John Gray was born twice in Newtownards, Northern Ireland. As a young man he, with his wife, came to Canada in 1946, commended to the work of the Lord. He was fully engaged in the work he loved until he was called home to glory in February 1994. Following is the story of his conversion, as he often related it while preaching.
I was born a sinner in the year 1913 in a little town in County Down in the North of Ireland. My parents were not saved but were God-fearing and sought to teach their five boys right from wrong. Like most young boys in Ireland, my hobby was playing football, and to be a professional player was my ambition. However this was not to be.
Around 13 years of age I had a toothache, and had the troublesome tooth extracted. Blood poison set in and I became very ill. Three doctors attended me, and all three said that there was no hope of recovery. My minister came to visit me, and talked to me about anything and everything. He said how I would be on the football team again but he never told me that if I died without knowing the Lord Jesus as my Savior, I would be in hell. He was not a faithful minister to me. However, in the mercy of God I did recover.
My first recollection of assembly Christians was of the neighbors who lived beside us when I was growing up. We noticed their going to and from the meetings carrying Bibles. Regrettably, they never spoke to us about the gospel, nor did they ever invite us to a meeting.
I had a few very close friends with whom I spent a lot of time, and we started attending Sunday School together. We liked our teacher. He was kind to us boys and I continued in his class until I was 22 years of age. A noted evangelist came to our town, and the Sunday School teacher asked us to attend some evening. We did, and three of the boys got salvation, but I did not. I was anxious, and wanted to be saved, but just could not understand the simplicity of it.
On a Thursday afternoon I went to have a game of pool. Coming away, I said, “This is my last game, as I must do something with Jesus tonight.” That night, the last hymn that was sung was, “Just as I Am Without One Plea.” When we came to the words, “Oh Lamb of God, I come,” I just simply and sincerely came with my sin-burdened soul and trusted the One who died to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. I found peace in believing. That was April 5, 1935.
Then the Devil put thoughts into my mind and suggested that I might not be able to keep this wonderful peace that I had found. Three weeks passed. I was invited to go to hear ministry from God’s Word. The speaker took Jude verse 24 as his text. He pointed out that “He is able to keep,” and I realized that I didn’t do the keeping. It was all in the hands of the One who saved me by His grace. I have not had a doubt about my salvation from that day until the present. Thank God!
Still today the Savior lovingly calls to you, if you have never trusted Him. Why not come to Him now!