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Ask A Pastor: How Do I Have Assurance of Salvation?

Question

I was raised in the FRC and have been a member since I did confession of faith 5 years ago at age 20. At that time I sincerely believed I was saved, but recently I am struggling with severe doubts as to whether I am or not.


Bible reading, church attendance, prayer, etc., have never become a true “joy” for me. I go through long periods where I read a few verses and say a few words as I collapse into bed, and short periods where I am more convicted and read and pray more. I try to listen in church but my thoughts wander and I feel that I don’t love the preaching, or care about doctrine at all. In my personal life, I cannot shake off certain sins. Although I’ve always been a “good kid” and a faithful church member, people don’t know who I really am or the bad things I’ve done.


I know I have sinned. I believe every word of the Bible is true. I believe that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. I have asked, begged, pleaded with God to forgive my sins and change my heart. But I have never “felt” anything. I don’t feel like a different person than I ever was. I don’t feel that anything ever changed. And I don’t feel that I love or know God. I am afraid of death and I don’t know what to do


Answer

The Value of Christian Conversation

We thank you for sharing your thoughts and struggles. Your thoughts are sure to be echoed in the lives of other Christians so I would recommend that you find someone you trust to discuss these things with. The activity of bouncing our thoughts off others is a valuable part of Christian fellowship whereby our faith may be strengthened.


Concern and Encouragement

Some aspects of what you have shared are concerning and others are encouraging. It is concerning that reading, church attendance, prayer, preaching and doctrine are not a true joy to you. It is concerning that you cannot shake certain sins and that you are uncertain about your relationship with God. To know and rest in Christ as Savior and Lord is urgent and necessary. On the other hand, it is encouraging that you do read, pray and attend preaching. It is encouraging that you are concerned about sin and salvation. The natural man does not seek after God. However, no one can tell you what the status of your relationship with the Lord is. That remains between you and Him alone. At the same time there is no reason for you to remain apart from Christ at any time. His grace is offered freely to all people.


The Aim of Self Reflection: Resting in Christ

It seems your question follows a time of self reflection. It is key that whenever we examine our self, we must recognize that if we do not end with looking to Jesus, then we miss the purpose of self-examination. All our looking inside must end with resting in Christ. Consider this: for all our sin within, there is forgiveness with Christ. For all our weakness, there is strength in Him. In all our doubts, He remains faithful. Lay hold of His promised forgiveness. Consider Christ’s ministry: He cared, He loved, He healed and He forgave. All who come to him in repentance and faith are saved. Whether you were saved five years ago or not is not your greatest concern. You need to abide in Christ today! The Christian lives a life of repentance and faith. Today, you see your need for Him. Today, you see Him as a suitable Savior, then do not distrust the God who cannot lie by doubting His goodness. He is sincere when He says, “all who come to me I will in no wise cast out”. Go to Him today and trust Him. Hear Jesus say, “according to your faith be it unto you” (Matt. 9:29). When it comes to salvation it is not what we feel that saves (note: see link below). Rather, we are saved simply through faith in Christ the Savior. https://plantsandpillars.net/2018/10/24/ask-a-pastor-faith-vs-feelings/


In Sum

Speak with Christ’s people. Read Christ’s Word. Consider Christ’s ministry. Consider Christ’s purpose in coming to earth. Consider Christ’s great substitutionary work upon the cross! Salvation is what Christ came to accomplish in our place, so trust in Him and His finished work


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