In my late teens I was what you might call a Utopian. I believed that we could build a better world if we all tried hard (despite evidence to the contrary!). A number of years later and after many disappointments and some painful self-realisation I had to admit that I had been living dreams. I was living a lie. Having come to that conclusion I got straight on with the business of looking after number 1 exclusively and squeezing as much "fun" as possible out of every minute of the day. Occasionally I would get a twinge of conscience and the "God Question" would bother me a bit. Deep down I really did want to know the truth about God. The problem was that although some religions and cults were more atractive than others, none of them seemed to have anything to do with the real world. There were lots of rituals, but no solid answers - just more pretence and escapism.
I spent the winter of 1979/80 in India with some friends and we had plenty of time to talk about Life, the Universe and Everything. It was while there that I realised that the many religions in the world proved that I was never going to find the real God (assuming a real God existed). So many religions and philosophies. No, man cannot reach God by his own devices, that's for sure. That being the case, one afternoon in Southern India, I prayed. I said, "God, if you are really 'there' I want to know you." It was not much of a prayer, I admit, but I meant it. And if an all-powerful God did exist I knew it would be a simple thing for him to reveal himself.
A few months later I was back in England and within a couple of weeks a friend who had recently been converted was explaining her faith to me and inviting me to church. I decided to go - but what a fight with myself I had to get through the doors! But I made it. For the first time in my life I heard the gospel explained clearly from the Bible - not from someone's made up ideas. It all became so clear, as if someone had removed a veil from my eyes.
"All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God," claimed the Bible. I couldn't argue with that personally.
"Your sins have cut you off from God." I was already convinced that mankind is cut off from God. "The wages of sins is death." Not just a physical death, but an eternal punishment of all who have not met the perfect standards of a Holy God. That was a bit hard to take at first, but we all want to see justice done. Nobody likes to see the bad guys get off scott-free. And the judgements of God are so perfect. No favouritism, no turning a blind eye. I had to acknowledge I deserved to be punished along with everyone else.
"Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Jesus was able to take the punishment that was really mine because He is the only one who has lived a perfect life and had no sin of His own to be punished for. He was able to but He wasn't compelled to. He did it because He loved me, not for any other reason. All I had to do was trust Him. Not to put my faith in Him would be to say that I could make it on my own but that, I knew, was impossible. Thanks to God's revelation to man (the Bible) and God's own grace I now have a living relationship with Him.
Jesus said, "Whoever comes to me I will never turn away." That includes you.