On Sunday, I had the honor of baptizing Toni Meadors. What follows is her account of how Jesus delivered her from trusting in empty Gospels by showing her the Gospel of His saving grace.
I grew up going to church and hearing about Jesus, but I had a shallow understanding of salvation. I spent most of my teen years believing I was a good girl because I didn’t follow the path many around me took. However, when I turned 17 years old, I followed the “gospel of the world” and got involved in all kinds of reckless behavior of which I am now ashamed to speak. Eventually, because I was afraid of the consequences of my behavior, I told my mom what I had been doing and she took me to church.
That Sunday I walked an aisle, said a prayer, and sobbed rivers of tears. At that point, I thought I had become a Christian. But that was not the case. The church I was attending increasingly began to teach the “prosperity gospel,” so for a long time I saw God as a means of personal fulfillment and gain.
Once I understood the fallacy of that gospel, I began attending a First Baptist Church. The teaching was better, but looking back I see now that I learned and believed a “moral gospel” that taught me how to be a good person without any inward transformation. During this time, I met and married my husband Tim, whom I love very much. The army moved us around and we ended up in Virginia. We attended church together, yet, I created lots of distress in our marriage because I had no power to recognize or fight sin in my life.
Despite my inability to truly love my husband, I was able to deceive myself (and everyone else) into believing that I was a born again Christian. I attended church, listened to Christian radio, was actively involved in a ladies’ Bible study group, had a quiet time every day, was passionate about conservative politics, gave money to various ministries, and even shared my faith. But looking back, I believed the lie of the “works-based gospel” and didn’t understand that I could never do enough to make myself right and acceptable before the Lord.
By God’s grace, 13 years after my initial profession of faith, I started listening to John Macarthur’s sermons online. Initially, I did not like what he said as he continually preached about the great sinfulness of man and of a Christ who came to save men from their sins. Through his preaching, God opened my eyes and I saw the multitude of sins for which I was guilty.
I saw the empty, sinful soul that was hiding behind the mask of morality and the mask of religion. By His grace the Lord opened my eyes to see the truth, and for the first time, I embraced the Gospel of God’s grace. I believed the good news that God’s Son Jesus Christ saves and redeems men from their many and great sins, and from the punishment they deserve.
Shortly after God gave me this new life, we moved to Kentucky. I attended a Gospel preaching church and began to read lots of theology. Unfortunately, although I was born again, I began to become puffed up and was not loving my family as I should. My pride hindered me from humbly living out the Gospel that had saved me.
But once again, God showed me mercy, and brought me to Del Ray where I have learned that right theology and love can and must coexist. I am by no means a perfect wife, mother, daughter, or friend but with God’s help I am learning day by day how to love and to live for His glory.
So, I am here today to be baptized in obedience to the command of my Lord and Savior. I am here to identify with the One who bore my sins, took my place, died in my stead, and was buried and rose again for my justification. I am here to publicly proclaim my intention to walk with Jesus in the newness of life for the rest of my life.
“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16
Praise God whose Gospel of grace triumphs all other false “gospels!”