I have been very blessed in that God has put me in a Christian home — not just my immediate family, but much of my wider family as well. As I grew up I was taken to church, and mum and dad often did Bible times with us.
When I was about ten years old, I started wanting to do my own Bible times as my older siblings did and gradually got in the habit of doing so. However, my salvation could only take place through God’s work in my own individual life, leading to my own individual faith in him.
It was when I was twelve that I found the truths of the Bible started to become most personal to me. I can see how God had been working in my life before then, but this was definitely a landmark.
I had kept praying for forgiveness, hoping each time this would be the prayer that led to my salvation, but never seemed satisfied that I was definitely saved, and I kept finding the need to pray it again.
In a seemingly short space of time, I realised and understood that there is an eternity and only two places I could go: heaven or hell. My life could be taken away from me at any time. Or Jesus could come again and I would then face an eternity of either salvation or condemnation. I could therefore no longer presume that I might be saved. It was important that I knew for certain where I was going.Then there was one day when the fact of eternity suddenly struck me: something I had not really taken time to think about, since I had settled it in my mind that I would go to heaven.
During that time, I became very scared. I was scared of dying, because I feared that I wasn’t truly saved and I didn’t want to die without that assurance. I had lived badly and had hurt the God to whom I was accountable.
It took time for me to realise and accept without fear that Christ had truly paid the price for me and my sins when he died in my place at Calvary and took God’s wrath which I deserved.
I had nothing to add and my salvation would come through the simple act of believing and resting in the work and forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ.
I felt so bad and scared. I often wanted to add my own contribution to that work of Christ, even though I knew it was not needed. Eventually, I came to rest in the fact that Christ was my only hope, realising just how helpless I was to save myself.
The clear distinction I can make from before and after this time is that my desires and intentions were completely changed. My whole perspective on life changed. I had a new incentive to spend time studying my Bible.
I was now more concerned about how I lived my life; not because it counted towards my salvation, but because I realised that those sins that once appealed to me didn’t please the God I love, and therefore they no longer held the same attraction.
I made many mistakes at that time and unfortunately continue to do so. However, I do not claim to be perfect, in and of myself, but I claim to have a perfect Saviour, through whom I can be assured of an eternity in heaven.
The only reason I can have this assurance is because my hope is in Jesus Christ alone, not in myself or my works, or even in how I was converted.
Christ is my perfect sacrifice and I can do nothing to add to my salvation being through him. Because of Jesus, eternity is no longer a thing to be feared, but something to look forward to. As it says in Philippians1:21: ‘For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain’.
Christianity is not just another religion — a psychological aid to help you through the struggles of life. It is a real and living faith, because it has a real and living God and Saviour, through whom you can know salvation and peace with God.