Eternity is rushing towards us.
You and everyone else must be ready.

“So how does someone get their sins removed and get forgiven?”

Apr 5, 2024

A friend emailed me as she was leaving the beach after the following encounter. It’s the kind of encounter we all dream of having. She was on vacation in Hawaii.

It was an incredible day out at Pipeline Beach. Late-season swell, surf was up, photographers were out, pros were in the lineup, and the day was starting to wind down.

I had witnessed to Pedro by the park benches and then to another man with car trouble in the parking lot. Samantha was sitting at the edge of the park with her daughter, overlooking the beach below and watching the surfers catch the waves. She was excited to find out I was witnessing because, as it turned out, she was a Christian. I gave her some materials to share with her church, and she encouraged me to hit the beach and see what doors God might open up.

So, I headed toward the shoreline, and after handing out tracts to a few uninterested groups, I headed over to another group; this time it was a group of college guys, who were sitting in front of the lifeguard’s platform. As I handed them tracts, I opened things up by saying, “How you-all guys doing this afternoon?”

Looking at their tracts, they said, “We’re good. What’s this?”

“I’m a Christian, and I give these out, so people have some information about eternity, because you don’t want to go where you don’t want to go, right?”

“Wow. We were just talking about all of this, and we totally have questions for you.”

“So, are you guys religious?”

Two were “spiritual,” one was a Jew, one was a Christian, and one was quasi-Mormon. I always give Jewish people some special attention because Israel is the chosen nation of God. Then the questions started.

They wanted to know why all religions couldn’t get to Heaven. Weren’t they all just different roads going to the same place?

“There is only one way to get to Heaven because, by definition, there is only one God. The gods of the various religions can’t all be the same because they all offer a different way of salvation. Only the real God offers the real way of salvation, and only He is qualified to bear the sins of humanity and really forgive us.”

Pointing over at the Jewish guy, the Mormon said, “But he’s a Jew, and the Jews were chosen by God. Why isn’t he going to Heaven if he has the same God?”

“Because he hasn’t come to the only Savior to have his sins removed. You can only do that by making peace with God through the cross.”

Engaging the Jewish guy directly, I said, “You know from the Old Testament that you had to bring God a sacrifice for sins, and that sacrifice had to be perfect, without blemish. Only God is perfect and without sin, so only He can be your sacrifice for sin. Only He is qualified to be your sin-bearer.”

Odysseus, the main spokesman in the group, said, “But why can’t everyone just go to Heaven?”

“No one gets into Heaven unless they’ve had their sins removed. God isn’t letting sin into Heaven.”

“Are you telling us that good people who help others, sacrifice for others, seek the good of the world, and do good all their lives can’t get into Heaven?”

“Yes, that’s what I’m saying, but it’s because they haven’t had their sins removed. If we were to run through the Ten Commandments, not only would I fail them all, but you guys would fail them all as well. They are a mirror to show us that no one is good enough to get to Heaven, no matter how many good deeds they have done. Why? Because good deeds can’t remove sin.”

“But why can’t sinners go to Heaven if God is loving?”

“God does love all men, and that’s why He’s putting up with sin for the time being. He’s waiting for people to make the decision to come to Him, or not, for the forgiveness of their sins. He’s just not going to let sin into Heaven.”

“Are you telling us that religious men like Ghandi and others aren’t going to Heaven? Doesn’t God value the good they did?”

“Being good is good, but it has no value for removing sins. Ghandi might have been a good person by human standards, but, if he didn’t have his sins removed, which I don’t believe he did, then he’s not in Heaven.”

The Mormon guy said, “That’s a good way to say that. I like how you keep sticking to that point about having sins removed and aren’t personally attacking anyone.”

Then the Christian guy spoke up a bit and added some things. These were his friends, and he was glad for the conversation.

Odysseus piped up again and said, “My dad just became a Christian and is telling me about all this.”

“Oh, really! That’s interesting. So, all of this is on your mind right now.” He nodded yes.

Then the guy on my left, closest to the shore and who was locked on and listening intently to every word that was said, finally spoke up and just simply asked, “So how does someone get their sins removed and get forgiven?” That’s when I gave them the gospel.

The Jewish guy was starting to bristle and then asked the hard question, “So what about Hitler? Could he have been saved?”

“As hard as it is to hear, yes. If he had truly repented, which I don’t believe he even considered doing, he could have been saved. But he had a book by Madam Blavatsky on his nightstand when he committed suicide and was into the occult, so he was clearly not saved.” That’s when I shared one of my witnessing stories with them about meeting someone who had committed murder while in a gang, was riddled with guilt, and was dying to be forgiven.

We covered a lot of ground. It was a non-stop, rapid-fire conversation that lasted well over an hour. But the sun had gone down, the lifeguards were gone, the beach had emptied out, and it was getting very dark. The guys said they had to go, so we all began to stand up. I had given each of them copies of One Second After You… and The Second Greatest Lie during the conversation, but to the guy who asked how to be saved, I said, “I saw how closely you paid attention. Make sure to read your booklets. They’ll answer your questions and make all of this very clear.”

As we stood there saying our good-byes, we shook hands and had nothing but words of thanks for each other. But it was the Christian guy who gave me a bear hug! He was so thankful for the conversation with his friends. We were all reeling from what had just transpired. Please pray for them all! It was an amazing encounter.


Encouraging Christians to knock on those doors to see what God might open up is just the kind of nudge we all need. Not only will Christians be encouraged by our witnessing, but the lost will get the answers they need. When it’s all done in love and truth, it’s a powerful combination we won’t soon forget. We love them, truth them, and watch God use that truth to impact their hearts and minds for eternity.

Remember, when you are talking with folks, you might not even know that their father has been recently saved and that he has been witnessing to his son! This is why we pray for open hearts. God might just have five college guys talking about this exact subject as you walk up. And, if you are lucky, you might even get a bear hug at the end from a young man who appreciates that a mother is sharing her faith with his friends!

Until the nets are full,


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