I sat in church one morning listening to my dad preach. I had been “saved” a few years before. I remembered the time I had cried and asked God into my heart. I hung onto that moment when I cried and felt those feelings as proof of my salvation. I worked to show fruit—praying, witnessing, being as righteous as I could—as I thanked God for paying it all. But no matter how many “good” things I did, it did not make up for my heart, and I would doubt. Then I would pray and rebuke the devil while singing, witnessing, and trying to be more righteous. Trying to strengthen myself in Him and quench my doubts, I would remember “that moment” and “my fruit” and then I would work hard to stand in Him.
That day at church, I sat there thinking about my “salvation” experience, my “righteousness,” and my amazing dad, and I realized that I had tried everything I could try. I had done everything that I could do. I knew that I could try the rest of my life, make others believe I was saved, and even convince myself some days; but late at night those doubts would come back, and fear of hell would haunt me. I saw my life passing before me—trying and failing. I saw myself on Judgment Day and I knew what my argument would be because I had made it with myself often: “Yes, I am saved. I watched Ee-Taow and saw people hearing truth and getting saved. I was moved and I cried. I was so thankful that Jesus died for the world, and I said the sinner’s prayer. I am Mike Pearl’s daughter and I grew up with my dad reading and studying the Bible every day. I knew truth. I witnessed and won people to the Lord. I prayed and God answered.”
Hearing my empty words echo in my head, I was horrified. At that moment, I knew I was lost. I knew there was no hope. I knew I was going to hell, and I knew I deserved it! I realized how hollow, sad, and empty my life was in my self-righteous condemnation I had for everyone. In my hopeless despair of eternal damnation, I saw HIM taking my place. JESUS is the way. My hope. My salvation. My God. My love. My heart. MY EVERYTHING! He died for me. He loves me. He wants me. He lives in me. His righteousness is deposited in my account and I am now the righteousness of God in him! I am free! I am SAVED! I am going to heaven and there is no DOUBT because it has nothing to do with me. It is HIM. It is HIM! The Man Christ JESUS SAVED ME! While I was lost, he found me, and now I rest in his finished work. IT IS FINISHED!!! REJOICE! REJOICE! I am thankful! No more fear. No more doubt.
Blood-bought child of God,
Shoshanna and her husband James run the Bulk Herb Store company.