"Lost in the Religious System, but Found Through the
Grace of God"
By Gloria Bedingfield
I first heard the grace message in 1979, and was saved in 1991. You may think that was a long time to sit under the "grace message" and be lost, but you see I had been raised in a family of independent Baptist and southern Baptists. At the age of nine in a Sunday school class my teacher asked if there was anyone who wanted to go to heaven when they died to raise their hands. "I" raised my hand and was told to kneel by a chair and my teacher had me to recite after her a prayer. Afterward the teacher told me to go to the preacher and tell him what "I" had done and "I" was baptized and joined the church.
Many years later as a teenager I happened to be in a cemetery and there was a large old cross. I remember looking up at the cross, which seemed so large at the time and a strange feeling, came over me and I realized for the first time that the story of Jesus wasn't just a fairy tale but had actually happened. The next Sunday I went to church and told the pastor about "my experience" and he told me that I probably had never been saved and that I needed to be baptized again. On this "experience" I trusted for the next 40 years for my salvation.
Only after sitting under the preaching of the Word of God rightly divided did I began to have doubts about my salvation. I remember thinking every time the preacher would preach or someone would give their testimony about "knowing" they were saved and having no doubts that I would be convicted by this (II Corinthians 4:3 & 4 "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of hrist who is the image of God, should shine unto them."); however, I would immediately think about all the years I had taught Sunday School, played the piano and organ in church and take myself back to my teenage "experience" and I would turn off any doubts I had. (Ephesians 2:9 "Not of works, lest any man should boast.") For after all "I" had asked Jesus to save me and had the "experience." Beware of all the "I's" and "experiences in your life."
On a Sunday in January 1991, I sat in church and heard the preacher preach about what Christ had done on the cross (I Corinthians 1:18 "For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.") and at the close of that service he had us bow our heads and he made the statement; "someone in here is lost." There were very few people in church that Sunday and I remember as I bowed my head and thought about the words I had heard from the Word of God - it was if a light came on and I KNEW I was lost and on my way to HELL. (Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.")
Let me tell you I was so scared! At that moment I told God, "It is me Lord, and I believe that you died for ME and I am going to TRUST IN THAT and if it isnât enough I will just have to go to hell." I was so tired of worrying about my salvation. At that moment a great peace came over me and I have NEVER DOUBTED my salvation again. WOW what a terrific thing to KNOW that Christ died for ME! (Ephesians 1:13 "In whom ye also trusted, after that we heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that we believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.")
Since that day and years of reading my Bible and trusting in it and it alone, my life is so much greater. I have peace of mind (Romans 5:1 "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ;"), peace in my home (Psalms 127:1 "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it:.....") and I know that no matter what the world dishes out that in the end I will live forever with him who paid my debt at the cross.
I hope that my testimony will help someone else who may be having doubts. If you are, then you ARE NOT saved for when you fully trust in what Christ did for YOU, there will be no more doubts.