Note: This is part of our current series “Correcting our Misconceptions about Evangelism” adapted from Larry Moyer’s book 21 Things God Never Said. See Also: “Evangelism Misconception: Doubters Aren’t Saved (Part 1)” and “Evangelism Misconception: Doubters Aren’t Saved (Part 2).”
Misconception: “If you doubt your salvation, then you are not saved.”
How should doubts be handled? Keep in mind, these doubts may mean that one is not saved. Or it may mean that he is saved but not responding to his doubts properly. The following questions help resolve the issue.
- Do I understand the simplicity of the gospel?
Since we are accustomed to earning everything we have we think of earning salvation or at least making a “down payment.” When Christ died on the cross, He exclaimed “It is finished” (John 19:30). His death and resurrection satisfied the anger of God against our sin. He made the full payment, not the down payment, for everything wrong we have done. His resurrection the third day proved his victory over sin and the grave. Since He took the penalty of death in our place, God can now forgive us based entirely on what He has done for us. It is not based on anything we have done for Him. As sinners we must recognize that He alone is the only basis on which God can receive us.
- Have I trusted Christ?
We appropriate Christ’s death on the cross by coming to Him as sinners, recognizing that He made the sin payment on our behalf and “believing.” Jesus promised, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47). Believe means to place my trust in Christ alone as my only way to heaven. As one trusts a chair to hold him, he must place his trust in Christ alone as his only basis for living eternally with God.
The issue is not when a person made such a decision. Nor is it whether or not he walked an aisle or said a prayer. Walking an aisle or saying a prayer may have happened in conjunction with coming to Christ but those actions don’t save. It is trusting Christ that saves. If one is trusting Christ alone to get to heaven, he is forever a child of God regardless of when or where that occurred.
If you are not certain you’ve trusted Christ, now is the time to settle that issue. Here is how you might express to God what you are doing. Once more, saying a prayer does not save. Prayer only verbalizes to God what you are doing. “Dear God, I’m a sinner. Nothing I do makes me deserving of heaven. I now recognize that Christ died for me and rose again. Right now I place my trust in Christ alone to save me. Thank you for the free gift of eternal life I have just received.” The moment you trust Christ, God freely extends the gift of eternal life.
- Am I taking God at His Word?
Once we trust Christ, we must trust His Word. That means accepting God’s promise that having trusted Christ we are forever His. Jesus assures us, “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:28).
If you were to ask me whose son I am, I would respond, “I am the son of Paul and Miriam Moyer.” I have proof that would stand up in a court of law—a birth certificate. A piece of paper assures me that I am their son. God has given us a piece of paper—the inspired Word of God. It assures us that once we have trusted Christ we are His. Our salvation is based on a promise that cannot break. It comes from a God who cannot lie.
When Satan tempts you to doubt, remember that Satan’s argument is with God, not you. God said it and that settles it. Refute Satan with the attitude, “If you want to argue about my salvation, you will have to take your argument to my Savior. He said it and that settles it.” Once Satan sees he cannot torment you any longer, he will flee and attempt to do his damage elsewhere. James counsel, “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7) would definitely apply.
The Scriptures do not teach that if you doubt your salvation you are not saved. Should a person doubt his salvation, he ought to ask the above questions and then take God at His Word. Should doubts arise, a believer can recall that his salvation is as certain as the promises of God. When we consistently respond to those doubts properly, questioning our salvation becomes a thing of the past. Those doubts may not fade overnight, but they will fade. Because of God’s grace and promises, we can be 100% sure of heaven.
Doubting your salvation does not necessarily mean you are not saved. Examine why you doubt and how to respond biblically.