I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church until I was 18. I considered myself a good Catholic boy. I attended catechism, helped as an altar boy once in awhile, and sang for worship on a weekly basis for a while. At one point, I even wanted to be a priest. What made me change my mind?
There were two events that became very significant in my life.
I remember one Sunday morning, sitting in church, listening to the priest read the Gospel, saying, “you shall call no one your father but your Father in heaven.” I must have been about 10 or 11 years old at that time. It struck me funny that we would call this man “Father” even though the Bible says otherwise. What was the second?
Later, when I was in high school, we were celebrating the Ascension of Mary. I decided to look this up in the Bible. I had my family’s official Catholic Bible and I could not find any passage or reference relating to the ascension of Mary. I looked diligently, but only found Jesus’ ascension recorded. Where was I to go from there?
After I graduated from high school, I began a job where I had to work on Sundays. That pretty much ended me going to church on Sundays except for holidays, weddings and funerals. I thought I was basically going the way most Roman Catholic men went. But, here is where the change begins!
When I was 23, a friend of mine asked me about trying a church she had just started going to. She was totally surprised when I said I would go. I went with her and I really liked it, really! There was a time of worship and then a Bible study. The pastor taught through the Scriptures verse by verse. I said to myself, “this is where I want to be!” I went out, purchased a Bible. The big question was, would she invite me again?
Well, a short while later, she asked if I liked it and if I wanted to go again. From that time on, I went and always met her family there. In September of 1988, I made a public declaration of my commitment to the Lord. I went forward at an altar call not understanding everything I was doing but later I realized that I was in need of the Savior because I had broken all of God’s Commandments. I had coveted, lied, stolen, hated (which in God’s eyes is murder), and dishonored my parents. And that is not even all of the Commandments. Would God really punish me for this?
As the Perfect Judge, God could not let me off the hook even for even one little sin. There had to be payment for it. I began to understand why Jesus had to live a perfect life. Then He paid the penalty for my sin. He did it so I could go to Heaven and be with Him forever. So, what do I have to do?
For my part, I needed to repent and believe that He took my place in being punished for my sins. I also needed to receive Him, welcome Him into my life to be my Savior and Lord (master). So, has my life changed?
Since then, I have had the opportunity to go street witnessing, go to Russia on a mission trip, teach the Bible for over five years at the church, help a pastor get a church going, help transition from one pastor to another due to the death of the first pastor and much more. I want to praise the Lord for all that He has done through me (and, I’m sure, in some cases, inspite of me). I am very grateful for the experiences he has allowed me to have. But, I have one question for you…
“Are you really good enough to go to Heaven?” Here is a quick test to see if you are ready to go to Heaven. Have you ever lied? White lie or otherwise? Have you ever taken something that is not yours? The value of the item does not matter. What about murder? Have you ever hated someone? Standing in front of the One who sees your thoughts and motives, will you be innocent or guilty on Judgment Day? If you have done those things, God sees you as liar, a thief, and a murderer. The Bible warns that if you are guilty you will end up in Hell. That’s not God’s will. He sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for you. You broke God’s Law, but Jesus paid your fine. That means He can legally dismiss your case. He can commute your death sentence: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Then Jesus rose from the dead and defeated death. Please, repent (turn from sin and turn to God) today and trust in Jesus alone, and God will grant you the gift of everlasting life. Then read your Bible daily and obey it.