I had the privilege to attend a celebration with another people group from a different cultural background recently. The celebration was very special and extremely meaningful. It was a reminder for them, and also for us, on the cost of following Jesus. Three people shared their testimonies. All three spoke about their fears, anxiety and shame brought upon their families, and the very real consequences of being disowned by their parents when they decided to follow Jesus. These were just some of the many obstacles faced by them. However, they also shared with the congregation their joy of discovering Jesus, the peace they had, the assurance of salvation and their desire to faithfully follow Jesus.
I particularly like to share one testimony given by a lady. She started by sharing her background as a very religious person. In fact, she was made to be a young leader in her former faith. She often organized and led spiritual camps as well as prayer and reflection sessions for the youths and teens.
She came to know Christ while pursuing her PhD overseas. During this period, she frequently conversed with her godmother. In one rare instance, her godmother told her to read the Bible. As a researcher she was trained not to be biased, and in her quest to discover the truth, she started to ask lots of questions right from Adam’s original sin, the nature of sin, the concept of sacrifice, about Jesus being God, salvation, laws, grace and much more. In her intense discourse, she started to peel off her former faith gradually — the laws, rituals, sins, treatment/status of women and it became clear it did not make sense to her anymore. She was convinced that Jesus was the only true God but she could not bring herself to accept Jesus because it would mean hurting her parents. In her struggle she turned to her godmother once again and was instead asked to read Acts 9. The title of the chapter was “Saul’s Conversion”, and in verse 4b Jesus asked Saul, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” She felt Jesus was asking her, “Why are you denying me?” Right away she knew she can no longer deny Jesus anymore. Shortly, her godmother led her through a prayer. As she uttered the last word of the prayer, she felt her entire burden has been lifted. For the first time, she felt free. The presence of the Holy Spirit warmed her heart and gave the peace she deeply yearned. She accepted Jesus into her life and her heart beats for Jesus now.
The above testimony seemed too impossible that someone like her who was so devout to her former faith could believe and receive Jesus into her life. Mark 10:27 says, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
So, let us not be ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who …believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Romans 1:16-17).
By Juan Hui, Deacon (YCKC Bulletin 16&17 December 2017)