I was a child raised in a nominally Christian home in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada. My parents and I went to a large evangelical church every Sunday, and I would participate in Sunday School and other church activities. I cannot remember a time where we ever did not go to church… in fact, there are times when I can even remember glimpses of being in the church nursery as a toddler. I was your average boy raised in your average Christian home. I was always involved with some mid-week activity such as “stockades” (a Christian version of boy scouts) or youth group.
I knew the gospel message of Salvation ever since I was in grade 6. All of us in the youth group knew it… we had heard it so many times. However, I never did anything with it. It was almost as if I felt it didn’t apply to me… that I was “okay.” It was not until I was 15 years old where I can remember the conviction I had that if I died that night… I would go to Hell because Jesus Christ was not my personal Saviour. I confessed my sinfulness that night and accepted Christ into my Heart.
My life was not all bliss after that. In fact, I can remember the rollercoaster ride I had with large amounts of sin over the next 5 years. There were times I figured I was not a Christian anymore, and I would drop to my knees and pray it all over again. Looking back now… I can see that God was working in me all along, sanctifying me along the way. Why?… because everytime I struggled with sin after I was saved… I always felt guilty and would repent and ask for forgivness. I would have never done that before I met the Lord in a personal way.
So, perhaps my testimony does not sound as exciting and drastic as others we have heard. However, the Bible says there are angels rejoicing in Heaven whenever any lost sheep finds his way home to the Saviour. What happened for me that day may outwardly seem small, but on the inside it was a miracle. God had removed the stoney heart of stone that was a slave to this world, and replaced it with a heart of flesh that was alive and willing to serve the Father. Amazing Grace given to such an undeserving person like myself!
Dear friend, going to church doesn’t make you a Christian anymore than going to McDonalds makes you a cheeseburger. I would like to share this short tract written by my deceased father-in-law who was a Baptist minister. He went to be with the Lord after a head-on collision with another car in 1982 only two days before Christmas… travelling back home to be with his wife and two children….
Saved Without Formal Religion
Had you realized before that the thief on the cross who was crucified at the same time as the Saviour (Luke 23: 39-43) and whom Jesus saved, was never baptized nor a church member? Furthermore, this thief had never had communion, nor did one good deed – yet, hear the words of the Saviour to him:
“Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” – Luke 23:40
How, then, did this thief get into heaven with Christ, being such a wretched sinner? The answer, my friend, is to be found in the following:
(1) He recognized Him as the spotless and perfect Son of God, who would save unworthy sinners by His sacrifice at Calvary.
(2) He recognized his own sinfulness, and that not only was he guilty as a thief — but that he was a sinner by birth – for he trusted the Saviour to wash away his sin, by His death. The thief then was saved by faith — but a faith that recognized and was based solely upon the sacrifice of the Saviour at the cross.
You also can be saved in no other way. Church membership, good works, giving to charitable organizations, taking communion, all are to no avail to cleanse you from the guilt of sin and iniquity inherited from Adam. You, as well as I, must realize our sinful problem. He and He alone can cleanse and save our soul and make us fit for Heaven.
Friend, if you realize your need for Christ, trust Him today.