Numbers 23. 19

Integrity is an admirable quality in the character of any man or woman. It is, however, an intrinsic attribute of deity. The Lord Jesus addressed His Father in John chapter 17 as the ‘only true God’, and as the One whose ‘word is truth’. Paul commended the Thessalonians for their conversion to ‘the living and true God’. The apostle introduced his letter to Titus with assurance of eternal life promised by ‘God, that cannot lie’; not ‘may not’, or even ‘will not’, but ‘cannot’! The writer to the Hebrews undergirds his whole argument by reminding his readers that it is ‘impossible for God to lie’, Heb. 6. 18.

With this in mind we understand that our salvation, our future, our destiny, all depend upon the word of God. Which brings me to a scripture that has had a lasting efFect on my life. I look back to a moment when, as a young child, I knew in a very simple way that I needed to be saved. The Bible had always been an open book in our home. Sunday school and meetings at the local Gospel Hall are some of my earliest memories. I learned to quote verses of scripture and never remember a time when I did not accept the truth of what was taught from the Bible. One thing, however, caused me concern: the Lord’s return. I was fearful of being left behind if my parents and brother were suddenly taken. My brother and I slept in one bed, and I recall one night waking up and reaching across the bed to make sure he was still there. I called my father and told him I needed to be saved. I can still see him as he knelt by the bed and prayed for me. It was a simple conversion, very much like Lydia ‘whose heart the Lord opened’. I do not recall the date or even the time of year, but I knew from then I was saved.

I was baptized when I was thirteen, but I have to confess that my school life was largely wasted as far as any testimony or witness was concerned. I managed to steer clear of the excesses of my peers but remember being mocked by one girl because I never swore like the other lads, which I suppose was some sort of compliment. To gain respect in the 1960s’ grammar school I attended, achievement at sport was the determining factor and I opened bowling for the 1st XI cricket team; that carried kudos!

I was glad to leave school and started work in an engineering company at Newport Pagnell. A strange choice as I am the least practical person on the planet! But God overrules and I worked with another Christian who had a fearless testimony and was well known for his beliefs. This encouraged me to make a stand and begin to live as a believer should.

In my late teens I began to have serious doubts about my salvation. I could not share this with anyone, but I had heard preachers say that if we could not pinpoint the time, the date, and the place when we trusted the Lord, then our salvation could be questionable. The fear of the Lord’s return resurfaced, to the extent that I would phone my mother from work to make sure she was still there!

This uncertainty weighed me down as I tried to recall what I had actually said as a seven-year-old; were they the right words? Was it enough? I found myself looking through the scriptures for some assurance: nothing worked, the doubt remained.

Then I awoke one night with a verse running through my head. I must have read it at some time, but I wasn’t even sure where to find it, ‘God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?’ Num. 23. 19. That was it; my salvation is not dependent on me and my feelings. Scriptures came flooding in: John 3. 16; Acts 16. 31; Rom. 10. 9; my doubts were gone; my salvation is as secure as God’s word!