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How God Brought Me out of Darkness into His Light

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I was raised in a Baptist church where every Sunday I heard sermons about sin, heaven & hell, Jesus death on the cross, & salvation by believing in Jesus. I knew that I was a sinner, that because of my sin I would spend eternity in hell if I didnt repent & accept Christ as my savior. That is what I heard over & over in church; I knew that Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and He would save anyone who accepted Him as their savior. At age 13 I went to the alter at church to be saved and I was led through the scriptures known as the Romans Road; I said a prayer asking Jesus to save me was baptized shortly thereafter. Basically I was relying on Romans 10:13 Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved for my salvation. Afterwards I did not read the bible; I just went to church. Later, as a young adult, I began to have doubts about my salvation which eventually led to a life of uncertainty, fear, & misery.
I did not understand how just saying a prayer in Jesus name would save someone. The miserable state in which I found myself living drove me to seek the truth about believing in Jesus. I read several books about how to have assurance of salvation written by some well known Christian authors like Dr. H.A Ironsides, Dr. J. Vernon McGee, & Dr. John R. Rice. Their explanation of salvation was basically the same thing I had already been told in church; that to be saved I must repent of my sins and accept Jesus as my savior by believing in Him. I found myself saying the sinners prayer over & over; each time I would have a sense of being saved but that sense or feeling would not last and the uncertainty would soon return with the fear & misery and a sense of doom; I thought that I would never know for sure that I was saved. Somewhere in reading those books I came upon a reference to Romans 10:13 -14 where I saw that we have to believe in Jesus before we call on Him for salvation. My confusion was then centered around what believing in Jesus meant.
I can remember that time years ago as though it happened yesterday. It was probably the most important two days of my entire life. After reading books, saying prayers begging God to save me, going to the alter at church confessing my sins and accepting Jesus as my Lord & Savior, promising to follow Jesus, etc. the doubt & uncertainty & fear continued to dominate my life. Finally, I just gave up on all that I was doing to get saved. One night, as I lay down in bed to try to get some sleep, I looked up at the ceiling & out of a sense of having no hope, of not being able to do anything myself, and from a sense of desperation I said the following prayer God will you show me the truth about believing in Jesus? I went to sleep and slept better that night than I had slept in a long time.
The next day I opened our big family bible to the Gospel of John. The reason I chose John was that I had heard someone say that if anyone ever wanted to know about Jesus the Gospel of John was the place in the bible to read. As I started reading John 1:1 something was different from other times I had read in the bible; I was reading the words but something inside me was explaining those words to me as I read them. It was as though I was a blind person who suddenly could see. Gods Spirit turned on the light for me and I was understanding His Word for the first time in my life. I continued to read and understand about who Jesus is and what He did for me. Two verses in chapter 5 really caught my attention as the light God had turned on for me was getting brighter & that voice inside of me was becoming even more clear as the Holy Spirit was convincing me the of truth about believing in Jesus that I was so desperately seeking. Those verses were John 5:39 and John 5:40 Jesus said to them, search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me and you will not come to me that you might have life. That voice inside of me said to me, ”Jesus is talking to the Jews but He is also talking to you; He wants you to come to Him.” The Light was even brighter as I sensed that Gods Spirit was showing me exactly what I needed so that I understand how to really believe in Jesus.
I continued on into chapter 6 and when I read John 6:37 Jesus said all the Father gives me will come to me and anyone who comes to me I will not turn away. and John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. And then in John 6:45 it is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Right then I knew that God was drawing me to Jesus; Gods Spirit showed me that I must cease from all the things I was doing to try to be saved and to simply trust in what Jesus had already done at the cross where He died and shed His blood to pay the penalty of my sins; that my sin debt had already been paid in full by Jesus at the cross. At that moment I realized that Jesus death on the cross where He shed His blood to pay the penalty for my sin was all that God required for my salvation. Then I knew what it meant to believe in Jesus for salvation for Gods Spirit had just brought me out of the darkness of doubt & uncertainty into the light of the truth of the Gospel. The only thing I could do was to cast my hopeless helpless self upon that message and immediately the fear & uncertainty were replaced with a total peace and an absolute assurance of salvation. At that moment my trust transferred from myself to Jesus. Yes, I did come to Jesus; I found myself talking to Him as though He was right there in the room with me. I was thanking Him for dying on the cross to pay for my sins and telling Him that I wanted Him to change my life His way. And yes, my life did change that day, forever. I will use another scripture here although at that time I knew nothing about it but it helps to explain what actually happened to me that day: Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. God gave me the right kind of faith to believe just like this verse says, it is a gift of God. The faith God gave me was focused on Jesus death at the cross; thats the right kind of faith and that is saving faith. The wrong kind of faith was focused on myself, on what I was doing to try to get God to save me.

ldonjohn, (john)
Praise God for your testimony. Thank you. Key word...you (gave up) on what you were doing and God introduced himself. Glory be to God! He will continue to bless you and give you greater vision. Amen

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