I’m no different from anyone else

2012-10-08 by . 2 comments

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Way back when I was just a little bitty boy living in a box under the stairs in the corner of the basement // of the house half a block down the street from Jerry’s Bait shop // You know the place // well anyway, back then life was going swell and everything was just peachy {ref}

When I was a kid (and even occasionally still), I’d hear the stories of people saved from lives of crime, debauchery, hedonism, sex, drugs, etc – and want to be like them. I wanted to have that really cool story that everybody hears and says, “wow” to.

What I realized as a late teen, though, was that I had that story – I just hadn’t realized it for years. In looking back, I am happy God didn’t let me have that story – because He gave me one of my own.

31 years ago I was born into a Christian family, and cannot recall a time when we did not attend church on a very regular basis (3 times on Sunday and once Wednesday – plus special services, of course). I liken my raising to being born into a seminary – sermons were theologically deep, Sunday School (even for fairly young kids) was dense, and we learned a LOT. But a little too often it was just the theology and not much in the way of practical application - at least…not for non-Christians.

The church I grew up in took the view that since the church is the body of believers, it’s not hyper important to reach the lost - in church; reach the lost in special services, outreaches, personally, etc – but church is not “where you get saved”…normally. Whether or not this is a good outlook, I won’t comment further now – it’s just my observation.

From as far back as I can recall, I knew about God’s plan of salvation through His perfect Son, Jesus Christ. I knew John chapter 14, verse 6 -­ that Jesus was THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life. I knew what He said in Matthew 18:11: “For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” I talked with my friends about it sometimes. I knew there were consequences for sin, both in this life and the next. I knew what Paul wrote to the Roman church when he said, “all have fallen short of the glory of God”.

For better than 16 years, I KNEW what God expected, and what He offered. I could “walk the walk” and “talk the talk” about redemption, the salvific efficacy and forensic value of Christ’s sacrificial death and resurrection, go in depth on justification by faith, etc. I knew the “five points of Calvinism” (total depravity of man, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, perseverance/preservation of the saints).

It was a rare sermon or Bible study that I would hear that I didn’t (at least mentally) yawn through; I’d heard it before, knew what the preacher was going to say, and didn’t care.

All that “redemption”, “conversion”, and “salvation” stuff was great – for somebody else. I’d get around to it eventually – or not; I didn’t care, not really. As long as I was a good kid, didn’t get into trouble, and paid attention at church, who would know other than me that what I “knew” was NOT what I “believed”?

Fortunately, it’s not all up to me – the two best words in all the Bible came true for me: “but God”. “But God” appears in the NASB 44 times. Some of them are good, and some are bad. The first is good, “But God remembered Noah .. and the water subsided.” [Genesis 8:1]. The record in Numbers 22:22 is not so good, “But God was angry because he was going, and the angel of the LORD took his stand in the way as an adversary against him”.

What I realized as I was getting ready to graduate high school was that God was not happy with me. Indeed, He was angry.

Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy Constitution, and your own Care and Prudence, and best Contrivance, and all your Righteousness, would have no more Influence to uphold you and keep you out of Hell, than a Spider’s Web would have to stop a falling Rock {ref}

There I was, standing at the brink of adulthood, and on the cusp of the precipice of Hell. All at once, I knew I needed to be rescued from His wrath – and that He had provided that rescue in the form of His Son, Jesus.

I heard a pastor use an analogy once that I loved: in the mountains, it is very obvious when dawn breaks – all at once the side of the mountain is no longer in shadow, but is in full light. In the prairie, though, dawn “starts” a long time before it is “daylight” – and finding when the precise moment of daybreak occurring is not easy. However, once it is fully day, it is just as bright in both places.

That was me; almost no one other than myself knew that I was ‘finally’ a Christian – most people who knew me thought I had been for a long time. After all, I was a good kid, didn’t get into too much trouble, and generally behaved. They thought they had seen the light a long time before it was really there. I knew that the Son was finally in my life – but cannot give the time and date for His arrival.

Even now, where I am nearing having spent more time in life as a Christian than not, I only know that God intervened, plucking me from my path leading to His angel of death and an eternity engulfed in His wrath and instead enabled me to enter the narrow gate that will ultimately lead to life eternal.

Praise God: He deigned to intervene and rescue me!

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  • [...] first contribution is my testimony of being [...]

  • Mike says:

    Love your testimony. S different than mine but landing right onto the same spot. Thanks for sharing. Cheers.

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