My testimony to my salvation and the faith (Presented to AFC meeting In 2005)

I would like to pray with you first.

 

Thank You Father for giving us this opportunity to share the testimony to your love and grace. As we share Your great and abundant love and grace, let us glorify and praise Your name. Please enlighten us so that we can see the hope and riches of inheritance we have in You. Bless your precious souls who read this and let them know the power of Your words and the Holy Spirit so that they can work out what You have begun to work in them and discover the true joy in Jesus Christ our Savior. With Jesus Christís precious name we pray.

 

Do you know the first book in the Bible and the first sentence in that book. Yes, it is [In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)] Do you truly believe this? If you do so, then there is nothing impossible to believe in the Bible.

 

I met Jesus and became a born-again Christian when I was a college student. I grew up in South Korea. When I was a young boy, I remember going to church a few times with friends to get Christmas presents. But I never went to Church regularly, never thought about God and never prayed on my own. I went to a college to major in pre-med, but I was spending all the time chasing girls, partying, and drinking. I thought somehow these things would fill some emptiness and insignificance I had inside me.I had a girlfriend and she got pregnant. Without any hesitation, we decided to abort the baby. At that time in Korea, any doctor would perform an abortion. I didnít feel any guilt at that time, but later in my life I discovered that that incident caused me so much pain and emotional destruction and unbearable guilty feeling. Soon my life became so miserable that I could not keep up the school work and I had to repeat all my classes after the first year. Eventually I was kicked out of the school. My girlfriend left me. At that time my father retired without any money and my mother had to work as a housekeeper to support the family and we lived in a temporary house built on the top of a building. I felt like going down to a bottomless pit. It was the most miserable and unbearable moment in my life. I had no hope, no friends, and no money.I didnít know what I wanted to do. I hated myself, everyone and the whole world. I tried to kill myself but failed. I found a job as a restaurant manager and worked for about a year, but I could not continue because of ongoing drinking problem.

 

As I was wasting time without doing anything, my parents encouraged me to study again. There was nothing else to do. So I decided to study business because I thought, if I make a lot of money, my miserable life could be changed. But before I finished the first semester I was enlisted for mandatory military service in Korean Army for three years. I was so scared and desperate that I decided to go to church during my training period to get some help from God. At the church in the training camp I received a little bible that had only new testaments and psalms. I read it but it never interested me, but I kept going to Church to see some other people and to get some delicious snacks. During my three years of military service I prayed to God asking many things and felt like God helped me go through the difficult times.

 

After completing the military service, I came back to the college campus. This time I was a different person, I was disciplined and determined and mature. I knew I had to study hard to get a descent job. And I wanted to get scholarship not to burden my mother who was breaking her back to support the family. I was doing pretty well in my study always staying at the top of the class but I forgot all about God.In my thought, God was not real but created by man to comfort himself. But something was happening inside me. I was suffering so much from guilty feeling about what I had committed in earlier years, lying, stealing, pride, hypocrisy, sexual sins, causing so much pain to my parents, and even a murder. I tried to forget the guilty feeling by focusing on studying or sometimes drinking heavily, but with no avail. I was so ashamed of myself that I avoided people and I was in deep depression. At that time the political environment in Korea was very turbulent and most colleges were closed because of student demonstrations. So I went to the school library to study every day. One day I met a couple of my old classmates who were in my class before I was enlisted. They asked me if I was interested in learning about the bible and God. They explained me that there was a week-long program of teaching the Bible with three hours each day. By the way, they were girls and I could not say no affirmatively. So, even though I was not interested, I said I would attend but only the first day.

 

On the first day, I learned the bible from a historical perspective. For the first time I learned to see that the bible was not only about commandments, rules or laws, but HIS Story, that is, humankindís history with God. It contained the beginning and the end of mankind. The pastor at the program showed supporting documents and evidence on many of the events occurred in the Bible. I was confused. Is God real? Is the bible true? I wanted to find out more about the bible so I went to the bible study again on the next day voluntarily. I learned about the great flood in Noahís time and many supporting evidence presented by scientists. Even the Noahís Ark was shown to many people in the Mount Ararat in Turkey. I have learned many mysterious things in the Bible revealed by modern science.

The way I was looking at the Bible has been completely changed. I could not deny the claim that the Bible was written by Godís inspiration. I continued to attend the bible study and discovered more about human being, why everyone including me were so corrupt. I was born as a sinner since I was in Adamís belly when he joined the serpent to rebel against God. Then a lot of questions arose in my mind. Why did God allow such rebellion and made me commit such terrible sins? Why did he make me like this? The pastor told me that God had created me to glorify God. But I could not accept it. How such a miserable and wretched sinner like me can glorify God? I deserve the hell. The pastor continued that God had paid the price for all my sins to make me free from the sins and make me righteous before Him. Before the last day of the bible study, for the first time in my life I prayed sincerely to God. ďGod I want to believe you, the pastor told me you can forgive all my sins but I donít know how I can be forgiven. If you can, please forgive all my sins and let me be free from this heavy burden of guilty feeling.Ē

 

On the last day, I heard the Good News, the Gospel. Jesus Christ, the son of God came down to this world, to save me, to pay for the wage of all my sins. [(1 John 4:10) This is love; not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent His son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.] [(Romans 5:8) God demonstrates his own love for us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for our sins.] I had read these verses before, but didnít know what they meant.

 

Now it dawned on me that Christ suffered for me, the thorn crown on his head poking into the skull, the whips tearing out the flesh, the nails piercing the hands and feet, the spear on the side pouring out blood and water from his body until the last drop was drained. He suffered all this for my sins. And God had planned for this long time before Jesus came. [(Isaiah: 53:5-6) He was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our inequities. The punishment that brought us piece was upon Him and by His wounds we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way. And the Lord has laid on Him the inequity of us all.]

 

I had to give in to God and confess ďI need you and I believe in you. I am so sorry for all my sins I committed. And thank you for forgiving my sins through Jesus Christ.Ē One day in September, 1986, God answered my prayer and gave me conviction that I was forgiven. And I believed that God created the heaven and the earth and the entire Bible was the true words of God.

I realized what it meant when the Bible says [(John 8:31) Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.] Yes, the truth, the words of God, shed light on me and I became free, free from sin, free from anger, free from frustration, free from emptiness, free from guilty feeling and free from darkness. I was born again, recreated with the life of Jesus. I learned the true meaning of love and grace. I thought love was some kind of feeling, but the love God had shown me was an action, an action of taking the death on the cross in my place. There was nothing I did for God, but I was forgiven out of Godís love and that was grace. God called me to His grace by revealing his love through Jesus Christ.

God calls everyone to be a Christian. If you just think you are saved because God loves everyone and Jesus died for the entire world and you are included in that world, you are a starving Christian or even may not be a Christian. Unless you repent from your sins and are forgiven through the blood of Jesus by faith, you have no relationship with God. God calls you to repent and be forgiven. Through this calling of God you become reconciled with God and are called a son of God. Whatever sins or darkness you have, how miserable or in despair you are, there is nothing surpassing the power of the blood of Jesus and the love of God. [(Ephesians 2:18-19) I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe, That power is like the working of his mighty strength.]

As we respond to this general call of God, the words of God enlighten our hearts and begin working in us and we become Christian. From this calling we discover the purpose of life, why God has created us and saved us. We often think God exists for us. But the bible says God made us for Himself. We are made to glorify God. Then how can we glorify him? We glorify God by working out what God has worked in us. We cannot glorify God without first letting God work in us through His words and the Holy Spirit. Only then we can truly glorify God as Christians, not by strict religious laws but spontaneously with thankful heart. Many people have difficulty in receiving the grace of God, the free salvation through the death of Jesus. They try to obtain the salvation by their deeds. Galatians (5:4) says [You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.]Grace doesnít require any work from your part.

I discovered the meaning of Christian in (Romans 1:6) which says [You also are among those who are called to belong to Jesus Christ]. Yes, we belong to Christ, he bought us to be His. As I appreciate more and more the meaning of Christian. I realize that the purpose of Christian life is to glorify God through Jesus Christ. We glorify God in response to His love and grace, not to gain favor.

 

We are called, then, first to be a certain kind of person, the call to be a Christian. But we are also called to do certain kinds of things to glorify God.St. Peter writes, [(1Pet 4:10) Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.] This call to administer Godís grace in its various forms is a particular calling specific to each Christian. The calling is called a vocation. The original meaning of vocation is calling. Then how do we administer Godís grace? [(Matthew 25:40) 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.']Yes, we administer Godís grace and serve God by loving and serving others.

 

By answering this calling, we participate Godís providence as noted in the Fabric of this world by Lee Hardy: ďWe are not expected or able to do all things, but only the things which God has enabled and called us to do. In the discharge of our various particular callings we together build up the interdependent society of the saints, which finds its unity in Christ, the head of the church. We cannot by ourselves meet all of our needs, even our basic bodily needs, through our own efforts. Rather we depend upon others, as they depend upon us. Through the human pursuit of various vocations, the hungry are fed, the naked are clothed, the sick are healed, the ignorant are enlightened, and the weak are protected. That is, by working we actually participate in Godís ongoing providence for the human race.Ē

 

Most people nowadays go through four or five career changes in their lifetime. I studied business because I thought it will give me the means to make a lot of money. But God showed me so many things that I became convinced that I do not need a lot of money to live a meaningful life. I worked at a bank right after college but an opportunity came up to study in the US and I decided to pursue it. But I did not know what to do after. Later I found myself enjoying studying itself and decided to pursue the final degree. I become convinced that I have found my true calling as a professor. But how can I be sure? Has God really given me the appropriate intellectual gifts and a genuine zeal for teaching and research? Or am I just fooling myself? To answer these you have to struggle with God.

 

We might have our eye on a certain career because of the salary. We approach our career as a means to untold riches and material delights. Or perhaps we find ourselves attracted to a certain career because of its social prestige. We want to prove to othersóand perhaps to ourselvesóthat we are much more talented and capable than either thought. We treat our prospective career as a magic wand to wave before the crowds to command their respect, awe, and admiration. Or perhaps we are unhappy with the way God has made us, and we are envious of another personís gifts and accomplishments. Our career becomes the tool of our covetousness. Or we begin by being aimed at certain careers due to family expectations about what we are going to do with our lives, and we are afraid to disappoint our parents. We live in fear of what others would think of us. Our career becomes a place where we hide ourselves from others. We convince ourselves that we are qualified for certain careers, while what led us to choose those careers had very little to do with our particular gifts or the human needs around us.

 

Discovering Godís will for oneís life is not so much a matter of seeking out miraculous signs and wonders. Over time as you grow spiritually, you will think your vocation more and more in terms of your service to others and less and less in terms of salary, prestige, or what others think. At every turn in the course of my life, I had to struggle with the sins of greed, pride, envy, and fear which cloud the vision of who I am and who I belong to. Whenever I have gone astray God made me fell down on my knees and finally I rested secure with a conviction that God called me to a vocation. It is no accident that I am what I am here and now.God Himself places me where I am. If you are not sure about your vocation, go to God asking for His guidance. Too often we donít really believe that God is present and at work in this world.

 

Donít ask what the meaning of life is. It is you who give the meaning to your life. What is important is not what you do or what you have but who you are, who you belong to. As long as you belong to Christ and you work for him, every moment of your life is full of meaning.

 

Letís pray,

 

Father, we thank you for giving us Jesus as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Please bless each one of your precious souls who belong to Christ. Let them come to you freely and joyfully and enjoy the riches and the power of the life of Jesus Christ and let them share the life of Christ you have given them with others through their vocation. Let them discover and respond to your calling to a vocation through which they serve others so that you can be glorified. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior.