Having lived for 40 years as a member of a Baptist church, yet lost, I know in my heart there are numbers of people suffering in silence as I did; not knowing for sure where they stand before a Holy God. I joined a Baptist church at age 17; having made a profession at age 10. I was baptized and began my long journey of trying to please God with my works and never being able to measure up to what I thought God required. (Notice I said, “what ‘I’ thought God required.”) I had always believed that a person had to be convicted by the Holy Spirit before they could be saved. What I didn’t know was the difference in worldly sorrow and godly sorrow and the difference in knowing right from wrong and knowing good from evil. You see, there must be some understanding of who God is, who Satan is, and exactly what Jesus did for us in His sacrificial death on the Cross. There must also be understanding of who you are before God.
As long as I was “active” in doing for the Lord: teaching, visiting, volunteering for all sorts of jobs to make “me” feel better, I would be all right.......for a while. Then, this voice would come saying, “What if you’re not saved?” How I praise God for being so merciful to me! When the doubts would come, I would just try to do more and tell myself it was because I wasn’t reading my Bible and praying enough. The sad thing was, I couldn’t share my doubts with others. Oh, there was one other person I talked to about it, but she had the same doubts I did and we didn’t know what to do except go on the way we were.
Then God, in His mercy, sent a man to us as a pastor who had been through the same thing. He had doubts for years and God finally sent truth about salvation to him through human instrumentality. This is God’s way. You must hear the truth. You must have a true saint cross your path at some time. God chose to use human instruments to bring those to Him who were given Him of the Father. Jn. 6:37 God never chooses anyone to go to hell. There is a fine line to be walked here. We were chosen, in Christ, before the foundation of the world. But, it is all based upon the foreknowledge of God. Only God knows who will embrace light and who will reject light. When a person has been “taught of God” and has “heard” and “hath learned of the Father” (Jn. 6:45), when the Holy Ghost completes that work of godly sorrow and Holy Ghost conviction, (convicting them of sin, righteousness and judgment, Jn. 16:8) then that person comes to Jesus (who is revealed by the Holy Ghost) and Jesus will “in no wise cast him out”. (Jn. 6:37) No person will ever reject a revealed Jesus. Man rejects light. The Holy Ghost will only reveal Jesus to those who have had the work of reproval worked in them and are ready to surrender all to their LORD.
When I first began to hear of Real Salvation and the ingredients that must go into everyone’s salvation experience, I was intrigued by it. Thanks to a merciful God, I did not fight against it nor run from it. I wanted to know the truth. God, in His mercy, finally gave me ears to hear. What I found out was that I did not have enough understanding about God or about myself when I made my profession. I did not know I was God’s enemy. I did not know that I hated God while all the time saying I loved Him. I did not know to what extent Satan would go to deceive me. I did not realize how deceitful my own heart was. Until God awakens you to your need, you cannot see just how deceived you really are.
I began to read books by the saints of old such as Charles Hadden Spurgeon and John Bunyan. They used the phrases such as “seeking God” and “being awakened”. These phrases were strange to my ears but I knew that something had happened to me and it seemed to be an “awakening”. You see, God’s way of salvation has always been the same. It has never changed at all. Man has changed his practice. It’s as if we were living in the day that Jesus died. When the temple veil was rent (torn in half from the top to the bottom as only God could do), the Jews, who did not believe Jesus, just sewed up the veil and continued to worship as they always had with their sacrifices, even though Jesus had become the last Passover Lamb that would ever be needed to take away their sin. Somewhere along the line, because of our worldliness, the Holy Spirit withdrew from our churches and man decided to go ahead and operate without the Holy Spirit. They do this by telling people to just say a prayer; just believe; just ask Jesus into your heart; just sign this card or any other means to get a name on the church roll. Thus, our churches today are filled with lost people. Did you ever wonder why it was so hard to get some people to stay in church? They come for a while and then start dropping out again, then come back and re-dedicate or get revived and then drop out again. This is because there has never been a real work of godly sorrow, Holy Ghost conviction and real salvation in their soul. You don’t have to tell a person who is truly saved, has the Holy Spirit living inside, how to dress, how to wear their hair, that they should be faithful in church, that they should tithe or any of the commandments that God gave in His Word for the saved. They will do it as soon as the Holy Spirit reveals to them they are wrong. A pastor does not have to preach against things or try to ride herd on his congregation when they know the Lord. That’s the thing, you see. At the point of salvation, a person says “yes” to the LORD and He is their LORD from that time on. I’m not saying they are sinless, but I am saying that they will not get far out of line until God deals with them and they will either get right, or God will take them out of this world. He will not allow His own to be a stumbling block to others. It takes only a short time for a saved person to get right under the conviction of the Holy Ghost – not years.
I’m convinced that the lost need to see someone real. I know I did. When I heard the testimony of my pastor’s wife, I knew she had something that I wanted. Actually, she had WHO I wanted. I knew that she knew the ONE she was talking about. Then God saved someone in our church and I saw such a change in her that I knew she had WHO I wanted, too. It made me hunger and thirst for HIM. It took a long time for God to show me where I was and for me to get honest, but when I got honest with HIM, He began to lead me to HIMSELF.
If a person who is a member of a church walks the isle and says they have just been saved, it doesn’t seem to bother people. They are happy about it. But it seems that preachers today feel they have failed somehow if a person in their congregation says they are lost and doesn’t get saved right away, or if they say they are just not sure about their salvation. This is why there are so many suffering in silence and unable to talk to anyone because they don’t feel anyone would understand. Most people don’t understand, but if you have ever been awakened to your need, sought the Lord with all your heart and have been gloriously saved by HIM, you do understand. All a pastor can do is preach truth about salvation and let God do the work. SALVATION IS OF THE LORD. All a saved person can do is talk with that person; listen to that person; tell that person what the Lord did for them and encourage them to keep seeking the Lord. What God starts, He will finish. God knows your heart. He knows what He can do with the clay that He formed. If you really want God, He knows that and He will do whatever it takes to get you to the end of yourself so that you can fall on His grace. God grants repentance and faith. We could not believe within our own selves. It is God’s work from beginning to end. It is His Salvation. It is His Work and to God be the glory!
People have called me who have nagging doubts or a feeling of unrest. They are not sure that they know the Lord, but they cannot talk to anyone in their church. They don’t think they will understand. I am so thrilled when I get a call like that, and any saved person is, because I know God is working on that person. I can tell you now that Real Salvation is worth anything you have to go through. All the embarrassment, the pressure, the ridicule, the sleepless nights, the tears or anything you have to endure is worth it just to really and truly know Him. When it is all said and done, what else matters but the destination of your own soul? It will live on somewhere throughout eternity. My prayer is that you will choose the narrow way and strive to enter in at the strait gate for few there be that find it. If God has dealt or is dealing with you in any way about your soul, praise Him for His goodness and do everything in your power to get to Him. In the end you will realize it was all God’s work, but He tells us to “strive”, “seek him with all your heart”, and He will be found. That is the good news. HE WILL BE FOUND. You don’t have to suffer in silence. I don’t recommend that you tell just anybody your doubts, because some will put pressure on you to do something “right now”. Settle it “right now”. Well, you can’t settle it until God settles it. All you can do is what you know to do at the time. When God gives you some light, step in that light and He will give you more light. Why would Satan want you to doubt your salvation? If you are not saved but are a member of a church and religious, that is just what Satan wants. He will not try to disturb you. You can rest assured if you have ever had any doubts about your sa lvation or any questions concerning your soul’s condition, or any stirring or unrest in your soul, they are coming from the precious Holy Spirit who wants to lead you to the Saviour. Don’t stop until you have found TRUTH. Jesus said to those Jews who believed with the head and not the heart in John 8:31, 32, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed: And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Jesus said in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
Seek the TRUTH with all your heart. Ask God to reveal TRUTH to you. Ask God to give you understanding. Ask God to give you ears to hear. He is faithful to do what He says He will do. My prayer for you is that you listen to that still, small, voice that is speaking to you. DON’T JUST SUFFER IN SILENCE.