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God's So Great Salvation: A Personal Testimony

Stephen RossBorn in Massachusetts, United States in 1947, I was born again by God's grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, in 1975 at the age of 28.

Prior to the day of my salvation, my life was one of searching and questioning. I would ask myself the same questions over and over again:

—what is the purpose of life?

—is life worth it?

—what does the future hold?

In telling how God saved me, let me first give some background of my years prior to that life-changing day.

My upbringing was nominal Christian. We were Protestants, not Roman Catholics.

After living in Massachusetts for a short time, my family lived in upstate New York during my elementary and junior high school years, and on Long Island, New York, during my high school years.

Growing up in the rural environment of upstate New York included vegetable gardening, raising chickens, fishing, a paper route and piano lessons. The country environs afforded me many opportunities to experience and appreciate the wonders of God's creation.

My family attended a Reformed Church. I remember my Dad playing trumpet solos and singing in the choir and the time I sold the most cans of candy for a church fund raiser and how good that felt.

My teenage years exposed me to the urban world of Long Island, New York. During those years we attended a United Methodist Church and I enrolled in a membership class, was sprinkled with water, and became a member. I remember it as a time of religious awakening and feeling a nearness to God.

Christmas with candlelight services and Easter with sunrise services always gave me a temporary inner feeling of peace.

I do not remember the Lord Jesus being mentioned in our home, but whatever I was taught, I believed the Bible was God's Word and true.

Off to State college in northern New York after graduation from high school, I worked as a messenger for a construction company and later as an apprentice carpenter during the summers to help pay for my college expenses.

It was while at college that I met my wife to be. Married in 1969, it was off to graduate school to study botany. This was the time of the Vietnam Conflict and the draft lottery. I believed that killing another human being was morally wrong and was of a pacifist mind set, but did not participate in any of the protests of the time. My lottery draw resulted in a low number and I applied for and was granted Conscientious Objector status after a prolonged period of turmoil in my life.

We moved to Maine after the year of graduate school and I served two years of alternative service doing custodial work in two hospitals. Overall, it was a good experience. It was during this time that our first child was born.

After the two years in Maine, we moved to Long Island, New York, where I attended graduate school while working nights at a microelectronics corporation.

When I could not find employment after graduating with a Master's degree, my parents invited us to live in a downstairs apartment in their house in Vermont.

Living there let me get to know my parents better. More importantly, they shared their faith in a living God who could transform my life and fill the emptiness that I had. Since my college years, they had each believed on the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour and their lives had changed.

They told me of God's love and how He sent His Son Jesus Christ to earth to die on the Cross and shed His blood, and rise from the dead, so that by believing on Him, I could have my sins forgiven and have everlasting life.

I remember arguing with my parents because of my disbelief in what they told me about salvation through Christ and Christ alone. But I was challenged to read the Bible which I believed to be true until it was settled in my mind one way or the other! Either they were right or I was!

After nights of reading the Bible, one evening while I was reading in the Gospels, I saw that Jesus was God and the only way of salvation. Whereas I was previously blind to spiritual things, God opened my eyes and my unbelief suddenly left. What my parents had told me about God's salvation was true!

I now understood John 3:16 in the Bible (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) and I believed God and His provision of His Son for me, and I placed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour.

Amazing grace—how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind but now I see.

Accepting the fact that I was a sinner was never difficult for me; rather I felt that I was too great a sinner to be accepted by God, no matter how much I worked to please Him. What a blessing to realize that it was not by my good works, but by God's grace through faith in the Lord Jesus that I could be saved!

With a new life with Christ as my Saviour came a purpose for living and the assurance of heaven when I die. I thank and praise God for His grace which allowed a sinner like me to have forgiveness of sins and the opportunity to serve and have fellowship with Him both now and forever!

If you do not personally know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, I encourage you to read the Gospel of John in the New Testament, the gospel messages on this site such as Herein Is Love and to attend a Bible-believing local church where you can learn more of the living and true God and His so great salvation which He wants you to have!

You will never regret believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and becoming a child of God with a new life in Christ; one with joy unspeakable and full of glory!

—Stephen Ross

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