Jesus Keeps His Own to the End
Robert Cass – Edmonton,
The First Time
My journey to Christ began when I
was ten years old. A friend had invited my mom, sister and me to her church.
The speaker preached a simple message: “Accept Jesus into your heart and you
will go to heaven; otherwise you will go to hell.” And we did as we were
told—accepting quite readily and saying a simple prayer.
I was a bit of a delinquent prior
to this experience, but for the next several years I tried to understand God
and to pray to Him, and I tried to be a good person. I can’t say that I deeply
felt the love of God at that time. My understanding was that it was my duty to
be good and God is somewhere being God.
Then the rug was pulled out from
under us. I was seventeen when my father and I both contracted a subtle but
complex sinus infection. It was so insidious that neither of us was aware that
our blood sugar levels had slowly crept to near-death ranges over time. I
became very depressed and my grades dropped. I left my good friends and was
soon doing drugs in the arcade across the street from the church.
The infection plagued me for a few
years and my life continued to plummet. I had lost whatever I had known of God.
I was separated from my family and was now unwed with a child of my own.
Finally, the cure came, and while I still maintained permanent damage from the
infection, my blood sugar level normalized and I was once again given a clean
bill of health.
Within a short time, an old youth
pastor invited me back to his church. I went and amazingly, I repented in great
sorrow for my departure from the faith.
I began to pursue God with great
fervor. I had been given a second chance and was truly grateful. I spent hours
each day reading the Bible, and the spirit of God brought Jesus’ words to life
in my heart.
My soul and spirit always seemed
to focus on Jesus’ exhortations on giving. Moreover, my best friend, who
supported a few dozen children in foreign countries, would preach to me
continually on the topic. So I decided that giving to the poor would be my way
to repay the Lord, and I desired to share my possessions with the poor.
By My Own Means
I had never heard of spiritual
gifts before, but one day I ended up at a Christian camp where everyone was
speaking in tongues. I didn’t know what was going on, but I remembered the
preacher saying how he had all nine spiritual gifts.
I was coaxed to the front with
several others. Immediately, he came over to me and put his hand on my stomach
and prayed for me. “What is he doing?” I thought. At the time, my stomach had
protruded noticeably due to the side effects of my illness. But more
significantly, many came around and prayed for me. I felt this tremendous power
come over me.
I was filled with an incredible
love that is hard to describe other than to say that I was immersed in the love
of God. For three days I walked around saying “God bless you” to everyone. I
had never experienced the love of God in that way before, and I wanted to share
it with everybody. All I thought about was how much God loves me. My stomach
was completely healed within a few days—almost as a bonus to all of this.
I knew quickly that God was real
and worked miracles, of which I saw many, and I began to believe that my
purpose as a Christian was to believe Jesus’ words with faith, and to see His
miracles take place.
Then my faith encountered a
challenge. My sinus cavities had suffered permanent damage, and I would
experience terrible cracking sensations. I was in love and I wanted to marry,
but I also did not want to marry in poor health. So I began praying to God and
reciting the Scriptures over and over. I fasted for several months—two or three
days a week. The next year I did the same and the year after. But nothing
My relationship with God became
tiresome, even though I continued to worship. I raised my hands in the church
while no one else did, but at the same time I questioned my spiritual
My prayers grew more frantic
because I felt God did not hear me. And finally, in the midst of great pain one
night, I decided to give up and never ask God about anything again.
Through His Spirit
Then I met this girl at work whom
I knew attended a church called the True Jesus Church. At first, I had thought
it was a cool church name. She would never come to the Bible studies I so
gallantly and dutifully hosted in our office for a God I didn’t seem to know.
But there was something different about her. She had this joy, peace, and
confidence about her that I didn’t have. She seemed to have an assurance in faith
that came naturally.
So I told her I wanted to go to
her church. My first visit to the True Jesus Church was during a special
I really liked the church, and
everyone prayed in tongues. I had enjoyed praying in tongues with my previous
church, but my tongue was different.
Before I came to this church, I
thought I knew something about God. Yes, give to the poor, I thought, and speak
in tongues. And at that time, it so happened I managed to give most of what I
owned to the poor. Yet I felt nothing. What else is there? I received no joy at
all. What was going on? This was supposed to be the climax of my Christian
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the
poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
(1 Cor 13:3)
Then things began to change.
Within the same week, there was a spiritual convocation at the True Jesus
Church. During prayer, I wondered when they were going to stop because my mouth
was getting sore. Then I was coaxed up to the front again for more praying in
tongues! I went up to be a good sport, but I was tired of “praying in tongues.”
At the front of the chapel I said
a silent prayer in my heart, “Please help me, Holy Spirit.” No sooner had I
said it that a pulse went through my body. My tongue started rolling as fast as
a fan, and my body was shaking and vibrating. The tongues I was praying were
completely different than before and not out of my own doing.
I went back home to pray on my
own. What was going on? I thought. Didn’t I have the Holy Spirit before? I
could not stop praying in the Spirit. The joy and comfort that came in prayer
was so uplifting. Pretty soon, I was weeping in my prayers and singing
spiritual songs. I felt God’s love very deeply.
I felt a deep connection with God
in finding His church, and I felt very contrite about the time I had sworn
never to ask God to help me ever again. These careless words that I had said in
the past troubled my conscience.
But one day, while I was
distressed over this matter, I heard God’s voice saying, “I will never leave
you nor forsake you.” I broke down in tears for a while. My Savior loved me
still. Of course, it made sense. Why, after all, had He now given me His
For you did not receive the spirit of bondage
again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out,
“Abba, Father.” (Rom 8:15)
Suddenly, I began to realize what
being a Christian is about. It is not about my giving to the poor, or
evangelizing or raising my hands in worship. It was all about God. It was about
me just belonging to Him. I have to belong to Him as a child belongs to his
father and to abide in Him. If He wants to do anything good in my life, I will
let Him do it and let Him receive all the glory.
Thank God, I was baptized in the
True Jesus Church a year later. Though baptism may be the most beautiful
experience of my life—the testimony of Him washing away my sins—I also feel
great assurance in His voice: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” I truly
know now that Jesus keeps His own to the very end no matter where they are, or
what church they began in, or how they have messed up trying to seek Him.
And I give them eternal life, and they shall
never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My
hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater
than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. (Jn
And Paul also said:
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life,
nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to
come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to
separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom
I can now say that the complete
gospel is necessary for salvation. When I had walked across the street from the
first church I attended and, as a teenager, started doing drugs, no one even
tried to stop me. There was no power of God to help me overcome. And likewise,
when my faith strayed away from the truth, no one could rescue me. I was just
following the preaching.
I give tremendous thanks to God
for preserving the True Jesus Church in the true faith, so that the members can
continue learning His words and remain faithful to live in the Spirit. This
church has not gone off on spiritual tangents, or tried to please God by her
own means. He has kept her in His truth by His Spirit and His love.
I pray that we are able to
continue to abide in Him until the end. Amen.