Note: This is part of our current series “Correcting our Misconceptions about Evangelism” adapted from Larry Moyer’s book 21 Things God Never Said.
Misconception: “If you doubt your salvation, then you are not saved.”
Most people who voice doubt about their salvation fall into one of two categories. Some have not understood the gospel and indeed are not saved. They think heaven is obtained through good works or a combination of Christ and their good works. If that were true, no one could be sure of his salvation. He may perform well one day and poorly the next. The Bible teaches that eternal life is free because the price for our sin has already been paid.
When I spoke at a friendship dinner directed to non-Christians, the associate pastor and his wife brought Jake and Ellen, a non-Christian couple. Jake asked if they could bring their friends, Keith and Christina, with them as well. The associate pastor said that would be fine. He knew Keith and Christina and had always assumed they were believers. That night Jake and Ellen trusted Christ. So did Keith and Christina!
Keith said to me, “Had Jesus Christ asked me why should I let you into heaven, I wouldn’t have said, ‘Jesus Christ died for me.’ I’ve never understood this.” He had struggled with his salvation. Why? He had never understood the gospel. That night, the aroma of the gospel surpassed the aroma of the dinner. He finally understood!
Others have understood the gospel. They are aware that the Bible does not speak of an “I hope so” or “I think so” salvation, but instead an “I know so.”
First John 5:13 asserts, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.” Yet they still struggle with whether or not they are saved. Hence, the problem.
Since trusting Christ means eternal life is a certainty, not a possibility, some have maintained, “If you doubt your salvation, then you are not saved. After all if you were saved, you would know you are saved and know why.”
Julia was as bright a teenager as I’ve ever met. Radiant face, upbeat personality, contagious laugh. She added zest to every situation. Yet she was not afraid to be transparent, real, authentic. When she told me of her doubts, I asked some critical questions. She gathered she had not made herself clear. So she said, “Wait a minute. My problem is bigger than why I doubt my salvation. I’ve been told if you doubt at all, you’re not saved. Is that true?”
Once again, many who doubt their salvation have not understood the gospel. But dare we say that everyone who doubts his salvation is in that camp? Isn’t it probable that Satan would torment God’s children, getting them to wonder if they will indeed be in His presence forever?
Join me Friday as I answer the question “What does the Bible say?”