I’ve been struggling with assurance of my salvation for years now. I got saved when I was 4. I can see it in my mind and I remember my mom praying with me and then running into the other room to tell my dad and brothers that I got saved. But I don’t actually remember what I prayed, and I feel like that’s where I struggle the most. A few years later I began doubting and I prayed for Jesus to save me again. I even got baptized a second time. Then there was a time Bro. John Van Gelderen preached a message at our church about assurance and after hearing that I KNEW I had been saved. Unfortunately I can’t remember what he preached in that message and over the years I’ve struggled with it still. I’m 25 years old and when I think about hell and how awful it is, it’s like it scares me so bad that I don’t want to end up there. So I pray again “just in case” like it’s to make sure I’m really saved or something. It’s like deep, deep down I know I must be saved, but then I have this doubt that shows up pretty often. I have a hard time discerning if it’s the devil putting that there or if it’s Jesus trying to convict me. At the same time, I’ve prayed so many times and meant it that I don’t see how I could possibly not be saved.
I was doing better with having my devotions this year than I ever have before. Then I began to feel like I had a real, personal relationship with Jesus and my prayer time was so special. I ended up falling off doing my devotions and I’m thinking that might be when the doubt started coming in again. I’m sorry this is so long but I just needed someone to talk to about it. I hope everything I said made sense. Thank you for your time.
Thank you for your honest email. The details you have provided reveal issues others have dealt with too. Thankfully there are Bible answers.
By the way, the message you are referring to is entitled Salvation, Assurance, and Revival and may be found on our Netcasters page.
Salvation occurs when an individual simply understands (A) the problem of sin, (B) its penalty of judgment, and (C) the payment/solution found in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and then chooses to depend on Jesus to save him. At the moment of faith, the Word of God declares that individual saved (Acts 16:31) and having eternal life (John 3:16: 6:47). Assurance is found in the sure Word of God. The object of faith is Jesus based on the sure Word of God. By focusing on the object of faith, you find assurance—because the Bible says so! Doubt comes when you take your focus off the object of your faith.
“Praying again” is a common attempt to deal with doubt, but in many cases it only creates more doubt. When you first believed on Jesus, He saved you. There is no difference between getting saved and getting “really saved.” To pray again is to say that God didn’t do what He promised. It is actually unbelief and so does not help.
It is significant that you stated, “deep down I know I must be saved.” This is because the Holy Spirit is bearing witness with your regenerated spirit (the real you) that you “are” a child of God (Rom. 8:16). This is a knowing, not a feeling, which is exactly what you stated.
Regarding discerning whether doubt comes from the devil or Jesus, there is a simple answer. If someone has never understood the basics of the problem of sin, the penalty of judgment, and the payment of Jesus; or if they understood these basics but did not agree with them; or if they understood and agreed, but stopped short and never trusted in Jesus to save them, then it is the Spirit of Jesus convicting. However, if someone has understood, agreed, and trusted in Christ for salvation, then the “conviction” is a counterfeit from the enemy because God declares that that person is saved. Satan is the accuser of the brethren.
Cultivating your relationship with the Lord through time spent with God is vital to spiritual growth. Faith accesses grace and you experience God. The realness of God in your life is certainly reassuring, but infallible assurance must come from the infallible Word.
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