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Chris Barry

How I became a Christian

It has been now 27 years since I actually saw that, “ Neither is there Salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.”- Acts 4:12

It is my intension to take you right back to that night where I met the Saviour. If it touches my heart when people abruptly refuse to hear, how much does God grieve? It is written, “For God so loved the world…”  They have not said ‘no’ to an idea or a way of life, but as 1 John 4:14 says, “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.”

The reason for me quoting much scripture is simple. It is God’s Good News and He has much to say in His Word, the ‘Bible’; and without doubt it is far better to hear from God then from me. Please read this account of how I came to know the Saviour and may you be blessed by Him, in doing so.                        

In my last year of school, which was form five (for the modern students year 11), and having stayed down a couple of grades I had turned eighteen years of age. The main reason for repeating was I just did not want to learn. Looking back now I can say of myself, ‘what 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 my father on hearing this rebuked her. He could see that this was not a wise move. We did not go for our drinks that night, but it was not long before we found our own way and that 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, yet there were 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 tablets 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 when He could have snuffed out my life and sent me to a righteous damnation in Hell.  For ‘the wages of sin is death…’ Romans 6:23. "And God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.” Psalm 7:11.

I knew that 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 when it would slow down and my carriage would stop under a road bridge. I was so afraid that the bridge would fall and crush me that I would leave my seat and move quickly to safety knowing full well that “…as it is appointed unto men once to die but after this the judgement.” Hebrews 9:27

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.” Hebrews 1:14. I was kept from dying from excess alcohol, from suffocating in my own vomit, from overdosing with tablets and escaping what seemed to be at the last possible moment 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, that there is not life beyond death, 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 Timothy 3:16. 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 16:22-23.

We have proof 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?” Jeremiah 17:9. I knew this to be true and I could not deny it.  “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Matthew 15:19. “ For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.  

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 17:25. On returning I 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 that sick of us that they called us ‘the scum of the earth!’

I need to say that I was a practicing Roman Catholic.

I was 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." 1Timothy 2:5.

In His Word the Lord reveals to us that the priestly office has already been settled. “…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.” Hebrews 7:21-22. 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.” Hebrews 7:24-25.

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 Roman Catholics have put there trust in her to intercede, hoping that she will secure favour for them and actually saying to her in prayer “…pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, Amen.”

It is taught that her requests will be more readily answered than ours, seeing she is the ‘mother of God.’ This is not putting our 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. 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 2:10. The word from Isaiah 8:20, 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!

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 4:12.

About a week before I came to the Saviour, I was at a friends place. I remember talking to her father in a way that only a drunk man can, stressing to him what had just dawned on me, that there really was a Saviour. I was preaching to him saying its true, its true. In Gods Word 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 3:16. That is as far as I got and I did nothing more about it.

Voicing to a friend that what the Bible says is true will not save you!

The point to make now is, there were times Christians would confront me, to tell me about the Saviour and my need for Him. 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 Saviour. 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 a 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 Saviour of all men. I know he loved us because many times the TV would be turned off and the Bible was opened.

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.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. 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 Romans 10:17 “So, then, faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

The night came when I met the Saviour 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 returned home with a friend from spending I think an hour or two down in the hotel.

Anthony my twin a short time before this came to the Saviour. 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 Saviour It was like the door of my heart was being 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 16:14)

I had a problem.

It was not 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.”-2 Corinthians 5:21 and “that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself not imputing their trespasses unto them”- 2 Corinthians 5:19.

I said before that I was a sincere Roman Catholic and that I was 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.” Psalm 12:6

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.” Hebrews 9:25. And not far from this, in the same chapter 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.” Hebrews 9:12. There is no other way for Atonement; except by ‘Shed Blood’ “…and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22 We can see from the verses above, it is the Blood of Jesus; “ …and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son cleanses us from all sin.” John 1:7

My problem was that I had a love for sin. The desire for alcohol and the lifestyle I knew would come to an end if I came to the Saviour. The Saviour 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 1:12 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 full remission of sins “Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.” Hebrews 10:18.

And I with all those who have and who will put their trust in the Saviour passed from death to life, being delivered from the final Judgement; a very sad and frightening scene. Revelation 20:11-15 “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.

Now just a moment. Before you read the last verse, verse 15; I want to highlight to you again that “neither is there salvation in any other…” You see the Saviour 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 14:6 - Now this last fifteenth verse, “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” 

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 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.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 and rather than 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.” Proverbs 14:12.

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 17:30. Do not brush it aside like I almost did, for the Lord will not always strive with men. Today if He is showing you the Saviour make Him your own. For the turning away of your heart now could be too late.

Chris Barry