by Glenn Genoway
This is the story of my journey to belief in the ABSOLUTE Sovereignty of God. My profession of faith at age 12 was more in response to the fact that my sister had made one rather than to any real rebirth on my part. As far back as I can remember I have always believed in God. However, I didn't really understand what "being saved" involved, other than saying that I believed in Jesus and being immersed. Since I did believe in Jesus' existence, this seemed an obvious next step. Later I learned that the Bible says that demons believe in Jesus' existence, and tremble. Just believing that Jesus exists does not make one a Christian. For me, no genuine change of heart had taken place and my Christian walk was one of defeat. It was a challenge to overcome temptations that came my way. Frequently I went out of my way to chase down temptations.
The concept of salvation (being saved) for a person who understands the universal atonement is not the same as it is for those who believe in limited atonement. In the true Christian life we acknowledge the salvation provided for us by the sacrificial death, representative burial, and bodily resurrection of our blessed Redeemer. We accept His authority over our life and we allow Him to use us to do what He wants us to do. There are benefits to living for the Lord, following His teachings, and doing His will in this life. While all creation will be reconciled to God by the redemption made by our Lord Jesus, we can begin to enjoy His presence while we are still on earth. We can take with us into eternity what He has done through us while we are here. We can share, right now, in the joy that we shall have with Him eternally! It is never better to wait to let Him be the Lord of one's life. The first act of obedience to the Lord should be to be identified with Him by immersion in water. After this, we should gather regularly to praise Him and study His Word and share in the remembrance of Him with wine and unleavened bread as He taught us to do.
See Audrey Cole's explanation on the Tentmaker site (www.tentmaker.org) for reasons why living the active Christian life is to be preferred to any other lifestyle. She succinctly states the wonderful benefits.
As a young man I began to study the Word, and the more I studied God's Word the more I began to understand that God's Word teaches that God is absolutely sovereign. The more I understood about the absolute sovereignty of God, the more it made sense that unlimited atonement is what the sacrifice of our blessed Savior made possible. The Bible taught that the Lord would eventually restore all things to Himself. For His precious blood to do any less would be a sacrilege. When I shared my wonderful discovery with others, I was told that this was the "Universalist Heresy" and that my understanding was incorrect. The Lord has now shown me that my understanding was correct! But when I was younger, I was willing to believe men more than God. Believing that the denominational leaders instructing me were knowledgeable, I abandoned the reality of universal atonement and continued to follow the accepted standard dogma taught in most churches.
As time went on and although I studied and believed, there was still something missing and my walk with the Lord was hit and miss, with more misses than hits. Yielding to temptation was the normal way of life for me. As a Christian, I knew what I believed but couldn't seem to live it. I know that on this side of forever I'll never live it totally. Yet, since I truly began to understand how awesome is the absolute sovereignty of God, there has been a more comprehensive work done in my heart. My love for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is greater than it has ever been. Knowing that He will reconcile His entire creation to Himself just makes Him more precious. His love for us is beyond human understanding.
ADD runs in my family (it practically gallops). Without a complete heart change, my impulsiveness and my temper were chronic problems. Most people excepting my immediate family are and were unaware that I ever lost my cool. Many people, who know me now and those who knew me in the past, see me as a placid and peaceful person. That is (I believe) the real "me" but until getting help for my ADD, I would at times have flashes of rage that were nearly uncontrollable. I would say vicious things and could be very hurtful to those closest to me. Through therapy, medication, and a closer walk with Him, my Lord Jesus has helped me overcome the negative aspects of ADD. He has given me freedom from flash reactions and that is a wonderful blessing. The freedom to choose how to react is profoundly liberating.
Finding Gary and Michelle Amirault's Tentmaker site on the Internet was an "accident." About like Creation was an accident. I am so thankful that the Lord directed me to them. The information they make available helped me to see that there are other people who believe as I do. Their library of documents (and particularly, for me, of Hannah Whitall Smith's revelation about the total efficacy of the Savior's atonement) opened my eyes. Gary Amirault's book Hope for All Generations and Audrey Cole's article on "If all will be saved, why bother living a holy life?" were tremendously helpful to me. I am very grateful to Gary and his wife Michelle for all their work in making so much wonderful helpful information available and accessible.
Now that the Lord, using Tentmaker, has shown me the many scriptures that demonstrate His absolute sovereignty, my heart has been truly changed. It was in the Bible all the time but because I had elected to listen to men rather than to God, I had a mental block that didn't allow me to see or understand these scriptures. I had a sense of the truth but just couldn't see it. I had put my faith in my denominational leaders instead of God and God's Word. Once I was willing to accept what God was teaching me, I finally had true understanding and could enjoy the freedom that He had provided long ago.
I don't know how to explain the connection but, since having the block removed, I know that I can choose whether or not I yield to temptation. There is a remarkable sense of freedom in knowing that I can choose. What is so interesting is that with this freedom, I have a greater desire to please the Lord than I have ever known. My very nature seems to have shifted. I'm not saying I don't do things I shouldn't or that I have arrived. It is just that now I know that I can choose not to do things that aren't appropriate for a follower of the Creator of the Universe. I understand that He is my "Daddy!" He is not some austere Father figure who is ready to punish me for every little thing that I do wrong. He is approachable and loving. The Lord Jesus has become my dearest friend. As I walk with Him daily, I seek His guidance and input. He is a dear friend with whom I can be completely honest. He is also the Creator and Savior of everything that exists. He is Awesome!
The King of love my Shepherd is, His goodness faileth never
I nothing lack if I am His and He is mine forever.