From A Child Of The Devil
To A Child Of God
I was first introduced to the message of the gospel in 1980, at a revival service at The First Baptist Church of Point of Rocks, Maryland. For the first time I heard that, according to God, I was a sinner and on my way to Hell. Romans, chapter 3, verse 23, told me that, For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. I also heard that the Ten Commandments were God?s standard of righteousness. Even though I knew that I was certainly guilty of breaking several of them, I did not know that God says in James, chapter 2, verse 10, For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. Furthermore, I heard that the penalty for breaking God?s law was eternity in Hell. The Bible says we will either spend eternity in Heaven or in Hell. There are no other options. So, finally, when I was told that Jesus Christ had died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin and purchase a place for me in Heaven, I said, "That is for me." While I was willing to say I believed in Jesus Christ, I was not willing to follow Him, or obey His word. I thought that all I had to do was to say that I believed in Jesus and I would go to heaven. There was no need to change the way I was living. Later I found out how wrong I was.
Believing at the time that I had done what was required to get into Heaven, I was baptized into the church - but, unknowingly, I was still on my way to Hell. The Bible says we must repent of our sin and trust Christ as our personal Savior to go to Heaven. While I said I was trusting Jesus as my Savior, I knew in my heart that I had no intention of letting Him change my life. I had refused to repent. To repent means to turn from living life your own way, from living in sin. It means you begin living your life for God. I had done no more than give mental agreement to historical facts. The Bible tells us in Second Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 17, that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. My life never changed. I went on drinking alcohol, taking illegal drugs, swearing and viewing pornography. Nothing in my life had changed.
I was married, in 1982, to a Christian girl named Debra. We had two daughters and we were living the so-called American dream. We had a nice home, two cars, all of the things most people hope and dream for, but still, my life seemed to be without purpose.
In 1991, my wife began taking our children to church. She knew that our oldest was coming to the age where she too would have to make a decision to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Savior - and in a few years her sister would need to do the same. During this time, Satan did all he could to retain the ownership of my soul. I was more opposed to God during this time than at any other point in my life. The Bible teaches us that we are either children of the Devil, on our way to Hell, or we are children of God by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, on our way to Heaven. There is no neutral ground. This is a difficult truth for most people to accept. One time during Jesus? ministry, He was speaking to some lost men and He told them, Ye are of your father the devil, and the lust of your father ye will do. (Note: salvation, saved, and born again are Biblical terms referring to the forgiveness of sins by God and the rescue of a person from the power and penalty of that sin. This is God?s requirement for everlasting life. Lost is a Bible term used to describe those who have not turned to Christ as their personal Savior.)
Occasionally the children would ask me to go to church with them. But, I had no interest in the things of God. I was too busy enjoying myself. There were parties on Saturday night. On Sunday, there were football games to watch, or golf to play. I had no time for God. Then, one Sunday, I went to hear my daughter, Gina, sing a special song at church. The preaching that morning really stirred up my conscience about my sinful life. I began to hate the life I was living. That morning I cried out to God to change my life. I told Him I was tired of living the way I was living. I was tired of drinking every day, tired of what the drugs were doing to me. I cried out for help - never anticipating what God would do next.
About two weeks later, I got a phone call from a detective with the local government office I was working for. He told me they were aware of my drug usage. They knew I was involved with buying and selling drugs and it had to be dealt with, or I would lose my job. I then recognized that God had answered my prayer in a mighty way. I went home and called the preacher of the church that my wife and daughters had been attending and told him what had happened. It was only then that I was willing to humble myself before God and repent - or turn from my sin and trust Jesus as my personal Savior. Not only did He save my soul from Hell, but He also changed my life. He removed the desires to drink, take drugs, and otherwise rule my own life.
What a joy is now in my life, to live for the Lord Jesus Christ. I now understand who God is, and have a relationship with Him as my heavenly father. Eternal salvation is far more than just believing in God. We must recognize that we cannot be good enough to earn Heaven on our own. God tells us in the Bible, in Titus, chapter 3, verse 5, that it is God who must give to us eternal life. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us... Repentance and faith in Christ, that is God?s only means of salvation. Won?t you consider trusting Him today?