I was born near Ann Arbor, MI. I had no care about religion or the things of God, even though I grew up in a Christian home. We went to church most of the time, but we tended to skip church during the summer. It was a contemporary church with 40 minutes of standing for praise and worship, followed by a watered-down message. This didn't matter to me, because I thought I was already on good terms with God. For when I was around 4, my mother asked me if I wanted to ask Jesus into my heart. In my childish mind, I thought it sounded good, so I did it. But I had no real knowledge of what I was doing, or of my sinfulness before God. I was a great sinner and I loved my sin, but I didn't realize it yet.
Just before I entered high school, my aunt died in the prime of her life. Her death shook me to the core. I wondered where she'd gone, and where I was headed. I wondered how to get to heaven. But I didn't dare to ask anyone; because they all thought I was already saved. These were dark days for me. I slowly began to realize my sinfulness, and tried to fight it. But my sins overwhelmed me. Some days were better than others, but I could not over come it. I was miserable. After years of battling, I gave up and gave in to sin. But after less than a week, under conviction and disgusted with myself, I returned to battling my sins. But I was doing it in the flesh. I could not overcome them. I was hopeless. I was miserable.
However, God saw my struggle. About a year later, He whispered in my ear: “You know those sins you are dealing with? Jesus can help you with them.” It was nothing theologically profound, but just a simple truth for a enslaved sinner. That night, I prayed and asked Jesus to take away my sins. Four weeks later, I was baptized. In the months to follow, he helped me achieve freedom from my sins.
What I write now, I write not to those who love their sin, but to those who are struggling to leave their sin. Sin is a cruel taskmaster, the agent of Satan to keep you in bondage. If the Bible declares it to be sin, then it is sin. Period. Murder, tyranny, drunkenness, gambling, lust, oppression, deciet, adultery, hatred, idolatry, homosexuality, envy, heresy, fornication, ingratitude, witchcraft, and wrath. And this is just a short list. Again, I write this to you who are miserable, you who are in despair, you who desperately want out of your sins. Jesus Christ cleansed me of my sins, and He can do the same for you.