Praise God!! I'm Saved and I Know It!
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When I was a little girl, my grandparents would take me to church and teach me about Jesus. My mom’s mom, Granny Lively, lived with us. She would always humor me, playing board and card games except when she was reading her Bible. That was the thickest book I had ever seen! I tried to pull her away from it and get her to play with me but she would brush me aside until she was finished. I couldn’t understand how she could read a book so … big!
A friend of my mom’s invited us to go to her church. Whereas, my mom never seemed to like that church, my granny and I attended somewhat faithfully. I was never made to go to church but I was given my choice. Many times, I would choose to stay at home on Sunday night and watch Walt Disney movies. Granny always expressed her disappointment in my choice of staying home instead of going to church.
On one memorable Sunday morning, a friend of mine went forward to talk to the preacher about accepting Jesus as her Savior. Well, I was only 8 at the time, and I tried to stop her because I believed she was embarrassing herself. However, the preacher took me by the hand and asked me if I believed I was a sinner … Yes I knew I was. Next, he asked me if I believed Jesus died on the cross for my sins. Well, I can’t remember not knowing about Jesus. Both my Grannys made sure of that! Needless to say, after that discussion and prayer with the preacher, he pronounced me saved! Except for one thing … I was the same. If I was saved shouldn’t there be a difference??? “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). I wondered.
Well, my dad sat me on his knee and asked me if I wasn’t a Christian now. I remember asking, “Well, what’s a Christian?” He didn’t give me the best answer because he said it was someone who was really good. Then I had to reply the truth, “Well … I’m not real good. But, I’m not real bad either.” In my heart, I knew nothing had changed except my quest to figure out how I was supposed to feel if I did get saved. So I asked my Granny Lively. Surely she would know. “Granny, how do you know when you’re saved?” She said, “I don’t know how to explain it; except, that you’ll know!” That made no sense to me! But, if she was right about knowing when you’re saved then one thing was for certain … I was not saved! That unintentional trip to the altar hadn’t changed a thing!
I continued to go to church, when I wanted to. However, I really enjoyed going to church so I chose to go most of the time. I loved the singing and socialization. But, I always started fidgeting and many times, went downstairs to the bathroom, the moment the preaching started.
Finally, a dear old lady sitting behind me told me that I really should start staying in my seat and listening to the preacher. She was right! He preached in a way that I could understand. And he encouraged me to read the Bible for myself instead of just taking his word for what it said. So I did. I began reading it some each day, like the preacher said. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). As hard as the Bible may have seemed to understand, I kept reading because I wanted to do what the preacher said. He sounded like he knew what he was talking about.
God started working on me, convicting me for my many sins. More times than one, the preacher would give the invitation and I would squeeze the back of the seat with my sweaty hands, refusing to go forward when God was calling me. “…Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2b). The devil would remind me that everyone thought I was already saved. I had already gone forward. Certainly they would know I had made a false profession of salvation and I would be ashamed! So this went on for the next four years.
Then I entered 7th grade in a school that ranged from 7-12th in the same building. Since I had joined band, my schedule had to be changed to match the upperclassmen. So I ended up with 4th period lunch with the older kids. Some friends from church were in band too and invited me to attend Bible Club during lunch time, in one of the teacher’s classrooms. The Bible Club became my normal hang out. Now God was showing me that living for Him wasn’t just for older people but for young people too. The president of Bible Club just radiated the love of God all over her face. She spoke in front of the club many times and told about how good God had been to her. I wanted what she had … that joy and happiness!
That whole 7th grade year, God worked on me, convicting my heart for all the terrible things I had done and said! “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Romans 3:10-11). I was still attending church and reading my Bible. I would ask God to forgive me of my sins but nothing changed! “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). Granny said I would know it. All I knew is that I kept asking God to save me but my heart stayed the same! “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9). Why wouldn’t He save me???
Was Granny wrong … could I be saved and not realize it??? One night, I had a horrible dream that God was destroying the earth with fire raining down from heaven. I could see the mountains burning with fire; but, my parents kept sitting on the porch talking as if nothing was happening. They couldn’t see it! I was a frantic mess and then I woke up! Sitting upright in my bed with sweat dripping off of me, I pleaded with God to save me before I died and went to hell! I didn’t understand what was holding me back; but, I trusted that God would work it out. After all, “The Lord…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b). Little did I know that the goodness of God was leading me to repentance (Romans 2:4b paraphrased).
Finally, I was invited by a neighborhood woman to attend a Good News Club being held in my community. It was a hot summer day and this gave me something to do. Maybe there were snacks? So I went and listened to the teacher as she taught using a picture book. She didn’t read the lesson but told the story from the bible so expressively that I hung on every word she said. The last thing I recall her saying was more of a challenge or call to action. She said, “When Jesus was hanging on the cross for our sins, and He said, ‘It is finished,’ His work was complete. A few days later, He would rise from the dead, fulfilling God’s plan of salvation, doing everything He needed to do to save you. Now it is up to you. The ball is in your court. What will you do?” Would I receive Him as my Savior or reject Him, yet again?
That was the long…est walk home I had ever experienced. The distance was the same but my burdens lay heavy on my heart. God was again dealing with me, reminding me of all the times I had fought my sister … SIN, sassed my parents … SIN, taken God’s name in vain … SIN, and on and on…. Could it be I really did have nail-piercing, burdensome sin that I needed forgiveness for? Now, I truly was sorry. When I prayed the countless times before, I lacked an essential ingredient for my salvation … godly sorrow. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Godly sorrow is needful for repentance. God was willing to save me when I realized the magnitude of my sins. Though I had never killed anyone or robbed a bank, my sins still separated me from the holy God and nailed Jesus to the cross.
So on August 4, 1982 at 3:53 pm, I trusted in Jesus as my personal Savior. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9,10). He saved me and took the burden of sins that I had been carrying away. And Granny was right … I knew I was saved!
I recorded these details about my salvation experience immediately because my pastor said I should so that when the devil challenges my salvation, as he will, I can tell him the details. And he has questioned me a few times but I tell him the facts and he flees the scene.
For example, that night we had vacation bible school at my church. I had told my teacher about getting saved and she encouraged me to go forward and tell the preacher, in front of the whole church. As the invitation played, my hands began to grip the back of the seat and the devil whispered to me, “Rhonda, nothing’s changed. You’re not saved. Don’t go forward or you’ll be ashamed!” This time, I had an answer. Today at 3:53 pm Jesus took my sins away so I let go of the back of the seat and stepped out. In front of a church full of people, I told them all that I had accepted Jesus as my personal Savior. And the devil had lied because I wasn’t ashamed! Praise God! I’m saved and I know it!!! “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29).
Friend, my purpose in sharing my story of how God worked out my salvation was to help work out yours. God wants you to come to Him just as you are, admitting you’re a sinner (Romans 3:23) and asking Him to forgive you. Don’t delay but pray! Do you believe Jesus died for you? “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8,9). There’s only one way to be saved so don’t believe the devil’s lies. “Jesus saith unto him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Don’t put it off. Put your trust in Jesus Christ and ask Him to save you today. Follow God’s leading and you, too, can know you’re saved. —Rhonda Grimmett