“I thought, ‘Wait a minute, this is a deal that’s too good to be true’”
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I grew up on a housing estate in south London. At the time my dad was around and I was heavily influenced by music, because he had a big whacking great sound system, and he used to play reggae music predominantly. I used to love it.
After a few years, when I was about eight years old, my dad left. My mum, doing her best trying to raise us, sent us to church. But I stopped going to church after about a year and I got into BMXing, bodypopping, breakdancing, got into girls, and then basically I stopped going to church and stopped thinking about God.
When I was about 20, I met this girl. Previously to me meeting her she'd been involved in drugs and drinking and living really promiscuously. Someone had spoken to her about Jesus, and she was like: “No man, I’m not really interested in Jesus, and Jesus is not going to be interested in me because of the kind of things that I do.”
Then after about two or three years a friend of hers became a Christian—and this friend invited her to church. She was like: “I've tried different things, and nothing's worked.” She tried it. She went to church and she came back with a Bible.
We were living together at the time and she began to really change. Stopped drinking, stopped smoking… and one day she just said to me: “You know what Robert—no more sex.” I was like “What?!” I thought she must be in some kind of cult. She said to me: “Why don't you come to church?” and I thought: “Yeah, I'm going to come to church.” And I went along and I took a friend of mine along with me, for moral support.
When I got there it was not what I expected. Half way through the message I was really stunned, because what the preacher was saying really made sense. And for the first time in my life I began to really understand the good news about Jesus.
Now initially it wasn't good news, it was bad news, because he made me aware that I was a sinner. Now I knew that, because of some of the things I'd done in the past—but I didn't realise that there was a penalty for sin, and that the penalty was eternal separation from God in hell.
I didn't know what to do. Then the preacher went on to talk about the fact that that's bad news, but he said that there's good news. And he went on to say that even though God was going to punish sinners because of their sinful lifestyles, God at the same time wanted to forgive.
And he quoted a verse from Romans [in the Bible] chapter five, verse 8, which says: “God has demonstrated his love for us—even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
But the condition was that I would change the way I think about my sinful behaviour and accept him as my Saviour.
I thought: “Wait a minute, this is a deal that's too good to be true.” But at this point I was just thinking about it. While I was thinking about it, my girlfriend and my friend both responded. I thought: “Wow, they've responded—I need to respond because I'm not trying to go to hell on my own.”
And I prayed a really simple prayer, I was like: “Oh God, if you'd please forgive me, I'd gladly accept your forgiveness based on Jesus dying for me.” And within a month I got baptised.
Since becoming a Christian, my life has changed dramatically. My sinful behaviour prior to becoming a Christian—that's changed. I still fall short, and I still make mistakes, but because of God's goodness and the fact that he's forgiven me, I don't desire to live the way that I lived anymore. And it's just been a phenomenal adventure.