As a young Amish girl in Bowling Green, Missouri, I had the joys of living on a farm and learning to work hard. I learned how to do many things at a very young age…
…Milking cows, hanging out the laundry, hoeing the garden, caring for chickens, and walking to school… these were some of the things I did, and even enjoyed. We had no running water, no electricity, and we used “horse and buggy” for transportation. I must say I enjoyed a good life, in that respect.
However, there was one subject that always concerned me. I remember looking up into the sky, and knowing that someday I would die. The preachers always taught that we must be as good as we can, and we must not use modern conveniences, so that one day we could go to Heaven. Well, I knew immediately that I could never be good enough. I had lied, stolen, cheated, and often disobeyed my parents. Yes, we were “good people” in the eyes of man, but were we good enough in the eyes of God? This thought scared me. I was quite sure that I was facing an eternity in a place the Bible calls, “hell.”
As Amish people, we sometimes hired someone to drive us (in a van) to town for groceries etc. The man we hired, Carl Hasty, began to ask questions about why “we do what we do”. He then began to tell us what the Bible says about going to Heaven. He even said you couldknow it for sure.
Needless to say, my parents and others started questioning the Amish faith. Could we really be sure of Heaven? Is it possible that “our way” is not “the way” to Heaven? My parents and others began to study their Bibles diligently andsecretly. (“Secretly” because the Amish Church Leaders do not allow private Bible studies.) Some of the parents would meet late at night with our Amish school teacher, Glen Yoder. Mr. Yoder was studying God’s Word for himself, and he was beginning to realize the Truth. Through those “secret” Bible studies with Glen Yoder, my family came to know the Truth. (Above is Mr. Yoder, the school teacher, & some of his students. He is now a Baptist preacher. His testimony can be heard here.)
The Bible is God’s Word, not just the words of mere men. In It, they found verses like…
I John 5:12
“He that hath the Son(Jesus) hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life.” That’s “cut and dry”. There’s no ‘in-between’ ground. Look at the next verse…
I John 5:13
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” Did you see that? God really wants us to know. That’s why he wrote “these things” to us.
“Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us.“
The Bible says…it is not of “works” that we have done.
“For by grace are ye saved though faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God.” Again, the Bible says that it is not of ourselves.
Romans 3:10 ~ “There is none righteous, no not one.” We thought we were pretty good people, but God doesn’t say so in His Word. I had always believed that “good” people go to Heaven, and “bad” people go to Hell…but, I learned that God does not agree with that idea. We are all sinful, and no one is good, like God (v23 says, ‘all have sinned’) We are all “bad” because of sin. We are all in need of a Saviour, no matter how“good” or “bad” we are.
“For the wages of sin is death….but the gift of Godis eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”The first part says that the payment of sin, is death in a place called “hell.” The last part of the verse gives us good news…God has a gift for every one who will accept it. A gift cannot be “earned”. A gift can only be accepted. (My Family) learned that God’s Salvation is only through Jesus Christ.
“But God commendeth (shows) His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”None of us are born “Christian” ~ we are all born sinners. He loved us even when we hated Him. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again the third day, to pay for our sin and to conquer death for us.
“Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “…Ye must be born again.”
Jesus told Nicodemus that he “must be.” The first time we all were born, it was into our physical families… but, to go to Heaven, we must be “born again”. God said “ye must be”.
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved.”
Yes, Hallelujah! Carl Hasty was right. The Bible tells me how to go to Heaven, and I can know it for sure. To make a long story short, my family and several others were “excommunicated” from the Amish church. My parents accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. It broke our hearts to be shunned by family and friends, but Jesus is “a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” We pray for the rest of our Amish relatives, to see the Light, Who is Jesus Christ.
But, you know… people everywhere are really not much different than the Amish… (Yes, I know you don’t drive a horse and buggy)… but, that’s not what I’m talking about. Many people I’ve talked to are stilltrying to get to Heaven by “being good” …by church membership…by baptism…by communion… by giving to charity… by their own works, and their own way. But all of these ‘good things’ can be accomplished withoutJesus Christ.
Salvation is all of Jesus, and none of ourselves.
“Jesus saith unto Him, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: No man cometh unto the Father, but by me.'”
“But, aren’t there many ways to Heaven?”
No, the Bible says there is only one way, through Jesus Christ, alone.
When I was 13 years old, I prayed to God, accepting His gift of salvation. He forgave my sin, and saved my soul. Praise the Lord, my doubting days are over! I know I deserve to go to Hell, but Jesus took my punishment when He died on the cross. I know I will go to be with God in Heaven someday. Is it because I’m good? … NO WAY! It is because I’ve accepted Jesus Christ, Who paid the price for me. Now, my 100% trust is in Jesus Christ alone.
Friend, He loved you so much that He died for you, too. If you will acknowledge your sin and your own helplessness, you can accept the Savior. Please take the time to re-read over these Bible verses. As I type this, my prayer is that there would be someone who would accept Jesus through reading these Bible verses. You know, this all started when Carl Hasty told us what God did for Him, and now, it’s my turn to tell youwhat God did for me! Thank you for taking the time to read this.
~ Wilma Furse (my maiden name is ‘Schrock’)