My Personal Testimony of So Great Salvation
“Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul.” (Psalms 66:16).
I share this not because of what I have done in my own power but what God has done for me and in me, and for His glory, “And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,” (Rom. 9:23).
I was converted to Christ by the Spirit of God just over sixteen years ago and came to understand the "so great salvation" offered freely by God (Heb 2:1-4). How great a salvation it is indeed, that the precious Son of God has purchased at such a great price. But He did it with joy, knowing that it could save wretched and ungodly sinners like myself. He can and will do the same for you, if only you will repent and believe. Please read below how I came to know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, and became an unworthy son in the family of my Heavenly Father.
After spending multiple months of looking for truth, seeking for answers to a sinful problem I had personally procured out of the wicked desires of my natural flesh, God had great mercy and grace on a horribly depraved soul. In Jeremiah 17:9 I finally found my true position before God as a lost sinner: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” I was a child of disobedience, by nature one of the children of wrath (Eph. 2:2-3) and it was only of the LORD's mercies that I was not consumed, because his compassions failed not (Lam. 3:22). Though I love my parents dearly in word and in deed, and I am eternally grateful for giving me the family and Mennonite heritage to which I was born, yea I wouldn’t exchange it for anything, the need for personal conversion was sadly not taught in my upbringing, which happens to be very common among many Mennonite denominations, especially the more conservative ones, and instead a form of works salvation.
While the three months (roughly) previous to my conversion were preoccupied with searching for the truth, spending vast amount of time in the bible, for about two years the Lord had been planting seed in my heart. The simple question by a dear friend with whom I was working, as to whether I was a Christian, convicted me that I wasn’t (and I really didn't even understand what that truly meant, but I knew it was different than how I was living) even though I answered in the affirmative. ‘Of course I am; I am a Mennonite after all and was born a Mennonite.’ Doesn’t he know that I am? His testimony of reading Gods Word every day before we started work brought conviction to me. Shame over the things of God including the Bible and Jesus Christ, rather than being shameful for my sin, was always before me when someone would spark a conversation or comment concerning Jesus or the Bible or even my Mennonite heritage. While on one of my paid holidays from the Middle East, and as per my usual MO of wasting my substance with riotous and ungodly living, I was in Jersey City, USA and upon exiting a casino, a man shoves a piece of paper into my hand and then in what I perceived to be a strange and alarming voice, asks the question: “If you died tonight, would you be in hell?” The question froze me in my tracks. The season of joy in sin came to an abrupt end at that moment, for I was slammed with the fear of God and eternity, and shame for my sin. How thankful I am for that man now! When I looked down to examine what turned out to be a gospel tract, the man disappeared as fast as he had appeared. It was almost like he hadn’t existed, a whirlwind. I attempted to look for him, but he was nowhere to be found.
Growing up, we never missed a Sunday in church. It was required. My parents had taught me to read the Bible every day and especially Proverbs and not to forget to pray and repent of my sins every night. I am thankful for that advice, though half-hearted repentance with an artificial finish line, does not save. It was an incomplete gospel and a perverted gospel (Gal 1:8-9), but it was enough for God's Spirit to galvanize me in the right direction. I recall beginning in Proverbs 1, but rarely ever making it past that chapter. There was reasons for that, for it starts with salvation, the primary subject which in fact takes up the first nine chapters of Proverbs, and in chapter one we read of the great indictment of all sinners before God, very very fearful words indeed:“Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.” (Verses 20-30).
One thing that really stands out to me from those days when I read the Scriptures, I would read them allegorically, not literally. I could not understand them literally for the life of me. Everything had to have some kind of underlying spiritualized meaning. I could not grasp the truth or rightly divide the truth. The Bible couldn’t be harmonized in my mind. I would read one thing at one place and then read something similar in another place, but they would contradict to me. Very simple truths in scripture, were perplexing to me. Nothing made sense and all this was of course entirely because of my unsaved estate. I couldn’t understand the Scriptures in a right manner because I didn't know the truth. My eyes had not been opened (Acts 26:18) and I was without the “Spirit of truth” Who teaches the truth to all He indwells. My eyes were without sight, my ears without hearing, and my heart without understanding, just like Christ explained in Matt 13:10-15. Like a snap of a finger I could believe a lie, because I knew not the truth and had not the “unction from the Holy One” (1 Jn 2:20-21). After my conversion I understood what had caused this perplexing issue, but when you are lost, you are blind even as to why you are blind, something clarified for us by 1 Cor 4:3-4, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them." The allegorical interpretation methodology happens to be the manner of interpretation of all lost people for they are void of the indwelling Spirit of God. This is an easy litmus test to see whether someone is saved or not.
This was the state of soul immediately preceding my conversion. It was cursed and full of troubles, even though it didn't always appear like that. It would be impossible to count up all the ways I regularly sinned against God. What comes to mind is selfishness, sexual immorality, fornication, lying, stealing, disobedient to parents, drunkardness, deceived, heresies, etc. Each one on their own came with its rightful punishment of death and hell. I wish I could say that I began searching for truth in doctrine and in churches and in the Bible because I needed it for myself. However, my search began with almost entirely the wrong motive. I wanted God to help fix my problems and give me an answer to a question over divorce and remarriage, not so I could live for Him and bring Him glory, but so I could continue living for myself, knowing I had made the right choice. I knew that sin had consequence but I wasn’t willing to pay that price. I wanted the sin but not the penalty. I wanted to continue to fulfil the lusts of my flesh, only using God like a jack-in-a-box. But searching I did, I read the scriptures somewhat eagerly but perplexingly, and with the wrong intentions. Nevertheless, since it is through the Word of God alone that we are saved (Rom 10:17; 1 Pet 1:23-25), a day would come when the Word of God would do its Sword work, which is “quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb 4:12).
Indeed, so it is.
In 2005, while working in the Middle East, in the midst of serious depravity and darkness (Islam -- though I had zero association with this pagan, violent political ideology) my search for truth and understanding finally came to an end, my hunger and thirst after righteousness was fulfilled (Matt 5:6; Jn 6:35) because I finally came to an end of myself. By the providence of God it was quiet in the clinic that evening and as I was reading the Scriptures, again, by His providence—a portion of His convicting, reproving and drawing work in all sinner's—my eyes happened to fall upon 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and I read: “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
The worlds most sharpest two-edged sword had just entered my heart. It was painful beyond imagination. Not only pricked my heart, but split it in two, revealing all its evil contents. They were exposed, and I was dirty, filthy and vile before the very One that had created me for His glory. The Light of God's Word exposed my nakedness and I was greatly ashamed and afraid. Those verses so plainly and clearly spoke to me as a lost sinner with no hope for even the morrow. I realized as I read that list, I met most of these “conditions” for a life NOT in the Kingdom of God but in the furnace of eternal fire! Suddenly, at that very terrible but necessary moment and for the first time in my life, the dreadfulness and wickedness of my personal sins came to my attention, it was enlightened in my mind – my terribly unrighteous thoughts, my wicked words, and ungodly behaviour and lusts, my selfish pursuits – and I became so extremely guilty before God. As a man on death row, on his final walk to the gallows, paying the price for his sin. For the first time in my life, my heart and eyes were opened to who I really was, how wicked and sinful I really was before God, and for the first time in my life I understood the fear of God, His great wrath towards sin and sinners, and the eternal hellfire that patiently awaits all lost sinners. I understood that I shouldn't, “fear . . . them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28). It was the most utterly frightful and fearful moment of my life, as it seemed I was literally hanging over the abyss of the lake of fire by a thin thread, greatly trembling and at any moment to slip into its unquenchable torments forever. It was in this desperate condition with my life flashing before my eyes, that I understood the truth for the first time, and how evil and foolish I was before God and also how that He alone could save me from this horrible predicament I was in. The issue I had in my life seemed very small now in comparison to the eternal trouble I was in with my Maker, the God and King over all the earth. I was of them "tares" and "bad fish" that would be separated from the rest and cast into the lake of fire. I desperately cried out to God to save me, to save me through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who had died in my place and shed His precious blood for my sins. At that moment, in godly sorrow, I surrendered my entire life to my Maker, to the King. With every fibre in my being, I wholeheartedly turned in repentance from all my sin, I turned from myself and from my worldly possessions and from my people—anything and everything that stood in the way of my surrendering to Jesus Christ (e.g. Luke 14:25-15:32; 18:17-30; 19:1-10; Matthew 10:32-39) and turned to God to put my full trust without reservation in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, in His most precious gospel that could save my wretched soul. There was no sin, no stuff, nothing in myself, or in anyone else, all of which are idols before God that would stop me, like the Thessalonians, from “turn[ing] to God from idols to serve the living and true God;” (1 Thessalonians 1:9). I wanted to be right with God and be cleansed of my evil and I wanted to be a follower of Christ, a disciple of Christ, thence I lost my “life for [Christ’s] sake and gospels” and thereby saving it (Mark 8:34-35). I counted the cost, so I forsook all, and is it ever worth it all! Oh, what a glorious "so great salvation" (Hebrews 2:3) and indeed, “Salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9)! He saves and He saves perfectly! Hallelujah to "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." (John 1:29)!
The Lord Jesus speaking to the multitudes of lost false professing “believers,” said: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26-33). The “publicans and sinners” drew nigh to Him and some of these were saved, as did the younger son, whom is often referred to as the prodigal, “when he came to himself,” and realized what a great sinner he was, and went and humbled himself before the Father in repentance and faith. "There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:1-32).
That day I came to understand these things. As I write this testimony up, I cannot help but choke up. Oh how great that salvation is and how great that first love is, and nothing can ever separate me again from the love of God (Rom 8:31-39) and that love continues to grow, for the Lamb that was my slain for my sin and for yours, is more than worthy! For “he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2).
At that instantaneous moment of receiving Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, I fell on my face in wonder and amazement as to what had just transpired, crying my heart out to the Lord in rejoicing for the great love, mercy and grace He had bestowed upon me! I was a brand new man! And everything changed. God had opened my eyes permanently. He had given me life, eternal life, the abundant life. I couldn’t totally grasp everything what had transpired but I knew something very miraculous and supernatural had just occurred. I also knew it was permanent and eternal. All the weight and burden of so much sin, of all my unrighteousness, like the chains of the Titanic wrapped around my entire being, had simply vanished, had simply been washed away. It was gone. Forever. My sins were all forgiven and cleansed, and “though [my] sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18). Indeed! Not just my sins till that present but all sins forever, because of the “redemption through his blood” (Colossians 1:14); they were nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:10). The bondage of sin and death was replaced with a joy, a peace, a love—all fruit of the indwelling Spirit—that I find hard to explain. Truly, it passes all understanding!
Oh, what a glorious salvation! At that very moment of repentance and faith, I was converted. I was made a brand new creature in Christ Jesus. I was born again. I had been translated from Satan’s kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Gods dear Son (Colossians 1:13), the kingdom of light. I had been “dead in sin” (Colossians 2:13; Ephesians 2:1-3) but now I was “dead to sin,” — because of the “stripes” of Jesus Christ, I “[was] healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Healed permanently! Something no ungodly psychologist or drugs or alcohol or medications could ever do! On that day I discovered God's grace is more than sufficient to save a vile, wretched soul (Isaiah 59:1-16). Where my sins abounded God's grace did much more abound (Romans 5:20).
Oh how my heart rejoiced, my life was made brand new. Old things had passed away and everything had become new, just like 2 Corinthians 5:17 says will happen when we are converted: “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” I remember after basking in this so great salvation for I do not know how long, rejoicing with endless tears of gladness for I could not stop thanking my Heavenly Father and His Glorious Son and the Precious Spirit of God for what they had done for me and in me. The comfort of the Comforter, was plainly amazing. For a long time I poured out my heart to God, comforted in His great love and mercy and forgiveness. I remember when I finally got back on my feet after quite some time, my tear-stained Bible was still open and my eyes immediately fell upon the very next passage after 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, which reads: “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (Verse 11).
That had just transpired! Amazing! I had been completely forgiven and cleansed of all my sins forever, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom all judgment has been committed by the Father (Jn. 5:22) had taken my sin and imputed His righteousness to me at that very moment (2 Corinthians 5:21) just like He had to Abraham and David (Romans 4:6-8). He had washed me, made me righteous and set me apart and made me holy, in name of Christ and by the Spirit of God! My heart immediately started rejoicing again in such gladness I cannot explain. That had just happened to me! That very passage had just been fulfilled in my life! How glorious! How great and glorious is the Son of God! How wonderful and loving and merciful is He! “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:” (1 Peter 1:8).
“Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” (2 Corinthians 9:15).
Indeed, "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her." (Proverbs 3:14-18).
Immediately I had a love for righteousness, holiness and godliness, and immediately a hatred for unrighteousness, unholiness and ungodliness. This is what happens when we are born again. To all. When God saves someone, they immediately have fruit, as noted in Pauls epistle to the Colossians: “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:” (Colossians 1:5-6). The same “grace of God that bringeth salvation” and “hath appeared to all men,” also “Teach[es] us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:11-14). That evening I spent hours destroying ungodly movies and ungodly music and ungodly books and ungodly things. I hated it. I wanted to do nothing anymore that would offend my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I wanted to love Him as the Bible says, by obeying His commandments, by keeping His Word, by doing His will. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21). "Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me." (John 14:23-24). The desire and power for obedience was there (and is there for all truly saved people), because of God the Spirit indwelling my inner man.
I Will Sing of My Redeemer!
🎶 I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His wondrous love to me;
On the cruel cross He suffered,
From the curse to set me free.
Sing, oh, sing of my Redeemer,
With His blood He purchased me,
On the cross He sealed my pardon,
Paid the debt, and made me free.
I will tell the wondrous story,
How my lost estate to save,
In His boundless love and mercy,
He the ransom freely gave.
I will praise my dear Redeemer,
His triumphant pow'r I'll tell,
How the victory He giveth
Over sin, and death, and hell.
I will sing of my Redeemer,
And His heav'nly love to me;
He from death to life hath brought me,
Son of God with Him to be. 🎼
— Philip Bliss
How is it with you this day? Are you right with God? Have you been born again, regenerated by God at one moment in time (there is no such thing as process salvation), where you became a new creature in Christ Jesus? Have you passed from death unto life? Do you know where you will spend eternity? Do you walk in the light of His Word, in righteousness and holiness and godliness, as all the truly redeemed do, out of love for their Lord and Saviour, or do you live after your own lusts and desires (A Profession of Faith that Doesn't Produce Fruit is False)? True Biblical salvation isn’t praying a sinners prayer, it’s not accepting Jesus as my Saviour, it’s not asking Jesus to come into my life or heart — No, salvation is never described in such a fashion in God’s Word. Read here for the answer to: Does the Bible Describe Salvation as Easy? and: Is it Biblical to Ask Jesus into Your Heart to be Saved? and: Is Salvation Received by Asking for the Gift? and Is “Accept Jesus as Your Saviour” Biblical Salvation Language”? Here is a good Biblical testimony on asking Jesus into out heart: “The Other Jesus: The Gospel Perverted By Asking Jesus into Your Heart, by Pastor Ovid Need, Jr.”
God’s wrath is upon all lost sinners (John 3:36), who are His enemies known by their friendship with the world (James 4:4) but “now commandeth all men every where to repent:” (Acts 17:30). Repentance means to turn from your sins (from all of them), from your self, from your stuff and from your people and put your trust and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for your salvation (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21). “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Acts 20:21). That is what repentance means and you can read about it here: Matthew 10:32-39; Mark 8:34-38; Luke 3:3-16; 13:1-9; 14:25–15:32 and Acts 3:19; 26:20; etc. To be saved one must surrender his life to the Lord Jesus Christ in repentance and faith, which means to deny self, to lose your life, to forsake all for a new Lord and Master, and not the old, the world, anymore, for no man can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).
Many as it appears look and live good enough to go to heaven, but the reality is that outward works on their own do nothing to change the filthiness of one’s own heart (Mark 7:21-23), an impure, unrighteous heart that can of itself bring forth no fruits of righteousness (Isaiah 64:6). Baptism doesn’t save, going to church weekly doesn’t save, doing wonderful good works without being in Christ doesn’t save, repenting everyday, every night, and asking God to forgive you doesn’t save. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12).
DO NOT neglect so “great a salvation”! DO NOT let it slip! Hebrews 2:1-4 speaks to this, something many of the Hebrews were doing in the day of its inspired writing: “Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”
If you are interested in further reading about how you can be saved, please read ARE YOU SAVED?