My Conversion to Christianity

How did I become a Christian?

Between a rock and a hard place

Frequently, I recall hearing a story about a person who was rescued after falling between a rock and a hard place. They had reached their breaking point. They also reached the end of themselves, but God was always waiting for them. Because He opposes the proud and gives grace only to the humble, God cannot save anyone until they first humble themselves (James 4:6). This may be why “not many of you were wise by worldly standards, not many were powerful, and not many were of noble birth” is said of those who are called (1st Cor 1:26). Because “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1st Cor 1:27). God will save some of the wealthy and powerful. Still, the majority will refuse to submit to Christ and perish due to their pride. In many instances, God must allow His velvet vice to exert pressure on us, and when we have the Rock (God) and the problems (the hammer), God can finally soften our hearts to the point where we are receptive to repentance and faith in Christ. This is what occurred to me.

How to be Redeemed

A person cannot truly save themselves because “you have been saved by grace through faith” And this is not your own doing; it is God’s gift, not the result of your efforts, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8-9), Jesus says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will resurrect him on the final day” (John 6:44). Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be reborn (John 3:3–7), but the Greek indicates that it is “born from above,” indicating that God initiates our faith. No more could we have caused our spiritual birth than we could have caused our physical birth. This was not our decision (Eph 1). It was God’s, so when a person feels remorse and regret their sins and the consequences of those sins, they are brought to repentance by God, and then they put their trust in Christ (2nd Tim 2:25). We can only repent when God’s Spirit moves us to do so. When a person repents and trusts in Christ, they are saved.

How I Was Redeemed

There I was again in legal trouble as a young man. After my fourth or fifth appearance before the judge, he declared, “I’ve had enough.” He was sending me to prison (the mid-1970s, Hutchinson, Kansas). At that point, I had reached the end of myself. The confiscation of all my property, including my vehicle, left me with nothing. So there I was, in a cell, destitute, incarcerated, without hope or future, uncertain of when I would be released, when I saw it. The trustee arrived with books… I observed a Bible. I reasoned, “Why not? What else is there to do but wait?’ So I opened the Bible, and the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18 fell open. Wow. I was similar to the widow. I had no assets! I was in trouble and in need of assistance, so I decided to cry out to God for help and be persistent. When I first read, “And will not God render justice to his elect, who cry out to him day and night? “I was also instilled with reverence for God. Will he linger over them? I assure you he will administer swift justice to them” (Luke 18:7-8). Once upon a time, I was under God’s judgment, but the phrase “Will he delay long over them?” gave me peace…and hope. I fell to the jail cell floor and cried silently to God. I had nothing but God, but I realized I had everything I needed if God was all I had. I put my faith in Christ with my face, and ironically, I was released from prison.

Your Witness

Your testimony will differ from mine and those of others, but God can and has used the personal testimony of others regarding how they were saved to witness to others. When I tell my story, people exclaim, “Wow, you were incarcerated? I would never have guessed that.” But I tell them that I was incarcerated and free in the world because I was held captive by the enemy without knowing it. Paul writes, “In their case, the god of this world has blinded their minds to prevent them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2nd Cor 4:4). Also, for me, the gospel was obscured until God broke my pride (2nd Cor 4:3). If you can write a brief account of how you came to saving faith, it will be easier for you to share it with those who are still in captivity. God may therefore use your personal testimony to save some people by pointing them to Christ through your testimony.

Conclusion

As you can see, I did not convert to Christianity. Jesus Christ redeemed me after the Father’s call and the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Salvation is entirely God’s work. I bring nothing but my hands full of sin and shame. If you have a loved one who is unsaved or hostile to the gospel, do not give up on them. Be persistent. Cry out day and night. Never give up, but never force Christ upon others. Just be salt and light and make others want the same seasoning and life-giving illumination.

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Pastor James Costa earned his degree in Theology from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. After graduation, he dedicated his career to serving as a pastor in Waco, Texas. Pastor James founded Faith Activist during the COVID-19 pandemic when he faced challenges in reaching people due to the lockdowns. He realized the potential of digital media to connect with people and spread the message of the gospel, leading him to create an online platform to help people grow in their faith and engage with other believers.