I am so glad to have this opportunity to speak to you all today, and I would like to share with you something that has had a huge impact on my life. I want to share with you what I thought salvation was, and what I have learned it to be in reality.
I grew up in a very Christian home, my parents are missionaries. My parents taught me the Bible from a very young age. I prayed a prayer several times when I was small to invite Jesus into my heart, as I’m sure most of you have done, and I thought I was saved for many years.
But when I hit my teens, God showed me what a heinous sinner I really was. Outwardly I was a real goody-two-shoes, but on the inside I was very, very ugly, and if anyone could have known what was going on in me and what I was doing secretly, they would have been just shocked and disgusted.
I knew this was wrong, and I looked at the Bible which is very clear that if I’m really a Christian, then I can’t live like this. God really showed me that I’m not really saved, but that I’m lost. I tried to stop my sin, I tried to be good, but it was such a failure! I can remember sooo many times calling out to God, “Please save me! Please change me!” I would then get up, and promise myself that this time it’s going to be real. Only problem was, it never lasted for more than a few days.
But the reason I share this with you, is I have had so many misconceptions about salvation, I think many of us do. The Lord has really dealt with me in this area, and I’d like to share some of the things with you that the Lord taught me.
One thing that we often think is that we are just as good as the next guy, that we really aren’t that bad. I mean come on, I don’t break the biggies?! Well, you don’t have to, to be condemned by God. Outward things are not what make us guilty, it’s what’s in the heart that condemns us. Jesus said, ““But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile a man.”
Maybe you feel you are not that bad, your heart isn’t that evil. Well, let me ask you this: if I could take your whole thought life, and put it on TV, and show it to everyone in this room, how would you feel about that? Because what you think, is who you really are! We may not see what you think, but God does!
Jeremiah said, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Be careful that your heart isn’t deceiving you, because it will tell you that you aren’t that bad, just like mine told me.
Our hearts are desperately wicked! And this is a big problem for us, because God is JUST and HOLY. He’s not like us at all! We often think that God thinks like us, is kind of like us, but He isn’t! We have created a god in our imagination, who is just the way we want him. We must go back to the Bible to see who God really is!
And the God of the Bible is just; therefore our sins must be punished. God would be unjust if He didn’t punish our sin.
Now we try all kinds of things to save ourselves, or at least I did. You know I tried to leave my sin, I tried to live the Christian life. I said I was a Christian, I prayed a prayer and asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me, but none of those things worked! I was still a lost sinner, straight on my way to hell.
You know what I was doing wrong?? I was trusting MYSELF. I was trusting in what I was doing. Jesus Christ died on the Cross, and on that Cross He carried my sin, and God poured out His wrath that was meant for me, on Christ. I kept trying to make myself acceptable, instead of coming to Christ just like I was, trusting in the finished work on the Cross!
So one night, I just gave up, and just told the Lord, that I give up. I can’t save myself. If He doesn’t save me, there is no hope.
And you know, I really wasn’t expecting an answer, but that night I went to bed with a PEACE in my heart. I KNEW the Lord had heard me and had saved me.
And I know I was really saved this time, because the Lord has continued to work in me, changing me bit by bit into the image of Christ.
You know, if you have had an experience in your life that you believe is when the Lord saved you, yet your life remained the same, you were not saved that time. I had emotional experiences before, but they never lasted. The question isn’t whether you had an experience, but whether it lasted. Are you still changing today? Is the Lord still working in your life?
Paul said this about people who trust in their professions yet live Godless lives, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him. They are detestable, disobedient, and unfit for doing any good.”
I’m not saying a Christian will be perfect, he won’t; but there will be a marked difference, and he will have a lifestyle of following after God.
Salvation is a supernatural work of God, where He justifies a man, and makes him a NEW creature! As it says in 2 Corinthians, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; the old has gone, and the new has come!”
And I can tell you that is true, because the Lord changed me from being a self-righteous hypocrite, trusting in my own goodness, to someone who is trusting in Christ for his salvation, and whom the Lord is changing more to be like Christ.
I would like to challenge you. We young people think we have our whole lives ahead of us, but we don’t know when we are going to die. We can die at any moment. If you were to die tonight, where will you go?
Life is short, my friends; death is coming, and hell is real. I ask you to make sure that you are not the way I was, living a hypocritical life, bound for hell.
There’s a reason it says in 2 Corinthians, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.”
So examine yourselves, my friends; see if you really do know our Lord, if He really has done a work of salvation in your life. And if He hasn’t? Seek Him; He says if we seek Him we will find Him.
~This is actually a speech he will be giving to a group of young people this Thursday. However, he sent it to our family and gave me permission to post it here for the edification and encouragment of us all! Thank you so much for sharing Isak! May God bless you and continue this work He has begun in your life and in each of our lives for His glory and honor! :-)