My Life Before Christ
I know that Jesus is my Deliverer and that, just as John 1:14 says, He is full of grace and truth. He has graciously delivered me by His truth into His truth.
First, He delivered me from the deadly deception that mental assent to the facts of the Gospel is enough to save a person.
I was raised Catholic for the first seven years of my life, so I knew Jesus was the Son of God, born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for my sins, and rose from the dead to be seated at the right hand of God. Because I knew these things, I was certain I was going to heaven and that I was a Christian.
How Christ Saved Me
One summer night, between my sophomore and junior years in high school, a preacher on TBN spoke directly to my heart. I had discovered the channel by accident and started watching out of a mixture of curiosity and mockery. However, on this night the preacher said there were people watching him who thought they were saved because they believed the Bible, but they had no relationship with Jesus. They weren’t trusting Him day to day; there was no real love for Jesus.
While I don’t think the typical sinner’s prayer is a sure fire way to get saved, that night I committed my life to Jesus. The truth of 2 Corinthians 5:15 filled my heart. “…He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” So Jesus delivered me from being self-deceived about my standing with Him.
His Life in Me Since
His next act of deliverance was in two parts—a short-term one and a long-term one. A few weeks after being saved, I was convicted that I needed to read the Bible and pray on a daily basis. The problem was that I didn’t know what to pray about and the Bible was dull, confusing, and without value to me—it was for the preachers to study. But I knew I needed to desire the sincere milk of the word.
And so I made a deal with God. I would give Him five minutes to pray and read the Word. By His grace, within a few weeks of being faithful to this, five minutes wasn’t enough, then 15 wasn’t enough, and then a half hour was only scratching the surface. The Bible was coming alive to me. I didn’t understand everything, but the more I read, the more I understood. God brought me to a place where I would rather read the Bible or listen to some Bible teaching than anything else. His Word changed my life. He delivered me from deadness to prayer and Bible study.
The second part of His gracious deliverance was that, during this time of intense prayer and meditating on His Word, He brought me to another conviction: I would not change any of my beliefs about God unless it could be satisfactorily proven by the Bible that my belief was in error.
Because of the channel through which I got saved (pun intended), I was entangled in charismatic beliefs and in the Word of Faith movement. It’s not necessary to describe all that happened, but Jesus delivered me from false belief through sound biblical exposition.
By His living Word—that is Jesus Himself—God has delivered me and He is still delivering me from foolish, wrong-headed, unbiblical beliefs and attitudes. He does it by the truth of His Word. He showed me how to find a wife who can be called “a good thing” (Prov.18:22). He has shown me how to raise children, not by the world’s techniques and philosophies, but by the nurture and admonition of His Word. He has shown me how to work as unto Him and not unto man. He has delivered me from false ideas about many things and He is still delivering me by and into His Truth.
It is my prayer that I can be a channel for many to come to know Him more and more as their Gracious and Truth-filled Deliverer.