Tom S.

Tom S.

from MO
Story #491
I was raised in a “Christian” home and remember always going to church. I was baptised as an infant and attended the local Lutheran church every Sunday where my mom and dad were active in church activities.

We were a typical mid-western family with Judeo-Christian values and strong sense of morality. My folks didn't drink, even socially, and there was never an inappropriate word uttered in our house. As the middle child I rarely acted up, and was a good student, son and sunday school attender.

In college I continued to espouse a strong, personal moral code and wondered why my fellow classmates would waste time getting drunk or smoking pot. I knew I wasn’t perfect, but figured I was good enough and that the best stuff I did would cancel out the worst stuff I did. I figured I had an inside track to Heaven.

My first job out of college was as a teacher in the public schools. I met and married someone with the same moral code as I. She was a Catholic and together we were a match made in heaven. We attended her home church, an old historic church in a quaint southwestern town where Billy the Kid once held court. Our Sunday morning experience included formal teaching, hymns, dressy clothes and the sense that church attendance would inoculate us from all of the bad stuff out in the world. It was a lot like the church I grew up in.

One day a colleague of mine who was also a friend of my wife’s invited us to attend her church. It was a different than what I was used to. It was protestant like the Lutheran church but they actually took the time to study the Bible.

After the service, we attended a class called Survey of Basic Christianity. It was a study of the very basic things one should know as a Christian, yet neither of us had heard this information before. We were hooked. Here was a group of people that were just as moral as my wife and I, but they had a far deeper connection to the Bible and God.

We went back the next week and had the opportunity to hear how all of us like sheep had gone astray and that our good works were nothing when compared to the standard set by the Holy God of the universe. It took just a couple of hours after the second class for us to realize all of our good deeds, moral upbringing, baptisms as children and respective catechism/confirmation in the church had not secured us a place in Heaven, or had even won us any special favor with God. In fact, we realized that we were headed straight for Hell because we had not embraced the way of salvation that God has made available to every man woman and child.

The immediate overwhelming conviction that we were sinners and deserving of death drove us to contact one of the pastors at this new church and we met with him the very next day so that we could get right with God. He explained that Christ died for us as payment for our own sinfulness and that all we need do is believe in Him for our eternal salvation.

We accepted that free gift of salvation and decided to no longer depend on our own empty moral living, but instead, to trust in the everlasting, perfect and holy God. At that moment, the guilt of our own wretchedness lifted and we both immediately became aware of God’s real presence in our lives.

I now understand who I am in Christ, my purpose for being here, and my ultimate destination after I die.

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