Serving as an Unsaved Christian

Updated: Dec 4, 2019

Written by Heather Pace

“Christianity” has always been my life in some way. For as long as I can remember, I tried to live according to the Bible and do what I thought Christians were supposed to do. My passion extended even to my career choice. I wanted to be a missionary, so I went to BIOLA (the Bible Institute of Los Angeles) and made intercultural studies my major.

While studying in college, I met my husband. He also was ministry minded, and before you know it, he was a pastor and we were doing full-time ministry together. We weren’t in a foreign land as anticipated, but it was ministry, and we were excited.

However, there was one major thing that was not quite right. I was not a genuine Christian. I certainly thought I was (and so did everyone else).

To be clear, I didn’t have secret sins, I wasn’t living a double-life, and I never doubted the truthfulness of the Bible. I believed it all, and I was certainly giving Christianity (cultural Christianity, that is) all I had to offer. The problem was, I hadn’t actually received the forgiveness that God offers. Because truthfully, I wasn’t convinced I really needed it. Deep down I didn’t think I was that bad of a sinner. But everything changed on Good Friday in 2007.

During that Friday service we were invited to write our sins down on a small piece of paper before nailing them to a cross. And as the pen met the paper, my eyes were opened. The depths of my sin and the reality of my separation from God became evident. For the first time, I truly understood that I, Heather Pace, needed the payment that Jesus took care of on that cross. After years of looking like a Christian, talking like a Christian, and doing ministry as a pastor’s wife, I finally was able to turn from my sin in genuine repentance and faith. I finally was a Christian.

Life changed from there.

Since my life aligned with biblical living in so many ways, my actions and lifestyle weren’t drastically altered. But on the inside, I was very different. My motives shifted from doing godly things for selfish reasons to seeking godly things for God-honoring reasons. While sin and struggle didn’t cease, fighting sin was way more successful (becoming more holy as a non-Christian is a lot harder, FYI). Before conversion, I tried so hard to be the woman I knew I should be, but it felt like an uphill battle that I was climbing all alone. Once God changed my heart, it became an uphill battle with the Spirit pushing me along.

God is good. I could have been blinded to my sin my whole life. I could have kept busy “serving” God to my death (with a variety of self-centered reasons for doing so). But in God’s kindness, he ripped the blinders off my eyes and showed me my need for him.

And of course, it’s only when we realize we need Jesus that we can be saved! (And boy, do I need him!)

I am, and will forever be, grateful that his amazing love saved a wretch like me.

[I’ve also written about my testimony at Desiring God and The Gospel Coalition. You can find those articles here and here.]

Please share this testimony (or any of the others on our blog) with friends and loved ones!


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