I Hoped My Good Works Would Offset My Sin
For as long as I can remember, I was at church every time the doors were open. I was raised knowing that the only way to be saved and to go to Heaven was through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. (Note: salvation, saved and born again 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.)
While I never thought of myself as an evil sinner, I did sin. But I was very active in my church, and I hoped God would see my many good works as an offset to my sin.
As I grew into my adolescent years, I began to wonder if I had a real relationship with God. I never felt that I was “quite right” in His eyes. I always felt there was something missing in my life. Sometimes,
“I felt so empty inside. I wondered what my purpose was for being on this earth.”
At the same time, I thought, “Surely I must be one of God’s children. I said a prayer to be saved when I was seven years old, I’m doing all these good things in my church, and I never really did anything very bad.” However, the Bible, in Ephesians, chapter 2, verses 8-9, had something different to say about my good works: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” As for my little sins not being very bad, the Bible again takes a different view, in Isaiah, chapter 64, verse 6, “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”
“I struggled to resolve my view of myself, and God’s view of me as shown in His Holy Word.”
This struggle about my relationship with God lasted a few more years. In September of 1996, our church held a weeklong series of special revival services. Many people gave testimonies of how the Lord worked in their lives to bring them to salvation. I felt uncomfortable and out of place as people talked about God in such a real and personal way. Many people told how they had believed that their good works would give them a “right standing” with God, but they had come to realize they were sinners, repented of those sins and asked Christ to take over their lives and be their Savior. Those testimonies had a tremendous impact on me.
I began to wonder why I had not been able to see those simple truths. I realized that my sin separated me from God. I saw that my own efforts could never get me right with God. I had been living a lie. My good works would never get me to Heaven – or get me a personal relationship with God. No matter what I did, or how good I was, I could not match God’s simple plan of salvation.
“I finally accepted that Jesus had died on the cross for me – to save me from my sin.”
On September 25, 1996, I prayed and repented of my sins and trusted in Him to save me. Through faith, I received Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Since that day, I have had a real peace and joy that I had never before experienced. The Bible describes it best in John, chapter 14, verse 27, as Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
You, too, can have the peace that I found in my God. Please accept the Lord into your heart today. It is not hard. The Bible tells us how in 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.”