When I was a younger man I knew an old man once that had lived a very sordid lifestyle. I knew because he told me. So much so that his 1st family was estranged from him because of it. And he was married to someone who had done pretty much the same with her life and former family.
I was blessed to have the opportunity to share the gospel with them on several occasions. She soon came to believe and prayed with me and came to know and love Jesus. And she began praying that her husband would come to believe in Jesus too.
But, he was much more resistant. Each time we would talk he would begin sobbing with remorse and would respond to me saying, "God could never forgive me because I have done too many bad things". Even though I never brought up the subject of his or anyone else's bad behavior.
So every time he brought it up I would tell him that it's not God that is holding him accountable for any bad things he may have done. But, that it was only the condemnation of Satan that was making him feel that way.
You see, he had been convinced by the false witness from the apostate church that showed him that the law condemns him. And that this is why he needed Jesus. Because this made God hold him accountable for all the bad things he had done. And that this is why he was going to hell.
Sadly, too many people believe this lie from satan and are condemned by it. Allowing satan to use his favorite tools of guilt and shame to keep men separated from God. Instead of receiving God's justification by the faith of Christ so that works have nothing to do with it(Gal.2:16). The condemnation that Paul said Jesus died to rid the world of in Rom.8:1,2.
As I spoke to him over a period of several months I shared with him that God loves him so much that He came to earth as a man for the specific purpose of being able to join with him in his mortality. Because only in this way could he join with God in His immortality. Simply by trusting in Him and His resurrection that made the way from mortality to immortality for him.
But, he still could not get past the stronghold that his bad behavior was too much for God to forgive. Even though as he had heard from this apostate church that Jesus was punished in his place for his sins. It was the fact that this was not the truth that it couldn't break the stronghold.
This stronghold of satan needed to be broken as Paul taught in 2Cor.10:3-5 saying,
"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ".
This stronghold had such a hold on his mind that he said he thought that just believing in Jesus and His resurrection was too simple. That it must take more than this to make him acceptable to God after all the terrible things he had done. And that God could never allow a terrible person like him into heaven. This was because he had been told the lie that a holy God must punish every sin.
But, Acts17:30 says clearly that God winked at the sins of those before Moses because there was no law. Which is why Paul wrote in Rom.5:13 that where there is no law sin is not imputed.
So I showed him in Rom.7 that what he had done was he had falsely put himself under the law as so many foolish men have done. So that knowing he had not blamelessly kept the law he was condemned and therefore ineligible for salvation.
And I told him that by doing so all he was really doing was allowing satan to make him unnecessarily miserable with his satanic tools of guilt and shame. And that this was actually blocking the way Jesus made for him to receive His gift of eternal life, his birthright, as Paul says the law did to Israel in Gal.3:23.
I showed him in Rom.7:4 that Paul said by allowing this to separate him from God he would only succeed in missing God's greatest gift. And that it would not be because God held his sins against him. And had nothing to do with whether or not he had lived a blameless life. But, that it was because he held this against himself that he allowed that to keep a wall of separation between him and Jesus. All because of the lies of satan he had heard from an apostate church.
I showed him how in 2Cor.5:19,20 Paul says reconciliation to God is based on the fact that imputed sin is not what separates him from God. Because God never has imputed sin to him. And that it was actually satan, not God, that had convinced him that God does. Because Heb.10:9 says that God had already "taken away" every sin that has ever been, or would ever be, committed by anyone, at the cross 2,000 years ago, by taking away the law.
Then one day this man's wife called me to say he had suffered a heart attack and was in the hospital. And asked me would I come to pray with him and talk with him again about Jesus. Of course I said yes.
So I went and saw him, praying all the way there for God to soften and open his heart now to the truth I and his wife had been sharing with him.
I knew that God did because when I got there I asked him, "Are you ready to trust in Jesus now?". He said yes he was. While he listened I showed him again the truth about salvation. And that God was never mad at him for being bad.
I then asked him if he believed in Jesus. He told me he did. I then asked him if he believed that He raised from the dead. Again he told me he did. I asked him to confess Jesus is his Lord. He did. I told him that because he had done this from his heart that he was now saved and on his way to heaven. And we thanked God together for His saving grace.
After this he was visibly relieved. And with a softened heart he was able to send all the guilt and shame satan had used for so long to keep him from trusting in Jesus for eternal life back to hell where it came from.
A few days later he was released from the hospital. I called to speak with him at his home and his wife answered the phone. I asked her how he was doing in his new life in Christ. She told me of the changes she had seen in him. She said he no longer wanted cigarettes after smoking for decades. And no longer had any desire to drink alcohol after many years of being a heavy drinker.
But, she said the most incredible change was in the love he had for God and the love he showed her. She said he was now so considerate and caring when before they argued and fought much of the time. And that he now had an appreciation not only for her, but also for every day as it came. He even spoke of how the colors of everyday things were much more beautiful and vibrant.
A few weeks later this man had another more serious heart attack. His wife called me and asked if I would come to the hospital to pray with him and the family, sadly not the one he had been estranged from, that were to be there because it was the last time they would see him. I came as soon as I could.
A machine was keeping him alive so his wife decided that after we pray with him she would allow them to take him off of it and let him go to be with the Lord. We prayed for him and held his hands as he went to meet Jesus. And while praying with the family afterward I was able to remind them too of how much Jesus loves them.
I prayed that they would come to know Jesus as this man had. And that his journey was over and he was with the Lord. While theirs was still ongoing. How their need for Jesus was because only He could give eternal life because only He had conquered death.
I prayed that God would reveal to them that He is not mad at them because of some bad things they may have done. And that He would show them His great love and that all they needed to do is trust in Jesus as Lord. And believe He has raised from the dead to be saved.
It blesses me to know some of those I prayed with have since come to know the Lord. God is so good!
Later while speaking with this man's wife she told me how grateful she was that I was able to pray with him after the first heart attack and after the last one. And with the family. And how grateful she was to God for the loving man she had even if it was only for those few short weeks.
And she told me how grateful to God she was for having a son who was willing to share God's love with her and her husband. You see, she was my mom and he was my step dad.
Both have gone to be with the Lord now. And I too am grateful to God for allowing me to be the person through which He brought the wonderful message of His amazing grace to these 2 people Jesus gave His life for. A message that has within it the guarantee that we who know Jesus will be together again for eternity in God's kingdom.
Oh yes, I will see you again one day in God's kingdom mom because you trusted in Jesus. I will see you again too Don because you trusted in Jesus. And did not allow the deception of satan to get in the way of receiving God's greatest gift, eternal life.
The moral of this story is that worthiness has nothing to do with salvation. The notion of worthiness plays no role at all. Instead, it actually blocks the way to know Jesus to have eternal life.
The only thing that saves us is knowing and trusting in Jesus as He knows and trusts the Father saying "nevertheless not my will but thy will be done". This is the faith of Christ which Paul said is the only way a man can be justified before God so that works have nothing to do with it.
So trust in Him today and confess Jesus is your Lord. And believe in His resurrection. Pray that to Him and you too will be saved. Do this and I will see you there or in the air!
This message can also be heard at: Rumble
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