Testimony by Ted Spaeth
I have been a Christian since I was a baby. I probably went to church 1,000 times and heard or read the Bible there, but I probably only heard around 10% of it. The focus was mainly on living a moral life and treating other people well. I actually understood very little of the Bible.
When I was 19 years old, a friend challenged me to read the New Testament, saying that as an adult I should form my beliefs based on my own study, not just what I was told at church. I agreed with his logic, so I did casually read the New Testament on my own. It took me a little over a year, I think. Little by little, I began to realize two things: I knew very little about the Bible, and I had more sin than I thought.
When I got to Revelation chapter 20, I became very scared, because I was afraid that my name might not be in the Book of Life. This would mean that I would be thrown into the Lake of Fire on Judgment Day. Therefore, I asked God to show me how to be saved.
A few months later, God showed me that I had to stop trusting in myself to get to Heaven. I had to trust in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross alone. So I repented and began to trust in God alone for my salvation. This is when I got saved, born again, born from above or born of the Spirit. (See John 3:3-5)
Jesus Christ said that unless a man is born again or born from above, he is not able to see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3). And unless a man is born of both water (embryonic fluid) and the Spirit, he is not able to enter the Kingdom of God. Thus, after I got saved, I began to understand the Bible in a whole new way - from the perspective of the Kingdom of God. Even some Christmas songs that I had sung for many years suddenly became alive and meaningful in ways I had never seen.
From Genesis to Revelation, the key to being saved or being declared to be righteous is faith, which is committment to revealed truth without knowing for certain if it's true. The moment a person first transfers his or her trust to Jesus Christ for eternal salvation, he or she immediately begins to experience eternal life through a relationship with God (John 17:3). He or she also gets seated in the Heavenly realms with Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:6). This hard to understand without a supernatural worldview, but it's an important aspect of the Christian faith.
The validity of a person's faith is the object of his or her faith, so the object of a saved person's faith is Jesus Christ and the Word of God, which most people call "the Bible." A person cannot have a saving faith and pick and choose which parts of the Bible he or she will accept. He or she must accept it as a whole and submit to Jesus Christ as his or her King. Faith in and obedience to Jesus Christ and the Bible is the manifestation of a genuine saving faith and an eternal hope. However, faith is like a muscle and needs lots of exercise to become strong.
Therefore, placing one's faith in Jesus Christ and in known Biblical truth and thus getting saved is the starting point for a person to develop an eternal hope and get in good spiritual shape. Temporal hope is not necessarily bad, but there are times when God will require that we let go of a certain temporal hope in exchange for more eternal hope and stronger faith muscles. The key to making this choice is to be constantly meditating on the Word of God, which is the multitude of Truth that is contained in the Holy Bible. Most people don't realize it, but the Holy Bible is actually Jesus Christ in a spiritual sense. See John 1:1,14, Hebrews 4:12,13 and Revelation 19:12,13. Understanding this requires spiritual eyesight and help from the Spirit of God.