I’m writing this today because to me there’s nothing more important in this life than what I have to tell you.
Often, it happens that the situation doesn’t lend itself to deeper, more serious conversation, so I got the idea to write this letter to you so you can read it when you have time.
I give this letter only to those people God puts on my heart, not just anyone. You are special to me, but infinitely special to God. I’m definitely a rank and file sinner, but I’m saved and born again by an infinitely loving and merciful God.
I have a real burden on my heart to share with you what the Bible says about salvation, and where we go when we die. People don’t even seem to think much about this these days. I didn’t either until I was 27.
I was raised Catholic, and I took my relationhship with God very seriously. Spiritual things always interested me. I tried to get closer to God through my Catholic church, but as a young adult, I didn’t feel Him there at all. In fact, it felt dead in church and in the Mass. I was hungry for a real connection. I wanted the real thing!
I turned to the Bible, which even the Roman Catholic church recognizes as a spiritual authority, although the Popes and their decrees are considered the final word on everything.
All I knew to do at the time was to go to a local “St. Jude Shop” where they sold Catholic Bibles, statues, jewelry, etc. I bought a St. Joseph’s Bible and rushed home to see what it said. I had a list of questions I was hoping to get answered: Is it right to pray to saints or Mary? Is Jesus really in the bread at the Mass like they teach? And more. God directed me because I did not know the Bible at all – Catholics weren’t encouraged to read it. I was taught that only a priest can rightly interpret it.
I cracked it open at random, and my eyes fell on 1 Timothy 2:5 which says, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” This was written by St. Paul, the apostle. Wow! That answered my question about praying to saints and Mary. Paul said they were not mediators! That started me on some deep research into the Roman Catholic church, it’s background, doctrine and decrees.
In a nutshell, I learned that Catholicism is based on getting to heaven by “being a good person,” “doing good works,” “receiving the sacraments.” There was also: burning in Purgatory for as long as it takes to pay for your sins (which is exactly like hell, but temporary, while hell is permanent).
And then there are indulgences: plenary and partial. Plenary erases all your sins so if you died right after you got it, you’d go right to heaven. Partial indulgences pay for only some of your sins – shortening your time in Purgatory. These indulgences were earned by saying certain prayers and doing certain things. I used to get them frequently as a grade school kid. I thought it was so cool.
This is true Catholic doctrine, written in Vatican documents. However, to make it even more confusing, I was taught that each priest was allowed to interpret these things as he saw fit. Not to mention, he alone could forgive your sins because only he had the authority as a Catholic priest to do so in the sacrament of confession. We were never told we could just ask God to forgive us directly. (See 1 John 1:9)
I never heard the word ‘repent.’ I found out later, from the Bible, Jesus taught us to repent (be truly sorry for our sins, and turn away from them) and trust His work of suffering and dying on the cross as the only acceptable payment for sin.
So it turns out that the Bible, or Holy Scripture, which is God’s Word, has a message, a theme for us running throughout the whole thing…old and new testament. It’s that God loves us so much He doesn’t want anyone to go to hell (which was made only for the angels that rebelled against Him) so He made a way to cover our sins and blot them out. That was only possible by the shedding of the blood of a 100% pure, and innocent sacrifice. That’s why Jesus was born – to be that sacrifice, to pay for each person’s sins. This is the only way to approach God, the Father. Jesus Himself said, “…I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; No one comes to the Father except by Me.” (John 14:6)
No sacraments, no rules and regulations, no good works or repeated prayers can ever pay or make up to a holy God for our sins. Only trusting faith like a little child in Jesus finished work on the cross for us satisfies our God.
Jesus warned us about hell in the New Testament alone 46 times! He died so we could join Him in Heaven and never go to hell. There is no Purgatory, that is a man-made doctrine not mentioned in Holy Scripture, as is the idea that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was conceived without sin. That is based on a dream a Pope once had! Did you know that the Immaculate Conception doctrine does not refer to Jesus’ conception, but Mary’s own conception in her own mother’s womb?! True! Roman Catholicism subsequently teaches that Mary herself lead a perfectly sinless life, putting her on a par with Jesus…a type of goddess herself. From the Bible we know that she was a wonderful, godly woman, but a sinner who needed a Savior, just as we all do as she herself mentions in Luke 1:47.
The first word Jesus said when He began His public ministry was, “Repent!” in Matt.4:17. Jesus did not preach a tolerant acceptance of other’s beliefs and opinions. He taught repentance and obedience to God and His Word. As Bill Wiese says in his book, 23 Questions About Hell: a loving message isn’t always sweet and nice; at times it may be a rebuke or be corrective in nature. Jesus doesn’t want anyone to go to hell, but spend eternity in heaven with Him! He wants each one of us to admit we are a sinner and turn from our sin and change our ways. That is what ‘repent’ means.
To be sure that you will go to heaven when you die, you must believe Jesus paid for your personal sins on His cross. The Father accepted His sacrifice for you, me and all mankind as payment in full! It’s His free gift of love to us! If you’d like to receive this gift you can simply talk to Him and tell Him something like this:
Dear Heavenly Father,
I come to You in the name of Jesus.
Your Word says, “He that comes to Me, I will in no way cast out” (John 6:37), so I know You won’t cast me out, but You take me in and I thank You for it.
You said in You Word, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). I am calling on Your Name, so I know You have saved me now.
You also said, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes producing righteousness: and with the mouth confession is made producing salvation. (Romans10:9-10)
I believe in my heart Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe that He was raised from the dead for my justification, and I confess Him now as my Lord.
Because Your Word says, “With the heart man believes producing righteousness,” and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21) …And I am saved!
Thank You, Lord!
You can sign and date the above prayer so you never will forget the day you became God’s child and stepped into eternal life! (Prayer composed by Reverend Kenneth E. Hagin)
Now you are a new creature in Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:17) Seek to know your new Savior. Read His Word the Bible every day. Try to read a chapter a day. The Bible says Jesus is the Word of God! You can start in the gospel of John. Ask a godly Christian who loves the Lord your questions as they come up about what you read. Underline verses that pop out to you or seem special or stand out like a neon sign to you (as one Christian writer once said!) – that is the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart. Expect Him to communicate with you; He loves you and wants to talk to you!
Start to pray. Not formulated ritualistic prayers, but genuine talking to Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit as if they were real personalities, because they are! Talk about anything on your mind. Pour out your heart to God. Talk about big and little things. Ask Him questions. Ask for His help with anything! Keep a little journal of answered prayer – you will be amazed at the lively, loving relationship you’ll have!
Find a Bible-teaching church that has a heart to reach the lost and teaches salvation by faith. Pray for the Holy Spirit to guide you to the right one.
As the Holy Spirit guides you – start to forgive everyone who has ever hurt you. Let go of it! Unforgiveness in your heart towards others blocks your Heavenly Father’s forgiveness of your sin (Mark 11:26). It only hurts you! Tear up the old I.O.U.’s you hold against other people from the past. Tell God you forgive them, and they don’t owe you anything anymore! You’re free!
If you’ve hurt anyone seek them out and ask their forgiveness, in person if possible. Let the Holy Spirit show you who they are.
Lastly, in order to start off your brand new life in the best way possible, cut off all occult connections as the Holy Spirit shows you. Don’t give satan any doorways into your life. See the www.Spiritwithus.com blog post on the paranormal for more information on this topic.
Thank you so much for reading to the end! If I can be of any help, or you just have some questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My number is 484-753-5777. Just leave a message and I will call you back, asap. Or text me, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I highly recommend you read the book 23 Minutes in Hell by Bill Wiese. You can get it on Amazon.
For your own personal Bible – which will become a living treasure to you – I recommend the Spirit Filled Life Bible, New King James by Nelson.
There is a great free phone app by Tecarta that let’s you choose between a few versions of the scriptures. I have the Amplified Bible on mine, and I love it
I suggest you get a physical Bible that you can write in and underline and love everyday, as well as the phone app!
Please keep in touch. Write, text or call me anytime. Let me know how you are progressing.
God bless you!