Signal 30 was the name of a graphic drivers’ education film I was watching with other college students on a Saturday morning in December of 1970, just before driving home for Christmas.
I saw death on the screen that day. I saw the shriveled, burned body of a trucker and the crushed and bleeding teenager whose car had hit a tree.
The film scared me. When it ended and the lights came on, I was trembling.
My fear was common. I was simply afraid to die. Though I had grown up deeply involved in religion, I had no peace about death.
When I was 7 years old, I had walked down the aisle of a Baptist church in Memphis, Tennessee, to “join the church.” l attended Sunday School for 9 years in a row without missing a Sunday.
As a nominally religious teen, I refused to join the rebellion of the 60s. The closest I came to “loose living” was singing folk music with a classmate, Cybill Shepherd. We performed for friends in Memphis and had visions of stardom.
In the summer of 1968, Cybill took off for a New York modeling career, and I enrolled in a Christian college with a goal of becoming a cinematographer. Two years into my cinema studies, I became dissatisfied and changed my major to Christian education.
In the first session of a preaching class, the teacher listed several requirements to be a preacher. “The first requirement,” he said, “is to be sure you are really a Christian. Do you know that you are going to heaven?”
That’s ridiculous,” I thought. “Surely everyone in this class of ministerial students is sure that he is a Christian!” I dismissed the fear that maybe I was not a Christian..
Soon my roommate gave me a book entitled An Alarm to the Unconverted. The preacher/author wrote about how a real Christian reads the Bible like a thirsty deer goes for a cool drink of water (Psalm 42:1). That just didn’t sound like me.
I tried to be more diligent in my personal Bible study time. I often prayed, “Thank you, Lord, that I am saved, and I know I am going to heaven.” But I really did not know.
December came, and I saw the traffic film “Signal 30”. The death scenes in that film shocked me. As I left the auditorium, for the first time I realized the cause of my unhappiness. I simply had no assurance about my salvation from hell. I was afraid to die.
Attempting to dispel my fear, I argued with myself…
“C’mon, Dave, you’re okay. You’ve believed in Christ all your life. You are a ministerial student in a Christian college. You have even led people to Christ. Don’t be one of those unstable guys who ‘gets saved’ over and over.”
After returning to school from Christmas break, I asked a fellow student named Tom if he could us me on his summer mission team to New York City.
“Dave,” he asked, “when did you receive Christ as Savior?”
“Oh, I’m not sure of the exact date, Tom, but I think I did it when I was a kid.”
Tom replied, “You may not know the exact day, or week, or even the month that you received Christ as Savior. But you ought to ask God to help you at least know the year. If you don’t at least know the year you made the most important decision of your life, you may always doubt your salvation.”
We walked back to my dormitory room, sat down, and Tom read Romans 8:16: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”
As he read, I talked to God. I prayed a simple, silent prayer. “Dear God, I have believed in Jesus all my life, but I am simply not sure that I am a born-again Christian. Please help me to know if I am really one of your children.”
God immediately spoke to my heart. I knew I was not a Christian. I had intellectually agreed with the truth of salvation, but I had never personally admitted my sin and trusted Christ. My “salvation” had been a collective agreement with my parents, my church, and my friends. I needed personally to confess my sin and trust Christ as Savior.
“Tom,” I admitted, “I’m not a Christian, and I need to become one today.” I dropped to my knees and prayed. In my simple prayer, I admitted that I was a sinner and asked Jesus Christ to forgive my sin and become my personal Savior.
When I got up from my knees, I knew I was a born-again Christian! I John 5:13 says, “Ye may know that ye have eternal life.”
How about you, my friend? Are you 100% sure that if you were to die right now you would go to heaven? “Signal 30” signifies death. God says, “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
When you die, nothing will matter but the condition of your soul. What your friends think will not matter. What your parents think will not matter. What your wife, husband, or children think will not matter. What will matter is this: have you personally trusted Christ as Savior? Have you done that? Are you certain?
You can receive Christ as Savior right now if you:
Believe that you, like everyone, are a sinner (Romans 3:23).
Believe that Jesus died and was raised from the dead for your sin (Romans 5:8).
Believe that Jesus will save you now if you ask Him (Romans 10:13).
If you sincerely believe the three preceding statements, pray this prayer:”
Dear God, I know that I am a sinner, and I deserve hell. I right now turn from my self and sin and ask you, Jesus Christ, to forgive my sin and save my soul. I now trust Jesus Christ alone as my personal Savior. Thank you for saving me today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
If you just trusted Christ as Savior, email me and share the great news!
My Signal 30 is now available in a Tract written in English or Spanish. To order these for your church or to learn more information, please contact Mike at Harvest Media.