A False Convert
I was a false convert eight times before God graciously saved me from my sin. That’s right. You read correctly. Eight times! By false convert, I mean that I was not truly saved when I thought I was. Each instance was a man-centered decision to either avoid hell or clear a sinning conscience. There were times that I genuinely wanted to be saved, but my reasons lacked a real desire to turn away from my sin and to trust in Jesus. In essence, it was very self-centered. A sort of “make me feel better” kind of deal. I made many professions, but none of them was a product of spiritual regeneration, because I fell away when faced with temptation, tribulation, and worldly lusts.
A year prior to my conversion, I woke up every morning with the haunting thought that if I died I would be in hell. It bothered me, but not enough to run to Christ for salvation. I was genuinely afraid, but that thought was short-lived as I prepared myself for the day’s events. It remained a thorn on my side, however, until the day I was born again.
On January 11th, 2004, I went to a church deeply concerned for my eternity. I went with my wife and can only remember snippets of the sermon. All I cared about that day was getting right with God. After the pastor was done preaching, I almost ran to the altar. I don’t believe in altar calls now, but I am very thankful that at least my heart was being convicted by the Holy Spirit.
When I arrived at the altar, I could not stop weeping. My salvation was radical. I cried for at least a half-hour to forty-five minutes. I didn’t move. My eyes never looked around or even toward the ceiling. I just stood there and sobbed. The thought that kept running through my mind at the time was, “How could You forgive me? After all, I have done. After all my hypocrisy and calling myself a Christian when I was not? How can You forgive me?” Over and over that thought replayed in my head as all my sins came to light. For each sin remembered, I felt another emotional tremor in my heart. By tremor I mean a repentant sorrow. This is probably why I stayed on that altar for that long. I had much to confess. When I was born again, I looked up and no one was there at that altar but my wife and I. The pastor noticed and prayed for me, and I’ve never turned back to the world since.
In short, I was a liar, a thief, and an adulterer because of my sexual promiscuity and my sexual immoral thoughts. I assumed I was just a regular Joe just wanting to live a good life, but the problem was I was not as “good” as I thought. Once I realized I broke God’s commandments and repeatedly lived hypocritically before Him, I knew God was would be just in sending me to hell. Although I sinned in other ways, I continually justified myself, never realizing how lost I really was. If I died any one of those days, I would have been in hell, forever! But Jesus revealed to me His salvation by making me fear His judgment, and also realizing His mercy. His judgment of hell sobered me, but His grace and mercy drew me to Him. If not, I would not have run to Him as I did in order to be born again! I am eternally indebted to the God of the universe for saving someone like me who was on the path to eternal punishment and giving me life in Christ. I now live a life that hates sin, and loves righteousness. I follow His commandments because I love Him, not because I am afraid of hell. I tell others about Him because I desire for them to know the same Savior. I have a living relationship with Christ based on what He has done, not what I can do. There is nothing in the world I would rather be than His child. Thank God for mercy and new life in Christ.