About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
My Story And I'm Sticking To It
I was raised in the
1950/60's Evangelical Methodist tradition.
I do appreciate my heritage but due to some of the content and
style of preaching back then I was riddled with guilty feelings.
I never knew if I was saved or unsaved, on my way to heaven or the
I was frightened of
those eternal flames. I didn't
want to burn up in them if I was killed in a car accident on the way home
from church, something I recall being warned about in many sermons.
I had little choice. I
needed to head to the altar to get saved every week or so, only to wake
the next day feeling guilty and unsaved as ever.
Feeling saved was
fleeting. Did Jesus sit at His
desk with a pen in one hand and an eraser in the other hand?
Did He write my name in the Lamb's Book of Life one day, only to
erase it the next day? Would
not that be a bit tedious?
How could I ever rid
myself of these guilty feelings? How
many trips to an altar would it take?
How many prayers of forgiveness would I need to pray?
To cover the odds of losing my salvation, every evening I'd pray a
general prayer of forgiveness. What
in the name of heaven did I need to do, and therein lies the real issue.
In the midst of the
confusion, one Saturday evening in February, 1970, I knelt by my bed once
again. "Please Jesus, if
I'm not forgiven, can you please forgive me."
To my astonished amazement I woke the next day still feeling saved.
Furthermore, I no longer wanted to live the Christian life to
simply appease my guilty feelings. From
the depth of my heart I wanted to serve Jesus.
So what happened to me
that evening? Did I have some
kind of psychological metamorphosis that tricked my brain into believing I
was finally saved? I was
buried way too deep in guilty feelings for that to have been the case.
Did I have an emotional breakdown that sent my saddened soul into a
saved state? Unlike my trips
to the altar, there were no tear-filled emotions.
I have only one explanation. I
encountered a divine intervention of God's Spirit, and at the time I
didn't even realize it. If you
have a better explanation, I'm listening.
Since that three-second
prayer I've given myself to Biblical study so it can be part of my life.
I've learned that guilt is not a feeling as I once thought.
In Biblical terms, guilt is the position in which one stands before
the Universal Judge. He either
declares you guilty or innocent, and that, despite how you feel.
I can honestly say that
since my divine intervention I've been free of all feelings associated
with guilt. My name is written
in the Lamb's Book of Life where there is no hint of guilt associated with
my name. I don't worry about
my name being erased. Jesus
was declared guilty on my behalf so I could be declared innocent, and
therein lies the solution to my so-called guilty feelings.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.