Pastor Matthew’s Testimony of Salvation

My dad is a pastor, and so I have been raised in the church from infancy. From a young age (probably 5 or younger), I professed faith in Christ and it was a strong childlike faith. My parents have told me stories about how I would defend Christian teachings in public school with no shame. Around the age of 7 or 8, I began to have serious doubts about my salvation. I have vivid memories of being up night after night because I was terrified that I was on my way to hell. I tried reading the Bible for myself, but nothing happened. I think that I was seeking some sort of special revelation from God outside of His word, but it never came. In any case, after a year or so of constant fear of eternal damnation, I accepted my reprobate status and decided to live as if I was destined for hell. 
 
At this point, I essentially adopted a hedonistic philosophy. I simply wanted to enjoy what world had to offer while I had life to enjoy it because I knew that my best life truly was is in the present. I knew what was going to happen to me when the time came that I would be judged by a holy God. As I began to go along on this path, I still tried to play the part of the good pastor’s kid for some time, but eventually I stopped caring about hiding who I was. My sinful desires and actions developed to a point of absolutely no control. I was being devoured by the plague that sin is. I was enslaved to my flesh. I would do things that as a kid I would have never imagined myself doing. My sin left me empty and hopeless with no way of escape. This went on until my senior year of undergrad at West Chester University in PA. 
 
In the fall semester of my senior year of undergrad, I took a course of the philosophy of the Bible from a secular perspective. The first book that we read was Ecclesiastes, and I began to fall in love with the Bible. I also had a friend at this time who encouraged me to get to know who this Jesus was. These factors pushed me to begin reading through the Gospels. I was hooked and drawn to Christ. I didn’t know what was happening other than that there was a desire in me for Christ. I then read Paul’s epistles and began to understand the Gospel on a very low doctrinal level. The Bible slowly became this thing that I went to every time that I had nowhere else to go.
 
As the months went by, in my spring semester of undergrad, I basically felt that I was at the end of my line. Even though there seemed to be some light that I was seeing in the Bible, I was still completely enslaved to sins of all kinds and was nearly hopeless. One night, I was laying on the roof of my apartment, and I simply let go of everything and entrusted my life to God. I believe that God granted me faith and repentance that night. He plucked me off of my path of destruction. My understanding of Christ and His work was small, but I think that it was sufficient. From that day forward, I could say along with Paul in 1 Timothy 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am foremost.”