My testimony is a bit disturbing, so if you squirm a bit when reading about things like virgin sightings and such, this testimony may not be for you.
Back in 1968, a man convinced me that when Jesus was crucified, he did in fact stand in my place to fully pay the penalty for any, and all, of my own personal violations of the law of God.
The man and I worked together in what was once a Kaiser shipyard along the shore of the Columbia River in Vancouver Washington where I was one of the welders and he was the shop's lay-out man.
At the time, I was a young single guy around 24 years old and a Roman Catholic from birth, having been baptized as an infant, and completed First Holy Communion and Confirmation. I was living solo in a tiny rented room in a family home's daylight basement, and had lots of time to myself to think about things since I had no friends, nor any kind of social contact whatsoever other than at work. I wasn't distracted with a girl friend, nor by pals and beer buddies, nor by an obsessive hobby. It was just me, my 1961 Volkswagen, and a 305 Honda motorcycle that I rode all over northwest Oregon.
I thought about Hell a lot, and pretty much took it for granted I was going there; but that didn't really disturb me. My concerns were mostly centered upon the fact that because I had problems with women, and an overwhelming inferiority complex, I was never going to get laid. I saw no hope of happiness in my adult existence, nor hope of ever living a normal adult life, nor expected any remedy for the persistent sexual frustration and emotional and psychological misery I suffered because of my disconnection from normal society; and to make matters only worse; after suffering through this miserable life; I was going to miss out in the next one too.
I saw no hope of relief from my despair other than suicide; which didn't set well with me at the time because I was too young to die and start doing time in Hell so soon.
The man suggested that I come with him to his church and make a public profession of my acceptance of Jesus' death on my behalf. So I went with him and we informed his Pastor why I was there. After church was over, and the people had left; the Pastor and I, plus my friend, and an elder, went down to the rail in front of the chapel where I prayed a very simple, na´ve prayer that went something like this:
"Lord, I'm a sinner. I would like to take advantage of your son's death."
While saying my brief, unrehearsed prayer, I became strangely aware of a heavy, overstuffed chair just in front of the rail, suspended maybe about four feet up in the air, and a bit off to the left side, with a lone figure sitting on it looking in my direction. I couldn't really make out the face, but it was wearing a tight expression, and the person wearing that expression was dead serious while observing me say my stupid, na´ve prayer. I was thoroughly unraveled by the image, and could hardly wait to get up and get out of there.
The graphic mental image I saw is what's known as an interior imaginative locution; which, in reality, is no more reliable than a daydream. Perhaps the graphic image I saw in my mind was the result of emotional stress; who really knows for sure? (the person in the chair didn't speak a single word) But I will always be fully persuaded in my own mind that at that very moment, the Bible's God made Himself real to me in such a way as to convince me that I no longer had anything to fear from the wrath of God.
It was a tremendous relief to be assured that I wouldn't be going to Hell after all; so intense was it that I broke down and blubbered like someone who just survived a terrible ordeal; and it was at that same moment when I came to the realization that I would never need the Roman Catholic Church for anything ever again. That was 41 years ago as of this past February; and I have never once to this day ever had cause to regret thoroughly renouncing Rome.
If you, reading this, are worried that you might not make it to safety when you die, just keep in mind that Jesus sacrificed his own life to ransom yours from the wrath of God— free of charge, and nothing asked in return. All you've got to do is follow the tax collector's example at Luke 18:10-14, and follow the convict's example at Luke 23:39-43, and follow my own example. Speak up with God about it. Tell Him how you feel. Ask God to let you take advantage of His son's crucifixion. This is the path, that you, as a sinner, have got to take in order to remedy the alienation between you and the Bible's God. It's the door to a better future after your futile lifetime on this earth comes to an end.
BTW: Recovery was slow. I didn't start dating till ten years later in 1978 and married in 1980. We have one son, born in 1981, who graduated from University of Oregon in 2005 with a degree in Journalism. He's well adjusted, socially competent, and suffers from none of the psychological and emotional problems that plagued me at his age.