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Cynthia Article title


My husband was raised to be an atheist, but he came to believe in God through science and in the God of the Bible by studying God's Word. I was raised to believe in God. I attended a nearby church, and there I heard about God, Jesus, and the Bible. When I was about 12, I was sprinkled (they called it “baptized”) to join the church. I had accepted the belief of my mom and the country in general (in the '50s and '60s). I enjoyed listening to Billy Graham and always responded to the message in my heart. I accepted and prayed Jesus into my heart many times, but something always seemed to be missing.

After my second child was born, I was invited to a Bible study. For the first time, I met people who were eagerly studying God's Word to know him and to know themselves. They discussed it in detail and talked about how they could apply it to their lives. They read it with the intention of doing what it said. They talked personally about sin and repentance. They wanted to change their lives, hearts, and attitudes to conform to whatever God said.

Until then, I had accepted God mentally and emotionally and assumed my sins were forgiven because of my “belief.” Studying the Bible, I learned the difference between that kind of belief and saving, obedient faith. I learned from the Bible that saying I was a sinner was not the same as being personally convicted of my sins. If our heart and mind are open to God, his Word will show us our motives and attitudes, our secret sins, and who we really are. God's Word “is living and active; … it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

Studying God's Word helped me see that God is not only loving, but also holy and just. His holiness and justice demanded payment for sin. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). He loves us so much he sent his Son to pay the price for our sins. I learned from the Bible that there is no forgiveness of sins without true repentance. I had to give up my sins, and obey God. I had to be buried with Christ in baptism to crucify my old self and die to my sins (Romans 6). That is when my sins were washed away and I received God's Spirit to help me live for him (Acts 2:38 and Acts 22:16).

I believed in God all my life, but that “belief” was not based on God's Word. By studying the Bible, I came to a deeper understanding of who God is, who I am, and God's purpose for my life. My accepting “belief” became a saving, obedient faith when I acted upon the truths revealed in God's Word.

— Cynthia Clayton

Picture credits:
©Patty Gibson