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Way Of Life - On Doubting Salvation And Struggling With The Christian Life

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I have heard from many people who doubt their salvation, and I always try to take time to reply to those e-mails in the midst of the deluge of mail that I receive. Recently I received the following. I have removed specific references to people, places, churches, and schools for the sake of anonymity.
________

Dear Bro. Cloud,

I am writing to you to help me clear up some things in my mind. For many years now I have had extreme doubts about my salvation. So much so that it cripples me at times. I am newly married with one toddler. These doubts cause me to shrivel up, and become useless to my husband and baby. I spend many days crying and reading my Bible, and begging God to help me.

The thing is, I have had many professions of faith. About five, and have been scripturally baptized. The last profession I made, I haven't been baptized, because I wasn't sure if God gave me assurance that I was already saved, or if I had just gotten saved. But the last profession is the one that was the most real to my heart. At that time I was in college and a preacher came by to preach in chapel about this very thing. About how he had doubts, and would have many professions and still no peace. He finally realized that he must trust Christ and his shed blood no matter if he was lost or saved.

I knew I had to talk to this preacher, so I went up to him after he preached, and he explained salvation to me that was the most clear I have ever heard. It was exactly what I have been hearing all along, but on that day it made the most sense. Maybe it was the Holy Spirit that was helping me understand? Anyway, he said that regardless if I was lost or saved, I needed to risk my soul on Christ's blood. Trust my most treasured possession to His care. He then showed me in the Bible that only Blood can cleanse away my sins, and I was guilty before God with my sins. When Christ died, rose again, and offered HIS blood on the mercy seat, God was satisfied for the payment of man's sins.

After we talked, I went to my dorm room and thought about all he said. He said a whole lot more, but this is what stuck in my mind. Finally I realized that if God was satisfied with Christ's blood sacrifice for my sins, then I knew I could be too. So I told the Lord just that. That I knew I was a sinner, but I believed that Christ's blood was sufficient to cover my sins, and I trusted Christ to save me by His shed blood. At that moment I had a very still quiet peace, and knew I was accepted as God's Child.
Then why am I doubting? Well, for one thing, there is a link on your web-site to a church where they have testimonies about people who thought they were saved, but were really lost.



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Many good points! I like the one where he talks about asking ten different Christians and you'll get ten different answer. I've noticed that some IFB churches are placing a sinner's physical response as the greatest indicator of their salvation.

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How do you know whether or not you are saved?

 

1. The witness of the Holy Spirit Romans 8:16

2. The presence of the Holy Spirit Romans 8:9

3. The witness of the word of God 1 John 5:9

4. The witness of others 1 John 1:7, 5:8,9

5. The witness within ourselves 1 John 5:10

6. The witness of our own conscience. Romans 2:15

 

What are these witnesses telling you?

 

1 John 5:11-13, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

 

I believe that true salvation brings assurance with it. Nobody is able to give anybody assurance of their salvation. Being tormented with doubts is a very good indication that the person was never saved in the first place. Or maybe the person is just backslidden.

 

Hebrews 6:1 - "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,"

Edited by brosmith

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I believe that true salvation brings assurance with it. Nobody is able to give anybody assurance of their salvation. Being tormented with doubts is a very good indication that the person was never saved in the first place. Or maybe the person is just backslidden.

I think it is very risky to say one may not have salvation in the first place because they have doubts about it.  Maybe those doubts come from attacks from satan.  Or perhaps unsound doctrine, ignorance of scripture and don't know how to put on the full armour of God to protect themselves from the attacks of the enemy.

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How do you know whether or not you are saved?

 

1. The witness of the Holy Spirit Romans 8:16

2. The presence of the Holy Spirit Romans 8:9

3. The witness of the word of God 1 John 5:9

4. The witness of others 1 John 1:7, 5:8,9

5. The witness within ourselves 1 John 5:10

6. The witness of our own conscience. Romans 2:15

 

What are these witnesses telling you?

 

1 John 5:11-13, "And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.  He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.  These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."

 

I believe that true salvation brings assurance with it. Nobody is able to give anybody assurance of their salvation. Being tormented with doubts is a very good indication that the person was never saved in the first place. Or maybe the person is just backslidden.

 

Hebrews 6:1 - "Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,"

When I was saved, I knew I was saved. I could "feel" the difference, I knew something had taken place inside me, I knew the Spirit was there.

 

Yet, like every Christian I've ever spoke to in person, there were some doubts, wondering, worry or concern at some other point. For many this came after hearing some teaching that one can lose salvation, or that one has to do certain things to be saved, or hearing someone say that "if a person were really a saved Christian they wouldn't do this or that".

 

While I encountered a few times of wondering about the matter, I yet knew deep inside I was saved as I was drawn to the Word, and in my case it was more of an examining myself to make sure I was in the faith, as Peter wrote. Finally a Baptist pastor walked through biblical salvation with me and agreed I was biblically saved and then he went over the doctrine of eternal security with me. I've not had a doubt or concern since then.

 

Many times doubt or concern come from ignorance of Scripture, lack of discipleship, watered down or corrupt preaching. Over the years I've had several Christians just light up and be so happy and relieved when they learned the biblical truth of salvation and eternal security in our Bible study because they had never heard it all put together before, and often had heard or read some false teaching before.

 

We need to be discipling those new to Christ and those immature in Christ.

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When I was saved, I knew I was saved. I could "feel" the difference, I knew something had taken place inside me, I knew the Spirit was there.

 

Yet, like every Christian I've ever spoke to in person, there were some doubts, wondering, worry or concern at some other point. For many this came after hearing some teaching that one can lose salvation, or that one has to do certain things to be saved, or hearing someone say that "if a person were really a saved Christian they wouldn't do this or that".

 

While I encountered a few times of wondering about the matter, I yet knew deep inside I was saved as I was drawn to the Word, and in my case it was more of an examining myself to make sure I was in the faith, as Peter wrote. Finally a Baptist pastor walked through biblical salvation with me and agreed I was biblically saved and then he went over the doctrine of eternal security with me. I've not had a doubt or concern since then.

 

Many times doubt or concern come from ignorance of Scripture, lack of discipleship, watered down or corrupt preaching. Over the years I've had several Christians just light up and be so happy and relieved when they learned the biblical truth of salvation and eternal security in our Bible study because they had never heard it all put together before, and often had heard or read some false teaching before.

 

We need to be discipling those new to Christ and those immature in Christ.

Awesome!  Coming from the AOG, lack of discipleship and the "loss of salvation" teaching are major points you brought up. Since I started going to IFB, I have been trying to get my family away from false doctrines.  So far I have one sister, brother, daughter and niece.  I am working on another sister and some friends.  It took me a year before I believed KJV was the preserved Word. Some people take longer to come around.  We get stuck in our ways, I guess.

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I'm considered the religious nut in the family now since attending IFB! All my aunts and my mom are offended now because I don't want their books by all the popular Christian writers or I don't want their old copies of Charisma magazine. They think I'm crazy cuz I don't wear pants anymore. I won't go to their Christian concerts with them anymore. or want their old Christian artist CD's. I've said before that I've learned more about the REAL Christianity and the Bible KJV in past almost 2 yrs in IFB than in the past 19yrs. of being saved!

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I'm considered the religious nut in the family now since attending IFB! All my aunts and my mom are offended now because I don't want their books by all the popular Christian writers or I don't want their old copies of Charisma magazine. They think I'm crazy cuz I don't wear pants anymore. I won't go to their Christian concerts with them anymore. or want their old Christian artist CD's. I've said before that I've learned more about the REAL Christianity and the Bible KJV in past almost 2 yrs in IFB than in the past 19yrs. of being saved!

Me too.  I'm still not on board with the pants v. skirts though.  :-)

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I read a few pamphlets/ books on modesty and was easily convicted. Not all women are. Now I can't imagine wearing pants! It is a daily outside expression of an inward change for me. Nobody asked me to or told me I should. I prayed and read a few things. There's only a few other women in my church that don't wear pants.

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I've been saved for 32 years, IFB for nearly 25, and some of my family seems to still wonder when I'm going to stop all this "religious stuff". They aren't interested and they think I take it too seriously. Even those who claim one manner or another of being a Christian say I take the Bible too literally and I shouldn't attend a church that actually preaches the Bible and expects people to live by the Bible.

 

Funny that Charisma magazine was mentioned because this past year I've been able to see that magazine and Christianity Today (which has changed their name to CT :icon_rolleyes: ) and while I've found only a couple articles the entire year worth reading in CT, the Charisma magazine actually had several good articles. I've been shocked to read articles hammering prosperity preachers, those preachers who live a lavish lifestyle, those forced, goofy and fake "things of the Spirit" some are into, and even a great article dealing with children who are born with mental disabilities and the wrongness of those preachers who tell parents if they only had enough faith their child would be healed. Of course there were several not so good articles too, I especially think of those by Joyce Meyer.

 

No, not endorsing the magazine, I just found it interesting that the one magazine I didn't expect to find anything worthwhile in, actually had several good articles this past year.

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I was looking at a magazine just the other day it was a subscription I got for free for buying something else. Anyway, it's a very high end home decorating magazine that isn't interesting or anything I like or could ever afford, and I think if I get it I should read it. Then I realized God would rather have me trash the magazine of no positive worth and have me doing something or reading something of worth than wasting my time just to get my money's worth (even though it was free). When I first started attending IFB I watched a soap opera daily, I took care of an elderly lady for a few months and she had it on everyday was how I got watching it. Anyway, after watching for a few months if that, God weaned me off of it showing me I was wasting time and how immoral all the characters and plots were and could be doing better with my time. So not everything happens immediately for everyone and some things just aren't in one person's life as they are in another to be dealt with.

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Really? I didn't know that! I used to love Joyce Meyers also! But now I just see her as a big bully with a weak willed whipped husband.

I Feel sorry for the abuse she had to endure but she never stops mentioning it and wonder if she is truly past it.  I think she's mingled in with the prosperity teachers so I steer clear of that.

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Really? I didn't know that! I used to love Joyce Meyers also! But now I just see her as a big bully with a weak willed whipped husband.

I have an aunt who really likes here. So earlier this year I suffered through reading two of her books my aunt liked and I forced myself to watch a few of her programs. Then I talked with my aunt about the unbiblical things and the questionable things, all in a kind, civil, friendly manner. All to no avail. When we were finished talking my aunt still thinks Joyce is great, still watches her program most every day and still thinks it's helping her grow closer to the Lord. Sigh.

 

This aunt also attends the Baptist church which a few years ago hired a female associate pastor.

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I Feel sorry for the abuse she had to endure but she never stops mentioning it and wonder if she is truly past it.  I think she's mingled in with the prosperity teachers so I steer clear of that.

I noticed that when I read two of her books earlier this year. In both of them she brought up the same stuff and seemed to spend too much time on it.

 

I'm not saying this in a mean way, just the way it is, but her voice, hair and mannerism really creep me out.

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I noticed that when I read two of her books earlier this year. In both of them she brought up the same stuff and seemed to spend too much time on it.

 

I'm not saying this in a mean way, just the way it is, but her voice, hair and mannerism really creep me out.

My husband thinks she looks like the Joker from Batman.  LOL!  He just can't take her seriously.  She mentions her voice and that people don't like it.  

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Eternal Security:

I was saved when I was 5 years old, but never grew SPIRITUALLY.  I was in a good church and went to a good IFB Christian School.  I grew intellectually, but all that good information only made it to my head, not to my heart.  It did not change my life.  Once I got out of high school and on my own some, the Lord did some things to isolate me and work on my heart over some things.  I decided to give my life to the Lord and serve him.  It was not long after that decision that I began to doubt my salvation.  My questions generally centered around a couple of different themes:

Did I say the right thing when I prayed?

Was I sincere?  Did I really mean it?

 

I was really worried, to the point of being paralyzed from serving the Lord - the proverbial "deer caught in the headlights" syndrome.  So I bought a couple of sermons on cassette (yes, that was a few years back!!!) and a couple of sermon booklets on the matter.  The thing that caught my attention in one sermon was this question: "What are you trusting in RIGHT NOW to get you to Heaven?" 

I thought about that for awhile, and I had to say that I was trusting completely in Jesus Christ and what He did for me on Calvary. 

 

Well, if that is what I was trusting, then, ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE I was a saved, born-again Christian.

 

And to me that is what it all boils down to.  What are you trusting in RIGHT NOW to save you, and upon what authority are you trusting that?  Is it just your opinion, or what your preacher told you, or the "prayer" you "prayed?"  If your trust is in anything else than Jesus Christ, based upon the authority of the Holy Bible, then you will continue to have doubts.  We have to learn to take all of the emotion out of these equations, and trust in the Living words of the Living God to give us peace and assurance. 

 

I won't rehash all of the verses on eternal security here, since I am sure most - if not all - of you are familiar with them.  But that knowledge must be transferred from the head to the heart. 

 

Of course, after I went through all of that and received assurance of my salvation, I then had to ask myself if I needed to be rebaptized.  So I prayed about it, in light of the studying and praying I had been doing.  Since I now had transferred the authority of my salvation to faith in Christ based on the Bible, then I had to conclude that what I did as a 5 year old child was legitimate, because as best as I can remember, I was sincere in my profession, and my profession of faith was based upon the Bible.  At that point, I had called upon the Lord out of pure, simple faith in Jesus Christ, according to the word of the Lord.   Since I was baptized following that profession of faith, there was no need to be re-baptized.

 

I gave the short version of the story here, but hopefully it is enough to illustrate the point.

 

In Christ.

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Joker, lol! I do have her book Beauty for Ashes that talked about her abuse specifically. I haven't listened or read her for years so I don't know about her constantly rehashing of the abuse. But it's like anybody about anything, it gets old. I don't think it's her voice people don't like I think it's HER. Butch haircut, walks like a man, outfits look like they're sewn on her.

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My husband thinks she looks like the Joker from Batman.  LOL!  He just can't take her seriously.  She mentions her voice and that people don't like it.  

I can kind of see the Joker from Batman..... and he should not take her seriously...... she should not be preaching anyways.

 

Her preaching is all about self and not so much about God.  She is a woman and women do not preach!

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I'm considered the religious nut in the family now since attending IFB! All my aunts and my mom are offended now because I don't want their books by all the popular Christian writers or I don't want their old copies of Charisma magazine. They think I'm crazy cuz I don't wear pants anymore. I won't go to their Christian concerts with them anymore. or want their old Christian artist CD's. I've said before that I've learned more about the REAL Christianity and the Bible KJV in past almost 2 yrs in IFB than in the past 19yrs. of being saved!

 

 

Me too.  I'm still not on board with the pants v. skirts though.  :-)

 

"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." John 15:18

 

"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:10

 

"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you,..." Matthew 5:11

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