Hi. My name’s Steven. I was born and raised here in San Antonio. I’m twenty-eight years old and this is my testimony. You know the Scripture talks about in John 8:34, where Jesus was speaking to the Pharisees saying that, “Whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.” And that scripture spoke volumes to me because that’s exactly what I was. I was enslaved to sin throughout my teen life and so forth. When I was growing up, my parents were divorced and I was periodically going from my father and mother’s house, and my dad, my biological father was selling drugs, and I began to take an interest and an influence over it. And kind of followed him as my model. And wanted to be like him.
After that, my dad was incarcerated for a number of years, and I began to live into a life that was, that was sinful. I was involved in drugs. I was already sexually active, and most of my life, most of my teen life was consistently in sin. I want to say when I was around fifteen, I was involved in gangs. And I began to follow the influence of this lifestyle, and you know one thing that really, really scared me and put a lot of fear into me was that my life was in jeopardy most of the time because of my involvement in them.
And I remember one day because I was so in fear of dying, that I began to pray and I asked God to deliver me from this type of lifestyle of the gang activity and the things I was involved in. And shortly after, the Lord miraculously broke the gang up and I was no longer involved. It was God’s common grace.
But I was not saved. Even though God heard my cry. Even though God attended to my prayer. That doesn’t mean that I was born again. Again, the Scripture I said at the beginning was that, “Whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.” I was still enslaved to sin. Even though I was no longer enslaved to a gang set. I was still enslaved to my sinful ways. I can tell you right now that immediately after God broke this gang up and I was free from that gang, the very next day [what] I went to go do was smoke a joint and to go get drunk off a quart of beer. I was still enslaved to my sin. You know, the Bible speaks about in Ephesians 2:1 that we’re dead in our trespasses and sins. So I knew that I was a dead man walking. I was enslaved to sin, and I continued this lifestyle even though I had a small belief about God, which was really idolatry because the sinful life that I was living was by this God I created and fashioned myself. Which is idolatry. Which many professing Christians do today.
And this time I met a girl later on, even though I was dead in my sins and I was enslaved and I had a false concept about God. It wasn’t until later on that time when her and I were dating, that I began to go to strip bars and started drinking at a young age. This was before I was eighteen years old. This lifestyle kind of progressed throughout my teen life. It wasn’t until one Friday night, I went to a strip bar and I began to drink and I came home that Friday night, went to bed as normal. Woke up that Saturday morning, absolutely convicted of my sins and transgressions. I was, I was in such deep guilt, that I knew that if I were to die I would spend eternity in Hell. Because I violated the law of God, and I knew that I was a dead man in sins and enslaved.
That very Saturday, I believe I was born again. That very next day on Sunday is where I was baptized. And at that time I was living with my girlfriend. When I returned home from being baptized, I told my girlfriend that I was a Christian, and I asked her to move out of the apartment. Well that didn’t go too well at all. There was a lot of hostility and conflict and I almost thought about giving up. But somehow the Spirit of God was helping me to persevere, and to continue living a lifestyle without sin. That day when I was eighteen I was born again.
You know the Scripture that I mentioned earlier about John 8:33 where Jesus says, “Whoever commits sin is a slave to sin.” A few verses down, 36 says that, “If the Son has made you free, you are free indeed.” When I was born again, when God redeemed me, saved me, when I was no longer dead in my sins and trespasses, He made me alive in Christ and I was free from my bondage to sin. I had no desire to go back to these strip clubs. I had no desire to go back to smoke a joint because I was depressed, or do some sinful acts. I was free through Christ. I was no longer in bondage.
To sum up my testimony, what I am trying to say is, is that if I lived a decent life and believed in God, I believed that I was going to heaven. But, my goodness compared to the Ten Commandments, the Law of God, I knew that I was guilty. In fact three of them, there’s three of them that really, that really used to bother me. One is, have you ever told a lie? Well, if you told a lie what would that make you? It made me a liar. Some people would say well that wouldn’t make me a liar. Well my question to you is, how many times do you have to murder to be a murderer? Or how many times do you have to rape to become a rapist? And how many times would you have to lie to become a liar? I knew that I was a liar. The Scripture also talks about using God’s name in vain. Which is called blasphemy. Jesus even said that, “If you look at a woman with lust, you commit adultery in your heart.” So I knew I was guilty before God, and unless God saved me. I would be damned and spend eternity in Hell. The Lord saved me from this type of lifestyle. And gave me a new heart. I used to have a heart of stone. A heart of stone that desired nothing more than sin, and was dead. Until God gave me a new heart which prompted me to put my trust in Christ. To repent from my sins and to no longer be in bondage into them.