Have you ever looked back at some decision you made and wondered what would have happened if you had decided differently? During the summer of 1957, when I was sixteen years old, I made the most important decision of my life. I put my faith in Jesus Christ so that my sins could be forgiven. Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had not done that.
You have probably heard people tell how Jesus saved them from a life of sin. They were living ungodly lives and after being saved they completely changed their lifestyles. My life before I was save was nothing like that. I attended Sunday school every week. One of my favorite books when I was a child was a comic book about the life of Jesus. I made two attempts to read through the whole Bible. Both times I read Genesis and the first part of Exodus but gave up when I got bogged down in reading about the construction of the tabernacle. There was even a time when I considered the possibility of becoming a preacher.
I have always believed the Bible is true but when I was young I attended a church that was theologically liberal and so I didn’t get much accurate instruction about what it teaches. I don’t recall that anyone ever told me how to be saved but the church did emphasize the need to be baptized. Jesus said that it is necessary to be born of water and the Spirit in order to enter the kingdom of Heaven, and I thought that being born of water meant baptism. I don’t know if the church actually taught that but that was my understanding. When I was fourteen years old I was baptized and joined the church. For a long time I thought of the day I was baptized as my spiritual birthday.
A little more than two years after I was baptized I had a Sunday school teacher who was a born again Christian. She listened to a program called Back to the Bible. As a result of her influence I began listening to the program and as a result I came to understand that I was not saved and I also learned how to be saved. Because I was already an active member of a church my salvation didn’t result in an immediate change in my lifestyle but there was a big difference inside which did eventually express itself outwardly.
What would have happened if I had not turned to Christ? Perhaps I would have spent the rest of my life merely professing to be a Christian. Perhaps I would have rejected Christianity altogether and become an atheist or an adherent of some other religion. I will never know unless God chooses to reveal it to me in Heaven.
I have no way of knowing what my life on earth would have been like but the Bible makes it clear what would have happened when I died.
It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment. (Hebrews 9:27)
Because Jesus Christ has atoned for my sins I don’t have any reason to fear that judgment. If I weren’t a Christian that wouldn’t be true. I would have to bear the punishment for every sin I have ever committed. That would mean that I would be condemned to spend eternity in Hell.