wake up – where will I be?” I could not take it anymore! I yielded. I got down on my knees and said, “Lord, I cannot fight you any more.” Right there, I asked Christ to come into my heart and save me. I knew I was a sinner. The Bible says, in Romans, chapter 3, verse 23, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I confessed my sins to God, and repented of them. I had the Bible assurance from Romans, chapter 10, verse 9, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “I was now no longer bound in my own deceit. I was set free.” I was now no longer bound in my own deceit. I was set free.
Perhaps, today, you don’t know for sure that you are saved. Perhaps you are confused and running from the truth as I was. PLEASE, don’t spend another day of your life running from Christ. Receive Him today. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians, 6:2