AM I A GOOD PERSON? I DON’T THINK SO
In 1938 I was born in Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales and from an early age attended Sunday School at the Methodist chapel,
where my grandparents worshipped. At the age of 11 my parents moved to near Wakefield where I joined the local Anglican
church choir and choirboys cricket team. I was confirmed so was able to take communion but at no time did I hear why Jesus
Christ died on the cross. I believed in God; in the services I repeated the set prayers and confessions as required, but without
knowing their true meaning.
I did my National Service in Northern Cyprus, sharing a tent with a Christian. He prayed and read his bible daily but never spoke to me about his faith. I had known my wife, Valerie, since being 12 through church and school. When we were 22 we married and began life in Bradford. We occasionally attended evening services at the Anglican church.
Two years on the Building Society I worked for moved me to Birmingham for Branch experience and we didn’t see any need of church. However, Valerie’s parents visited us over the Easter period. They were Anglicans and we were encouraged to attend the Easter Sunday service. The vicar was young, as was the majority of the congregation, with young families. Our first two children were born and christened and we felt part of the social church family, although again there was very little biblical teaching. Two further moves took us to Lincoln where the vicar and his wife had been missionaries. During Lent the vicar asked me to attend the mid-week meetings he was running and for the very first time I heard about Jesus, God’s son, coming into the world to seek and to save those who are lost. I heard about the reason for Him dying on the cross, for the likes of me, and His resurrection showing God’s acceptance of the sacrifice He had made. Only about 15 attended these meetings but I realised I was the outsider as I didn’t know Christ as my Saviour. All my life I had thought I was a good person as I was a respectable, law abiding citizen; but now I knew that in God’s eyes I was rotten to the core.
We were then moved to Swansea where we attended, on the advice of Valerie’s brother (a born again believer) Mount Pleasant Baptist church. Each week God’s word was preached from the Bible. I became more and more convicted of my sin and of how I was in need of salvation. I believed I was a sinner: that there was nothing I could do except cast myself upon God and repent of my sins. This I did, but I had no assurance that God had accepted me. Following the birth of our third child, the minister visited us and asked me where I stood. I told him my predicament and he told me salvation is a free gift from God and that any gift is worthless until it is unwrapped and accepted. That night I accepted the free gift by praying to God, and was baptised in 1975. In 1976 we moved to Halifax and became members of Zion Baptist Church, Hebden Bridge, which is now Grace Baptist Church Halifax.
God’s word, the Bible, says “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:10-12) His word also says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)