I have written many times in this column of my conversion experience. It was on a Sunday morning in the Mountain View Baptist Church, and I wish I knew the exact date, but I didn't make a note of it as I should have.
I do remember it was just after Easter in 1950, and I was a senior at Forest Park High School. I recall that morning vividly in my mind, for there was a spiritual battle going on: God's Holy Spirit was telling me He loved me and He wanted me to come to Jesus that very day! Satan was saying God didn't love me and I should not listen to Him; what would your friends think if you made a fool of yourself! Don't listen to Him, don't do it!
But I kept hearing God say through the preacher, "James, I love you!" I knew how bad my life was and how sinful I was. I felt I was a leader of the local bad guys. What would they say? I thought the way many non-Christians may think today-- "How could God love me, for I have so much sin in my life!"
But I kept hearing Him say, "I love you, James" and then He added, "I want to forgive you of your sins." I thought, how could He possibly forgive me, I know my life is full of sin! The Preacher was saying, "God loves you, sinner, and if you will come to Jesus right now, and admit your sin, He will forgive you!"
I can't express in words how hard it was to make that first step to come to Jesus, but I can tell you as I write this column, I still have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat as I recall my saving experience, even after 59 years of His loving and caring for me!
Praise God for His wonderful love and saving grace! He is still in the business of loving all mankind, yes, even you and me. And not only loving us, but saving us from the clutches of the devil, who tells us such lies, and leads us, through his temptations, to sin against a Holy God.
Do you know God loves you? Please consider John 3:16, in His Holy Word: "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, [Jesus Christ] that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have Eternal life."
When I read or recite this verse, I feel the great love and grace of God towards me and all sinners. After all these 59 years of knowing and experiencing God's love and blessings, I still am amazed at His great love, His unspeakable sacrifice of giving His only and beloved Son to be beaten and hated, abused and despised in such a horrible way -- nailed to a tree.
Why? Why would He do this, why would He make so great a sacrifice? "For God so loved the world ..." He says He did it for you and for me, all Mankind. He did it to provide a sacrifice so great that, "Whoever believes in Jesus would not perish," for He would forgive our sin because of what Jesus gave -- His life.
Yes, God promises to forgive our sins, no matter how bad they are, when we repent, put our faith in Him and declare our belief in Jesus Christ.
If you are not a Christian, please listen very closely as you read this: God does love you. In spite of all your sin, your disbelief, your lack of faith in Him, He loves you and He wants to forgive you. Now, the devil will lie to you, he will say there is no God, and you are a fool to believe there is. But listen to the voice in your heart that you know is the true and living God calling you to Jesus Christ, who gave His very life for you.
In Romans 6:23, God says: "The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life." Believe in God today and come to Jesus, then, you will know God loves you!