Justin is a second year, soon to be Physiological Sciences major.
As I look back on my life, short as it is, all I can recount is grace. God’s lovingkindness, from as early as I can remember, is wonderfully apparent in every part of my life. Praise God that He has granted me salvation through His Son Jesus Christ and allowed me to worship Him, as I was created to be!
I was blessed to grow up with parents that loved God and brought me out to church. As a result, church has always been a part of my life. But it was never truly important to me. I simply enjoyed hanging out with other kids and eating the refreshments offered after church service. In Sunday school, I would always answer the questions the teacher had, and I never doubted the existence of God, but the god of my life was myself. I neither honored God nor gave Him thanks as I ought, instead doing whatever my wicked heart was pleased to do. In my utter sinfulness, I found pride in academics and sports. Even as I heard about God every Sunday, my heart was bent towards depravity. I was spiritually dead, completely deserving of the wrath that accompanied disobeying a just and holy God (Ephesians 2:1-3). Despite sprinting on a path straight to hell, my conscience remained clear and I foolishly believe that I would still go to heaven.
The summer before middle school begun, God used a Christian camp to soften my heart to the gospel. After hearing about the camp from older kids at my church, I was so excited to attend, mostly because I had heard that the everyone was nice and it was fun. Though my motives for going to camp were sinful, praise God that He used it to accomplish His glory! The various workshops and sermons, as well as meeting with my camp counselor, forced me to think deeply about God for the first time in my life. I distinctly recall being overcome with emotion and crying as I met with my counselor for the last time.
I’ve forgotten everything now except for the name of my counselor and the camp theme song, but God miraculously used that single week to manifest in me a desire to know Him. Over the next several years, I would spend part of my free time looking up apologetics, reading Scripture, and attending youth group. As I grappled with gospel truths, God slowly broke the stronghold of my heart, graciously bringing me to a point where I believed that God’s holy nature requires punishment of my sin, and Christ alone was my only hope of salvation from rightfully deserved eternal damnation. I cannot pinpoint my exact moment of salvation, but this in no way reduces the amazing truth that God is mighty to save me out of an abundance of His love and mercy.
In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)
It’s incredible how God has transformed me, giving me a new nature and a new heart to love Him and make His great name known. I delight in reading Scripture because it helps me behold Christ and fix my eyes upon the one who paid the penalty of my sins. I find great comfort in prayer, knowing that a great high priest continually makes intercession on my behalf. Even in times of tribulation I may take heart, since God is eternally faithful to preserve His people and works all things for His good in His sovereignty.
Though each day is a battle to resist the fleshly temptations that still plague this body of death, to honor God in every thought and deed, and to constantly fix my hope on Christ’s return, I may still sing to the Lord, for he has dealt bountifully with me (Psalm 13:6). When in distress I cry out, “Help my unbelief!”, God provides ultimate comfort, sustaining and strengthening my faith as I behold Christ in His Word. I can say with joy:
“You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” (Psalm 16:2)
“For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?” (Psalm 18:31)
“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” (Psalm 145:3)
What an amazing God we have! And how unfathomable is His goodness to us, that we may be called His beloved children and heirs with Christ! Praise God, for He has been so good to me.
Now the God of peace, who brought up from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep through the blood of the eternal covenant, even Jesus our Lord, equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:20-21)