My Story: How I Have Eternal Life and Know It
Growing up in a Roman Catholic family, I was introduced to God very early in life. I was baptized as an infant, and I went to mass with my parents. However, I did not have a relationship with God, have any concern about knowing Him, or see myself a sinner.
Later, my parents trusted Christ as their Savior. They began attending Faith Baptist Church, Corona, NY, and I went with them. One Sunday morning when I was seven, evangelist Tom Farrell came and preached a message about hell. It concerned me: if I died without Christ, I would be in hell. I remember the invitation Mr. Farrell gave on that day as he quoted Romans 10:13,
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
I recognized that to be rescued from my sin and its eternal consequences, I simply needed to call upon Jesus to save me. After that sermon, someone explained to me what Jesus did for me in His death and resurrection, and that He would give me eternal life if I asked Him. I did just that, and that decision gave me new purpose, joy, and anticipation for my future, both on earth and in heaven. He saved me - I received eternal life.
However, my adolescent years were not the best. Beginning in my 6th grade year, I made some poor choices that caused my love for God to decrease. I developed habits that I wanted to keep secret from those that wanted to help me. The longer I hid them, the further away from God I became. I began to wonder if I had eternal life in the first place, if I had a relationship with God at all.
In my junior year of high school, I attended a youth conference in Wisconsin. While there, I heard a sermon on confession of sin from Psalm 51. I knew I needed to tell my parents what I was doing, but I was too scared to be fully honest. Not until a year later, when I was so sick of my sin and hiding it, that I told my parents about my poor choices. I came clean, and I am glad I did.
I went to Bible college, where I started learning how to overcome these struggles. However, I still doubted whether I truly received eternal life from Christ. I was a spiritual mess, and I didn’t know what to do. I was asking myself questions such as:
Did I depend on the prayer to be saved?
I don’t feel saved – does that mean I’m not?
Did I really believe Christ saved me?
Did I understand that I was a sinner?
Although I clearly remembered my decision as a child, I still had these plaguing questions. These questions would come and go throughout my young adult years. Ultimately, in my early 30s, they came back with great force. I couldn’t remember if, as a child, I understood that I was a sinner before God. Finally, early one morning before I drove to go to work, I said to God,
“God, I know I am a sinner, and I can’t do anything to go to heaven, but I know Jesus died for me, and I’m just trusting in what He did to save me. Amen.”
Ever since that morning, I haven’t had doubts of my salvation. However, I still remember that decision at age seven. I believe I trusted Christ at that point, receiving eternal life from Him!
Someone may wonder, “If you had doubts, why do you think you trusted Christ as a child?” Good question: It is because I know that as a child I had simple dependence on Christ for my soul, though I may not had understood every detail. The Bible teaches that it is by simple, childlike faith in Christ - not works - through which we receive eternal life from God. When I believed, God declared me righteous.
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Romans 4:5
Additionally, one’s assurance is never based on their memory of specifics surrounding their salvation. If it was, it would be very difficult for anyone to be sure of their salvation, especially for those who trusted Christ at a young age. I don’t remember every detail from that day, but I do remember hearing of hell, of Christ’s death for me, and that I needed to call upon Him for salvation, which I did!
This leads to the ultimate question: what can one depend on to give him the assurance that He received eternal life from Christ?
We find the answer in 1 John 5:13.
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
In this verse, John tells us that those who know that they have eternal life are those who “believe on the name of the Son of God”. To “believe” is not only mental assent but dependence and trust. In this verse, “believe” is in the present tense. John is telling those who ARE BELIEVING in Christ that they can know they HAVE eternal life.
Since it is not a past tense but a present tense faith, can you say at this very moment you are looking to Christ alone for eternal life? What is more important than the specifics of your salvation date is the OBJECT of your faith – RIGHT NOW!
If you can honestly say your heart is trusting only on Christ for salvation, you ARE saved! If not, that is okay - you can put your trust in Christ today and receive eternal life now. Then you can know that you have it, just as God has promised!