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Questioning My Salvation

From: Bradley
To: The Path of Truth
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2016 1:59 AM
Subject: (no subject)

My name is Bradley and I have been reading your website recently. It really speaks to me. I have been born of the Spirit of Christ a few months ago and I am finding myself very disinterested in many worldly things I used to do. I used to abuse alcohol and Jesus healed me of that immediately, same with cigarettes and sexually immoral actions to name a few. I find myself in a world that I used to love, but love no more. The friends I used to have I no longer want anything to do with. My parents keep wanting to talk about worldly matters and they scoff at the notion of talking about God’s Word, their television shows are more important.

I was raised catholic and as a naive child I thought things like Christmas and priest confessional were directly and expressly taught in the Bible, that false church preys on the ignorance of its members. The catholic priest even told me that you don’t need faith in Christ to be saved (that works of the flesh were good enough according to him).

I have spent the last several days reading through various pages on your website and have learnt much. I am very concerned at this moment about what I am ingesting as I have known for years (but your website refreshed my memory) about how bad typical store-bought food is for us, with all the chemicals and other additives. I have been racking my brain about this one as I don’t have much money and my employment situation is not very good. I spent the first 7 years of being out of school doing drugs and going nowhere, with a supermarket cashier job to feed my wicked habits and addictions. There is a lot of stuff I have learnt in the last couple months and God has been regularly answering my prayers and teaching me about the world and it’s wicked ways.

I feel a great peace and fulfillment in my life that I can only possibly attribute to God’s presence in me. It is amazing how this world no longer consumes me or controls me in any way. I know that God will take me where I should go in my life. The devil has been causing me to doubt my salvation but I push through in faith and am always delivered from that doubt. I have been a vegan, dietarily, for the last couple months but I am concerned that I am not getting enough of certain nutrients and God appears to be pushing me back to eating meat and dairy. How can I trust those who are of the world though? Even if they say their meat is good and pure, how do I know that they are being honest? Greed corrupts people to their cores and they idolize and worship money at the expense of their souls. I am confused about many things in this moment. I find whenever people try to talk to me now I can no longer feign interest in the word salad they spew at me and just give brief “go-nowhere” responses to end the conversation.

Never before in my life have I been happier to just ignore the world and focus on God. If anything is causing me to write this email to you, it is Him. I just wonder how I can possibly have a good diet when seemingly everywhere I turn it is, as you say, dung! I would like to speak to a fellow believer, as I know no one in my life who truly believes. There are many in my life who claim to believe but their wordly sinful lifestyles prove their mouths wrong. Christmas is coming up and my family is coming around and they will expect of me to participate but I know, even away from all the pagan origins of Christmas, it is wholly unbiblical and clearly a worldly practice in many ways. The only community of switched-on believers I have found so far is your community.

Several weeks ago I tried going to the “Hillsong” church and the first thing they did was direct me to a table of their merchandise. I am 25 today and want to have a family. But it appears much needs to be done first to accommodate for that eventual family.

I pray that I could live off of the land like you do. It sounds like a truly blessed experience, to know with absolute certainty what you are putting in your bodies.

God bless you.

From: Paul Cohen and Victor Hafichuk
To: Bradley
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2016 7:59 AM
Subject: Introduction and Concerns

Hi Bradley,

Praise the Lord for leading you out of error into the Truth. HE is the Truth – know that and always remember it. He takes full responsibility for the soul that comes to Him, committed in faith and obedience. It can be no other way. Trust Him and rest.

“Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 MKJV).

You have concerns about food. Have you red this?

Veganism – A Cult of Intolerance Founded on a Lie 

You say that God is leading you away from veganism, guiding you to eat meat and dairy. Good! You ask how can you trust those who are of the world? Could you put your trust in those who supplied you with food when you were a vegan? So what is different now? Do your homework and trust God. He can and will supply you, if you believe and act accordingly.

“But my God shall supply ALL [not “some of”] your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Philippians 4:19-20 MKJV).

There are many people who farm organically by conviction and commitment. We’ve worked with some of them and know this to be true. Not all are in it for money, even though they’re not believers. God is God of all people and the truth of His Law is there for all:  

“For when the nations, who do not have the Law, do by nature the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves; who show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and the thoughts between one another accusing or even excusing one another” (Romans 2:14-15 MKJV).

Beware of cynicism and bitterness, Brad.

We didn’t say all things are “dung,” but what is promoted in the spirit of this world and the love of money.  

It’s important that we commit to doing things right with regards to all things, but here’s what most important:

“But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:33-34 ESV).

“For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17 KJV).

Keep the peace, Brad; trust and obey! Register on the Forum on our site so that you may participate with us and others on the matters at hand. Others among us can help you with practical and spiritual matters. You alone can exercise your own faith, but you don’t need to go it alone.

Paul and Victor

From: Bradley
To: The Path of Truth
Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2017 5:27 PM
Subject: Concerned

Hey my name is Bradley and about 3.5 months ago I was drawn to God and the way it happened was very clear. I came from a life of rampant sin, such as alcoholism, smoking, masturbation, pornography, lying compulsively, loving the world, lust and coveting of many different kinds. Then BAM suddenly I started caring deeply about the state of my soul before God. It began with a fear of going to hell but very quickly moved from that to a love of learning and doing God’s will. I experienced a state of peace in life never before experienced ever by me. All my addictions and reliances on sinful practices dramatically ceased and I spent my days just focusing on God all or most of the time – and I certainly wanted to. I realized that in Christ I was experiencing true fulfillment when before I was only experiencing false fulfillment (in worldy activities). There was a void in my life that I constantly tried to fill with all sorts of sinful practices (I even got into stuff like meditation  and spiritual energy stuff) but these things always left the void remaining unfilled. When I began to truly believe on Jesus as my Lord and Saviour he filled that void completely.

The concern I have is that since these days I have sinned. I have had bouts with alcohol use but absolutely nothing like it was before I was saved – and when I DID drink I found it to be entirely empty and unfulfilling. I even found myself constantly disliking it WHILE I was doing it, but the flesh just overcame me in those moments. It has been scarce and periodic bouts of drinking (until the last 3 weeks).

With masturbation again it has been nothing like it used to be and I didn’t enjoy it at all, again the flesh got the better of me.

My stumblings in these things (that I used to do almost every day mind you) were not overly frequent and I always repented after doing them. The issue I have had over the last 3 weeks is I have started to drink daily again like I used to and in many cases getting drunk because of it. This led me to turn my back on God (sin) in other ways I otherwise wouldn’t have done. I do believe this is a result of believing that Christ’s blood was a license to sin, that it effectively made sinning “okay”.

The concern I have with all this actually comes from what you guys talk about on your website (which I agree with) that if a person is saved, they do not sin. Now as per the first paragraph in this email, the experience I had was unmistakeable. I was concerned if there is any chance I wasn’t saved in the first place? Or have I just been stumbling while working out sin in my life during these times?

I sit here right now a day and a half beyond drinking and after the despair and pain it has caused me especially in recent weeks I will never touch the stuff again, not by my own strength but by the strength God gives me. Same with masturbation.

Again I find myself in this moment only caring about God and ignoring the worldly stuff around me, just like at the beginning. My heart has not changed back to loving the sins I have committed in this time. I honestly get very happy when I picture a life lived free of sin.

I wish I didn’t do what I did as I had a great level of confidence in my salvation before the sin slowly chipped away at it. Now I am more determined than ever to do God’s will. Perhaps God has just taught me that going my own way will never be good for me?

What are your thoughts on my experience? I hope I have been descriptive enough. Please pray for me and may God bless you.

From: Paul and Victor
To: Bradley
Sent: Sunday, January 15, 2017 7:31 AM
Subject: Re: Concerned

Hi Bradley,

No, you weren’t saved according to what true salvation in Christ is, which isn’t as men erroneously think or teach. If saved you couldn’t have believed “Christ’s blood was a license to sin, that it effectively made sinning ‘okay.’” You’ve been relying on your own power to save and keep yourself from sinning. That’s why you’re failing.

You have yet to come to the place of Repentance, which is life changing. But this is nothing to despair about, if you believe. Continue on the path toward the One Whom we preach, seeking Him with all your heart. Forget about what you want – ask that His will be done in your life. After all, you have the desire to quit, a desire you could only receive from Him, so He is calling you.

Keep reading our site. How One Is Saved will tell you what salvation in Christ means, becoming as He is in this world – a process and not a one time event:

“And you will be hated by all for My Name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Matthew 10:22 ESV).

“Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9 Webster)

In addition to reading the site, register on the Forum and participate, if you would like more help and to share with others. You’re not alone in your concerns or the things you’re experiencing.

Where or from whom have you received some of your wrongful ideas, which ultimately come from the enemy of our souls?

Paul and Victor

From: Bradley
To: Paul Cohen
Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2017 2:34 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Concerned

Hi Paul thanks for the reply.

I have done much thinking about my experience over the last 4 months in recent days and have concluded that I could not have possibly been saved, for as you note, I had not truly completely and unconditionally repented of my previous sinful ways. Although the frequency of sin dropped off dramatically it did not completely cease in my life. I believe I misinterpreted me being saved by God coming into my life and calling me to Him, which would eventually result in a true saving faith. The last 4 months God has been teaching me and I have earnestly been learning and getting to know Him. Websites such as yours have helped with this process so I thank you for what you do. I have read the How One is Saved page and that was helpful. I will be reading the Repentance page shortly.

I have been praying to God to show me the truth about my experience so far and he responded by crushing all delusions I had about the process. I had not yet been saved, that is why I was still sinning. I also realized there were times when I was not putting all of my trust in Christ, but rather in my works or in experiences I had had in this time. All of my trust must be in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

By the grace of God I have a far better understanding of the situation now. The devil wanted me to abandon my hope by trying to convince me that God had given up on me in my moments of weakness. But I am strong again and will not be deceived. Praise be to God.

God bless you and please pray for me during this time.

From: Victor Hafichuk
To: Bradley
Cc: Paul Cohen
Sent: Friday, January 20, 2017 7:36 AM
Subject: Re[3]: Concerned

Bradley, when you come to that supernatural gift of repentance, there will be no doubt about it, none whatsoever. It will be as sure as when lightning lights up the sky as though at high noon, without a shadow to be found anywhere on any side. Like a blind man receiving sight. Like a lifelong cripple having his legs restored. Like a downpour after a prolonged drought.

Luke 17:22-24 MKJV
(22)  And He said to the disciples, The days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you shall not see it.
(23)  And they shall say to you, Lo, here! or, behold, there! Do not go away, nor follow.
(24)  For as the lightning which lights up, flashing from the one part under heaven, and shines to the other part under heaven, so also shall the Son of Man be in His day.

Victor

From: Bradley
To: The Path of Truth
Sent: Tuesday, February 28, 2017 11:46 PM
Subject: My Salvation Experience (do you think it was true?)

Hey. My name is Bradley and I do not have anyone to talk to about this in my life. I would really appreciate if you could read my following testimony and provide me your opinion on whether this was a true conversion or not. This has been bugging me a lot lately and I would love to have a second educated view. I will provide as much context surrounding the situation as possible for maximum clarity.

Here it is —–

The experience happened five months ago, roughly. Before it happened my life was as you would expect an unrepentant sinner’s lifestyle to be. I was an alcoholic, I smoked, I swore, I was lazy, I always fought with my parents, I had no job nor any prospects of getting one, I masturbated and watched pornography, I lusted, I lied, I stole, I was unforgiving and unloving towards others, I was prideful. I worshipped the world immensely. In my years of drug abuse I even believed that I would never leave earth and that I my body would never decay, as odd as that sounds, the devil had me believing I would live forever on earth. My idea of a great day was getting drunk and watching television/playing video games.

So I had many great delusions and sin in my life and I was happy and content with all of it. At the time my life was paradise to me, nothing could ever be better. I never even wanted to have a family. I had my odds with our society, I was very rebellious towards authority and even practiced magic (orgone energy pendants). Again as far as I was concerned my life was great. As long as I was always drunk I was at peace. Many times I did try to stop drinking (for obvious health reasons) but I could never get further than a week beyond it before I flew straight back to it. My life was going to be like that forever and I loved every moment of it.

It is also important to note in the couple years leading up to this experience I did believe in a Creator, but obviously in mind only. I believed in self-righteousness as in “oh yeh I’m so good I believe in God”.

So there is the context of who I was and how I lived leading up to this experience. Now for what happened. I will try and spare no detail.

One day I was watching televison, drinking and an episode of South Park was on (a very vile sinful show if you are unfamiliar). The episode was one I had seen many times before in my life so I certainly was not unfamiliar with the story line, it was about religion, specifically the Catholic church. The main characters in the show start to get really scared of going to hell and the Jewish character upon being frightened by the Catholic priest’s preaching about hell runs home to his parents as tells them this about hell: “Well if the Christians are wrong, then no big deal – but if we’re wrong be burn in hell forever!”

Now I had heard of hell being an eternity many times over my life but just as many unbelievers I thought only serial killers and terrorists went there. For some reason this line in this television show caused me to start thinking: “that is interesting, what if the Christians are actually right? It would be too big of a cost for someone to get something like that wrong”. This line of thought compelled me to pick up my iPad and start researching hell and what it is all about. Very quickly I realized the sheer horror of burning and suffering for absolute eternity (or even for any amount of time) and this compelled me, out of fear, to find out what I need to do to be saved from hell. I started with simply typing questions into Google about that and for about five days of rigorously scouring the internet for answers I found and came to understand how to be saved: by believing in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour.

Now I was very serious about this. I absolutely wanted to make sure I got it right. Thus why I spent every day researching it. I found many Christian websites putting together in a clear fashion the gospel of the Lord. I came to realize why I was to put my faith in Him; because he paid the penalty for all of my sins on the cross. I realized that no works of my own were going to save me. I was raised Catholic so this was all quite a surprise.

As I said within five days or so I came to believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is who I must entrust my life to in order to be saved from condemnation of my sins. So I knelt down and said a prayer confessing Christ. I must stress though I was not relying on the prayer, it was at that time simply a reflection of what I had already come to believe in my heart. Not much happened afterwards, but the belief was certainly established in my heart. This was the time I also really resolved to stop sinning in my life.

The next day continued as normal, I had begun praying a little bit but not a lot yet (I was new to all of this stuff afterall). I remember notably on that day at one point, I was feeling very convicted and sorrowful over the sins I had committed in my life. It all just hit me like a truck. I collapsed to the ground in agonizing tears begging God to forgive me and help me. I continued to research God’s Word on the internet (learning much as I did).

Now the next few days were the same type of thing. Feeling terrible about my sins, praying, researching, thinking, worrying. Although I was finding the truth about God’s Word, Catholic doctrines in my mind caused me to be extremelly confused over this time. I worried deeply and wanted to make absolutely sure I got things right. I was certainly seeking the truth as earnestly as possible.

Now about the fourth day after coming to believe I went with my parents for a drive in the countryside for the day. I figured I would take a load off for a day and go with them. I spent the whole time thinking about God and what the true path to Him is. I also by this time was praying much more. I would pray everytime I felt the urge to.

So there were still many questions in my mind, still much confusion. There was no peace in me. I just had to know more about what I had begun to discover!

Here is the first major experience: At one point during this car drive, I was sitting in the backseat, having the usual worried and confused thought, no peace. Then suddenly and without anything happening apparently to cause it, a very noticable sense of peace and warmth came over me, making me know that everything was okay. I felt incredibly comforted for the first time since I started thinking about these things. Now the questions and confusions were still there, but I found myself actually unable to doubt the situation! The sense of peace and assuring comfort was just too strong for what was even in my mind.

At the time I certainly noticed this but did not fully understand the situation, I thought that maybe it was a passing feeling or that it would just go away later. The rest of that car drive was fantastic though, I felt at peace! It also was a peace I had never had before in my life. It certainly did not come from anything of this world (I was not doing anything except sitting there in the car when it happened).

So that night after we had gotten home, that sense of peace was still there. The questions in my mind were also but that was drowned out by a new sense of motivation and confidence. I also noticed when thinking about the things I had researched the week prior, they were easier to make sense of. I had mental clarity!

The next day that peace remained, at this time I started to think about what this could be, as it was clear it was not going away. I went for a bike ride that day. Now I always used to ride my bike, but this time I noticed that everything seemed much brighter and much more peaceful than ever before. Instead of just rushing through the park I was riding through I found myself riding nice and slowly just taking everything in, I genuinely had a peace in me I never had before and it brightened up my entire life. Now as I say I still was praying and vigiorously researching at the time but I found also God answering my prayers and that there was a sense of hope.

During all of this time I spent a lot of time thinking about Jesus and what He did and that sort of stuff.

So I hope I detailed that well enough. That sense of comforting peace has remained in my life ever since then. Do you think that was my receiving of the Holy Spirit? Ever since those days I have had an added sense about things. I found myself being “taught” when I was making mistakes and I had a great interest in doing God’s will since then. I also realized fairly quickly thay this peace had caused me to lose interest in seeking the world. I had a peace away from what the world had to offer me. I realized I had spent all my life seeking fulfillment in my life from worldly activities, but never truly being fulfilled. I now felt fulfilled by default.

I remember two days after this experience I bought a six pack of beer, but I no longer saught to get drunk, I did not even want to! But I found it to be a completely empty experience for me, I no longer enjoyed it. At this point I really started thinking “something big has happened to me”. My interest in the world just dropped off dramatically and has been decreasing ever since. I stopped desiring sin and felt great stopping sin in my life.

After a few weeks of developing my knowledge of God’s Word through internet research (I was reading a lot of debates between Catholics and Protestants because of confusions I still had) I had bought myself a bible and read the book of John and I remember being able to quite easily derive meaning from it. I enjoyed reading the bible! I saw how the Pharisees of the flesh could not even comprehend what Jesus was saying!

I could add so much more to this experience but I believe this is enough.

I would like to add though, that I still found myself in the first three months drinking here and there, but it just was not the same experience to me and I certainly wasn’t doing it daily like I used to. But in the last two months I have been drinking a lot, multiple weeks at a time. Also I have looked at porn and masturbated periodically. I have been absolutely broken over what I have done. But I have found in these times of challenges I have been growing tremendously in my faith. I have come to understand the importance of maintaining my fellowship with God and have been getting much better at praying than I was in the first three months. I realized in the first three months I failed to pray for help when I was being tempted so I would stumble into sin more easily. I also was failing to confess my prayers regularly.

I am sorry if this sounds confusing but in all honestly I am at this moment very broken and upset over my sin. I find myself doubting the experiences I had five months ago and that primarily is why I send you this email, so I can have a second opinion on the experience. As I said, besides God, I don’t have anyone else to talk to about this.

I keep wishing I could go back and do it all over again. But I am comforted knowing that God is still working in my life through all of this sin. I know it is wrong and I have properly repented of these sins now. I don’t even enjoy them… I am so stupid to choose to do them…

Is there still hope for me? I have found myself breaking down into tears multiple times in recent weeks, even while praying.

God bless you for your time. I look forward to your reply.

From: Paul Cohen
To: Bradley
Cc: Victor Hafichuk
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2017 7:56 AM

Subject: Re: My Salvation Experience (do you think it was true?)

We’ve been over this with you already, Brad.

See above.

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