John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.
June 8, 1981, thirty-five years ago today, is a day I will never forget and will forever cherish.
I was raised in a Christian home and a Bible believing church, and was finishing the 8th grade, my first year in Christian school.
I knew the Bible quite well for my age, had memorized hundreds of Bible verses, and was involved in every opportunity that my small country church and school provided.
I had surrendered to preach when I was 7 years old, and knew with certainty that God wanted me to be a preacher. I had preached numerous times by then, and had won in preaching competition.
I could quote the Romans Road, and had won a number of people to Christ.
But there was one thing missing in my life: I lacked the certainty that I was saved, that I had truly become a born-again Christian.
I had walked the aisle for salvation twice when I was young, once when I was 5, then again when I was 7. I was baptized after my profession of faith at 7. But from the time I was 7 until this day in 1981, I had become increasingly more concerned that I did not possess God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.
I did not doubt the Bible or any of its teachings. I did not doubt God’s ability or His willingness to save me. I doubted whether or not I had said and done exactly what I needed to say or do to be sure that my salvation was settled.
I read and heard scores of salvation sermons to see if there was something I had neglected. I had prayed the “sinner’s prayer” literally thousands of times, including my own prayer of, “Lord, if I wasn’t saved before, please save me now.” I was in nearly constant spiritual agony.
On June 8, 1981, God gave me the relief I had been seeking. I heard a preacher preach a message entitled, “Deceived,” in which he described the plight of young people who had never been saved. In his invitation, he used a phrase that I had never really pondered before: “Will you TRUST CHRIST to forgive you and give you eternal life, as he promised to do?”
It had never occurred to me that I must put my salvation into HIS hands, it wasn’t a matter of what I had said or done, but of what HE did for me.
That night I decided to TRUST CHRIST, and I told God so. The weight of the world was lifted from my soul. God had shown up and done a wonderful work of grace in my heart.
I must add that I didn’t get the full confidence I sought until I followed the Lord in baptism, about 4½ years later.
On this 35th anniversary of my salvation, let me encourage you with two thoughts.
First, if you are not sure about your own salvation, do not let your pride stand in the way.
Second, seek the Lord for assurance. I know that just praying the same words one more time won’t change a thing. God loves you, and He wants to strengthen your faith in Him. Seek Him earnestly, let Him teach you to take Him at His Word. It is my opinion that God sometimes temporarily withholds, not salvation, but assurance, especially from those who grow up surrounded by Christianity and the Gospel message. I believe He does so as a means of developing a stronger relationship with us. Jeremiah 29:13, Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
I praise God for the day of my salvation, June 8, 1981! I pray for everyone who reads these words to enjoy the same confidence and peace that God graciously gave to me.