Ever since I can remember, I knew that I was a sinner. Perhaps it was because my parents sent me to a Christian school where I heard Gospel messages in chapel week after week, or because I went to every Gospel meeting every Sunday night, or maybe it was because I had a tender conscious. But I knew at the age of 5 years old, was I deserved to be punished for my sins. I learned verses about it in Sunday School, my parents would read the Bible with us, and I knew it just because of sinful things I had done in my young life.
But one night on November 11, 1980, as I sat in the Gospel meeting, God began to work in my heart. I don’t remember who spoke that night or what was spoken on, but I knew that I didn’t want to miss salvation. Even the car ride home that night was full of thoughts about where my soul would spend eternity.
Since I had school the next day, as soon as we got home, I got ready for bed. And before my dad was about the shut out the light, I stopped him and said “Dad, I want to be saved.” So Dad got out the Bible and began to read verses with me. I knew all the verses from Sunday School, but I still couldn’t get saved. Then he told me a story about a little boy named Johnny.
Johnny was about the same age as me and went to school just like I did. One day at school, Johnny decided to steal someone’s lunch and unfortunately for Johnny, he was caught by the teacher. Soon Johnny was in front of the class and the teacher explained what Johnny had done and how he was to be punished. He would receive a spanking for his punishment. But from the back of the classroom, a hand was raised. And so the teacher called on the boy in the back to see what he wanted. The boy got out of his seat, and said “I will take Johnny’s place and be punished.” The teacher agreeing to this, allowed Johnny to take his seat and he would watch the other boy be spanked for what he had done.
My Dad explained that this was just like me and Jesus. I was just like Johnny in the fact that I had sinned and deserved to be punished. My sins had separated me between God and there was nothing that I could do to save myself. But because of God’s great love for me, He sent His only Son, Jesus to suffer in my place. Jesus had no sins of His own, and yet He willingly received the punishment I deserved at the cross. He also said before He died, “It is finished.”, meaning He satisfied God’s demand for the punishment of sins.
My Dad began to pray and while he was praying, for the very first time in my life, I realized that Jesus had died on the cross for me. I knew He had died for the world, but it was personal this time. I trusted in child-like faith that Jesus suffered for my sins and I knew that God was satisfied with what His Son had done.
Over the years, I often struggled with doubts concerning my salvation. After all, I was saved so young and how could it be so easy! But I simply go back to the cross and remember why He died there. He died so I wouldn’t have suffer for my own sins. And because of His suffering and the promise in God’s Word, I know that my sins are washed away.
“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”