Eric Prough ~ Akron, Ohio

 

My parents took me to church where I learned Bible verses and was taught about Jesus who died as the Savior of the world. I participated in church plays, I sang songs about God, learned verses and even memorized the books of the bible. I thank God this foundation was formed within me, which God used later in my life.

            As I grew older, I remember going to my grandparents. They had my brother and I kneel down in prayer at night. Grandmother taught us to “accept Jesus into our hearts”. I never really knew what that meant. Also, the churches I attended never taught me my need of salvation. I never did find out why Jesus went to the Cross, shed His blood, and suffered for sins.

In high school and college, I had everything a young man could want – friends, fun and worldly things. The working world was an extension of college – no concern for the things of God. Once, when a close friend of mine got saved, I wondered why he was so happy and different. If only I had listened to him!

            Several years after college, a Christian friend, invited me to gospel meetings at the Akron Gospel Hall. It was there the memories of my youth and of my saved friend spoke to me. I also learned that I really did need the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior because of my sin. God’s word showed me that I needed a time and place when I was saved. After sitting through my first meeting, I could not honestly say that I had a time of salvation. At that moment, my friend told me I was not saved.

            As a man of 24 years of age, I took my children’s Bible home to read that week. The Scriptures clearly pointed me towards salvation. The next week, at meeting, God’s word (the Bible) told me that Jesus had done everything and that God was satisfied with His work at the cross. But it wasn’t good enough for me – yet.

            That week, God took away my enjoyment of worldly things. I could not focus on work, friends, or money. All I could think about was being saved. I was afraid to go to meeting – everyone would see my trouble. Although I wanted to be saved, I kept trying to save myself. I did not realize until the night I was saved that I was “without strength” (Romans 5:6).

            Upon leaving meeting on Friday night, the preacher asked me, “Are you saved yet?” I had to respond that I was not. He handed me a tract to read. As I read it at home, I understood the fullness of my helplessness. Then, I thought, “Do you believe Christ died for the sins of the world?” To this question, I could answer, “Yes!”

            That night, I rested on Christ’s work at Calvary, that His death and suffering was for me. At that moment, it took me in. It wasn’t just that “God so loved the world”, it was that Christ loved me and “gave Himself for ME”. That’s why He took my place on the Cross. Although I deserved to be there, He took my punishment. Praise heaven and the Savior for the glorious gospel that brings salvation to lost sinners, even me.