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A Testimony of Jerrold

Updated: Mar 21




leather bound King James Bible

A testimony of Jerrold.


(Note: I discuss Bible translations in part of this testimony. Please understand that I am in no way trying to berate anyone or cause division over this issue; not in the least. I am simply sharing my experience, and part of that experience was looking at the passage in question in the King James Version; something that has blessed me more than I can adequately express.)


I believe that listening to/reading testimonies as well as giving testimonies is a good thing to do, so I will give one here. Hopefully you will be blessed as you receive it.


In February of 2015, my wife and children had gone out of town for roughly 2 weeks, to visit my in-laws, who wintered near Phoenix, AZ at the time. Unfortunately, I had to stay behind in order to keep a roof over our heads, which otherwise would have been snow-covered. :-)

I do deal with a wee bit of the seasonal affective disorder thing (it is better now than it used to be, thanks be to God), and it had been rather cold, dark, snowy, and dreary, as is commonplace in Michigan in February. On a Sunday afternoon, toward the end of the time they were gone, I decided to read 1 John. I was in chapter 3, where it reads in the ESV, the translation I was using that day:


1Jn 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous.

1Jn 3:8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.

1Jn 3:9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.


I found it a little bit troubling as I read it, but I found it much more troubling later that night; actually very early that next morning. Around 11:00 pm or shortly thereafter, I felt very strange and uneasy. I think I have blocked out (compartmentalized) much of that memory, as it was extremely unpleasant. I do remember that I thought that I was experiencing 4 tell-tale signs of a heart attack. I called 911, the 1st responders came and took me to the hospital. They took me into the ER, processed me, and then started evaluating and trying to determine what may or may not have happened. As I laid there on the hospital bed, I started thinking about the passage that I mentioned earlier. I was starkly realizing that I may die that very night, were my heart indeed failing, and that I would then have to face God. I knew that I still made a practice of sinning; every day! I knew that there were sins that I still committed regularly; made a practice of as it were (everyone with a heartbeat makes a practice of sinning), that I could not guarantee that I would never fall to again, “even if I lived,” at that point in time. I was genuinely fearing that I may indeed go to hell that very night. I now believe that I wouldn’t have gone there, even had I died, but I will talk about that later.


Please understand that I had been someone who had called myself a Christian (and had been one) for most of my life. I was someone who had always regularly attended, and been actively involved in, and had even regularly been in front of a church, for most of my life. I had read the Bible somewhat regularly (not correctly; I’ll get to that as well). I spent fairly large amounts of time studying apologetics of 7 day creationism (what the Bible teaches; see the Creation Resources section of this website for a small sample of wealth of great literature available on this topic). I gave money to the church and other Christian organizations regularly. I served regularly on the church worship music team. I brought Mormons into the house and argued with them. :-) I could go on with listing the many proverbial boxes that checked off regularly. I had however over time, lost the knowledge of my assurance of salvation (that is not a grammatical error); my faith had been shipwrecked. It happened because I had let it happen. I don’t recall ever being nearly as frightened as I was as I laid there in that hospital bed early that February morning, before or since. But as Scripture tells us plainly that God can work through suffering to bring about very good things. This is indeed one of those cases.


To make a long story short, they ran me through a series of thorough tests to see if I indeed had suffered a heart attack. [To say that medical tests and procedures give me the "heepie-geebies" is a great understatement.] The findings of both the radiologist and the cardiologist were negative, and showed that my heart was in fact functioning quite well. Their conclusion was that I had probably suffered an anxiety attack, likely brought on by seasonal affective disorder, probably exacerbated by other contributing factors.


When I got home from the hospital, it was very much on my heart to study and understand the passage from 1 John that I quoted earlier that had distressed me so. Of course being in the age of google, that’s where I went. I of course found a great deal of pertinent material, but the best thing I found was a sermon by a preacher by the name of Dr. Ralph Yankee Arnold. To very briefly summarize, Dr. Arnold pointed out how many of the Bible translations vary on this passage, as well as numerous other passages. The translation quoted above says “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning.” The King James (his preferred translation, and mine now…it didn’t use to be) says “Whosoever is born of God doeth not commit sin.” He pointed out how this is even a “worse problem” than in the modern translation, as it says no sin AT ALL, which is of course true, if you fail to take the fact into account that John IS talking about the reborn sinless nature that we receive the moment we put our trust in Christ and believe the Gospel (John 3, Ephesians 1:13)! We all sin (make a practice of it) even after we are saved. The KJV (and some other translations as well) does not leave any grey area about the absence of sin in the reborn sinless nature, where the term making “a practice of sinning” in the other translation could even be thought of and interpreted as referring to varying degrees of sinfulness, and could easily be confused with things such as will-power, which can very easily be purely of the flesh, thus somehow implying that there are varying degrees of sinfulness that separate the saved and the condemned. [How would you know when you have sinned too much to make "the cut?" You certainly don't want to rely on your feelings/heart to tell you this (Jeremiah 17:9).] This would ultimately reduce to salvation being at least in part reliant upon the actions of, and thus the responsibility of the individual...this is works; we are not saved by works; we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9); purged of our sins by Jesus by Himself (Hebrews 1:3). The distinction between the flesh and the Spirit is not clearly insisted upon in many of the modern translation as it clearly is in KJV.


Again, KJV clearly states “doeth not commit sin,” that means ANY SIN. The original Greek supports this. Other Scripture does too; James 2:10 clearly states that if you break one law, you break them all. Nonetheless, it became clear to me that John was indeed talking about the sinless nature; the new man that is in us TO STAY (John 6:47, Romans 11:29) when we are born again; when we put our trust in the finished work of Christ alone, not in our flesh. Our sinless reborn nature; that which enables us to one day go to Heaven, is a gift; completely accomplished by Jesus; nothing of our selves (Romans 3:23, 6:23, Ephesians 2:8-9). I realized once again; as I did when I was a child, that salvation was all about what Jesus had accomplished by Himself (Hebrews 1:3...read it in KJV, most modern translations omit a very important phrase), and it was not at all about anything I could ever possibly do or not do. Yes as believers, born again people we are indeed to called Love and serve God with all that we have, but we have nothing to serve Him with, without the sinless, sealed, and reborn man (Ephesians 1:13). Isiah 64:6 clearly tells us what God thinks of our “efforts to serve Him” in from our flesh.


As a result of this experience, God got my attention. I was again assured of my salvation, and freed from the very skewed pseudo-intellectual view about the supposed necessity of and partial dependence upon my own "righteousness;" something that Satan would have us to believe and get bogged down with in fear and/or pride. I found myself wanting to serve God more and sin less. I found myself actually wanting to tell people about Jesus and the Gospel. I found myself wanting to study the Bible more, and to study it more deeply. I felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of me…one that I had never needed to carry in the first place.


I am very thankful to God for allowing me to suffer that night. I don’t know if my walk with God would be anywhere close to where it is now if He had not. I believe that God has used my suffering in this case as an instrument to bring many people to Christ (Romans 8:28).


I do not blame my church or anyone else for the mindset I had just prior to this experience, It was my own fault; I had failed to obey the clear command given in 2 Timothy 2:15, where we are admonished to study and rightly divide the Word of Truth (the Scriptures). I would however gently and respectfully, but very sincerely admonish all preachers to PLEASE preach the CLEAR GOSPEL message regularly; like every time you preach, as there may always be people in your congregation who need to hear it and comprehend it for the first time, as well believers who need an assuring and encouraging reminder of it. You don't need to add to it (ruin it) to try to get people to "be good" either. The Holy Spirit will work all of that out in the heart of the saved and sealed individual ; He doesn't need any "improvements" on His Gospel message, it is absolutely perfect as it is. I would admonish everyone to meditate upon and obey the command in 2 Timothy 2:15, because amongst many other things I learned from this experience, I learned that my assurance of salvation comes from the infallible words of the Holy Spirit, that He inspired in His Bible, not from my actions or feelings, or words from a human church leader.


Please read Angles and Aspects of Salvation, which can be accessed from numerous points on this website for further discussion of this and other topics related to salvation. I will put a link below to what I believe is the very sermon that I referred to above. Please also have a look around the rest of the site. All materials are free to be copied and distributed for the purpose of reaching the lost and otherwise ministering to others.


God bless.


JJR


Link to Dr. Arnold's Sermon


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