by Ruth Ann Leonard.
I was born in Warsaw, New York. I grew up in Lincoln, NE in a Christian home. My parents taught me about Jesus and how he died on a cross for me and became alive again.
I went to church. I learned that I am a sinner (Romans 3:23), that the payment for sin is death (Romans 6:23), that Jesus died for my sins on the cross, was buried, raised again on the third day and is now alive in Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). I also learned that heaven is a wonderful place and hell is a terrible place and when you die you go to one or the other for eternity, which is a very long time.
Sin is anything that we say, think, or do that is not pleasing to God. This includes not obeying your parents, lying, cheating, and many other things.
When I was about four years old, I remember mom asking me the question ‘If you were to die tonight where would you go?’ I wasn’t sure so I asked her how I could be sure that I would go to heaven. She explained that first, I had to tell God that I was a sinner, then tell Him that I believed He sent His Son to die for my sins, that He raised Him from the dead, ask Him to forgive my sins, and then thank Him for sending His Son to die on the cross for my sins and forgiving my sins.
I thought that I was saved when I did that, but it wasn’t until about 20 years later, after having grown up in church and being baptized, that I realized I had not trusted God fully at the age of four. I was challenged one Sunday morning in church by a message on Matthew 7:21-23 where Jesus says ‘Not every one that saith unto me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name done many wonderful works?’ and then I will profess unto them, ‘I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” According to John 6:40, the will of the Father is to believe on Jesus. To believe is to put full confidence in God’s promises.
At the age of four I did not understand what it meant to trust God. To trust God means that you rely completely on what He says He will do He will do. Because I am fully relying on what God said He would do He has done, I know for certain that I will have a never-ending relationship with God. Since I trusted God, I have been faithful in reading His Word, the Bible, and praying every day, confessing my sins. I am also involved in several Bible studies to help me grow in my understanding of the scriptures.
Perhaps the following verses will help you as they did me.
John 6:40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.
Romans 3:23 All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.
1 Corinthians 15:3,4 Christ died for our sins, He was buried and rose again on the third day according to the scriptures.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 1: 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.