I struggle often with doubts about my salvation. Does that mean I’m not saved? I believe in Jesus. I don’t think there’s any other way to be saved. I was born again at age nine, but I didn’t have the knowledge then that I do now. So, sometimes, I wonder if my prayer that day was genuine. Because I was still a child. The other reason I have doubts is because I still sin. And then I feel super guilty and start doubting my salvation again. How can I tell where I stand for sure?
This is something which seems to characterise many youngsters raised in Christian homes. As a result of the exposure to biblical truths from countless sermons, many such youngsters tend to affirm a verbal belief in Jesus. Not because they necessarily fully understand sin and its consequences, the exclusive claims of Jesus Christ, the need for and the cost of discipleship, and ongoing faith and repentance, but because they are part of a society that is evangelical in belief.
At such a young age, children are generally presented the gospel with the focus almost entirely on the afterlife. Jesus, therefore, is seen only as a means to heaven. Peer pressure from fellow children in Sunday school or compulsion to believe from parents or VBS/Sunday school teachers often play a key role in many children confessing their faith.
Wondering whether our faith was wholehearted and genuine can serve as a reality check for our lives
Now, I don’t want to conclude whether the person who asked this question is currently saved or not. That’s a conviction that the Holy Spirit alone can bring about in him or her.
When doubts regarding salvation arise, many respond by saying that it is the devil bringing accusations in an attempt to destroy us. It’s worth noting that the devil would only try to derail someone who is already alive in Christ. He has no need of poking the spiritually dead.
The presence of doubts doesn’t necessarily indicate an absence of saving faith. Wondering whether our faith was wholehearted and genuine can serve as a reality check for our lives and there is nothing unscriptural in doing that.
In fact, Paul exhorted the Corinthian believers to examine whether Christ was in them (2 Corinthians 13:5). Peter exhorted his audience to make their calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10). The entire book of 1 John is filled with reminders for believers to check if we have fellowship with the Son.
Few common themes emerge from the above question:
If you aren’t a believer, the internal struggle regarding the presence of sin, and the reality of salvation, is clear evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in you. It is He who convicts us regarding sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8-11), so that our minds are rightly aligned towards Jesus.
When the Holy Spirit directs you to the sole refuge that is Jesus Christ, you will have no choice but to surrender at the foot of the cross. Perhaps, this is where you do have a conversion experience and are truly born again.
On the other hand, if you are a believer, perhaps, your confession in your youth was genuine, regardless of the questions you are struggling with today. What you are experiencing right now, if that’s the case, is part of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. He is reminding you of gospel truths to further conform you into the likeness of Jesus Christ.
The next step is straightforward: repent of your sins and lean on the Holy Spirit to help you walk in holiness. Run to the cross of Christ, where we have eternal refuge, and where our Saviour offers grace upon grace to live for Him.
These internal struggles are designed by God to lead you to Him, whether it is for our salvation or our restoration
As to examining our stand in the faith, here are some markers that may help:
In short, these internal struggles are designed by God to lead you to Him, whether it is for our salvation or our restoration.
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