By Gary Edmonson
Without going into too much detail, I’ll just briefly outline my experience in all this.
I grew up with almost no knowledge of Jesus Christ and never once attended any church until I was 17 years old, at which time I attended an evangelistic meeting where I was basically manipulated into walking the aisle. They said that if I did not come forward I was saying no to Jesus. I didn’t understand the gospel, but I certainly didn’t want to say no to Jesus.
After I went forward, they told me I was saved; but I wasn’t even sure what that meant and I certainly didn’t have assurance of eternal life. However, I was definitely interested in this person Jesus, so I joined a Baptist church down the road and was baptized.
Lordship Salvation was preached at my church and I soon became very confused. I began reading lots of books, most of which taught some form of Lordship Salvation as well. For about the next 3 years I constantly doubted my salvation and was obsessed with trying to verify that I was truly saved—by my commitment, surrender, obedience, etc.—after all, that’s what the word “believe” means in the original Greek, right?
All of this had a devastating effect on every area of my life. My friends and family became extremely concerned about me. After about 3 years of constant obsession and introspection, I finally gave up on making any sense of the Bible, and for the sake of my own sanity, I basically turned away from God and did my own thing for the next twenty years or so. I soon found out that “my own thing” was not very pretty!
From time to time I would feel drawn back and would ask God to give me the answer to the question: What must I do to be saved?
To make a long story short, in 1990 I discovered Zane Hodges, Bob Wilkin, and GES—the answer to my prayers! I began devouring all the GES journals, newsletters, and all of Zane and Bob’s books. All my questions were finally being answered and the Bible actually started to make sense!
Now I see the beautiful and glorious simplicity of the saving message that I had sought for so long! There is no way you can believe it and not know that you have eternal life—and this assurance is the indispensable foundation of the Christian life! Without it we can never know and experience the love and grace of God.
Gary Edmonson went home to be with the Lord on Saturday, August 22, 2015, after a 19-month long battle with lung cancer. He wrote this testimony in 2009 in a blog post. It is used by permission from his family.