I had the privilege of speaking at Oceanside this past Sunday while Pastor Trey was out. You can head over to his blog to read about his time preaching at Common Ground Church.
This week we took a test. How did you do? I hope you passed. The test was on your salvation. Some people in the church, if you asked them would say, "Oh yeah, no doubt." Others would reply with a simple, "I don't know." And I'm sure some would say, "Nope."
There is no reason to doubt your salvation. Doubt is the absence of knowing. So if you know you're not a Christian you don't doubt. If you know you are a Christian you don't doubt. It's to those in the middle that I'm writing today.
I used to have huge doubts about whether or not I was saved. I struggled with this for years. As I've gotten older I've come to think that I probably was saved from age three on. I really think Satan was trying to beat me down and hurt me. That being said, I finally kicked Satan to the curb by getting straight once and for all. I let go of my pride and again surrendered myself to Christ at age fourteen. As I've read scripture the Lord has brought me to some big conclusions about salvation.
1) God Doesn't Play Games
When we ask Him to save us, and we mean it in our hearts, he is not playing a little game of keep away with us. Jesus cleared that up in Luke 11:11-13, What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead of a fish?...how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him? Salvation isn't about saying the magic words or asking with perfect timing. It's about admitting we're wrong and can't be the leaders of our lives. We screw up. God desires to give us salvation and waits for the day we humbly ask for it. Romans 10:9 tells us, If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
2) Salvation is Forever
It's a common thought that your salvation can be lost. People believe that if we do bad things we'll fall out of favor with God and lose our salvation. This is something that can't be farther from the truth. There is no sin, big or small, that can separate you from God. Once you are saved you ARE saved for eternity. It's as simple as that. 1 John 2:1 tells us that we have an advocate who takes up for us, My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father-Jesus Christ the Righteous One. If we follow Jesus He is on our side! Jesus has never and will never fail us. The Gospel of John 10:28 tells us, I give them eternal life, and they will never perish-ever! No one will snatch them out of My hand. Not even you can snatch yourself out of Jesus' hand.
3) If We're Saved We'll Act Like It
This is the problem. People may incorrectly assume that because Jesus has forgiven all our sins (past, present, and future) we can live however we want. There are far too many people who say they are Christians but don't act like it. Scripture tells us that when the Holy Spirit enters into our lives he changes us from the inside out. The change that happens inside us manifests itself physically by the way we act. 1 John 3:9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. There is a real change! Paul tells us in Romans 6:1-2 What should we say then? Should we continue in sin so that grace may multiply? Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it? The Bible makes sure to tell us that just because Jesus forgives us we can't act any way we want. As Pastor Trey says, "When you become a Christian your 'Want-to-er' changes." You'll stop wanting to do all that stuff you did before Christ and start wanting to do what Jesus wants.
4) The Main Thing That Makes People Doubt Is Sin
The main problem with people doubting their salvation is that they aren't acting like they are saved. Doubt starts to creep in, and it should. What we consider doubt should be interpreted as the Holy Spirit saying, "Get right with God." Rather than changing we continue to stay where we are. This leads to us eventually dropping out of church, out of ministry, and doubting more than ever. Don't be that person.
So next time you doubt, check yourself. Examine the reasons you are doubting. You're either moving away from God, or you're not saved. Both of those things can be fixed. Don't live in doubt, get it worked out (I'm sorry that rhymed... it was unintentional, but too good to remove). If you need to talk to someone feel free to email me.