I first came to the United States of America in 1995. I had left my family and home in Russia to stay in USA for a year as an exchange student. I had grown up in a country where the government controlled everything: what
we read, what we listened to, what we wore to school, even how much we ate. I had grown up in bondage to a political system and leaving that for a year felt wonderful!

I didn’t know much about the USA but I had heard that people themselves decided what clothes they would wear, what books they would read, what music to listen to, and how much food they would buy. I had heard that in the USA people had a choice in everything. To me, that was freedom.

However, after having been a while in this privileged country, I started to read the Bible for the first time in my life. To my surprise, I found out that I had not only been in bondage to the government of my homeland. I discovered that I was in a much greater bondage – the bondage of sin. This did not depend on where I was born or where I lived. I found out that I am a sinner by nature. (Romans 3:23) Enjoying the freedoms of the United States did not set me free from the guilt of my sins.

On February 28, 1996, I went to a funeral home. I had never seen a dead body before. I was faced with the reality of death. Just as suddenly as someone else dies, I too could die unexpectedly and it would be my turn to go into eternity.

A friend told me that the body was in the casket, but the soul (the real person) was in heaven because the man had trusted Christ as his Savior, and his sins had been forgiven.  Then my friend asked me: “If you died tonight, where would you be?

Right then I knew that I would be in Hell forever being punished for my sins. Later that night I realized that if God said that Christ had died for my sins (1Corinthians 15:3) and I was free, it meant I would not have to face the punishment! And God did say that because I read it in my Bible – God’s Word. I trusted God’s word, and that moment I was set free forever!

Free from the guilt of my sins!

Free indeed!

“If the Son (of God) therefore shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.”
John 8:36