Louis Turk’s Testimony of Salvation
In Luke 18:16, Jesus said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”
Luke 18:16 (KJV) But Jesus called them [unto him], and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
A little background will help you better understand my story. I was born right after World War II. My dad, Louis Rudolf Turk, was a Marine who had barely survived battles on Iwo Jima, Saipan, Tinian, and other islands in the Pacific ocean, with many metals attesting to his valor, including purple hearts. My mother, the former Naomi Stroud, was the daughter of a Baptist deacon. However, at the time of my birth, she did not yet know Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior. I’ve been told that my dad was a cursing, smoking, drinking man right up to the time I was about a year old. But he was also a serious man, having seen so many of his Marine buddies die by his side during the war. When I was about a year old, my parents were experiencing a lot of trouble. They were very unhappy with the problems sin had brought into their lives, and decided that they needed God in their lives to straighten things out. My dad was a Catholic, and my mother was raised in a Baptist church. So they decided that they would rotate, going to the Catholic Church one Sunday, and to a Baptist church the next Sunday. Since there was a small Baptist church close to their house, they decided to go there first.
Their first service in that humble Baptist church impressed my dad so much that he decided to keep attending there for awhile. In fact, he never again attended a service in a Catholic church. What impressed him was that for the first time in his life he was shown in the Scriptures how to be saved once and for all from his sins and the condemnation of Hell, by God’s grace, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Learning from God’s word that eternal savation is a free gift, and not something you earn by doing good works, gave my dad great hope, and after a few weeks of searching the Scriptures to make sure these things were so, he received the free gift of eternal life by placing his faith in only Jesus Christ alone. A few weeks later my mother did the same. The Bible makes it very clear that salvation truely is a free gift, not something that you earn by doing good works.
Romans 5:10 (KJV) For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Romans 5:11 (KJV) And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Romans 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
Romans 5:13 (KJV) (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
Romans 5:14 (KJV) Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
Romans 5:15 (KJV) But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
Romans 5:16 (KJV) And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification.
Romans 5:17 (KJV) For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
Romans 5:18 (KJV) Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.
Romans 5:19 (KJV) For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Romans 5:20 (KJV) Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:
Romans 5:21 (KJV) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ephesians 2:8 (KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:9 (KJV) Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Titus 3:5 (KJV) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Titus 3:6 (KJV) Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Titus 3:7 (KJV) That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Although people told me that my dad smoked and drank alcohol before this, I never saw my dad smoke or drink, nor did I ever hear him curse. In fact, in my whole life (I’m now 67 years old, and my dad is now 93 years old), I also never even once heard him tell a lie. I’m not saying that he has been perfect. No one has ever been perfect but Jesus. But receiving Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior changed my dad in a very good way forever, and I was very aware that he was not like the dads of many of my childhood friends. My dad never came home drunk. He was faithful to my mom, and never beat her. He never gambled away our living. He was faithful to his employers. He was always honest and upright in all his business dealings. And so was my mother. And they both had a genuine love for other people. Shortly after my dad’s salvation, God called him to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and he began to prepare himself for the ministry. We never missed a church service except for illness.
Because Jesus had so radically changed my parents in such a positve way, I never doubted what they taught me. I knew that they would never purposely tell me anything that was not true. They even told me that Santa Clause is not real! They also told me that just because they were saved, that did not mean that I was. They explained to me that I also needed to be “born again” by believing in Jesus, and that deciding to do that was a personal decision which they could not make for me. I would have to make that decision down in my heart by myself.
John 3:3 (KJV) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
John 3:4 (KJV) Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
John 3:5 (KJV) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Jesus said, “Suffer [allow] little children to come unto me.” He did not say to force them to come. I thank God that my parents never tried to force me to be a Christian, but waited patiently for me to make my own decision. They did not baptize me as a baby. They did not pressue me in any way to profess faith in Christ. What they did do, however, was pray for me, and take me to church for every worship service exception, so that I was constantly hearing and learning the truth. From hearing the Bible preached, I soon understood that being a “preacher’s kid” did not automatically make me a Christian. By the time I was five years old I had become painfully aware of two very important things. One was that I was a sinner, and another was that I deserved to go to Hell for my sins. Some neighbor children which I played with at this time in my life were an especially bad influence. Some of the sins they committed shocked me and left me shaken. Associating with them I knew was wrong. The guilt of my sins weighted heavily upon me.
We lived in the country close to Kansas City when the greatest event in my life took place. I was five years old, and outside playing with the neighbor children mentioned above. I was not happy. I was troubled in my soul, and depressed, knowing that I had not loved God with all my heart, nor did I love other people as myself, but had instead violated these two most foundational of God’s laws, plus many others. I was certain in my heart that if I died in this condition, I would go staight to Hell. I believed that Jesus would save me from going to Hell, if only I would believe in Him. But I did not know how to believe in Jesus.
Matthew 22:37 (KJV) Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Matthew 22:38 (KJV) This is the first and great commandment.
Matthew 22:39 (KJV) And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Matthew 22:40 (KJV) On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Finally, I could bear the guilt and fear no longer, and decided to ask my mother to help me find peace. I entered the house, and found my mother at the kitchen sink washing dishes. I walked up beside her, and tugged on her apron, and asked her to explain to me how to be saved. I will never forget how she immediately stopped what she was doing, and gave me her full attention. There was an old couch in the kitchen, and we sat down with her Bible, and she explained to me in very simple terms that salvation is by grace, through faith in Christ, not of works, lest any man should boast. She explained to me that “believing in Jesus” meant to repent of my sins, and accept His promise that if I would receive Him into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior, then He would instantly save me forever.
John 1:11 (KJV) He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
John 1:12 (KJV) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:
John 1:13 (KJV) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Repentance and faith are inseparable. It is impossible to believe in Christ without repenting of one’s sins and wrong ideas. Jesus preached repentance and faith in the gospel.
Mark 1:14 (KJV) ¶ Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
Mark 1:15 (KJV) And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
“Gospel” means “good news.” The good news which we must believe in order to be saved is that Jesus died on the cross to take the penality of our sins upon himself, was buried, and then three days and three nights later, he arose victorious over death, Hell, and the grave.
1 Corinthians 15:1 (KJV) ¶ Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
1 Corinthians 15:2 (KJV) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
1 Corinthians 15:3 (KJV) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1 Corinthians 15:4 (KJV) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Thank God, repentance is not trying to clean up your life in your own strength! Rather it is accepting the fact that everything that God said is wrong is indeed wrong and harmful, and desiring for God to make you into a new creature in Christ, with right wants and desires. We can no more repair our sin-ruined lives than we can put an egg back together after we have dropped it on the floor. But God can and will do this miracle in us, provided we want it. However, God will not change us unless we want to be changed. The gift of eternal life is free, but if we refuse to accept the gift, then we will go to the Lake of Fire, which is the second death.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV) Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:18 (KJV) And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
2 Corinthians 5:19 (KJV) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:20 (KJV) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (KJV) For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Revelation 21:8 (KJV) But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Of the verses my mother showed me that day, the ones I remember the clearest are found in Romans chapter 10.
Romans 10:8 (KJV) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, [even] in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
Romans 10:9 (KJV) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Romans 10:10 (KJV) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Romans 10:11 (KJV) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Romans 10:12 (KJV) ¶ For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
Romans 10:13 (KJV) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
My mother and I knelt down on our knees beside that old couch, and in faith I called upon the Lord Jesus Christ to save me from my sins and give me eternal life as he promised. My prayer was not long or eloquent. It was the simple prayer of a five year old child. It was basically, Dear God, I’ve sinned. I’m lost, and headed straight to Hell. I’m weak and can’t save myself. I believe that Jesus died for my sins, was buried, and rose from the dead three days later. I’m trusting in you to save me now as you promised. In Jesus name, Amen.
And guess what happened? He did save me that very instant! And I knew that he had saved me because his Spirit bear witness with my spirit that I was now a child of God.
Romans 8:14 (KJV) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Romans 8:15 (KJV) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
Romans 8:16 (KJV) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
Romans 8:17 (KJV) ¶ And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.
1 John 4:13 (KJV) Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1 John 4:14 (KJV) ¶ And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son [to be] the Saviour of the world.
1 John 4:15 (KJV) Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
1 John 4:16 (KJV) And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
1 John 4:17 (KJV) ¶ Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
1 John 4:18 (KJV) There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
That very instant peace and joy flooded my soul, and has never—and will never—leave me, because it is based on what Jesus has done and is doing, not on what I have done or am doing. What is so great about true Christianity is that it is not (like other religions) a promise of pie in the sky by and by when you die (after which it will be too late if the promise isn’t true). Rather it is the promise of eternal life instantly at the moment we place our faith in Christ. If you repent and receive Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, he will instantly save your soul. Consider how stupid it would be for me to say this if it were not so: for the very instant people believed me, and called upon Jesus to save them, they would know for certain that I am a liar and deceiver—if this is not so. But, I can tell you by personal experience that it is so: try it and find out for yourself. No one has ever placed their faith only in Christ alone, and been disappointed.
In conclusion, I am aware that in some ways my testimony of salvation is not typical in that I had born-again parents, who were very dedicated to Christ, and therefore I was exposed to the truth from my very early youth. This gave me a very great advantage (which if you will you also can give to your children if they are still young). But having godly parents did not automatically make me a child of God. Like all men, I had to admit that I was a wicked and lost sinner—that I had been wrong, and God had been right, about everything in which I had disagreed with him. Then I had to humbly call upon him to save my sinful soul based on the finished work of Christ on the cross. That is what all men must do to be saved. God’s plan of salvation is so simple that even a five-year-old child can be saved. And so can you.