HOW GOD LED ME FROM DEATH TO LIFE
"Outwardly I looked like a Christian, sincere to God, because I
attended church for a long time without absence. I want to share my experience
of how God drew me to Himself and transformed me so that Jesus became my
Lord. I write this with a strong desire that this message could help especially
those who attend church but realize that Jesus is not their Lord (owner)
of their lives as well as with those who do not know God.
For a long time I was wondering about my belief which seemed to be lacking. When I examined my life closely I knew inside that Jesus was not the ruler of my life, but that I was. I used to ask myself: Are you a real Christian?
While I was struggling, mercifully, God led me to meet Bill Nichols with whom my roommate was studying the Bible. Bill's consistent, accurate, and sincere teaching could not be denied by my heart. As time went on, my wrong concepts and misunderstandings about God were gradually broken down. Especially when we studied about sin, my understanding of what God demanded for salvation was getting clearer. I began to understand that the salvation of God for His chosen people can be provided only by His mercy through faith and repentance. At this time I realized my lost condition from God, even though I called Christ "Lord" and had attended church for several years. I realized I needed to cry to God until He had mercy on me.
After that, I began seeking God following the Directions to the Unconverted which were written in The Narrow Road that Leads to Life, given to me by Bill. I did not have an answer from God immediately, but what I recognized more clearly than before was the hardness and coldness of my heart. Although I cried to God, confessed my sin, and begged for His mercy, I felt my heart didn't move at all, but thoughts came to my mind which scorned me for what I was doing like: "What are you doing? Are you insane? Don't be so hard like that!" At that time I remembered Jacob's praying when he was struggling for God's blessing. At the same time, Bill talked to me about Jacob's praying and the Cananite woman's endurance in seeking Christ and gave me some materials to read. I read them on a Friday night and I wept much due to the sadness of my lost condition before God. I could not sleep until early in the morning. When I did sleep, I had a dream. In the dream my body was surrounded by very large thorns. I tried to get out of the thorns with all my strength and I felt serious sickness. After waking up, I immediately thought, "It's my sinful condition right now, isn't it?"
The dream stimulated me to resolve more strongly to beg for God's mercy. I began getting up early in the morning to pray more seriously for God's mercy, in addition to the time I was spending in the evening. I began to feel that Jesus died for me in my heart and I felt the evil of my sin. I believed that Jesus had died for my sins, so I wept and wept while I meditated on the passage of Scripture in Isaiah 53:3-12. I prayed to God that I could realize more clearly my sin enough to hate it and not to sin. Through another dream the Lord showed me that my sin to Him was like dung, vomit, and a dead rotting body. I read an article entitled Enormity by A. W. Pink. I began to search the scripture verses in the article which showed me more clearly what my sin was like. When I looked at each scriptures, I marvelled with fear. The Scriptures mentioned in the article which described sin and what I had seen in my dream were identical: a dead rotting body, filthy rags, dung, and vomit. With bitter weeping I begged God saying, "Can you forgive me? Can I be one of your children? I know right now I do not deserve to be one of your children, but I beg for your mercy. I don't want to die without your mercy to me. Please let me live until you receive me. If you receive me, it's OK then whether I live or I die."
This fervent praying continued for about a week. On a Monday evening in my prayer time I recognized the sinfulness of my heart in a deeper way. I wept bitterly in repentance for my wickedness. When I arose the next morning I went to pray and again bitterly wept for my sin. At this point I experienced peace in my heart. I did not think I deserved to have peace, but over the next few days, I came to realize that the peace I had experienced was genuine and that God had truly changed my heart and life.
Now I clearly understand the Scripture, "He saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of His own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit" (Titus 3:5). Now I can give great thankfulness to God and love Christ with my whole heart. Now I can be bold to tell others the gospel without shame. Now my hope is to live for God's glory. Now I love God's word and desire to keep His commandments. I beg you who assume you are saved, but do not love Jesus Christ more than anything else in life: recognize your condition and please seek salvation in Christ diligently with your whole heart. If you have been pursuing your own pride and glory even though you have attended church regularly for a long time, then according to God's word, you cannot be called one of God's children."