Linda Peelman's Testimony

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Deceived By Religion

Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." In this world of religious tolerance, this is a very narrow minded statement. Jesus said that there is only one way to the Father. There is one way of salvation and that is only through himself. As simple as this statement seems to be, it took many years of religion before the truth of it finally dawned upon me.

I think that I am a fairly normal human being and like most I didn't think a whole lot about salvation as a child, teen, or young adult. There were too many other things to learn and experience. I believed in Jesus and I believed that anyone who went to a church must be a Christian. I tried to read the Bible once in a while, but I couldn't understand much of it. I thought that it was the old archaic language that the King James used. I knew the Bible stories from a historical point of view, but didn't realize the spiritual depth of them.

After my first son was born, I became more serious about my religion. I was soon asked to teach a children's Sunday School class. I relied on the lesson books that were provided. These were mainly object lessons with a moral philosophy. Jesus was presented at Christmas and Easter and politely tucked away the rest of the year. So I played church for several years, blindly leading the blind.

A dramatic change occurred after the birth of my second son. Our family was invited to a revival at another church. I had never been to anything like that, so I persuaded my husband to go. We went one night and what an experience! The preacher used the Bible and explained what it meant. He talked about sin and even named some sins. He stepped all over our toes. We came out of there under deep conviction. The problem was, we didn't know what conviction was, so we were just upset and arguing with each other.

It wasn't a good experience, but deep down I knew that the preacher was right and that we needed to go back. I talked my husband into going again. I mowed the lawn and did everything I could to eliminate any excuses he could make for not going.

We went and the same thing happened the second night. The next day was Sunday. We had been invited back to the revival, so we had a decision to make. Should we go to our old church, or to the revival at the other one? As we drove down our long driveway, I didn't know which way my husband would turn the wheels of the car, but thankfully, he turned toward the new church.

We not only attended the revival, we joined the church that day. It was the beginning of many changes in our lives. We professed to be saved. We did everything that we were told to do for salvation. We confessed our sins and asked Jesus to come into our hearts. We were faithful, we tithed, we visited, we read our Bibles, we were like most people in churches today, religious, but lost.

You see, Satan doesn't mind if you are religious, in fact, he wants you to be religious. The more involved you are the better. We became more and more involved. My husband took a home Bible study course, and then he quit his job so that we could both be supervisors of our church's Christian school. He later believed that he was called to preach, so we sold our home and went to Bible college. He was principal of a Christian school and we both taught. We started a church in our hometown. We were busy, busy, busy.

We were invited to another revival. This one was over a thousand miles away. This church was associated with a Bible college and since my husband was looking for a place to further his education, we went. The evangelist preached a sermon titled, "The Convincing Hypocrite". He talked about all the things that we do to convince ourselves and others that we are saved. That really made me think, but then the pastor made a statement, he said, "If you have one per cent doubt, you are one hundred per cent lost." That rocked my boat, it crumbled my foundation! I had to admit that I had doubts about my salvation.

Hundreds of times I had prayed, "Lord, if I'm not saved, save me now." I just never felt like I was doing enough. I just wasn't worthy. I had been told that the devil makes you doubt and had passed it off as normal. I really didn't think about it much, after all, I had done everything that the preacher had told me to do. Everyone thought that I was a wonderful Christian.

We were staying in the missionary apartment that weekend. Needless to say, I didn't get much sleep that night. The next morning my husband left to meet with the pastor and I stayed in the room. I was reading my Bible and I came to Matthew chapter 7. Verse 21 says, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." At that moment, that still quiet voice said to me, "What is the will of the Father?" The answer came back, "To be saved, dummy!"

For the first time in my life, I admitted to myself that I was lost. I was scared to death. I knew that if I died right then, I would split hell wide open.

Verses 22 and 23 go on to say, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? (Preachers and teachers) And in thy name have cast out devils? (Miracle workers) And in thy name done many wonderful works? (Faithful workers) And then will I profess unto them. I never knew you: (I didn't know you once and then let you slip out of my hand).I never knew you) depart from me; ye that work iniquity."

When my husband came back to the room, I was very upset. He wanted me to go talk to the pastor, but I didn't want to. I was a pastor's wife. That would really look bad. I would deal with this myself and not tell anyone. We went out to eat. My mind was in turmoil and I really feared that I would be in an accident and go to hell. How could I have missed salvation for all these years? How could I have been so blind?

We had one more service before we were going to leave. I figured that if I could make it through that, I'd be okay. My mind was going a thousand miles and hour. As I sat through the service, the Lord was bringing all kinds of scriptures into my mind and revealing many things to me. At the end of the service, an invitation was given. The pastor called my name and I felt like I had a neon sign on my head flashing: LOST! LOST! Of course, he didn't know my condition. He just wanted me to counsel with a lady who had come forward.

Relieved that my "dark secret" was not revealed, we made our way to a counseling room. She proceeded to tell me that her name was Linda and that she was a teacher. (My name is also Linda and I was a teacher.) I took the Bible and began to show her that Jesus was the only way of salvation. We went through many scriptures and each one that I read to her convicted me. Finally she asked this question, "Linda, did you ever doubt your salvation?" That was the final straw. I said, " Linda, we need to pray." I bowed my head and I thanked Jesus for the salvation that He had already provided for me. I realized that salvation had already been finished and that all I needed to do was receive it. It wasn't the prayer that saved me, it was trusting in Christ. I realized the total sufficiency of His sacrifice. He paid the price of my sin debt by himself. I had nothing to do with it. It was His gift to me. There was nothing that I could do to deserve it and since I did not deserve it in the first place, I could do nothing to lose it. His gift is eternal. His love is unconditional. Salvation is Christ. That is narrow, but it reaches to heaven. He is the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by Him.

Knowing this truth has freed me from the power of sin. It in no way gives me a license to sin, it gives me the freedom not to sin. I am no more in bondage to sin. I see Christ in the scriptures from Genesis to Revelation in the old King James Bible. I have no problem understanding it because it is spiritually discerned. I have the peace that passes all understanding for He is my peace. My prayer to you is that you also experience this peace. Jesus paid it all and you are welcome in heaven because of His sacrifice. Don't be deceived by religion!



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