“… Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” Acts 16:31
To “be saved” is a blessing that I had longed for as long as I can remember. Acts 16:31 is the verse from God’s Word, the Bible, that God eventually used to reveal His salvation to me — but it’s also the verse that was the source of years of struggle for me. With His help, I would like to try to tell “My Story” here.
From my parents and in Sunday School, I was taught that the Bible was the Word of God. I learned the stories from the Bible of how God had created Adam and Eve and how they chose to disobey Him and bring sin into God’s perfect world. I learned that God was holy and couldn’t allow sin to ruin His Heaven like it had ruined the earth He created. I learned verses from the Bible such as “All have sinned…” and “the wages of sin is death…” And each Sunday evening we were together to hear that good news proclaimed in the Gospel: “… How that Christ died for our sins according to to the Scriptures; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:” I Corinthians 15:3, 4
I never doubted the truth of those lessons and verses — they were from God’s Word. So, although I was young and some might think I couldn’t be that great of a sinner, I knew from my earliest memories that I was a sinner. I knew that, because of that sin, I was deserving of and headed for God’s judgment in a real Hell and burning Lake of Fire. I knew — and I longed to “be saved” from my sin and the punishment it so rightly deserved.
It was also the practice of the believers who met in the Mills Gospel Hall to have occasional series of several weeks of nightly Gospel meetings. Different full-time evangelists would come at those times to share the “good news” of the Gospel each night — except it wasn’t very good news to me at this time. During “normal” busy weeks of school and farm life, I could usually keep thoughts of my sin at bay. But when I heard the same message night after night, it wasn’t so easy!
As a result of some of those meetings and other events in my life, I had a “false profession” of salvation when I was about eight or nine years old. I had learned other verses, like Acts 16:31 and John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” So it was all about believing — and I had always believed God, so I must be saved. But I was never quite at peace with my “believing.” Had I believed in the right way or did I believe strongly enough? These questions plagued me and deep down I gradually began to accept the fact that I wasn’t really saved after all.
In late 1965, two evangelists, came to Deckerville to faithfully proclaim the Gospel again in another series of meetings. By this time, I had given up my profession and longed to know real peace with God regarding my sin. For nearly six weeks, I listened every night as they drilled home the fact of my sin and need of a Saviour — and for nearly six weeks I struggled to “believe in the right way” and longed to know salvation from my sin.
It was the practice of these evangelists to visit in the homes of those who were attending the meetings and not yet saved. So I wasn’t real surprised, and even was a little bit relieved, when they were waiting for my sister and me when we got off the school bus that Thursday night of the sixth week of meetings.
After they left, I went up to my bedroom in despair. I read through various Scriptures and tracts that they had shared with me but seemed to always end up back at Acts 16:31. How could I believe? The more I read that verse, the more despair it brought me — until I finally just had to tell God that I didn’t know how to believe and I guessed I would just have to go to Hell for my sin. It was at that point that the Gospel truly became “good news” for me.
It was at the point that I gave up that God revealed to me that being “saved” wasn’t about my believing! It was like a “still small voice” that reminded me that if I was going to Hell, that would mean the work of Christ on the Cross was all a waste — and I knew that couldn’t be true. Salvation was about a work that God had already done! In spite of my sin, God loved me enough to send His Son to pay for my sin. If God was satisfied with that payment, how could that not be good enough for me? It wasn’t about my believing — it was about the Person in whom I believed!
That blessed day was December 2, 1965 — a day to be remembered throughout an Eternity in Heaven with the One “…who loved me and gave Himself for Me.” (Galatians 2:20) Sadly, I have failed my Saviour often but He has never failed me and I have never regretted the peace and joy I found when I trusted my wonderful Saviour. Dear reader: do you know this Saviour as your own?
“This is my story, this is my song! Praising my Saviour all the day long”