A Testimony of Salvation from Noel Vanbiljon

Psalm 66:16 Come and hear, all you
Who fear God,
And I will declare what He
has done for my soul.

I was brought up in a household that did not give God his rightful place. As a result of this fact I found
myself, at the age of 35, going about my business without a knowledge of the Bible and its message, nor did I
have any desire to know– I was ignorant, I neither believed nor disbelieved and I was content in my

What I am about to relate is a sequence of events spanning 30 YEARS, starting with God revealing Himself
to me in what I can only describe as a supernatural way, to finally receiving a glorious salvation. As the
events unfolded, I was not aware of their significance at that time, but in hindsight, I was able to comprehend
Gods saving grace at work in me. As I recall and relate this work of grace I cannot help but express a
profound thankfulness for Gods goodness and mercy.

So at that stage of my life (age 35 ) I was employed by a huge industrial concern as an apprentice
electrician. This company had a program whereby they trained older people for the trade, and as I had no
prior formal qualification, I seized the opportunity to better myself.

During the third year of my apprenticeship I came to realize that I was drinking alcohol excessively and I
could not understand why.I had everything going for me, a good future, soon to be qualified in my trade, I was
not unhappy, life was good. So I consulted my doctor and explained my situation to him. He in turn referred
me to a psychiatrist in Pietermaritzburg, where I was hospitalized for a week and subjected to what he
termed shock therapy.

In the course of that week I was given a pocket sized Bible from a nurse, which I accepted but never did
get to read. In hindsight I was convinced that this young lady was instrumental in my salvation. I believe she
was an intercessor on my behalf.

So I returned to Newcastle and to work, but this time without alcohol.
About two weeks later, after having spent an evening with my girlfriend Mary, I returned to my lodgings, a
hostel provided by the company which was adequate for my needs — a single room with a shower and a
dining hall for providing meals.

I retired to bed and was lying down spread eagled on my back , my arms and legs outstretched when I
experienced a severe headache. This was unusual for me in that I was not prone to headaches and certainly
not one so severe. It persisted for a short while and then dissipated and flowed out via my arms and legs
and fingers and toes — it drained out of me. And then again this terrible headache and as it too ” drained” out
of me I immediately received a powerful thought in my mind — THIS IS GOD DOING THIS TO ME !
I immediately felt unclean in my body, as if I had received something holy into an unworthy body, so much
so, that I got up and showered.

Now consider, this was now about midnight, and I was excited. For some reason I thought that this had
also happened to Mary, and so I got dressed and drove over to her parents flat to share this happening, but
when I got there I saw that the flat was in darkness and so I drove back to the hostel and went to sleep.
The next morning when I got up I simply could not contain myself, I was literally babbling Jesus–Jesus–
Jesus, I could not restrain myself. The guys from the hostel were astonished, saying “what has happened to
you”? They had known me for several years and this was not the the same me they knew. I was professing a
Jesus that I had never previously acknowledged.

It happened to be a Saturday, a non working day, so I drove back to Marys parents flat and explained to
Mary and her parents what had happened to me. Marys mother ( she was a devout Catholic) burst into tears.
I was surprised and in my naivety asked her if she did not have the same experience. She said no!
That same morning Mary and I drove out to a local dam where we often parked to watch the bird life. While
we were sitting there I began to confess all of my innermost perversions and filth that was stored up in my
mind. It was spontaneous, I did not rein myself in, I was content to let it happen. Mary was witness to this
cleansing, it was not under my control.

Following this confession I experienced a wonderful feeling of wellbeing, difficult to explain in human
words — I could attempt to describe it by saying that it was exquisite — and It only lasted a few moments. I
believe I was given a taste of the future glory that God has reserved for those that love Him, an anointing of
the Holy Spirit

And as an aside, if ever I was to speak in tongues, this would have been my defining moment.
The scripture comes to mind ” I was found by those who did not seek me.” Isaiah 65:1

Three days later I was sitting in my car waiting for Mary when God spoke to me as clearly as two people
communicating with each other. These words were directed straight into my mind, “go out and tell others
what I have done for you”.

I was really taken aback, not by the fact that God had communicated directly with me, that seemed so
completely natural to me –but because of the fact that I did not know Him, and I answered saying, “I can’t do
that, I don’t know you”.

Again in hindsight, after being so wonderfully blessed with this revelation from God, and truthfully
admitting that I did not know him, I ask myself, why did I not seek Him out? Why did I not approach his church
to reveal Him to me, or why did I not open the Bible and so get to know Him? I cannot answer that, except to
simply say that I did not. I now certainly knew that God existed, but I was still totally unaware of who and
what God was. I believe it was not yet my appointed time — Ecclesiastes chapter 3.i

And so I continued on with my life and God left me to do so. Over the next ten years I was married to Mary
and we were blessed with a beautiful boy child. I was an artisan and we had a reasonable standard of living. I
was also drinking alcohol again and I was living without reverence for God. As a direct result of my way of
living my marriage was doomed. And so it transpired. Mary divorced me and I was separated from my child.
It was not long after this that I finally broke down and conceded that I cannot live this way. My life was in
ruins, a total disaster, I was crushed and my pride was crushed– proverbs 16:18. I was brought to a state of
brokenness by God and I was now made ready to receive truth.

For the following three years I became totally isolated from the world. I lived on a smallholding north of
Pretoria which belonged to a pastor named Mark Barker. I sold my belongings including my car, to further cut
myself off from society. Mark presented me with a Bible and it was only then that I became exposed to Gods
means of salvation, the Gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

I spent my days working on the smallholding and my nights and weekends with the word. Mark was my
mentor and under his guidance I confessed my sins and repented and was baptised in the name of the
Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

My life was transformed. The message of the Bible opened up a completely new life to me. I was ecstatic.
I received a peace and joy previously unknown to me. I devoured the written word, I could not put it down.
And it was not as if I studied the word, it was burnt into my heart. I was experiencing my first love. God made
me willing and enabled me — Philippians 2:13.

So after three years of isolation, equipped with my new found ” salvation “I was now ready to return to
society. I found over a period of time that I was absorbed back into the carnal ways of the world.I was sinning
, and finding it easier as time went on. Now this was not the Christianity of the Bible. There was a vital
ingredient missing. I had no power to say NO to sin, and I was unaware of how to rectify this situation, nor
was it in my power to rectify it. This required an act of God to enable me, failing that I was surely destined for

And this is how God in His amazing grace and mercy came to my aid.

I was informed of the death of a childhood friend of mine. We had grown up together, from young boys
through adolescence and we were close friends. I purchased a bottle of whiskey and had a “wake” in
remembrance of him.

A day or two later I got to be thinking about whether he was saved or not ( I had no contact with him in
later years so I had no way of knowing). While I was considering this I was stricken with a most powerful
conviction that I WAS NOT SAVED and I was on my way to hell. I was devastated. I knew that without a doubt,
because of my sinful state , I was going to hell, and not only that, there was nothing I could do about it. God
was perfectly just in condemning me, the wages of sin is death, It was done and dusted. I had acknowledged
God and continued to live in sin. I was in utter despair, without hope.I cannot describe the darkness of that
time , and it continued for several weeks.

I thought my sin was too great for forgiveness, I believed I had committed the unpardonable sin. I finally
saw myself as God sees me, a wretched sinner..I was given an understanding of the true nature of sin, the
sinfulness of sin. I was given an understanding of who God was, Holy and just. Sin is not to be trifled with.
Isaiah 6:1-5 comes to mind, when the prophet had a revelation of God seated on His throne, he cries out ”
woe is me for I am undone.” And so it was with me.

I was made to be labouring and heavy laden. This is what Jesus means when He said, ” come unto me all
who labour and are heavy laden”. It is the weight of sin.

And this spiritual affliction is the work of the Holy Spirit.” He will come to convict you of sin, and
righteousness and the judgement”. See appendix note.

I pleaded for mercy, I begged for forgiveness, I beseeched God to grant me repentance. I pleaded the blood
of Jesus to cover my sins past, present and future. I came to Jesus as my only saviour, there being no other
means whereby my sins may be forgiven.

I finally repented with a true gospel repentance, not with an intellectual head knowledge of sin but with a
heart knowledge of the nature of sin. And Jesus said, ” I will not turn away any that come to me”. John 6:37.
Sin no longer has dominion over me, I have been enabled to say no to sin and yes to Jesus. And so I finally
closed with my saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I can truthfully conclude, both by way of scripture and experience, that God has given me a priceless gift of
salvation by means of his mercy and grace. And this salvation is of the Lord– Jonah 2:9. He makes you
willing and He enables you– Philippians 2:13.

And so with Thomas, I can say, ” MY LORD and MY GOD”, and with Peter, I can say, “” You are the Christ,
the Son of the living God”.

And to God alone belongs the glory, Amen.

Appendix.Excerpt from J C Rules work ” come unto me”.

Jesus says ” come unto me all who are labouring and heavy laden , and I will give you rest”.
To know the state of the soul here spoken of your hard heart must be broken. You must be brought to see
your own guilt and danger, your eyes must be opened to understand your situation.

All who have entered heaven were once labouring and heavy laden, and except you are, you will never get

If you have never experienced a revelation of the true nature of your fallen state I would urge you to plead
with God for this vital mercy.

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