March 27, 2020 admin

The Personal Salvation Testimony of Pastor Ethan Custer

My father has been a Baptist preacher since before I was born. I had the blessing of being raised in church, by parents who knew and believed the Bible. Yet, this did not make me right with God.’

At an early age, I learned that the Bible defines sin as the breaking of God’s law. 1 John 3:4 says, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” I knew that we are all sinners without excuse before a holy God. Though I had been sheltered from the world’s vices, I knew that I lied, disobeyed, was disrespectful to authority, and more. I knew that if God judged me for my actions, I would be guilty. I deserved to go to Hell.

Even at age 8, I was frightened of spending eternity in Hell, and was genuinely grieved over my sinfulness. I remember weeping and saying how I just wanted to be saved. Yet I was still an enemy of God, as the Bible says in Romans 8:7-8. I deserved His judgment, as Romans 6:23 reveals—“For the wages of sin is death…”

Shortly after my 9th birthday, I attended summer camp for kids. With rustic accommodations, great meals, and lots of kids to play with, I was excited for a fun week. In addition to the games and fun activities, we had Bible teaching every morning and evening. It was in the evening services that the Lord began working in my heart.

In the evenings, the preacher showed us what the Bible says about Hell. Each night continued where the previous night’s message left off. As the week progressed, the horrors of this eternal place of damnation impressed themselves on my mind. I knew that was my destination, and I was frightened. Though I was a young boy, I did not feel safe and secure, content to “live a little” before I got serious with God. James 4:14 says, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” I knew where I would go when I died. Death can come at any moment for us.

The preacher’s message on the third evening of camp impressed itself on my mind. As my fear and dread of going to Hell grew throughout the message, I considered my response. I had no questions about my sinfulness—I knew I deserved to go to Hell. At the end of the message, the preacher asked all those who wanted to learn more about salvation to leave their seat and come to the front of the auditorium. I experienced an inner struggle at this point. This was not new to me; in fact, God had been pricking my heart about my condition in the months leading up to camp, but I had resisted because of the attention and embarrassment of going to the front of the entire crowd, even though all eyes were closed out of consideration for those like me. That night at camp, I was clearly faced with the choice to leave my seat and choose God in salvation, or to choose my own momentary comfort and reject God’s invitation. That night, I chose myself and my own comfort. After the service ended, I no longer felt the conviction and guilt over my sinful condition, and I ran outside to play with my friends.

The preacher continued preaching on Hell the next evening, and the conviction from the night before returned, but more intense this time. All I could think about was my sinfulness and need of the Saviour—Jesus Christ. When the preacher ended his sermon and invited to the front all those interested in salvation, I could no longer resist. I was so sick of resisting God for the flimsy reason of embarrassment. Yet as the question came to mind, “What if people see me walk forward?”, I knew that if it were possible for all the people of the world to watch me leave my seat and walk to the front of that campground auditorium, even that humiliation would not keep me from coming to the Lord Jesus Christ.

It was then that I finally surrendered my pride to God. I had long acknowledged my sinfulness, and I didn’t want to stay lost. Yet I had not surrendered all of myself to God. I knew the truth in my head, but I had not acknowledged it in my heart. It was not until I gave up everything to Christ, that I turned my whole life over to God for Him to control. At that moment, I was born into His family, and was given eternal life. Romans 10:13 says, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” I’m so thankful to God for taking away my sin and giving me an eternal home in Heaven!

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Service Times

Sunday School: 9:45am

Sunday Worship: 11:00am

Sunday Evening: 6:00pm

Midweek: Wed. 7:00pm


6367 Gateway Drive
Grand Forks, ND 58203
Phone: 701.746.7516

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