How I Became a Christian

By Chris Barry

In my last year of school, which was Form five and having stayed down a couple of years I was eighteen, the only reason for this; I was just a fool. My Sister on our birthday was making arrangements to take my brother and myself to the local hotel for a couple of drinks; I remember that my father on hearing this rebuked her, He could see this was not a wise move. We did not go for our drinks that night, but it wasn't long before we found our own way and there started four years of solid drinking many times waiting for the doors to open and the Barman waiting for me to leave at doors close. There was a break of scenery within that time of about one year. The Social Security sent me to a Rehab centre called " Coonak " based in an old mansion in Toorak. My drinking slowed a little, there was still nights and the weekends. Twice I found myself in hospital because I had taken too many ' Valium 'or ' Serapax ', it was normal for me to have one or two when drinking. In the hospital the first time, a nurse asked me if I would do this again, I remember saying yes; I could see no way out, no room for improvement. Looking back from where I stand now,"I thank you my God for your mercy and for choosing me for your Salvation." There were many times He could have snuffed out my life and sent me to a righteous damnation in Hell. For the wages of sin is death" ¦"Rom: 6v23 "And God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day "Ps: 7v11.

Now I knew I was not righteous. There had been a deep fear of death in my heart for years. When I would travel to Melbourne by train there were times it would slow down and my carriage would stop under a road bridge. I was afraid the bridge would fall and crush us, so I Left my seat and moved quickly to safety knowing full well that "" ¦as it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgement." Heb: 9v27. Yes many times I should have lost my life, but God says of his angels, " Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of Salvation." Heb: 1v14.Kept from dying from the drink, suffocating in my own vomit, overdosing with tablets and escaping which seemed to be at the last possible moment from a head-on collision and having a faithful friend plucking me without a second to spare from the path of a passing school bus. I was drunk and would not have known much about it if the bus had hit me. People will say, now that's it, besides no one knows what's beyond. But we do know because "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." 2 Tim: 3v16. And God has revealed to us about a rich man "...The rich man also died and was buried; and in Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torments..." Luke: 16v22-23. There you are in writing about a man who is now in hell. A man with the same nature as everyone born from Adam; the scriptures say of those saved by Christ that we " were by nature the children of wrath, even as others." And God has declared " The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Jer: 17v9. I knew this was true and you cannot deny it "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." Matt: 15v19. " For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Rom: 3v23.

My time at the centre came to an end and I left Melbourne to live back in the family home at Sale. I was a great burden and sorrow to my parents (though they had not told me so), I know because " A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her that bare him." Proverbs: 17v 25. On returning I just continued as though I had never left or as though I had never learnt. I did get involved in unemployment groups, but the drinking and partying were as strong as ever. To give you some depth of how low I was, my brother and I had some friends who got sick of us and called us the scum of the earth.

I need to say that I was a practicing Roman Catholic, sincere in going to confession and being honest about my sins confessing what I thought they were to the priest and being thankful that he ministered absolution from them. I thought he had been given power to forgive me of my sins; he was in my mind the mediator between myself and God. But "All scripture is given by inspiration of God..." God has spoken; listen! " For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus."1Tim: 2v5. "" ¦The Lord swore and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek, By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament." Heb: 7v21-22. God the Father decreed that his Son would be a priest forever. "But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore, he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." Heb: 7v24-25. There is none who stands with Him in this; the teaching that Mary is doing an intercessory work is a "doctrine of demons", because many sincere Catholics have put there trust in her to intercede, hoping that she will secure favour for them actually saying to her in prayer"" ¦pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, Amen." For it is taught that her requests will be more readily answered then yours, seeing she is the mother of God. That's not putting your trust in Christ, "Yes, let God be true and every man a liar." Surely they are saying, " we will not have this man to reign over us," for right before their eyes God states he has made him a surety and he is able to complete this work on his own. Now this is a cry straight from Heaven: - "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Acts 4 v12.

So when a religious system comes and provides priests who will pronounce to you your sins are forgiven, when the Lord Jesus has already said, "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins." Mark: 2v10. The word from Isa: 8v20,assures us of our stand, " To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." The confessional box is in darkness; there is no Light there.

About a week before I came to the Savior, I was at a friends place I Remember talking to her Father in a way as only a drunk man can, stressing to him what had just dawned on me, that there really was a Savior, I was preaching to him saying its true, its true. In Gods words this is what I grasped " For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John: 3 v16. That's as far as I got I did nothing about it; just voicing to a friend its true its true, doesn't save you.

The point I wont to make now is that there were times Christians would confront me, to tell me about the Savior and my need for Him and now that I am saved I have done this very thing to others; I remember giving a young man a lift, I honestly can't say if I spoke to him about Christ or put on an audio cassette for him to listen to, but this I will never forget he bowed his head very low and when it came time for him to leave the car he shot out the door like a speeding bullet. God was speaking, a little here (and it was my time that day to give him) a little there; I feel God was preparing him that he might come to the Savior.

While my brother Anthony and I were still at school we had a friend with whom we would spend an evening once a week at his place, watching the movie on TV with chips etc to feed on and for refreshments one or two glasses of beer. There came a day when God had mercy on him and saved him, our visits continued and were still enjoyable even
with the replacement soft drinks. Ray was eager to speak to us both, about the one who saved his soul, the living God, who is the Savior of all men. I know he loved us because many times the TV would be turned off and the Bible was opened, I speak only of myself he allowed me to dribble on in my answering then brought me back, but the scriptures say this, listen! We saw amongst other things "" ¦that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures."1st Cor: 15v3-4. Ray was careful to read word for word from the Word of God; the Holy Spirit showing us just how important that is, saying in Rom: 10v17 "So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

The night came when I met the Savior and it was a real meeting, whilst the apostle Paul could say "And last of all he was seen of me also" ¦" I can equally say He drew near unto me and made himself known. I had just got home with a friend from spending I think an hour or two down the hotel, now Anthony my twin a short time before came to the Savior, he had a Christian friend called Danny visiting, who when we went in to say hello wasted no time in telling my friend how he got saved, I of course was listening and as I sat on the end of a bed my mind was taken up with the Savior It was like the door of my heart was opened and I knew the Lord Jesus was waiting outside. (It must have been like the women in the book of Acts " And a certain women, named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God, heard us; whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken by Paul.") Acts: 16v14: I had a problem;(it wasn't that I did not know what Christ had done I knew God the Father "" ¦hath made him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 2Cor: 5v21 and "that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself not imputing their trespasses unto them" ¦" 2Cor: 5v19. I said before that I was a sincere Roman Catholic and that was true going to mass regularly, in the mass it is said the wafer or host, by the priest actually becomes the body and the wine the blood of Jesus; the priest offered afresh the lord Jesus and every time the mass is offered no matter where in the world it becomes a brand-new offering. They make Christ to die for our sins day in and day out. But, " The words of the Lord are pure words, like silver tested in a furnace of earth, purified seven times."Ps: 12v6 And they have been caught out, " Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with the blood of others." Heb: 9v25. And not far from this it is written, " Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." Heb: 9v12.)

My problem was a love for sin, the desire for the drink and the lifestyle; I knew would come to an end if I came to the Savior, the Savior was calling and I don't know how long I halted but the one who upholds all things by the word of his power waited for me; As I lingered the thought came tomorrow will be too late the door of my heart would be closed and I would be lost forever. This was not just me thinking well because I saw a week or so ago clearly Gods way of Salvation I better do something about it, no! The Lord Jesus was there calling me not barging in but waiting outside for my reply, I remember the feeling of dread, if I put off my response till morning. " But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the children of God, even to them that believe on his name." John: 1v12 and that is what I did, with my whole heart I repented and turned away from everything that was sin, there was no regarding of iniquity at that moment, I gave my life to Christ and I received true remission of sins "Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." Heb: 10v18.

And I with all those who have and who will put their trust in the Savior pass from death to life, being delivered from the final Judgement, a very sad and frightening scene. "And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God, and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and hades delivered up the dead that were in them; and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."-(The savior spoke to Thomas in the hearing of all the other apostles " Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the father, but by me." John: 14 v 6) -" And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Rev: ch 20v11-15.

Praise God for saving a wretch like me and at that moment God the Father bestowed his love upon me," Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God" ¦"

For those who have read this and may be troubled and standing where I was with two ways to go, take heart for this reason; if God is not dealing with you, you would not be troubled because "" ¦ the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."1Cor: 2v14 And rather then considering Gods call to Salvation you would have your own way that seems right to you " There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Prov: 14v12. If God has shown you your need and you have heard his commandment in your heart, for he "" ¦now commands all men everywhere to repent," Acts: 17v30. Don't brush it aside like I almost did, for the Lord will not always strive with men, today if he is showing you the Savior make him your own. For the turning away of your heart now could be too late.