Published February 23, 2016

Paul's Epistle
"Riley's Testimony"

About a month ago in this column, I wrote that so many people today are simply "pretending" to be Christians – pretending in that they have not truly accepted Christ as Savior and Lord but wish, for whatever reason (social or political) simply to appear to be Christians.

But they don't really know the joy associated with true salvation. They know what Christians are supposed to believe, but have lingering personal doubts. They wonder, "Am I truly saved?"

Obviously, this is an issue that needs to be addressed in today's churches. After that last column, I received quite a few testimonies about how this is impacting Christians today. I hope to share some of them here next week.

But since writing that previous column which shared the relevant testimony of Josh Feemster of Legacy Five, another well-known singer has boldly shared a similar testimony.

Riley Harrison Clark of Tribute Quartet recently posted the following testimony (slightly edited for space and clarity) online:

"Yesterday, I had a change of heart...

"I have grown up in church my entire life. At the age of twelve I prayed a prayer so that I could go to heaven. I was baptized shortly after that. I have always been heavily involved in ministry of some sort. Singing in the choir, leading worship, leading in my youth group and, for nearly six years, singing on the road in fulltime ministry around the country.

"To most around me it is safe to say I was the ‘great' Christian. I know the Word of God. It is also safe to say that under my leading there have been hundreds of people around this country begin a relationship with Christ, through the cross, and by accepting Him into their hearts. I have seen a lost soul rejoice after making the decision to follow Christ. I have preached/shared the Word of God, and in that, I am so thankful that I have seen lives changed by God moving through me. Understand, it was not me, but His Word!

"Now to the big point, beginning with laying down my pride which has held me back from this long enough. I have often fought the difference between doubt created by the devil and conviction from the Holy Spirit as far as my salvation was concerned. In those moments, I would go back to when I prayed the prayer to ‘go to Heaven' at the age of twelve. There were times I would even pray a little prayer to make myself feel better. When the subject would come up with others I could never say that I remembered the experience of asking Him to save my soul. I was lacking the feeling of redemption and fulfillment that comes with accepting Christ into your heart.

"In saying that, yesterday afternoon, January 18, 2016, I felt the forgiveness. I felt the peace that follows after asking Him to change my life. I felt the redeeming power of God as I asked Him to save my soul. I rejoice! I pray you have the same peace that I now have deep inside my heart...

"Please don't mistake what I have shared. I did not lose my salvation. How can I lose something I never possessed? I have operated on a ‘head knowledge' but not a ‘heart reality.'

"There is no doubt in my mind. I am now saved and plan to serve Him daily with everything I have for the rest of my life."

Praise God for Riley's testimony! Only the Holy Spirit can give someone who has been considered by everyone else to be a wonderful Christian the boldness to admit that, in effect, "No, I really wasn't. But, praise God, I am now!"

Are you lacking, as Riley put it, "the feeling of redemption and fulfillment that comes with accepting Christ into your heart?" Has your pride kept you, too, from coming to grips with this? Today – right now – would be a wonderful time to take care of that matter once and for all. Pray for the forgiveness you've always, in the back of your mind, somehow doubted, and for the complete assurance of salvation through faith in Christ.

As 1st John 1:9 reminds us, "If we confess our sins, His is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." "Faithful and just" removes all doubt.

Perhaps this is becoming even more of an issue today because the time is short. And the Lord wants to cleanse the church "that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:27).

It's time to get the spots out.

- Paul

Comments on this? paul@thegospelgreats.com

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