I became a convict in 1987, in my 40th year of destroying myself in sin. Prison was not a nice place. I arrived as a new inmate, and the predators watched me get off the transport bus. If you have read Victorious Living for any length of time, you know what prison life can be.

In prison, the last place I wanted to be was church. Yet I found myself spending hours in the chaplain’s library. Many afternoon and evening services found me in attendance. Jesus was calling, standing at my door as He promises: “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20).

The thing I feared most was the baptismal tank. It would be too cold. Maybe a fungus would be thriving in the water. I could experience heart failure in the process and become flotsam. Maybe a host of hecklers would yell “hypocrite” at me as the chaplain plunged me under the water. How embarassing that would be—after all, I’m in prison!

One day, I confessed my faulty fears and asked some Christian brothers to lay hands on me for healing of those fears. I asked them to pray that I would open the door to salvation and let Jesus come into my life with power. A week later, as water skier Kristi Overton Johnson would say, I “got off the dock” and into the water. I was received salvation through Christ’s church, and no one criticized. The life jacket that Jesus promised held me up. That day I became free. A new life began!

But even better than all that, if I were to die today, I know for sure that I would go to heaven to be with Jesus for eternity. Jesus’ words in John 6:47 are what this convict is trusting for His eternal life: “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes has eternal life.”

You can have this, too.

Thirty years ago, I realized that what I was doing for God was falling short because of my sin. So I repented of my sins and transferred my trust from myself to Jesus Christ—from what I had been doing for God to what He has done for me on the cross.

To have salvation, you must transfer your trust from yourself to Jesus Christ alone. You can do this right now. Confess to Him your sin and shortcomings. Invite Him to enter the door of your life and become your Savior. Then thank Him for your gift of eternal life.

Does this story strike a chord for you? Read the entire May 2018 issue here.

Written by Kenny Johnson

Photo by Sonja Guina