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How can I resolve doubts about my salvation?

Resolving Doubts About Salvation
how to be sure you are a Christian

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).

“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.

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.) 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 uncleanness” (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 Acts 16:31.)

As of this day, you can be confident of your decision to surrender your life to the Lord. Record the date in your Bible, and whenever you are tempted to doubt if you ever really did get saved, pull out your Bible and read that record—and rejoice in your salvation. (See Revelation 12:10 and Psalm 13:5.)

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 19:24–26, Ephesians 2, and Titus 3:3–8.
  • Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (See James 4:7–8.)

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!

For Further Study

Comments

holly knipp

I've been struggling with my salvation now for six months and I'm constantly having thoughts in questioning did I really accept Christ as my savior? Which I can remember I was going through severe anxiety for six years and gotten into more sin and my anxiety got worse to the point where I didn't want to live any more! But then my husband and I started going back to church and then one day in my room I got down on my knees crying out asking God to forgive me for all my sins and said I want my life to change and I want Jesus in my life and this weight was lifted up off my shoulders and felt a relief and overwhelmed with love, peace and hope! This was three years ago. And now I'm constantly having thoughts on my salvation, on the existence of God which I keep telling myself it's not true but then I'm filled with fear and anxiety and feel despaired of life! I'm severely obsessing on it and I'm asking for prayers desperately!

Emiline C.

Thank you for this article. Sometimes I doubt my salvation, I've struggled with it for years and have continued. I sometimes even doubt God's existence himself. But the funny thing was I would pray to God to get those thoughts out of my head. And he would, I would feel at peace. I am just so honestly scared of dying and going to hell that the thought of me doubting God and my salvation scare me! And I do! But with your help I realized that was just Satan tearing me down. Whenever I doubt God or my salvation again I will read this. Thank you so much.

Levi W.

I'm 15 and have been going through this for a while but we all have to remember to claim the promises for ourself. God came to earth to save everyone, but we have to make it personal. I am comforted to think, "Jesus came for me too. He died for me like everyone else. His blood is the payment for the remission of my sins. He paid for them."

John King

One thing I don't hear talked about much when it comes to salvation is the "born again experience". Jesus said we had to be born again but what does that actually mean? I've heard some people describe it as a "being hit by lightning" type of feeling. That there was no way they could doubt that they had found God and were now saved because the experience was so strong. Yet some people, including myself, never seem to find such an experience no matter how many times I might ask God to forgive me and save me. Is it necessary to have such an experience to be saved? Do some people experience salvation differently than others, where some have a strong conversion and others experience it much more subtly? For me personally, It seems very difficult to grow as a Christian when I can't remember a time when God/Jesus became real to me.

bvanderford

Thank you for your comment on our website. You have asked a very good question. What does it really mean to be born again? To understand what it means to be born again, I believe we first need to understand why we need to be born again. Often times in our natural thinking we think that we are sinners because we sin, but the problem is actually much bigger than this. We are not just sinners because we do sinful things, we are sinners by nature and therefore we sin. The problem is not just what we have done; it is actually who we are. By nature we are sinners, therefore we sin. The only hope, then, is for us to get a new nature. But how is it possible to get a new nature?

 To answer this question we must first look at where we get our nature from. We get our nature from our parents and they got their nature from their parents and we could trace it all the way back to Adam. Because we descended from Adam who ate the forbidden fruit, we were born sinners by nature. Romans 5:12 says it this way: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” So we have established that we get our nature from our parents the next question we must ask is; when do we get our nature? The answer of course is when we are born! The first part of John 3:6 says  “That which is born of the flesh is flesh…” We have been born of the flesh so we are flesh. We have all been born from below as sinners by nature. So the only way for us to get a new nature is for us to literally be born again.

 John 3:3 says: “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus was quite shocked at this and asked Jesus how a full grown person could re-enter the mother’s womb a second time?! Nicodemus was thinking of physical rebirth in the flesh, but Jesus was speaking of spiritual rebirth. Jesus went on to tell Nicodemus that what is born of flesh is flesh, but what is born of the Spirit is spirit. (See John 3:6.) We have all been born of the flesh, but our need is to be born of the Spirit. The literal translation for “born again” in these verses is actually “born from above”. We have all been born from below but our great need is to be born from above by the Spirit of God.  

 Remember, we get our nature when we are born, so to get a new nature we need to be born again. Remember also that we get our nature from our parents so when we are born again by the Spirit of God we get the nature of our Heavenly Father! What a glorious truth this is! 1 Peter 1:4 reads: “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (emphasis added) By being born again of the Spirit of God we are literally made to partake of the life and nature of God Himself. If we are IN Christ, we have a divine nature! As believers, every time we address God as our Heavenly Father we should be reminded of the fact that we are His children and that as His children we partake of His nature in the exact same way we partook of the sinful nature that we had before we were born again.

 1 Peter 1:23 reads: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” Praise the Lord that when we receive Him as our Savior we are born again not of corruptible seed but rather we born of the incorruptible Word of God! Through Jesus’s death and resurrection, the way was opened for us to be born of God. In resurrection, Jesus became the first born from the dead as it says in Colossians 1:18: “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” Jesus is referred to as the first born from the dead but being the first born indicates that there would be more sons to follow. Through the death and resurrection of Christ, he became the first born among many brethren: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). As believers born of the Spirit of God, we become of the sons of God!

 I hope that in what we have talked about so far we have begun to see that the being born again is not just a small topic isolated to John 3, but rather that it is all over the Scriptures and also that we have seen in a new way why we need to be born again. In your question you asked about what the “born again experience” is. Well first off let me say this: being born again is not an emotion. There certainly are times when strong emotions are connected to when the Lord saves us and births us from above, but the presence or absence of emotion does NOT define whether or not we have been born again. When we receive Christ as our Savior there may be strong emotion and a lightning bolt type experience, or it may just be a calm quite experience where we have the gentle assurance of His Spirit bearing witness with our Spirit that we are the children of God. Scripture says that God will not cast out those that come to Him. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

 All this being said, remember that even in physical birth you probably don’t remember the exact time that you were born, or the doctor or midwife that helped bring you into the world. Most of us don’t remember when we first came out of our mother’s womb, but the greatest evidence of the fact that we were born is that we are growing up now into maturity. I believe it can sometimes be like this in the life of a Christian. We may not remember the exact time or date that we were born again, but the question is, are we growing in Christ? Growing up is evidence that you have been born. 1 Peter 2:2 puts it this way: “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” A baby grows primarily one way, and that is by eating! It is the same way for us as born again babies. We grow by desiring and partaking of the sincere milk of the Word!

 In closing, I want to share one more verse from the book of John. Speaking of Christ, John 1:12 says: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” As we receive Christ through believing on His name we are born again of the incorruptible seed of God and we become children of God!

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