Welcome to Songs of Salvation! Each Sunday I will feature a Christian author sharing a "Song of Salvation" to uplift and encourage believers and glorify God.
And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death. Revelation 12:11 NLT
Authors, find out how to share your Song of Salvation here.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
II Corinthians 5:17
I’ve always enjoyed listening to the salvation testimonies of others. Just the other day, I heard a salvation testimony so powerful it brought tears to my eyes. Today the man is a Pastor. Salvation has made him a new creature, but he was formerly a thief, a drug addict, a murderer, and a satanist who paid for his crimes with two prison sentences before the death of a beloved friend sent him seeking answers. He found the answer in Jesus Christ at a Christian drug rehabilitation center and was gloriously saved.
Compared to testimonies like his, my salvation testimony seems rather ordinary, but I’m thankful I get to share it because while my testimony may be simple, the free gift of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ is extraordinary.
I was four years old when I attended my first VBS (Vacation Bible School). I had grown up in church, and I wanted to go have fun with all the other kids. I listened to all the bible stories, and I became quite competitive when it came to winning prizes. I was awarded the prize for the best-behaved girl. I stood proudly on the podium, absorbing the applause beside the Pastor’s grandson who had been awarded the prize for being the best-behaved boy. On the outside, I was the cute little girl that people liked to call “an angel”, but on the inside, my heart was dirty with sin.
I went to the same church for VBS again the following summer. On the final day, we sat swinging our short legs impatiently in the pews as the Pastor concluded the program with the gospel message. I remember the moment as distinctly as though it were yesterday. I fought the urge to narrow my eyes at the Pastor as he told us that we were on our way to Hell because we were born sinners. I’m a good girl I thought. Good people go to Heaven. I don’t need Jesus. Maybe the bad people need forgiveness, but not me. The Pastor told us to close our eyes, bow our heads, and raise our hands if we wanted to know how to go to Heaven.
My stomach began to growl as the silence stretched on for what seemed like an eternity for the 5-year-old me. I peeked through my half-shut eyelids around the room. Adults lined the edges of the room and some of them led the kids out of the room who raised their hands. I couldn’t wait to go home and eat lunch. I thought that maybe if I raised my hand too it would speed things up. So I raised my hand. A kind lady led me to the church nursery and told me all about what Jesus did for me on the cross. I listened and rattled off the prayer by repeating after her, but my heart wasn’t in it. I just wanted to go home and never set foot inside a boring church again as long as I lived. I was tired of being told by adults that my heart was “dirty” with sin and that the punishment for sin was death in a horrible place called Hell.
I did continue going to church, of course, every Sunday because good people went to church. Then my own church had VBS, and I went because I wanted to be with my friends. Every single day I had to sit there and endure another session about Heaven and Hell. I wanted to scream. How dare they keep telling me that I was bad! I didn’t believe I was a sinner, not for one minute.
Then one day, a new lady gave the gospel. Her methods were very different. She told us how much Jesus loved us, that we were born sinners, and that He died such a terrible death on the cross to save us from a place more terrible than we could even imagine. She didn’t stop there. She went into detail about how much Jesus suffered. I cringed as she described the pain and the torture He endured. Then she pulled out picture after picture of what Hell would be like. The darkness, the fire, the demons, the people screaming out in agony… she read Luke 16 to us about the rich man who cried out in the flames for just one drop of water to cool his tongue. I grew thirsty just sitting there. Then she said something that scared me … that people died and went to Hell when they least expected it. She warned us that we needed to be ready and not to risk going to Hell because it wasn’t worth risking.
I did not want to go to Hell. For the first time in my life, I believed it was beneath my feet. I got into the car when my Mom picked me up, and I gritted my teeth in the backseat every time a car passed us. I was convinced I was going to die that afternoon without being ready, but I hated to admit that I was a sinner. I couldn’t bear for people, including my beloved Mama, to believe I was a bad person. I finally couldn’t bear risking it a minute longer… I blurted out that I needed to know how to go to Heaven.
My Mom led me to the Lord that night, and I asked Jesus to be my Savior. All afternoon I had kept thinking of how much Jesus suffered when He died for me, and I decided that Jesus would never have died such a gruesome death if He didn’t know that I didn’t stand a chance of escaping Hell without Him. It really was as simple as Mom told me: A) Admit I was a sinner, B) Believe in Jesus, and C) Call upon Jesus for His free gift of eternal life.
That is my salvation testimony, but what I want everyone to know is this: Jesus Christ is not a religion. Jesus Christ is a personal relationship. Jesus is my closest, dearest friend, and I love reading the love letter every day that He wrote me: the Bible. Dear reader, I hope you will take the time to reflect today on where you will spend eternity after death. Jesus loves you more than you can even begin to imagine, and He died and rose again for YOU.