An Atheist then a Religious Hypocrite, now a Lover of Christ

Topic:
Category: Testimonies

I wanted to become anything but a Christian, I looked at things like Buddhism and it was all fairy tale stuff, but eventually I started to open the Bible and look at it as a history book. I just started in Genesis verse 1. I kept reading and it seemed to make sense but I didn’t really understand it at the time. I was trying to interpret it through my atheistic worldview. Yet I still knew it was all true. I started to go to a church for six years and became very religious but I never really knew Jesus Christ. I was religious on Sunday but for the rest of the week I just lived like a complete hypocrite.  Yet I always knew that there was something more to Christianity that I didn’t have, and of course what I was missing was Jesus Christ. Up until this time God was just a distant deity to me, I didn’t really know Him.


Kevin Williams is a Pastor in Manchester, England at Grace Fellowship Manchester

Transcript

What is your life? It is a vapor. The Bible says your life is like a puff of steam. There for a moment, and then it's gone. My name is Kevin. I grew up in Manchester in England in the seventies, into a background in those days, you were either considered a Roman Catholic, or like us, we were considered an Anglican which is Church of England now. We never went to church. All that means is I was christened as a child. Infant baptism is a big ritual there. It's a big superstition. People believe that you can't get into heaven without some sort of infant ritual. So the only times in my childhood I set foot in a church was at one of these christenings or was at somebody's wedding. And then, when I got to secondary school or high school I just professed to be an atheist back in those days. Really, even though I didn't know much about the Bible back then, and I didn't know much about Jesus Christ I did really know one thing. I knew deep down it was all true even in the days when I professed to be an atheist. There was just something inside of me - a nagging thought - my conscience which told me it was all true. And so as time went on, I left school and I just became a big sinner. I drank up as much sin as I could in various ways. And I did things which are real shameful to speak about in that time. And so time went on and I became a worse and worse sinner. And I got to my mid-twenties, and I started asking those questions that everybody asks at some point in life. Why are we here and what happens when this life is over? And I would philosophize. I remember each day I would just philosophize more and more. And I'd come up with the silliest interpretations of things. This would keep on going. But I knew there was a God at this time. I just looked at the whole creation, the Bible says, declares His handiwork. And my conscience again just keeps telling me this is true. At first, I would look at other religions. I wanted to become anything but a Christian. And I remember, I looked at things like Buddhism. But it was just all fairy tale stuff. It was just nonsense really. And then eventually, I started to open the Bible and look at it as like a history book. It was an old Bible that was passed down in the family from my granddad, and I just started in Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." And I just kept on reading and it seemed to make sense. Now, I didn't really understand it at that time, and I was trying to interpret it through my atheistic worldview I still had. Even though I wasn't an atheist, I still had a naturalistic worldview. I remember reading about the manna in the desert. I was thinking, well, that must be snow. These people must not really understand - these primitive people. But I still knew it was all true. And about the same time, I started to go to a high Anglican church, which is basically like Catholicism but without the Pope. It's all prayer book rituals. The sermons there were only 10 to 15 minutes. And there wasn't really the Gospel preached there - the message of how to get saved. And what truth I did hear there was all surrounded in hypocrisy. It was all filtered through that. Now, I was doing things in that time that I just become more and more religious. I thought I was a Christian for about six years. I went to that church, but I never knew Jesus Christ. I never really knew Him. But there was so much hypocrisy going on. For instance, me myself, you would have thought that for an hour and a half on a Sunday I was deeply religious. But for the rest of the week, I just lived like a complete hypocrite. You know, I'd go to nightclubs and things and do shameful things and then I'd be in church on a Sunday. Now, I knew that was wrong, but I'd look at other people in the church and they'd be getting blind drunk as well on a Saturday night. And I'd just think, well, they've been Christians longer than me. So this time just went on and on like this. Eventually, I always knew that there was something more to Christianity that I didn't have. Now, of course, it was Jesus Christ, because in this time, God was just always a distant deity to me. I didn't really know Him. I had a cliche - I would say, I've got a relationship with Jesus. Christianity is a relationship with Jesus, but I didn't really know Him. And so I started to listen to sermons and messages and look at teachings outside of the church I was in. And I was going through a series on the Sermon on the Mount, and then one day I sat in the garden listening to a sermon and I heard the words of Jesus from Matthew 5:27-30 where Jesus said, "You have heard that it was said of old, 'you shall not commit adultery,' but I say unto you, if you look at a woman to lust after her, you've already committed adultery with her in your heart." And Jesus went on to say there, "cast your eye out, because it is better to enter heaven with one eye than to enter hell with both." Now, the context there is of course adultery. It's not saying it's a sin for a man to have sexual desire for his wife and vice versa, but Jesus does clearly say in those verses that to lust over someone you're not married to is a sin that will surely take you to hell if it's not repented of. Now, I had heard those verses many times before. And in fact, I remember discussing it only a few weeks earlier. I explained them away every time saying surely it doesn't mean what He says there because everybody does that. Everybody just lusts all the time. But that day, when I heard those words of Jesus, I knew He meant what He said. I knew for the first time, I realized that God was a holy God Who I could no longer play games with. And in all this, it just felt like the love of Jesus Christ because I realized that God could have killed me. I mean, my life is in His hands, and He could have killed me and put me in hell a week before, or a year before or two years before, knowing the shameful things I did. And He would have been perfectly just in doing so. But the kindness and the long-suffering of God which is meant to lead a person to repentance, led me to repentance, because I just saw the great love of God. And I'd been mocking Him for so long and playing games with God. And He just loved me. And He just died for me. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, the Bible says, "He Who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God." Jesus Christ on a cross 2,000 years ago, He became a sin offering for us. He became a sin offering for me. He died in my place. And on that cross, all the guilt of my sin, the shame of my sin, just all my wrongdoings I ever did were placed upon Jesus on that cross. Not only did Jesus pay for that, and take away all my sin, so there is therefore now no condemnation left for me because Christ has already been condemned in my place. But He also lived a righteous and perfect life. You see, the greatest commandment in Scripture we are told is to love God the Father with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Now, in the life of Jesus, He always perfectly loved God the Father with all His heart, soul, mind, and strength and He always perfectly loved His neighbor as Himself for every millisecond of His life. But since becoming a Christian, we never do that for even one second. We never perfectly love God. But from the moment I believed on Jesus Christ; from the moment I saw His great love for me, then not only was all my sin gone, gone forever, as far as the east is from the west the Bible says, He remembers our sin no more, but God now looks at me as if I have lived the perfect, righteous life of Jesus Christ. So, God now looks at me and says this is My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased. The cross of Jesus Christ is such a wonderful thing. There's an old hymn that goes, Oh my sin, oh the joy of this glorious thought; my sin, not in part, not just part of my sin, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! And if you don't know Jesus, if you were like me with just not knowing your sin's forgiven, not really knowing God, then I plead with you, Jesus really paid it all for you on that cross. He paid every drop of my wrath in hell. All of my hell Jesus paid for on the cross. That is what He did for us. If you will come to Him, if you will surrender to Him, I plead with you, Jesus - He doesn't want part of your life. He wants all of your life. And He is so worthy. He is so good. He is so kind. All together lovely. I had no life. I just had a miserable, worthless, and pathetic life for so much of my life. I wasted so much of my life. But it was by coming to Jesus Christ that I now have true joy, true peace of the heart, and true life. He offers that to you if you'll come to Him. And He offers that to you this day. You see, the love Jesus has for the believer is just perfect. The Bible says - as Jesus said, "As the Father has loved Me, even so, I have loved you." You know, the Song of Solomon says that Jesus - He comes to the believer leaping across the mountains. After all my sin and all my shame before God, when I go to Him, Jesus comes running to me with His arms open wide, hands that were pierced for me, with holes in them for my sin. He just comes to us ready to embrace us in His everlasting love for us. Eternity! The next life is forever. there is nothing more important than being right with God for eternity. The Bible says it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this, the judgment. After death, there are no second chances to get right with God. But you must make peace with God before you meet Him.