Until I was sixteen, I had never given any serious thought to the Bible, and could count on the fingers of one hand how many times I had been into a church. I was living a typical college lifestyle and trying to find enjoyment in what our society had to offer.
I went to parties and was often in pubs and night-clubs. I had started drinking and smoking cigarettes and cannabis – all in an attempt to find satisfaction.
One night in 1991 I was due to stay with a college friend. When I arrived it turned out he had to go to work at the local supermarket. He had phoned another person in our ‘group’ at college and arranged for me to stay at his house for a few hours.
I didn’t know him very well, but was aware that he went to church – which made me nervous about going to his home!
There I met him and his sister, who had recently become a Christian. As they spoke to me about God and the truths of the Bible, I was challenged for the first time in my life about the way I was living.
I came to realise that even if I could get everything I wanted in this world, I still wouldn’t be satisfied. My new friends invited me to go to church the following Sunday. I told them that if I felt as I did at that moment, I would attend.
Sunday arrived and I felt compelled in my heart to go to church – even though I was extremely nervous about going and didn’t know what to expect. The preacher spoke powerfully from a passage in the Bible that says ‘Awake you who sleep, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light’ (Ephesians 5:14).
I noticed that the people at the church were different to most I had known, and I wanted to find out why. I continued to attend church and my friend gave me a Bible. As I read it, and heard God’s Word preached each Sunday, I began to feel guilty about my sinful lifestyle. I started to turn from it.
As far as I can remember I had always believed in God. But now I was discovering that he is holy, and that in my sins I was far from him and deserved to be judged in hell.
Peace with God
But God in his love and kindness began to reveal to me his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. I discovered he had come from heaven to rescue sinners like me. He lived a perfect life and died on a cross to bear the punishment due to me for breaking God’s law. As a result, he could cleanse me from my sins and make me acceptable to God.
I started to pray to God and asked him to forgive me for my sinfulness. I struggled for some time to truly trust the Lord Jesus to be my Saviour. My friend would ask, ‘Do you believe that Jesus Christ has died for you?’ I would answer, ‘I do not know’.
The pastor of the church was preaching through a book in the Bible called ‘Romans’ and had come to chapter 5 verse 1, which says: ‘Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ’.
Afterwards, the pastor explained to me that I needed to trust personally in the Lord Jesus. The next time I was asked if I believed Jesus Christ had died for me, I prayed in my heart, ‘Lord Jesus, I trust you to be my Saviour’ and replied ‘Yes’ to my friend.
Depths of love
From that moment I experienced God’s saving grace and the forgiveness of all my sins. Twelve years on, God has kept me trusting in the Lord Jesus. Even though I often fail him and forget his wonderful mercies, I continue to know his forgiveness every day, discovering his love in greater depth.
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, I would urge you to seek him, for he said: ‘I am the light of the world: he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life’ (John 8:12).