Thursday, April 26, 2012

Not Ashamed: My Test-i-mon-y

So, beyond the name, just who is the author of this blog? For starters, I am a son, husband, father, pastor, and disciple who is not ashamed of the Gospel. And for good reason -- it saved and changed my life. Let me reminisce briefly in testimonial fashion.

I grew up in a very Christian home. I mean very Christian. God blessed me with a mom and dad that were -- and are --  committed believers. So the Bible, God, church, and all that goes with that was a regular part of my life from before I can remember. And I am very thankful for that.

But it wasn't until I was 14 that God revealed to me that, even though all that "stuff" was good, it would never save me. Frankly, it only left me short, just like everybody else. When I realized that truth — that in God's eyes I was in the same predicament as even the most hated criminal or terrorist — I began to see just how necessary the Gospel was. Without it — the truth that Jesus came, died, rose again, and ascended back to the Father in order that I might be made righteous before God — I was never going to see God. No matter how good I tried to be, or how great my parents actually were, it didn't matter. I needed something way more powerful and perfect than even really good parents and a really good home. I needed God and his gospel.

So on that April day in 1978, when God opened my eyes to my pitifully self-righteous state, I let go of all my goodness that was actually going to damn me and by faith believed the truth about who Jesus was and what he did. After all, he was the only One who could save me. Yes, I repented of my sin, asked God to forgive me, and took my stand on Gospel as the only way to be saved. And that day God did exactly that — he saved me from hell and for heaven, and is living in me today in the person of the Holy Spirit.

Though my testimony isn't very dramatic from a human point of view, I know the torment of hell would have been just as excruciating for me as for any other "really bad" sinner. Maybe worse. After all, Jesus spoke very intensely and pointedly against the self-righteousness of religious people. So I am very grateful that the grace of God and the power of the Gospel has rescued me from myself, and has given me a brand new way of life, a life free from the rage of an uncontrollable temper, the lusts of uncontrollable appetites, and the trap of man's approval at all costs.

Without a doubt I know God has saved me and is changing me, and that's why I'm not ashamed of the Gospel.

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