I was raised in a home where morality was strongly enforced. After all, we were very good Protestants and lived by the rights and wrongs of the Bible. Hopefully, someday, when I died, I would have my “goods and bads” weighed and end up in Heaven. Of course, my infant baptism would surely get me into Heaven if nothing else did. Besides that, I had never really done any major wrong. God loves all of us, and couldn’t possibly let me or anyone else go to Hell…could He?
During my ninth grade school year, when I was 14, my mother started attending a Bible study at another church. It was there that she started learning about what the Bible really had to say on how to get to Heaven. As a result, she realized we were not being fed God’s Word, but just secular philosophy, at our current church. We started visiting other churches to find one that preached from God’s Word.
” I started hearing things that I had never heard before from the Bible.”In January of 1985, we visited the Lehigh Valley Baptist Church. I started hearing things that I had never heard before from the Bible. One of the girls in the youth group had me over to visit one day, and we talked about Bible salvation. (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.)
She showed me in the Bible, in Romans 3:23, where it said that I was born a sinner. “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I could agree with this. I knew I had done some things wrong.
The next few things she shared with me, though, were a little bit more difficult to accept. Because I was a sinner, and God is a holy God, He could not accept my sin, so there had to be a payment made to cover it. “That should be easy enough,” I thought to myself. “I have done a number of good things in my life and I was baptized as a baby.” She then showed me a verse in Ephesians 2:8-9, “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.” She explained to me that there was nothing I could do to save myself from an eternity in hell. This included being a good person, putting money in the offering plate, and even being baptized as a baby.
“…the only logical conclusion was the Bible was telling the truth, and many of the things I had been taught were wrong.” At that point in time, my mother came to pick me up from my friend’s house. I went home completely confused. I had been taught all of my life that my good works and infant salvation through baptism would take me to Heaven. Now, I was being told this all contradicted what God had to say on the Bible. If I really believed the Bible, then the only logical conclusion was the Bible was telling the truth, and many of the things I had been taught were wrong.
The following week a traveling evangelist visited the Lehigh Valley Baptist Church. He preached on God’s Final Day of Judgment. This is a day in the future when God will judge all of the people who have not repented of their sin by turning to Him, in faith, for salvation. I knew I did not want to be one of those people facing that judgment. At the end of the service, I talked with the pastor’s wife. I was ready to fully accept the Bible as God’s Word. I did question, though, that if Jesus died for everyone, why did I have to make a decision?
She took me to John 3:16, in the Bible. “For God so loved the world (me) that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever (including me) believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Yes, Christ did die for everyone. He had died for me personally. But to make His payment apply to me, I needed to personally accept His gift of salvation, and ask Him to be my Savior. I prayed to the Lord and asked Him to save me, and forgive me of my sin as I put my faith in Him as the only way of salvation. I now wanted to live my life the way He desired it. I wanted Him to order my steps throughout my life.
On March 29,1985, the Lord changed my life. Although I am not perfect, and never will be on this side of Heaven, I am thankful that He has continued to work in my life. He continues to mold me and make me want to be more like Him. He is a personal God, demanding a personal decision from each and every one of us, so that He can have a personal relationship with us from now through eternity.
A friend recently commented to me that whatever reason my parents changed to a new church back in 1985, it was the right “I am thankful that He has continued to work in my life.” decision… because you can see joy in my children. The reason for the change was because of being taught about how to have a personal relationship with Christ. It not only effected me, but it effected my children, too! Trusting Christ for salvation will change future generations.
If you have never come to know God on personal terms, you need to accept Him as the Bible says you must. He wants to be your Savior, too! Please give it consideration today. It is the most important decision you will ever make.