Leonard DeBuhr ~ Aplington, Iowa

Heaven, a Certainty, is God’s Gift.

This is the greatest gift one can possess, highest in value, greatest in blessing, and longest in duration: the greatest gift ever to be offered to and received by mortal man.

To give such a gift to man, on an unmerited basis, displays the love of God, which is divine love and not fully understandable by man. To show such love and to give Eternal life was very costly to God, the giver. His righteousness demanded that the sin of man must first be paid for and put away before the gift of eternal life could be given.

God’s Son was sent into this world to be the Saviour and while here He proved His sinlessness. Even Pilate had to say, “I find no fault in Him.” Because He was sinless, He could become our substitute at Calvary. Isaiah 53:5 states: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” Man, who was lost in sin and unable to save himself, is amazed and thrilled to discover, “Why this man died for me and cleared me of my great debt of sin.” Thus, becoming a believer on the Lord Jesus, one receives this great, momentous gift of eternal life. John 3:15 states, “Whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” Surely this is pure grace on God’s part.

            My first remembrance of hearing of such grace came when I was but thirteen years of age, at which time I observed my dear mother being deeply concerned about something. I was so impressed that I said, “Mother, what’s the trouble?”

She answered, “It’s my sins that concern and trouble me, and if I should die as I am, I would be lost forever.” The words deeply impressed me, for I knew they were heartfelt words.

A number of days later, as we sat down for the evening meal, my father, who was a true believer, bowed his head to express thanks to God for the food on the table. While praying, my father quoted a portion of Luke 18, and while my father prayed, my mother had the great truth made real to her soul – “That Jesus Paid It All.” In this, she found that the sin which had so concerned her, had been borne away by Another, “Jesus Christ.” Thus, mother’s outlook was changed and peace came to her; now her sins no longer gave her anxiety – settlement had been made. As I observed all this, it fully awakened in me the realization that in Christ there was peace and full assurance, which was positive and real and which changed one’s whole purpose in life. Realizing this, I said in my heart, “What mother has is what I want. This is real.”

For the next fourteen years, I desired and sought to know my salvation was secure. You see, in 1 John 5:13, God had also made me aware that I could KNOW that I had eternal life. I often thank God that my life was preserved these fourteen years; though often I wondered if my doom was sealed, for God’s Word in Genesis 6:3 told me “My Spirit shall not always strive with man.” To me it seemed I was so negligent and faulty. I had tried so hard to believe on Him, but it just seemed I couldn’t make salvation my own and was unable to get assurance.

It was impossible to really enjoy this life and its carefree ways, as I felt that life was serious and it was my responsibility to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all good things would follow. I often prayed to God asking Him for mercy – that salvation might be made real to my soul and be mine. For a long time I waited for a feeling, or a vision, or a voice to tell me that I was saved, but these never came. God spoke again and again to my soul through accidents and sudden deaths of some that I knew so well. I was made to realize that had this been me, I would be lost for all the ages of eternity and never see light again, only to dwell forever in darkness amidst pain, sorrow, and remorse. I knew my sins separated me from God, and I deserved only to be banished from heaven forever, because my attitude toward Christ had always been wrong. It seemed to me that I had trodden down the Son of God, who loved me and died for me, under my feet.

Then on the 22nd of December, 1938, one of the final blows was struck. As my dear wife and I sat down to the evening meal, she said to me, “At five o’clock tonight I was saved through reading John 5:24 and John 3:36.” I could see once again that this was a real work of God, and I wanted the security of eternal life more than ever. The following day at ten o’clock I came into the house, took my Bible, sat down on the sofa, and read John, chapter 3. As I was reading I thought, “Others get saved reading it; maybe I will.” As I finished, I waited once more for that experience to come by way of vision, feeling, or voice. Again, nothing happened. In desperation I lay down and faced the back of the sofa and cried to God in prayer, telling Him I was a very lost sinner and only He could save me. Again, I waited for something to tell me I was saved – but again nothing happened. All hopes of ever being saved vanished. I rolled over to get up, thinking I must forget about it all as there seemed to be no hope. Sitting up, I picked up my open Bible, which still lay on the floor before me. I started to close it when my eyes fell on the words “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36). For the first time in my life I found myself believing God, no more trying to believe. I just knew it was true; Jesus had paid for all my sins. At that moment I was not only able to trust His atoning death, but also to commit myself to Him.

Since that memorable day, December 23, 1938, I can say “Jesus is my Saviour and my Lord, He died for me; now I know Heaven is a certainty.” Also, I can honestly declare that this is when true life and its greatest enjoyment began. Peace and assurance came into my soul, with God’s promise that nothing would ever separate me from His love again. Romans 8:37-39.

On yonder shore I hope to meet with you again so that together we may sing in the land where the sun will never set “ … unto Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood.”