Notice And Reflect On These 3 Bold Step If You Are Doubting Your Salvation.
If you’re struggling with assurance of your salvation, a couple of things I want you to know first before I talk about some practical steps. One is to realize that occasional doubts are normal. I think it’s almost universal and the older a person is in Christ the harder it is for them to admit that. I mean if you’re a leader in your church and you’re in your fifties how do you easily say, “You know sometimes I wonder “if I’m even a Christian,” it’s hard to say that. And yet it’s normal I think to have those occasional doubts and it’s a good reflection because it speaks of a heart that says, “I want God, I want heaven, I want salvation “more than I want anything.” And things in our lives that may hint at the possibility we’re not going to heaven, we don’t know God terrifies us. That’s good to be terrified of those things. So when Satan or when your mind says, “How could you do that and be a Christian? “If you were a Christian could you have said that, “could you have had that thought?” Well, that’s a good thing to have that concern. Because unbelievers generally don’t have those concerns.
Unbelievers don’t wring their hands wondering if they’re going to heaven or not by and large. I think Satan has made his business to try to convince Christians they’re not going to heaven and non-Christians that they are. Non-Christians are pretty assured that they’re going to heaven and believers often struggle with whether they are, but I think that can be a healthy thing sometimes. Now persistent, unresolvable doubts that’s another thing altogether. When no biblical remedy over long periods seems to help someone then that is a real concern. But let’s also be clear about this, doubting salvation is not necessarily unbelief. There is a kind of doubt that leans toward faith and there’s a kind of doubt that leans away from it. That’s skepticism.
Almost anything, any doubt only increases your skepticism and makes you more and more unlikely to believe that this is true. But some doubts cause a person to say, “I believe there are answers. “I want there to be answered. “I’m going to look for answers. “Someone help me find these answers.” That kind of doubt may just arise from not knowing the Bible well, some person asks a question you’ve never thought about before and “Wow, I’ve never considered that “and if that’s true then maybe Christianity “isn’t even true,” and so forth, “but I believe it is “I just don’t know how to answer that question.” That’s leaning toward faith. So that’s not unbelief in the classic sense.
Unbelief rejects the gospel. So just because a person may have occasional doubts that don’t mean that they’re not a Christian. So what do you do if you’re struggling with assurance of salvation, you’re doubting your relationship with God whether you have a relationship with God, whether he has saved you?
1. First thing I would encourage you to do is make sure you’re clear on the gospel of Jesus Christ. If someone were to say to you, “How can I be saved? “How can I know Christ? “How can I be sure of going to heaven?” what is the message you would tell them? What is the message a person must believe to know God? Well if you’re unclear on that message well that’s going to foster doubt. So make sure you’re clear on what the gospel of Jesus Christ is and I could elaborate here, but I want to point you to the Bible and to people who can give you biblical counsel on this and help you be clear on the gospel. It’s not a complicated message.
In a word the gospel is Jesus. In a phrase, the gospel is the person and work of Jesus or who Jesus is and what he has done. We could elaborate on that to give hour-long answers, but to give a not-so-long one I mean we talk about from the creation, God is the creator, he made all things. He made me, he has the right therefore to tell me how to live. He has done so in his law in the Bible and yet we have broken his law, we have violated his law and therefore we are accountable to him and under his judgment, and there is a judgment With heaven and hell at stake here. But God in his mercy sent Jesus to live the life we should have lived but could not live. He lived the perfect life for us. He kept God’s law for us and that qualified him to be a substitute on our behalf and he willingly offered himself as such on the cross.
And we know God accepted Jesus as our substitute because God raised Jesus from the dead bodily. Now our response to that should be to repent, to turn from our sin and living for ourselves, and to believe in Jesus and what he has done To make us right with God. That’s a longer view of the gospel and then there are book-length explanations of the gospel. But a person, if they have come to Christ, you can’t come to Christ without believing the gospel. So what is the gospel? What is the message you’ve believed? So I would say if you’re doubting your salvation first of all make sure you’re clear on the message of salvation, you’re clear on the gospel.
2. The second thing I would encourage that person to do is to meditate much on the book of First John. This is a book written explicitly for that purpose. It says in 1 John 5:13, these things, meaning this letter, these things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that may know that you have eternal life. To unpack that a little bit. These things, this letter 1 John, he says, “I’ve written to you who believe.” John thought his readers had believed. They thought they believed, but why did he write it so that you may know that you have eternal life. They didn’t know. They thought they believed, John thought they believed, but they didn’t know. So he wrote this whole letter to give people who are believers assurance of salvation.
You know if you have one entire book of the Bible written for one subject it’s a common problem and that’s why I say that doubting salvation occasionally doubting your salvation is normal. And I think it can be healthy if it drives you back to Christ. So it is a common problem and God has written A whole book of the Bible to deal with this problem and that is the letter of 1 John. So spend much time in the letter God wrote to help us with this very subject.
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3. Another very important help in resolving doubts is to practice the spiritual disciplines found in the Bible because these are the means through which God so often grants assurance. These are what we call “means of grace”. These are means that God has given us through which he has promised to work. Some of these we do alone like reading the Bible And meditating on Scripture alone just like I said about meditating on 1 John, praying by yourself. Some of these we do with other Christians, particularly with the church. So we hear the Bible at the church, we pray with others at church, and we participate in the Lord’s Supper at church. So these are things that God has given us, they’re found in Scripture, they’re practices through which God works and so often ministers his grace to us.
If we reject these things there’s no surprise that a person struggles with assurance. This is how God sustains us in the Christian life day to day and from week to week through his people. Remember other Christians are also indwelled by the Holy Spirit and so much of the Lord’s ministry to us is through them and if we cut ourselves off from them then there’s no surprise that a person would struggle with assurance. And if a person is neglecting to get into the Bible on their own, talking to God on their own, Perhaps reading Christian books and things that will teach them and help them on their own and that they’re just simply trying to find assurance through YouTube or something else that they’re doing in private apart from the means of grace God has given us, well it’s no surprise that a person would struggle with assurance.
So we want to take doubt seriously. If a person is struggling with these things I’m glad they’re reading this now, I’m glad they’re looking for answers. And we shouldn’t blow off anything that deals with eternity and our relationship with God. We want to take these doubts seriously. But I want to encourage that person that assurance can be found, but it has to be sought. Very few people enjoy the blessings of assurance without seeking it. So I would offer that as a suggestion. But I want to give hope to the person to say God wants to assure us of salvation. In fact in 2 Peter 1:10 He tells us, “Make your calling and election sure,” and He would not mock us in telling us that command if He didn’t intend to bless those who make that pursuit. So make your calling and election sure, pursue assurance, use the biblical means and there is hope therefore That you can find that assurance. – Thanks for reading through.