by Kathie Scriven
“Kathie is a friend and my editor. She has allowed me to share her testimony with my readers.” — Author Brad Wyrick
I was raised in a denominational church and attended a religious school for eight years. I always considered myself a Christian. I believed that Jesus was the Son of God and that He died to save mankind from eternal death. I always thought that if you tried to live a good life and didn’t commit any bad (or moral) sins that you would go to heaven.
I found out, however, at age 16 that Jesus said that no one could go to heaven unless they’ve been born again (John 3:3). I rejected true Christianity because I lacked the knowledge I needed to make an intelligent decision. God says in the Bible that people perish (or are destroyed) because they lack knowledge (Hosea 4:6). I’ve written this and have given it to you so that you won’t perish because you lack knowledge.
Millions of people will die and go to hell because they have been uninformed or misled about eternal salvation. Jesus warned, “Be careful that no one misleads you…” (Matt. 24:4).
The Bible is God speaking to man (2 Tim. 3:16). Scripture tells us that, “It is better to trust the Lord than to put confidence in men” (Psalms 118:8). ** You should only believe what the Bible says about receiving eternal life.
Don’t base your beliefs about eternal salvation on what you think, base it on what you see in the Word of God. Many people believe that since God is a good God, He would never send them to hell. That’s what I used to think. The truth is that God doesn’t send anyone to hell – people choose their destiny (whether they are fully aware of it or not).
Unfortunately, many people think they are a Christian when they’re actually not according to the Bible. The Apostle Paul wrote that “If anyone does not have the spirit of Christ living in him, he is not a Christian at all” (Rom. 8:9). **
Being a Christian is not just mentally believing in Jesus and trying to live a good life (James 2:17; Eph. 2:3,9; Gal. 2:21). Nor is it being baptized or attending a specific church. Becoming a Christian is an instant miracle that occurs inside a person when they commit their life to Jesus.
Jesus referred to this miracle as being “born again.” When a person is born again, they’re born again spiritually, not physically. They receive a new spirit or nature instead of the one they inherited at birth. They also literally receive the spirit of Jesus into their very being.
To explain the reason everyone must be born again, we need to go back in time. In the Garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve: “You must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it, you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17). When God says something will happen, it will happen because He can’t lie.
Therefore, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the tree, they had to die. However, they did not die physically–they died spiritually (Rom. 5:12-17).
Man is a three-dimensional being: 1) we are a spirit, 2) we live in a physical body, and 3) we have a mind or soul (1 Thess. 5:23). God created man with a godly spirit or nature like His (Gen. 1:26, 27). When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and obeyed Satan, their godly spirit nature in them then died, and they received a sinful nature.
Every person physically born into this world inherits this sinful nature (Jer. 17:9). No one who possesses this sinful nature can enter heaven. That is why Jesus said you must be born again. When you’re born again, your spirit becomes like the one God first made in Adam and Eve.
I can testify that the born-again experience is for real! I became a new person when I was born again, as this verse describes: “When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand-new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun” (2 Cor. 5:17). * The Amplified Bible states: “…he is a new creature altogether, a new creation; the old previous moral and spiritual condition has passed away.”
The day I was born again, I knew I had a spirit inside me that I never had before (Ezek. 26:36). I also felt an extreme peace, a love, and a joy that I had never experienced before (Phil. 4:6-7; Gal. 5:22).
Even though I had always known that there was a God since my childhood, He had always been a million miles away to me. Now God is very real and personal to me.
It’s impossible ever to be truly fulfilled or happy without making Jesus your Lord. Everyone who is not a Christian has a void or emptiness in their life. This void will not be satisfied until you are born again of the spirit.
People try to fill this void in several different ways. Some try to fill through alcohol, drugs, popularity, and human love from others. Other people try to fill it through career success, intellectual pursuits, money, material goods, athletic endeavors, etc.
Don’t get me wrong – some of these goals are fine and achieving them may help you to feel somewhat fulfilled and happy. However, even if you achieved success in all these areas, you would still have that void. Only Jesus Christ can fill it.
Before I accepted Jesus, I sought fulfillment and peace through many of the areas I mentioned. Even after I would achieve success to a degree in accomplishing some of these goals, the emptiness would still be there. It was only after I committed my life to God that I felt totally fulfilled and at peace.
Everyone who has never been born into the kingdom of God is living in the realm of darkness. Don’t spend your life searching for fulfillment – without God; you won’t find it. If you submit to God, He will reveal His perfect plan for your life to you.
To receive Jesus as your Lord and be born again, you must do three things. First, you must realize and acknowledge that you are a sinner. Scripture teaches that everyone who has never been born again is a sinner (Rom. 3:23).
Next, you must repent. This means that you must be sorry for the sins that you have committed against God. It also means that you must be willing to stop committing any sin you may be involved in. God knows that you can’t quit alone. Therefore, He will give you the spirit of Jesus and the Holy Spirit to help your new nature develop and to provide you with new desires.
Finally, you must give God total control of your life. Lord means “master, ruler, one to whom obedience is due.” You must be willing to obey everything that Scripture teaches and anything that God personally tells you to do.
When I was 16, I wanted Jesus as my Savior; but not as my Lord. I have found that you cannot have one without the other. If you want Jesus as your Savior, you must accept Him as your Lord.
I admit that it’s a radical decision to become a true Christian. When you make Jesus your Lord, you’re giving your life to God. But in exchange, you receive His nature and His spirit. Think about this – what a trade!
Jesus taught: “If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give it up for me, you will save it” (Matt.10: 39).** The Amplified version of the Bible states: “…whosoever loses his lower life on My account will find the higher life.”
When you receive Jesus, you accept the greatest miracle that any human being can receive. You are born into the kingdom of God the minute you decide to follow Jesus 100%.
Some people look at the things they must give up by making Jesus their Lord and think that it’s too much to sacrifice. If they only realized the truth, they would not hesitate to make the decision.
The benefits you’ll receive far outweigh anything you may have to give up. Unfortunately, you’ll never realize the advantages of the New Birth until you are born again or until after you die. And unfortunately then it will be too late.
The thing is, once you’re born again and have God’s nature in you, and you’ll eventually lose any desires to sin anyway (2 Pet. 1:4). I was into a partying lifestyle all through college – going to bars, nightclubs, etc. I lost the desire to do those things anymore after I was born again when I was 22. Any person who is genuinely born again and determined to go after the things of God will also eventually have no desire for the former life.
Unfortunately, some churches only teach rules and regulations to follow and don’t even explain that you need to be born again. The truth is that it’s impossible to live the Christian life without being a true Christian inside! You can’t do it no matter how hard you try because it’s against your nature.
Once you’re a Christian inside, though, the Christian life is not a struggle. It’s natural because it agrees with your new nature.
For example, I used to hate church. I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to drive so I could pretend I was going to church but drive somewhere else instead for that one hour. Now that I’m a real Christian, I love it (although I admit that the services I attend now are much livelier than the church I went to before). I also used to think that the “radical” Christian life would be dull and boring. Believe me; it’s just the opposite – especially considering the age we’re living.
I urge you to make Jesus your Lord as soon as possible. It’s dangerous to put off making this decision once you know the truth (Heb. 10:26, 27). Believe me; I know this is true. Running from God is no fun. It only leads to guilt, condemnation, confusion, and a lack of peace.
Nothing is as important as the decision to make Jesus your Lord. Don’t let anything – any sin, person, pride, or fear of what others will think of you keep you from accepting the gift of eternal life – think about your family and friends. If they’ve never heard the truth, your born-again experience could very well lead to their salvation.
Sometimes, however, a personal study of the Bible is not enough. Scripture teaches that people are saved by grace through faith. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). Hearing the preached word of God will help you to understand the truth.
Therefore, I urge you to begin attending a church that preaches the correct Word of God (with no added tradition). Jesus warns us that we should take time to hear biblical teaching no matter how busy we are (Luke 21:34; 10:41-42).
As I said earlier, God does not send anyone to hell. People choose their destiny. Unfortunately, it’s often through a lack of knowledge. You see, salvation is a gift (Rom. 6:23). In God’s eyes, He has given the gift of salvation to everyone in the world by sending Jesus to the Cross.
However, to receive this gift, you must decide to choose to receive it. The choice is yours.
In the book of Deuteronomy, God is recorded as saying: “This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live…” (Deut. 30:19).
“If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Josh. 1:8).
God loves you. He wants you to become His child and go to heaven. He advises you to serve Him. He sent His Son to suffer and die as your substitute to pay for your salvation. He led men to author a book explaining how you can receive eternal life.
However, God will never force anyone to serve Him. He has given every man a free will. Again, it’s your choice.
Jesus taught that: “The highway to hell is broad and its gate is wide enough for all the multitudes who choose its easy way. But the Gateway to Life is small, and the road is narrow, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7:13). *
As this verse shows, there are two roads in life. One is leading to hell and eternal death. The other leads to heaven and eternal life. Every person is either on one path or the other.
Only those people who have been born again are on the road to heaven. Destiny is not a matter of chance. It is a matter of choice.
*Scriptures take from the Amplified Bible.
**Scriptures taken from the Living Bible.
All other scriptures quoted are from the New International Version.