by: Eld. Tim Hirou
“Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary”
I am thankful for the opportunity to tell about the salvation which the Lord Jesus provided for me. I know from the Bible, history, and my personal experience that all who are saved, are saved the exact same way; Repentance toward God the Father (turning away from our sinful nature) then trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation because of the price He (Jesus) paid for all when He died on the cross of Calvary. It is at the point of this Godly granted sorrow which is called Repentance (2Timothy 2:25), God gives us a Salvation experience so we KNOW in whom we believe. The faith which God gives us saved sinners at the point of salvation as a gift (Galatians 5:22) is fact (Hebrews 11:1-2) and this faith (separate from our trust) is the faith of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior (Galatians 2:16 ). Although, all who are saved are ultimately saved spiritually the same exact way, the events and circumstances leading up to this common salvation are unique and individual to the glory of God! I believe all of us have a unique personality. I believe this is ultimately for the purpose of glorifying God in a unique way He has and/or will provide for us. We who are saved, are saved according to His time frame, for His glory, His honor, and His way (individual circumstances down to His detailed leadership of us by the Holy Spirit). It is correctly stated, we are accepted of Him, not that we can accept Him (Ephesians 1:6). It truly is a privilege we must strive to better understand through prayer and diligent seeking of God and His will whether we are saved sinners or lost sinners.
God saved me the way He did for a number of reasons that He has made me aware of so far, but the main reason for others hearing about my salvation experience is that they learn God is due all glory and honor. God desires to bestow His blessings upon us (mankind) beyond the common graces benefiting all of mankind. The common graces many of us tend to take for granted are things like the sun shinning, having air to breath etc… The salvation grace begins by Him (the Holy Spirit) first teaching our heart we need him and then drawing our hearts to Him. The Lord first came to me during my lost condition while I was sitting on the beach at Newport Beach, California as a 13 year old boy. I thought I was cool. I thought I knew what I was doing. I was accepted in the “cool” crowd. A person handed me a paper ( a bible tract). The Holy Spirit used this tract to teach me that I needed to have a spiritual birth; to be born again (more correctly translated, born from above, John 3:1-8). At this point satan (the father of all lies, John 8:44-45) gave me the thoughts according to the following: “Your young, you have time” “Besides you have not even had fun yet” “Your friends will think you are weird” “Your friends will laugh at you”. Looking back, I realize that satan was telling me whatever he could to keep me from getting the help from God I so desperately needed. I realize now that what satan calls “fun” is sin. I also realize now that sin is shameful, painful, and full of problems leading to death (James 1:15). At the very least, I wish I would become saved earlier in life so I would have avoided needless suffering at my own hands. I now know that what God thinks of me is far more important then what anybody else thinks about me. Finally, I realize that I could have died and went to hell by my choice because I did not start diligently and earnestly seeking for God’s forgiveness the very day when He first came to me and witnessed to me my lost condition there at Newport Beach, CA.
Shortly after I turned 15 I woke up to take some Tylenol in the middle of the night hoping to relieve a headache I was suffering from. As I took the two Tylenol capsules (without water) I felt the urge to sneeze. I tried to swallow the capsules before having to sneeze only to fail and end up breathing them into my wind pipe during my body’s impulse to intake air preparing for the sneeze. All at once my life hanged in the balance as I tried to grasp for air unsuccessfully because of the capsules being lodged in my wind pipe. I remember running back to my mother and father’s room hoping to get help only to see them panic. I remember helplessly sitting down on the toilet seat realizing I was dying and hoping the paramedics could get there in time to help me. It was then that I decided to try one last time to get air. At that moment I breathed the capsules into my lungs. I could breath!. The paramedics arrived and told me I had to go to the hospital for surgery, but I could a least get enough air to live. Obviously, I survived this near death experience. The point I want to make is that I could have died that night and went to hell and it would have been all my fault not God’s because I had not followed His leadership and diligently sought Him after He witnessed to me where I stood with Him.
My near death experience had taken place during a time where my family life was less than stable. My father was drinking heavily. My mother and father were having serious problems. We did not have much money. I was told by my mother that we were “cash poor”. We lived in a nice part of Fullerton, California. This city is a suburb of Southern California just north of Disneyland. I remember how scared and unsettled I felt during this time because, although we lived in a nice house, we had my mother’s friends dropping off food at our house to help us out. Everyone else around us in this upper middle class neighborhood seemed to be financially well to do. In addition, my mother and father would get into really horrible fights after my father would come home late at night from the bar. He would go there after work almost every night. My older bother Brad would beat me up a lot. Looking back, I think Brad was so frustrated and in pain due to our family situation that he was displacing a lot of his frustration upon me in the form of the physical assaults. Interestingly though, it was at this time my older brother Brad had been going to religious services which talk about being born again. A lot of young people I knew were excited about these services. I began to seriously seek for God. At this point in my life, I believed He was the only one who could help me out of my very painful seemingly hopeless situation. I felt I could not go to my parents or any one else for help because they had enough of their own problems to deal with. The Holy Spirit was drawing me. During this time He taught my heart that when I was born of the Spirit I would know about it. He (God in the form of the Holy Spirit) also taught me that I would be able to feel it when He saved me and made me born of the Spirit (born again). (1Corinthians 2:10,13-15 & Luke 12:10-12)
On New Year’s Eve 1981 my friend David Guttierrez and I went to a “Christian” function at a person’s house. I say “Christian” because that is what they professed to be, God knoweth, but looking back I realize (by the grace of God) that they were doing many things very wrong (according the scriptures being rightly divided). They had “Christian” rock band playing there by the name of Lifesavers. At one point in the night a man got up in front of all of us there and began to talk about Jesus and about being born from above (born again). It was at this moment God Himself began to witness to me things and lay heavily upon my heart. The man asked for the ones who felt like they were lost to raise their hand. It was at his moment, with the Holy Spirit laying heavily my heart (witnessing to me I was lost and separated from Him) that I rose my hand despite the attacks of satan who did not want me to do so. I remember feeling the condemnation of God. I knew that I was on my way to hell. The Holy Spirit was witnessing to me my sinful nature. It was here that God granted me the privilege of being able to compare my sinful nature to His righteousness. His comparison was enough to make me realize that I had no excuses for my actions before Him and that by my own sinful nature I justly deserved to go to hell. This is the blessing of conviction. Conviction is God letting us know what He thinks about us, not what we think about ourselves or how we compare ourselves to other people in order justify our sinful nature. God’s view of us is the comparison mark we must judge ourselves against. God can use many things (preachers, people, the bible, bible tracts, history, and even nature to name a few) in getting His message of salvation and the conviction of our sins to our attention. The Lord had impressed my whole being to raise my hand. I remember having negative thoughts which were; “If you raise your hand they will think your weird” “You will not fit in the cool crowd, they will think you are a Jesus freak” “You will embarrass yourself in front of all these people”. I realize now that these thoughts were not my own, but they were actually demonic attacks, maybe even satan himself trying to fight me from gaining help from God Himself. As I mentioned before, I remember no longer caring about any of these issues the negative thoughts brought up (even though I had back on the beach 2 years prior when the Lord had witnessed to me my need for a spiritual birth experience the first time). No, the attacks would not work this time, at this point I cared more about what God thought of me then what my friends, or the people around me that night thought. That night, I chose to follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit and His impression upon me to raise my hand. I raised my hand. Shortly after this, the man in the front of the room said, “Let us now all bow our head and pray” I do not remember the exact words of this man’s prayer, but it was along the lines of what is known as the “Roman Road” prayer. The idea of this false teaching called the “Roman Road” approach to salvation is the following: If you acknowledge your a lost sinner and that you are worthy of damnation and trust that Jesus died for your sins and you accept him as your personal savior (confessing all this with your mouth); this act of doing so (the act itself) at any time, results in salvation. I had repeated all the words the man leading the prayer had said, but God had my whole being focused on the coming salvation experience. (Again, the Holy Spirit prior to that night had taught me I would be able to feel the pending experience). After the prayer two men took me off into one of the bedrooms and handed me a bible and said, “Now you are saved”. God protected me from this! Although, I remember this happening it had no impact on me because as I stated my whole being was focused by God onto the pending experience. Looking back, I realize how God Himself protected me from the false doctrine of an intellectual act (accepting Jesus Christ) and/or even doing an outward expression (repeating a per-formatted prayer mentioning the elements of salvation) bringing about salvation. He also protected me from listening to other people tell me I was saved. The Bible teaches that only God Himself can let you know saved (through the witness of the Holy Spirit in a heart felt salvation experience). Salvation is strictly between you and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Timothy 2:3-5). I did, however, feel that I had done all that was required of me by God that night. My friend David and I left the get together and he dropped me off at home. My brother Brad was away that weekend so I took the opportunity to sleep alone in his bedroom. (My younger brother Michael and I shared a bedroom together). I woke up the next morning and the Holy Spirit of God laid heavily upon me again. Again, He was allowing myself to be compared to His view of me. I remember how sinful I felt. I rolled out of bed and got face down flat on the floor beside my bed. It felt it only natural at this point to be a low as I could physically get to match the view I had of myself before Him. I remember begging God for His forgiveness with the words. “LORD BE MERCIFUL TO ME, PLEASE FORGIVE ME AND COME INTO MY HEART!” I pleaded on the mercies of God, knowing full well that I truly deserved to go to hell. The reason I had prayed for God to come into my heart is because He had used the Bible tract I received on the beach to witness this truth to me and I trusted He could do it. It was at this moment that God was allowing me to make my alter to Him. I began to beg Him with all my heart. This was the place God wanted for me to be saved. I had the fear of the unknown holding me back. It felt like I was afraid to pass through a final barrier. Then He gave me an analogy that morning during this experience after I had been praying for a while. I felt like I was at the top of a cliff and Jesus was standing at the bottom requesting me to jump, assuring me He would catch me and prevent me from being hurt if I did trust Him and jump. The moment I jumped off this proverbial cliff is the exact moment I felt God take away the heavy burden and the pain which was in my heart and replace it with peace and joy. I felt so relieved. At that moment I knew that if I died right then I would go to heaven and that He have forgiven me! It was here that God granted me His Gift of salvation! I remember getting up off the floor and feeling great! Everything seemed brighter. At this point I only wanted to do was what He wanted me to do! He gave me a feeling that He was going to take care of everything. Everything was clear, I knew all I had to do was trust Him and He would direct my paths. I went to take a shower and still feeling God strongly, I looked up at the water coming down out of the shower nozzle, I understood (through the witness of the Holy Spirit) God was everywhere and that He was even in the water hitting my face.
God had taken the worst part of my life and made it the very best! I remember shortly thereafter going to turn on the radio because I longed to hear the name Jesus being spoken. Not too long after this salvation experience which God had granted me, the Holy Spirit witnessing to me that there was a battle ranging between good (God) and evil (satan and the fallen angles we call demons) and that I would be fought now that I was on His (God’s) side, but He would always help me.
Again, we get saved His way [true repentance toward God the Father for our sins and total trust in the Lord Jesus Christ (the only intercessor appointed for mankind to gain access to God the Father’s eternal blessings)], on His time frame, for His Glory and His honor. I pray that this letter will help those of you saved sinners receive yet another blessing from Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. If your a lost sinner, I pray that you realize how real Jesus Christ, the Son of God the Father, is through the teaching of the Holy Spirit and that you seek Him until He (The Holy Spirit) witnesses to your heart personally that you are saved and will go to heaven when you die, an experience you can feel and a reality you can know.
A servant of Jesus Christ,