D.R. Scott, Hector Alves, Sidney Saword, Joe Turkington, Bruce Cumming, Jack Saword. No, this is not a list of speakers at a recent conference, but simply the names of some men that are well known to many readers of this magazine and are a part of my “goodly heritage.” “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places” (Ps 16:6). Nevertheless, in spite of such privilege and blessing, I was born in sin, no closer to heaven and in no more favor with God than the remotest Indian in the Amazon that has never read John 3:16. Early on, I realized that sons of God are the ones born, NOT OF BLOOD. . .but of God (Jn 1:11, 12). Salvation does NOT run in the blood. I needed to trust Christ personally, and so do you.
Born and raised in Venezuela, I heard the gospel often, sometimes attending nightly meetings for three months. My parents clearly impressed on their seven children that the most important issues in life are: to be saved by God’s grace and to live for God’s glory. I was deeply stirred every time someone was saved having heard the gospel only once. Brought up in a Christian home, I could quote chapters by heart in the Sunday school and defend the gospel in a very Catholic school, but I was still in my sins and on the road to Hell.
Well aware that the Lord Jesus could come to the air at any moment and take my parents and three older sisters to heaven, I lay sleepless many nights, longing for peace with God and the assurance of salvation.
Tremendous tropical storms would sweep over the city of Valencia, with thunder and lightning that would shake and light up the entire house. I would think of how awful it would be for me to be left behind and to face the tribulation, fleeing in vain for refuge and locked out of Heaven forever.
On the 31st of December 1974, I went with several hundred people to hear my grandfather, Mr. Sidney Saword, preach. His text was: “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor 5:17). Then he said, “What a wonderful thing it would be for someone to be saved tonight and to start the New Year with new life.”
Wanting to be saved that night, I decided to go to the door after meeting and tell Grandpa, thinking he would take care of the rest. Not so! He was so busy trying to bid farewell to so many people that he simply took me by the hand and pulled me out of the old hall, right onto the sidewalk. I was stunned! Six days later, fourteen years old and alone in my bedroom, I was reading about Christ’s death in Isaiah 53:5, and how “the chastisement of our peace was UPON HIM.” I understood that the wrath of God that I deserved for all eternity because of my sins had been poured out on Christ at Calvary. “If that was so,” I said to myself in Spanish, “He died for me, and I am saved.” In English, it is just as simple! Believe God and you too will be saved.