Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Breaking the Cycle of Salvation Doubts

 
You are not alone when it comes to doubts about your salvation. Many Christians secretly struggle with doubts... too ashamed to seek help, and too confused to settle it on their own. I’ve known those who would be considered "solid Christians" that have doubted their salvation... a church staff member and his wife, a deacon, a pastor, a missionary’s / pastor’s wife, and "the little ones" those who were in church at a very young age and trusted the Lord as their Saviour when they were young children.

The church staff member, and his wife: The wife and I were friends and we often visited by phone. One particular day she called me and asked the question, ‘have you ever had doubts about your salvation?’ I told her I had, on two particular occasions, but I had settle them years ago and I no longer had any doubts or troubling thoughts on the matter. She then told me, that the evening before, she and her husband were having family devotions, and it was during this time that they both admitted to each other struggling with doubts about their salvation. So, they both decided to pray and ask the Lord to save them... again.

I was silent and didn’t quite know what to say, and then I asked, "So, does this mean the two of you will be getting baptized on Sunday?" Her initial response was silence, followed by, "What do you mean?" I went on to summerize what she had just told me, "You weren’t sure of your salvation... so... you both prayed for salvation, and now you are both sure you got saved... last night... right??? Then, getting baptized is the next step because you apparently weren’t really saved the first time. Right???" She said, "I need to talk to my husband about that." and hung up the phone. She called me back a few days later and said, "We talked about it and decided we really did get saved years ago, so we won’t need to be baptized on Sunday. We were just temporarily confused about some things.".

Take heed to this warning... if the doubts you are having are not settle as doubts, the problem will repeat, and the cycle will continue. If you have secretly admitted to yourself, "I have doubts about my salvation," then heed this warning, be very cautions about repeating a "sinner’s prayer" in order to appease your conscience. Repetition, in this case, will only lead to more confusion and later you will find yourself confused as to which prayer was the true moment of your salvation.
Hebrews 6:4-6 "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall way, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame."
II Timothy 2:25, 26 "In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth: And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will."
Psalm 51:10 "Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me."

The deacon: Soon after his profession of faith and baptism, he brought his family into church. They were always faithful to attend the services, quick to be of help, and he had an inquisitive mind about the Word of God. His actions were a good testimony, and he was later selected to serve as a deacon. But, at a revival meeting, he walked forward for salvation and was baptized... again. This scenario was repeated, on three or more occasions, in the next 10 years. Time revealed that doubt wasn’t his only sin problem, there was also one of immorality.

The pastor: There were times he came to the pulpit and you knew he was troubled about something... it was in his continence... in the way he delivered his message... and yet, you didn’t know what was troubling him. Then, after many years, hidden sin is revealed and a confession was made.

Whether the hidden sin was adultery, homosexuality, pornography, inappropriate behavior with a minor, or other sexual perversions, or whether it was theft or some other dishonesty, the end result is the same... Sins of this magnitude commonly produce salvation doubts.

Take heed to this warning... reasoning that saved people couldn’t possible commit such wicked and vile atrocities of life is false. Saved people sin, and they sin to many depths and degrees, as measured by mankind. But, with God, sin is sin and all sin must be confessed and forsaken.

Hidden sins... our "besetting" sins... and our unbridled lusts, will erode the security of our salvation, and doubts will arise to trouble us when we neglect not only to confess our sin, but also neglect to forsake the sin.

Confession is only the first step, if the sin is not forsaken... repented of... turned away from... restitution made... and/or injustices repaid, then the cycle of doubt continues. This is the "follow-through action" of a repentant heart; a clearing of the conscience, and if this is neglected, emotional harm is done and the cycle of doubt has not been completed. This will "shipwreck" your faith.

I Timothy 1:19 "Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:"
Acts 24:16 "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men."
Romans 9:1 "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,"
I Timothy 3:9 "Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience."
Numbers 32:23 "...behold, ye have sinned against the Lord: and be sure your sin will find you out."
Hebrews 3:13 "But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."
I John 1:8, 9 (written to those who are saved) "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Hebrews 12:1c "...let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us..."
I Peter 2:11 "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;"
I Peter 4:2 "That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God."
James 1:14 "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed."
Galatians 6:1 "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."

The missionary’s / pastor’s wife: She knew the salvation plan and had even lead others to Christ. She also taught Sunday School and conducted Ladies’ Fellowships. She was an invited guest speaker, and other women often sought her council on a variety of topics. She was the perfect hostess with wonderful meals and thoughtfulness to details. Yet, she silently wrestled with doubts about her salvation, until she finally made another profession of faith.

Take heed to this warning... busy-ness is a poor remedy for doubts and spiritual insecurities. It is not possible to "busy" yourself out of your doubts. You cannot resolve doubt with duty. Increasing your work load of Christian service will wear out your body before your mind and heart are appeased and put at ease.

II Peter 3:17-18 "Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen."
Galatians 2:16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."
Titus 3:5 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;"

"The little ones": Were you a child when you prayed and ask God to save you? And now, years later, are you having doubts about your salvation? This is probably the largest group of doubting Christians. The faith of your childhood is often called into question when faced with the challenges of adulthood. This can be especially unsettling to young Bible college students, many will question their childhood conversion and struggle with doubts about their salvation.

Take heed to this warning... feeling saved is not evidence of salvation, it is only evidence of being emotional. The emotions of ‘relief from doubts’ and ‘joy of salvation’ are difficult to discern between because they both are a comfort to the distress of your soul. Salvation is based on facts, not feelings.

Matthew 18:1-6 "At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
Mark 10:14 "But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."
Mark 9:24 "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
I Timothy 6:19 "Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life."
II Timothy 2:19 "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."
Ephesians 3:16-19 "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."
Colossians 1:23 "If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven..."
Colossians 2:6-8 "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Building on the FACTS of your salvation is fundamental to Breaking the Cycle of Salvation Doubts.     
II Peter 1:5-9 "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."

It is my hope that this post will help you to sort out your doubts. God bless. ~ Jane Coley
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