The day I married my sweet lovely wife Ave, was one of the greatest moments of my life. But that occasion pales in comparison to the day I was arrested from my sins and joined in a saving and eternal way to the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.
In August 1991, I resigned my membership at Covenant Baptist Church for the purpose of pursuing a sinful lifestyle free of restraint. I also fell under the influence of Hyper-Calvinism, heresy, landmarkism and antinomianism. Proverbs 14:12 described me well; “ THERE IS A WAY WHICH SEEMS RIGHT TO A MAN, BUT ITS’ END IS THE WAY OF DEATH.” For the 5 years following I seldom attended church services. The seeds of sin, once dormant now blossomed fully in the garden of my heart. As time rolled on, however, the pangs of conscience swelled.
Sometime in May of 1996, I began attending Tenth Presbyterian Church services regularly. Likewise I engrossed myself in City Light, a Friday night ministry to singles. Although I was active in church functions, it could rightly be said of me; “YOU WERE DEAD IN YOUR TRESPASSES AND SINS,” (Ephesians 2:1) and, “A CERTAIN TERRIFYING EXPECTATION OF JUDGMENT,” (Hebrews 10:27) engulfed me. Sitting under the preaching of God’s Word week after week & month after month exposed the peril of my never dying soul until I would confess; “FOR MY INIQUITIES ARE GONE OVER MY HEAD; AS A HEAVY BURDEN THEY WEIGH TOO MUCH FOR ME.” (Psalm 38:4).
On June 1, 1997, I poured out, “A BROKEN AND A CONTRITE HEART,” (Psalm 51:17) to Dr. Richard Phillips. As he prayed for me a sense of, “THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH SURPASSES ALL COMPREHENSION,” (Philippians 4:7) overwhelmed me. “BECAUSE OF HIS GREAT LOVE, (Ephesians 2:4) my wicked lifestyle came to screeching halt. From that day on I’ve endeavored to, “PUT ON THE NEW SELF WHICH IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD, HAS BEEN CREATED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HOLINESS OF THE TRUTH.” (Ephesians 4:24)
Having said that in full disclosure I will confess that I have not always endeavored to PUT ON THE NEW SELF and some days and seasons, I have pursued sin and its’ deceitful pleasures much to my shame and regret.
The peace I’ve known, “IS BETTER TO ME THAN THOUSANDS OF GOLD AND SILVER PIECES.” (Psalm 119:72) Nevertheless, as a, “BRAND PLUCKED FROM THE FIRE,” (Zechariah 3:2) I narrowly escaped the, “PUNISHMENT OF ETERNAL FIRE.” (Jude 7) “FOR I KNOW THAT NOTHING GOOD DWELLS IN ME, THAT IS, IN MY FLESH.” (Romans 7:18) My testimony is framed in Ephesians 2:8&9; “FOR BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED THROUGH FAITH AND THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES. IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD, NOT AS A RESULT OF WORKS THAT NO ONE SHOULD BOAST.”
Yet a greater day awaits all of “GOD’S ELECT,” (Romans 8:33) when we will, “MEET THE LORD IN THE AIR AND THUS WE SHALL ALWAYS BE WITH THE LORD.” (Thessalonians 4:17)
This testimony was originally delivered orally at Tenth Presbyterian Church’s New Year’s Eve Testimony service December 13, 1999 sometime between 9:00-9:30p.m. by Ralph Bremerman.
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