How can I resolve doubts about my salvation?

How to be sure you are a child of God

5 min

What events led up to the time when you became a Christian? Since then, have you had doubts that you really are saved? Would you like to resolve those doubts once and for all?

God wants His children to rest in the knowledge that they belong to Him. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27–29).

The truth of God’s Word will dispel doubts about salvation. As a Christian, you need to learn about the security of your standing in Christ and recognize the deception of the enemy, Satan, who seeks to torment you with doubt.

Walk in the Freedom of the Truth

One of God’s purposes for giving us His Word is to provide assurance of salvation. The Apostle John wrote: “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 John 5:11–13). (See also John 3:15–17.)

As a child of God, be faithful to read, study, and meditate on God’s Word. As your heart is filled with truth, you will mature in your relationship with your Heavenly Father, and He will give you wisdom and understanding.

While speaking to a crowd of new believers, Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31–32). As you learn the truths recorded in the Bible, you will be set free from doubt and confusion about your salvation.

Recognize and Resist Satan’s Deceptions

Jesus described Satan as an enemy who comes “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). Even though Satan cannot possibly snatch you out of God’s hand, Satan tries unceasingly to steal your peace and joy by sending fiery darts of doubt into your mind.

When Satan hurls words of doubt at you, resist him with faith in the truth of God’s Word. “ Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Ephesians 6:16–17). As you resist Satan’s deceptions, you can rejoice in knowing he will flee: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

Distinguish Conviction from Condemnation

Doubts about your salvation can develop if you do not understand the difference between conviction and condemnation. Conviction of sin is a natural part of a Christian’s life; it should lead to confession, repentance, and the restoration of joy and peace. Condemnation, on the other hand, brings despair over the guilt of sin, because a person sees no hope of forgiveness or cleansing.

Doubts about your salvation can develop if you do not understand the difference between conviction and condemnation.

At salvation, God’s Holy Spirit began the work of conforming you to the image of Christ. (See Romans 8:29.) The Spirit of God began to convict you of sin and teach you the ways of God. (See John 14:26, 16:7–8.) When you experience the conviction of the Holy Spirit, you may feel more sinful than you felt before you accepted Christ’s payment for your sin. You may feel more lost than ever! Do not be deceived. You are a child of God, and the right response to conviction of sin is repentance. “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 to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (I John 1:8–9).

For those who have found peace with God through Jesus Christ, there is no condemnation. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1–2).

Identify the Date of Your New Birth

Many Christians can’t recall a specific point in time when they put their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps you became a Christian when you were very young, or perhaps you can’t remember exactly when you asked God to forgive you of your sin and adopt you as His child. That is not a problem.

To eliminate this source of doubt, “choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15). Make today the day you know for certain you have yielded your life to Jesus Christ. If you want or need to walk through the steps of salvation again, don’t hesitate to do that. Confess your sin to God, acknowledge your need for forgiveness through the cleansing blood of His Son Jesus Christ, and ask Him to forgive you of your sin and accept you as His child. (See Romans 10:9, Acts 16:30–31, and John 1:12.)

As of this day, by God’s grace through faith, you must exercise the utmost confidence in what God’s Word says about salvation, your salvation. God has mercifully done everything that is required to save you and offers His salvation as a free gift. (See Titus 3:5 and Ephesians 2:8–9.) Make certain, though, that you do understand your responsibility to believe in and to receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Be certain of your decision to fully surrender your life to the Lord. Record the date in your Bible, and whenever you are tempted to doubt if you ever really exercised believing faith and asked God to save you, pull out your Bible and read that record—and rejoice in your salvation! (See Luke 10:20 and Psalm 13:5.) Again, the assurance of our salvation is not based upon what we have done or upon our feelings, but upon the rock-solid promise of our Creator and Redeemer God Himself, Who cannot lie. (See Titus 1:2.)

Cry Out for God’s Rescue

At one point, when Jesus was on the earth, He walked on the sea. When His disciple Peter saw Him walking on the water, Peter said, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he [Jesus] said, Come.

“And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.

“And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:28–31).

If you experience doubt and fear as Peter feared, do what Peter did: Cry out to the Lord. God has the power to still the storm of doubt that you face, and He will rescue you. Put your trust in Him and reject your fearful thoughts; claim the truth of His Word. (See Proverbs 3:5–7, Isaiah 43:1–2, and II Corinthians 10:3–5.)

Wisely Respond to Doubts about Salvation

When you are tempted to doubt the reality of your salvation:

  • Turn to the written record of your salvation, in your Bible, and read it aloud.
  • Read and meditate on the truth about your salvation, including Scripture passages such as II Corinthians 6:2, Luke 7:36–50, I Timothy 2:1–6, Matthew 19:23–26, Ephesians 2, and Titus 3:3–8.
  • Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (See James 4:7–8, Ephesians 4:27, 6:11–18.)

Nothing can ever separate you from the love of God. “. . . Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38–39). Believe and rejoice!

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