The Bible says in Romans 2:3-5 “And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? (4) Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (5) But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;”
This is where my testimony of salvation begins. I was raised in a preachers home. I heard the Word of God preached every week of my life. Still when I reached the age of twenty-one, I was unsaved. I had “despised the goodness, and forbearance and longsuffering of God.” I was, with a “hard and inpenitent heart, treasuring up wrath unto myself.”
Most people would have said that I was a good person. I was faithful to attend the services at church. I had grown up being outwardly obedient to my parents. I had lived my life never getting into any real trouble.
I had a show of religion. When I was eight years old I prayed and asked Jesus to save me. I did this because I knew people needed to be saved and because many of my friends had. But the Bible does not say that praying a prayer saves us, the Bible tells us we must repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. These two things were still missing in my life.
When I was thirteen years old I prayed another prayer and again asked God to save me. This time I had heard a message on Hell and I was afraid of going there. But a fear of Hell is not enough for Salvation.
For the next eight years I lived a lie, pretending to be saved. Pretending to be a Christian.
The Bible says in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” In 1999 The Lord began to seek me! He used the faithful preaching of God’s Word in His church. He used difficult circumstances in my life that made me stop and examine who I was and where I was going. He also used the influence of good, truly born again, Christian friends who showed me what a Christian really was.
With the Lord using these things to speak to my heart, I attended a family camp hosted by my church. The preaching at this camp was usually directed at husbands, fathers, wives and mothers. As an unmarried young man I was not there for the preaching. I was there to have fun with my friends.
To my surprise, the first night the preacher preached the Gospel. The death of Jesus Christ for our sins, His burial and His resurrection. He preached our need to be born again. He preached the necessity of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
When the invitation came, I resisted. My foolish, stubborn pride would not let me admit the lie that I was living. So I went home that night still lost in my sins.
The next 24-hours were the most miserable of my life. I could not escape the thought, “James, you are a sinner and you need to be saved.”
I went to the service the next night. When the preacher went forward to begin preaching he started by saying something like this, “The Holy Spirit is telling me there is someone here who still needs to be saved, so before I preach, we are going to start with an invitation.” I knew it was me he was talking about. At first I again resisted. There were more than 400 people looking around, all of whom thought I was Christian. Again my pride was holding me back. But true to His goodness, the Lord extended the invitation until I could resist no more. I went forward and a man from my church took me outside and asked me something like, “Do you know what you need to do?” I answered , “Yes”. I then got down on my knees and called upon the Lord in repentance and faith and He saved me!
Today I do not ask you if you have prayed a prayer asking God to save you. I do not ask you if you have a fear of Hell. I do not ask you if you have responded to a preachers invitation. I ask you, Have you repented of your sin and called on the Lord Jesus Christ in Faith? Have you trusted in Him alone for the salvation of your soul? Have you been born again?