Though I am not sure I know all the questions, I believe I have the answser. I must begin, by telling you, what I believe in. More specifically, who I believe in. For, who is more important than why, why is more important than how, when, or if. I believe in Jesus Christ.
Jesus, is always the answer. Why? Because Jesus is Lord. He is the creator, God in the flesh. Conceived by the Holy Spirit. Born from a virgin womb. Sinless. Perfect. Holy. Jesus, who took my punishment. Raised by God, the Father, from a hellacious death that belonged to mankind, Jesus saved those who first rejected him.
How? I cannot definitively answer. I can honestly say, I don't completely understand it . I just believe it. I can tell you of the cross and resurrection. I can tell you His power is limitless. I dare not simplify His great sacrifice for the souls of man. Likewise, neither shall I complicate the suffiency of the grace He has given freely. Suffice it is to say, as Job ," surely some things are too wonderful for me to know". Only God knows how.
Which brings us to When? When, is up to you. When, will come for everyone. If not before, on the day of judgement "every knee will bow and every tongue confess, that Jesus is Lord."
I do not remember the exact date. I don't remember exactly what the pastor said but I remember where my "when" came. It was not some blinding light, Damascus road experience. It was more miraculous than that. It happened in a church. On a pew. Where I had sat for 22 years .
For 22 years, I sat in that pew listening to God's word. Marinating in complacency, stewing in hiprocracy, convienced I was a christain, I sat. I sang. I said the Lord's Prayer. I worked in the church. I memorized bible verses and creeds. I followed the ten commandments. I had been baptised. I was dependable. I gave to charity. Honest to a fault, I was. I was squeeky clean. I never did drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. I was friendly...sometimes...to some people. I was a pretty good guy, when I was lost , dying, and going to hell. Because for all I knew about Jesus, I still did not know him. It was like being a big fan of a celebrity, having back stage passes, and never using them.
I was so good at fooling people , I even fooled myself. I had always been aware of God. I knew about Jesus. I managed to somehow avoid Him personally , right up until a new pastor came to our church. I met the pastor , about a problem with the septic system at the parsonage. It is funny how God , can take the nastiest job you can imagine to reveal himself. What started out as me making excuses for my poor attendance , turned into questions about repentance and salvation. As I listened , the stench of the septic tank reminded me of my sins. Suddenly, I was having an encounter with Christ. At this point, I was sure that my sins was as foul as the odor of the septic system. If noone else could smell it, I did and so could God. Still I waited. For the next two weeks, I ran from God. Hoping that my new found convictions would subside, but I was being pursued by a new God. A God, who chased. A God, who not only saw the real me but was determined to make me see myself also. Miserablely, I ran until I could no longer. On my knees, at an alter , where I had knelt many times before, I gave into Christ.
Since then, my life has never been the same. He met me, knee deep in a sewer, but He did not leave me there . From then on, He began to change me. I have been involved in the outreach and prison ministries. I still stumble and fall. I have doubts. I sin. However, I no longer run from God. I now run to Him. I often fail but He never does. He reminds me, He made us from the dust and I will always be a man in need of a saviour. He continues to rewrite my life and adds to my testimony. Last year, I recieved a believer's baptism. I am involved in a new church where I am part of a team. I no longer just sit. There I am challenged and challenge others to reach a lost and dying world and to become the hands and feet of Christ.
Now on to if. Endless possibilities that requires a choice, or an unforeseen circumstance that requires an action, if is a big word. Becoming a follower of Christ will leave you with more questions. What you are doing now, is exponientally more important, than what you have done, or might do. If God is God , then we should treat Him as such. But that is not the question. The question is... it doesn't matter, "if " Jesus is the answer. Jesus is the answer.