My testimony of salvation.
What it means to be a sinner saved by grace.
1. The Lord draws sinners
The first time I realized that God was drawing me and trying to convict me of my sin was when I was on a vacation to Spain in the summer holidays in 1994. I didn’t really know what to do with my life and was dissatisfied with the way most people at my age in my area live like. That was burdening my heart a lot and I felt so downtrodden by that till one night I had the idea of just withdrawing myself to pray. So while the rest of my family was participating in some holiday activity I went back to the hotel and I prayed to the Lord and told Him about my need for Him. I poured out my heart to Him and asked Him to show me the truth. Back then I did not know much about the way of salvation. I was raised in a Catholic family, so according to Catholic doctrine I was already „saved” (=baby sprinkled). I thank the Lord for parents that taught me about the basics of God and prayer. But the need for personal salvation was never mentioned or brought up in my surroundings in family, school or church. I felt so far away from God and so wretched that I was ashamed of it. All of a sudden I felt such a great desire to get to know God and what He has done for me, and what He commands us to do. Back then I did not have a Bible with me on that vacation, so the only thing I had was a shortwave radio and I knew there is a Christian radio station from Tennessee. I used to listen to their country music sometimes, but now I had such a desire to hear about the word of the Lord. For the first time in my life I was really confronted with the Scriptures and I found out about the simple truths as you know them from John 3:16. I have never heard that before. I was amazed that God loves this world, although it is so sinful and gave His son to save sinners.
Over several months I began to pray regularly and to seek God’s will. I wasn’t sure if I was really saved. But God was calling my attention by several unusual coincidences in my life. I thank the Lord that in my early childhood I enjoyed going to the Catholic church in town and even asked others to attend. In my childhood play I often played a priest holding mass. I thank the Lord that in my childhood I got to know the Bible. When I was 8 or 9 years old I cried when I read the gospel of Matthew and read about the crucifixion of Christ. I thank the Lord for the lady that handed me a Chick gospel tract when I was a teenager. I was riding on my bike and stopped at a red light when a lady stopped at the red light and rolled down the window of her car and handed me a couple of tracts. I appreciated the message but it was crowded out by the anti-God bias in school and society.
At one time, I walked through a city and all of a sudden a man who was doing preaching by the side of the road began to speak to me about salvation and he began telling me about his own experience. There was a number of young preachers with him and their zeal was obvious. It amazed me and I prayed a prayer of salavtion with the preacher. But still I wasn’t sure if I was really saved because nothing changed within me and I was split somewhere between the old Catholic religion under which I grew up and this real new birth experience of conversion.
Another one of God’s attention-getters was a movie with Roy Rogers entitled “Mackintosh & T.J.”. In this western movie Roy plays an aging farm worker who takes care of a boy who just was released from prison. The movie displayed Roy Rogers reading the Bible everyday and setting a Christian example for the boy. Christianity was real and incorporated into daily living. The movie showed Roy avoiding the company of other lewd farm workers and withdrawing to his room to study the Bible. That impressed me greatly and it became an example for me.
Then on another occasion I casually turned on the TV and all of a sudden it showed a Baptist church in Nashville and interviews with young Christians. The TV report, however, was made by the liberal media who mocked and ridiculed those steadfast young Christians who talked about being saved, being chaste before marriage, and taking the Word of God as an infallible, inerrant authority. The report was about the “True Love Waits” campaign by the Southern Baptist Convention to promote Christian values like abstinence before marriage. By the end of that TV report I made the decision to be on the side of those Baptists that were so viciously attacked by the secular media on that particular news report. I wanted to have what they had. I wanted to live like they lived.
2. The Lord saves sinners
But still a mental decision is not salvation. So I still wasn’t sure about my own new birth. One problem was that there was nobody to talk to here in Germany about salvation. Most churches here in Germany have rejected the authority of the Bible and have developed a purely social Gospel in which Jesus and Allah and Buddha are basically the same, and there is no real burden for souls, nor is their any real interest in soul-winning. Not having a church to go to was a great hindrance. But God has His ways to reach people, so I found a Christian radio program that I listened to regularly and I found out about how we are saved by God’s grace and not of our own works. So I sought God and asked Him to forgive me of my sins and let me have this new life that is no longer in bondage to sin. Early in 1995 when I was by myself in my room at home praying like that I felt the peace of God enter into my heart and no longer this burden. I felt so relieved and light from that day onward. Once I felt that peace of God within me I also felt a deep revulsion against sin.
From then on God showed me several areas in my life where I had to clean up. Certain things like profane literature. I had books by an author called Stephen King and they were all about violence, perversion and witchcraft. So I took all these books and threw them away into the trash or shredded them and I felt a lot more comfortable. The same was about music. God says in His word that we ought to be holy for He is holy and that we are to be holy in all manner of conversation. I took all these tapes with sinful music and erased them with a magnet and gave them as blank tapes to a Christian organization that uses them in the tape ministry. Back in that time I felt such a joy in me that God is there with me and such an assuarance without a doubt that if I died, I would go to Heaven to be with Jesus. In those few weeks after I got saved so many changes took place in my being that I became a new person somehow. There were setbacks when I was attacked by temptations and committed sin. But we can always come to Jesus, repent of the sin that He points us to, and be forgiven. A lot of my attitudes changed after I got saved like it says in Romans 12:2: „be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”. My habits changed as for example toward television. I began to avoid all programs that contained sex, violence, and profanity. I believe that this is the Holy Spirit working in the conscience of every believer. I also began to have a desire to associate with other born again believers. That was not easy in a completely Catholic area. I began to pray for friends and for a church. Through a letter to the radio preacher whose broadcasts had the greatest influence in bringing the truth of God to me I finally found access to other Christian people in America who began to write me on a regular basis. I believe that God brought these people into my life because they wrote me completely voluntarily. I never asked anybody to do that. I knew that I had to find a church to get real scriptural baptism and find edification for the Christian life. A Christian can’t live on His own. I visited several churches in Germany, but I never really became part of them. Since Baptist people had been so influential in my getting saved it was without question that I should be Baptist, too, because obviously God has used such people to draw me to Him and to tell me about God’s love and mercy. I also came across the story of a Baptist missionary to China quite by accident, but it captured me so totally that I could only say, Lord, let me have what this great servant of God had. It was the story of Baptist missionary John Birch who from his childhood on wanted to serve God on the mission field in China where he was brutally murdered by Chinese communists. While some Americans are familiar with the conservative John Birch Society, only few know about the Christian man John Birch who died before the Society was ever founded. If the testimony and witness of this great Baptist missionary is used to proselytize for a political organization, how much more can the Lord use this testimony to draw people to Him and to His church.
Finally I got baptized at McFerrin Missionary Baptist Church in Madison, TN on March 29, 1998. Baptism was for me a step of obedience because Christ commands those who are saved to be baptized and it is also a type of the change that has taken place within me. The old life of sin was buried and now Christ lives within me and I am in Him. Since I got saved it has always been so good to be able to go to God with my needs and to ask Him for advice and leadership. He has answered prayers, and given comfort to me, and His Word always has an answer for my questions.
Dear friend, look at your life and notice the occasions when God tried to reach you and draw you to Him. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the true Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9). Don’t reject the light that God gives you. Satan would have you blinded so that you won’t see light of the glorious gospel. If you are still living in unbelief, you need to get saved. Turn from your sin and call upon the name of the Lord Jesus, so that you may know Him in the free pardon of sin. If you are saved by the grace of God, then send the light of the gospel to those around you that are lost.
– Ingo Breuer