As the day dawned cold and blustery, little did I realize that this day, Friday, February 12, 1954, would become the most important day of my life.  It was more significant than the day I was born or married, the day any of my children were born or the day I will die because it was to provide for what the Bible calls Eternal Life, after my natural life on earth has ended.

I was not born into a Christian home, although my parents had both gone to Sunday School in their younger years.  It wasn’t until my mother became a single parent that she came to realize that there had to be something more in life to establish a wholesome way of living than the mere frivolities of the world.  So when I was two years old, she became acquainted with a group of people who referred to themselves only as an Assembly of Christians.  She learned the truths of the Bible, and through a gospel tract, GOD’S WAY OF SALVATION, she was saved on May 17, 1943 while reading John 5:24…“He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.”  So from that tender age, my instruction was that of being born a sinner, which was impressed upon me in Sunday School and at home, not because the teacher or my mother said it, but because God’s Word said it.

It was the summer of 1945, while spending a week with my aunt in a small neighboring town, that I met the little neighbor boy, who was also my age.  One day we were going to cross the road to play at his grandmother’s home after we had lunch.  As I went out the back door and around the corner of the garage, I will never forget the sight before my eyes.  There, lying alongside the road, still in death and covered with a blanket, was my little friend.  Standing too close to the road, he was pulled under the wheel by a rusted fender of an old coal truck.  When my aunt took me to visitation at the funeral home, standing there, peering over the edge of the casket at that lifeless form, the thought came so vividly to me… “Where would my soul be if that was me?”

My mother often took me to meetings where the gospel (Good News) was faithfully spoken.  The message the preachers gave told of the love of God to sinners, but that God will also be our judge if we refuse to accept the GIFT of His Son as our personal Saviour.  So, in fact, wherever our souls go after death…either Heaven or Hell…will be our personal choice.  I had continual reminders that would come like a dart in the heart, i.e., “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  Hebrews 9:27

Many verses were read to me in hopes of encouraging me to accept God’s free salvation.

John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life.” 

Isaiah 53:6: “For He (Jesus) was wounded for our (my) transgressions, He was bruised for our (my) iniquities; the chastisement of our (my) peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.”

Acts 16:31: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”  As hard as I tried, I just could not grasp the concept that this was a free gift…I didn’t have to do anything to merit God’s salvation.

Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the GIFT OF GOD, NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.”

During the winter of 1954, two preachers came from Wisconsin to have a series of gospel meetings. One evening they were invited to our home for dinner.  One of them was a lovely pianist and sat down at our piano and played a hymn.  Only later did I realize he was singing this hymn to entreat me to make a decision for eternity.


“Some day,” you say, “I will seek the Lord;
Some day I will make my choice;
Some day, some day, I will heed His Word
And answer the Spirit’s voice.

“Choose now, just now!  There’s a soul at stake!
O what will your answer be?
‘Tis life or death; and the choice you make
Is made for eternity.”

These two preachers actually lived their persuasion and caringly presented the truths of the scripture with all the intensity and sincerity of their heart, never trying to force me into making a decision.  They were just faithful in explaining the claims of Christ and the rest was between God and me.

I don’t remember all of the message that was spoken on this particular Friday night, but one verse seemed to stand out above all, “Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire.” Rev. 20:15  I knew that was my destiny because I wasn’t saved.  After the meeting, I walked up to one of the preachers and before he could respond to my question, “How do I believe?”, God’s answer came to me: “Jesus died for the ‘Whosoever’ that believeth in Him”, and I was that ‘Whosoever’”.  There were no rainbows, no bells ringing, no lights or voices…just the calm assurance in my heart that I would never have to go to Hell because of the precious blood of Jesus that had been shed for my sins.

That night, for the first time in my life, as I laid my head on my pillow, I could rest assured that should I never open my eyes in the morning, my soul would be in heaven forever.  This peace in my heart bore out the truth of I John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God, that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life…”

So what is meant by salvation (born again, converted, saved)?  It means to acknowledge to God our sinful condition, repent of our sins, and trust in the redeeming blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The last words spoken by the Lord Jesus when he died were, “It is finished.”  John 19:30

This simple experience that took place many years ago changed the course of my life forever; I trust this same transformation may become a part of your life, too.

Marilyn Sargent