Chris: I always get a little apprehensive when I’m asked to give a reason as to why I believe what I believe, because I know that to an unbeliever what I’m about to try and explain usually bounces off people and is received with either scorn or mockery. None the less, here goes…..
I’m not going to bang on about my past before I came to Christ. It is sufficient to say that between the ages of 14 to 19 years I went off the rails a bit. I’ve done, I suppose, all those things that a young man finding his way in the world would. I had my addictions, I had a lust for violence, I slept around as much as I was able to, I was deeply into porn and was never once monogamous in a relationship, I was a prolific thief and stole whenever I could. I think it’s fair to say I wasn’t the sort of bloke you would trust with your missus, your stuff, or would want your daughter to bring home.
At 19 years old life was going good as far as I could see. I was a Scooter riding Neo-Nazi, with a good crew to stomp with, I had a job, (albeit YTS wages of £35 a week these were supplemented by other means.) I lived how I wanted, did what I wanted, when I wanted, and gave account to no-one. Life then took a bit of a turn, things turned sour and I had two options; Suicide or murder. Looking back now, maybe they weren’t the only options, but at the time in the darkness of the situation they were the only plausible options. Truth is I didn’t have the bottle to do either at the time so life rolled on and you get by using any means available to you.
One Saturday afternoon I saw in a shop window a poster with “Oi!” on it. I noted the place, the date and the time and made my way along to what I thought was going to be a Skin event with some mates. When we arrived it was clear that it was a function room round the back of a Church, and no other Skins or Scooterists were there. Oi! stood for Open Invitation!
After hanging around for a bit and wondering where to go next, a guy covered in tattoos came out and headed straight for me. His name was Bob and he was part of a mission outreach team that had come from a London Church to do what they call street outreach. Bob and I shared a bit of history. He had done time for desecrating a Jewish cemetery (daubing it with swastikas), and putting a bloke through a shop window. He had come from an abusive home life, and like me had been angry about everything at everyone. He gave his life to Christ whilst inside, doing time. I thought I’d have some fun with these freaks, to me Christians were either upper class toffee-nosed types to who Church attendance was tradition, or hippies always banging on about loving everyone. I wanted no part of that image. I left school with marginally above remedial grades and I was proud of them. I wasn’t even going to attempt to fit with them.
I went back every night with questions to catch them out, wind them up and disprove the existence or love of God. I thought if I could get them to the point they started swinging at me then their God certainly wasn’t true. Every night they gave me cheesy gospel tracts, (I had one with a caterpillar on the outside and on the inside it had a Butterfly with the slogan “Jesus makes you brand new”. A truth I know for sure now, but at the time I wanted to chuck!). What really struck me about these guys though was that they weren’t selling anything, they wanted nothing from me, but wanted everything for me. They had no reason to be standing in freezing rain showing a lost man on the way to Hell the only way that he might be saved. What they were convinced of more than life itself was true and they wanted me to have the opportunity to accept or refuse it also. These guys were motivated genuinely out of love, not soppy love, real love that has a sense of urgency about it. There was no requirement to join their church or conform to their will, just a heartfelt desire that I should take a Bible, and read it.
One tract that I was given was called “Journey into life” by Norman Warren. I took it home and read it because it wasn’t pathetic and looked like a Highway Code book. In that publication, it was set out that God created us in His image and likeness and that He wanted us to live in a relationship with Him. But, beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, human beings showed a strong desire to live their lives their own way, and exclude God. This is what the Bible calls sin, and because of sin our relationship with God is severed. The original sin of our original parents Adam and Eve has passed to us, and we are a sinful people. Even a wicked thought of ours, or a lustful look at a woman is sin and means we can’t come near God. For this fractured relationship with God to be restored sin has to be punished and the punishment for sin is death.
God though, didn’t leave it at that. He wanted His people to be able to come near to Him and yet their sin was in the way. Out of His great love for us sinners, He sent His only son Jesus Christ in flesh and human form to earth to pay the punishment for our sin! Jesus of Nazareth, fully God and yet fully man lived the perfect sinless life, suffered arrest, false trial, mockery, scorn, flogging, and ultimately the most heinous of deaths on a cross at a place called Calvary. His death, burial, and subsequent resurrection the Bible tell us is for the sins of mankind. Jesus the only sinless one, paid in full with His blood for my sins and yours so death no longer has claim on any of us if we will trust in that finished work for our salvation.
When I came to the realisation that the only loving God, the creator of all things died in the place of sinful mankind, God through His grace changed my heart and renewed my mind. We have been redeemed from Satan, Sin, Death, and Hell. What we deserve was poured out on Jesus. That’s the glorious Gospel! The Good News that changed my life! That’s what I want to share with all and sundry! That’s the most important thing that any of us can lay hold of in this life. That’s why I am involved in this missionary work that is the Knights of Antioch Motorcycle Ministry. I thank God for his abundant grace that he has shown toward me. I am grateful for the beautiful, loving woman that he gave me to be my wife. I’m thankful for my two teenage daughters who if you asked them are much smarter than their dad (I let them think that!). And I could go on, Family, both blood and Church, Friends, Home, Job etc.
Am I a perfect man? Nowhere near my friend!
Have I got it all together? Not even close!
Am I a man without issues or faults? Spend 3 minutes with me to realise the futility of that question!
What I will state is this: Jesus Christ came to save sinners; and we are all sinners. No-one is outside that category. None of us measure up to what God requires, and the sooner we rest in His provision the better. Don’t try and get cleaned up before you come to God, come as you are, and please do come. Come with your warts, baggage, issues and all. God will renew that which is lost, broken, dirty, dying and damaged beyond any human help. That I can assure you of, I was such. The alternative is carrying on living as you are, without your Creator, maybe you have joy and happiness, these are temporal. But, there is a day that awaits all men, the day of judgement. Those who have Christ as their saviour go onto eternal life, those that do not, are cast into Hell where their torments go on for eternity.
As you read this may God bless you, grant you faith to believe, humility to receive, and repentance to turn to Him. If you want to get right with God and are willing to humbly come and accept Jesus as Lord of your life and trust Him to be you all sufficient Saviour, I implore you to go somewhere on your own and come to God in prayer and let Him make you new. It’s His work and it’s His joy to do it. Don’t delay. Today is the day of Salvation. You may not be alive tomorrow.
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