This is Dinora’s Testimony. Her blog is HERE
Have you noticed how the experience of salvation differs more each day from one Christian to another? While some affirm to have been saved through certain experiences, there are others who claim to have been saved in a completely different way. If the Word of God is one, and has not changed in content and message, why is it that people read the Gospel and see different paths to salvation in it, when Jesus clearly taught that there is only ONE WAY? If instead of the Bible we had a map, with specific locations and one destination (spiritual salvation) we might think it would be easier, right?
I firmly believe that the Bible IS a map that delineates for us certain “places”, certain stages of our heart, mind, and will; one leading to the next in succession. At the end of these “marked spots” or stages we will arrive safely at our destination: the salvation of our souls with free access to the heavenly places. Yet, some of us think that it is possible to be saved through a different route. We take the route that better suits our ideas and preconceptions or stay in the spot we like best and make it our “eternal home”.
Nevertheless there is danger in this. What if the route we took was not correct? What if the place we chose looks much like the destination on the map, but is not? Should we stay there because we feel comfortable? Should we stay there because we’ve told everyone we have arrived? What are we supposed to do?
The problem with spiritual matters is that they require an honesty of heart that we are far from possessing. We are so used to being right, that we hate being wrong. It requires a huge deal of courage and humility to look at ourselves through God’s eyes and analyze our reflection!
“Not every ‘Christian’ goes to heaven” is such a truthful phrase. Not all of us will get there. The cause for this is that in our desperate need to escape our reality, once we find comfort in some spots of the map, we don’t care to keep walking towards our destination anymore. Like the man who is not willing to ask for directions, we prefer to drive in endless circles, instead of asking those who have traveled the route before.
I was one of those people. I drove in circles, surrounding Christianity, staying in some comfortable spots here and there, lost in the middle of the road, wondering if I was already there or if I should keep walking. Yet my pride was so immense that the Lord had to come and rescue me from my endless wandering. (My dad had questioned my experience of salvation a couple of times, but I got very offended, instead of thinking about it seriously). One morning, as I was reading the Bible, the Lord finally dealt with my heart. I was reading this part of Scripture:
“Lord, why can’t I follow you now? said Peter. “I would lay down my life for you!” “Would you lay down your life for me?” replied Jesus. “Believe me, you will disown me three times before the cock crows!”
I pondered Peter’s words, “I would lay down my life for you!” I had loved the Lord for so long; I had done everything in my power to draw closer to Him every day. I had raised my children with the Scriptures. I had swam against the current my entire life because I so wanted to honor God. I prayed to God, “Lord I love you so much. I would lay down my life for you too”.
Then I continued reading and what I found shocked me. Jesus asked Peter, “Would you lay down your life for me? “Believe me, you will disown me three times before the cock crows!”
I imagined Jesus looking into my eyes, asking me this very question in disbelief, as if He could see something in me that I couldn’t. After a few seconds of searching my heart I answered honestly, “No Lord, I wouldn’t die for you. I don’t love you that much, I am sorry.”
A deeper understanding of what was in my heart suddenly grew in me. I was not the person I imagined I was. I had not been honest about my relationship and my love for God. What I found out about myself was ugly; I knelt down before the Lord. He showed me a picture of myself that I had refused to look at for so many years. For the very first time in my life I felt very ashamed of myself. I finally knew what repentance meant. I finally could see myself the way the Lord sees me, and recognize that I am not good. I am a sinner.
In tears, I said to Him, “I don’t want to be a bad person, I want to be good. I don’t want you to see me as I am; to look at me and think that I am this bad person, I want to deserve your love, but I don’t’ deserve it. Please Lord, forgive me, I know now why Jesus had to die for me. I cannot save myself. Please, save me Lord.”
How could I have lived as a “believer” for so many years, without ever having repented? I don’t know, but in the past, every time doubts about my salvation assaulted me, I found comfort in the fact that I had lived for God. “I must be a Christian, because I love God, and care about His will. He won’t let me go to hell, I have lived for Him”. Do you see what was wrong? I was trusting in what I could do, not in what He had already done on the cross for me. I was NOT saved!
This was the first time I repented with real conviction. I asked the Lord to put in me His Holy Spirit and He did. In the past I was afraid to give my testimony to others. I could write or talk with Christians about salvation, but sharing the Gospel with the unsaved was almost impossible. It never felt “normal” to me. Since that very morning, talking to unbelievers about Christ is not a foreign thing anymore. It just feels right. I still get nervous, since I am not a people person, but now I know that Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior for eternity. I have arrived there. I am a citizen of heaven.
Even though the circumstances in which we are saved may differ, the core of salvation never changes in content: true repentance, the knowledge of our sinfulness and our transgression of God’s law, understanding Jesus’ work of redemption, the impossibility that we could save ourselves, a decision to trust in Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, and asking God to save us are absolutely essential for anyone to be saved in the way the Bible teaches. Some of this understanding about Christ or ourselves might come in different order, yet every person who has been truly saved has passed through these stages taught by Jesus Christ. He preached repentance (Mark 1: 15) the reality of our sin (John 3: 18-20) salvation through His sacrifice (John 3: 15) the necessity of our faith (John 3: 36) the reality of heaven and hell (John 3: 15, Luke 16: 19-31) and that he was sent by God (John 3: 16). According to Christ and the general context of the Bible, there is absolutely no other way to salvation, and the evidence of a real conversion is a life that glorifies God and seeks His will. Becoming a Christian is a commitment to live under Jesus authority, (with God’s help) for the rest of our lives.
Paul the Apostle advises us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the truth, and make sure that we have arrived at our destination. There is no shame in doing it. Don’t get mad at someone because he or she tells you the truth of the Bible. It won’t do you any good to think you are saved, if you were not saved the way God requires it! Don’t get angry because someone dares to question your spiritual experience. Give thanks to the Lord that He loves you enough to put people in your way to help you get there, and to help you make sure. Give thanks to the Lord that someone has the courage to swim against the current of political correctness and indifference to rescue you. You eternal salvation is not a futile thing, it is the most important decision you’ll ever make and much is at stake if you have taken a wrong turn on your route to heaven.
We must analyze our lives in light of the Scriptures and make sure that our experience of salvation agrees with Christ’s teaching. We want to make sure that the kind of life we live and the kind of fruits we bear when no one is looking, correspond to a follower of Jesus. It is a matter of life or death. Please, put away everything else and make sure you are on your way to heaven.
I invite you to listen to Charo’s testimony (Paul Washer’s wife). Her testimony was instrumental for me in understanding that something was not right with my experience of salvation, since her story shared many similarities with mine.
God bless you.