Hi, For the past 18 years of my life, I've been raised as a "Christian". I put Christian in quotations because three months ago God revealed to me that I was in fact, not a Christian. He convicted me of my sins, and I confessed and I repented. I thought that was the end of it and that I was saved but three weeks ago I began to learn about how the fruits of faith are a sign that one is actually saved and in seeing that I have no fruits, I came to the conclusion that I don't have saving faith. Now, in these three weeks, I've struggled once more. When I went and professed faith in Christ, I wanted to make sure that my faith was real and that I actually believed in and trusted Jesus. So I was constantly checking for fruits of salvation, but every time I checked I was confronted with how awful I am. Any of the tiny positive changes I saw in myself were outweighed by the fact that I still sin. I still lie, I'm still impatient, I still get annoyed and even angry way too quickly. But I don't want to be this way, I'm filled with grief by the fact that I still do these things and I don't know what to do. I know that I'm not saved because of my works and I know that faith comes from God. I know that I can't save myself, I truly do and Christ is there, I know he is! But my issue is my belief. It's not that I don't believe that Jesus is real or that Jesus is God, I do! But I struggle with knowing whether or not I actually believe in Jesus for salvation. On one hand, I think that I'm saved but there's this underlying fear that I'm just deluding myself so I can feel better. I've confessed (and continue to confess) to the Lord that he is my salvation when I pray and I've read the promises God made to those that trust in Jesus for salvation but during those times I always have thoughts popping into my mind: - Do I really trust Jesus? - Do I believe Him enough? - What if you're convincing yourself that you're saved and you're actually a false convert? - If I'm unsure of whether or not I'm saved, will God still forgive me? Will He still guide me to Christ if I'm seeking Him? So I guess my question is how do I know that I truly trust Jesus with my salvation right now? I want to believe and think I do but I feel like I'm not understanding something and these thoughts that pop into my mind really scare me. Thanks so much! (Sorry for the long backstory, I tend to over-explain things)
thanks for writing in. I know your doubts bring about a sense of desperation, especially when it is in connection with the most important topic of all - salvation. But in a sense that is a good thing because it shows me that you really care. You care enough about your faith to write in to a stranger seeking help... which is a good sign! : ) Someone who was just playing 'Christianity' wouldn't do this. But it matters to you!
Having read through your email I believe you are over complicating things and looking too much at yourself. You won't find rest there. I understand that you want to see a change in yourself but being overly introspective is not going to bring about that change. The command is to 'Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world' - that is where we have to look.
Even the Apostle Paul, when he looked at himself, came to this frightful conclusion:
Rom 7:15-24 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do... As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. (18) I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out... (22) For in my inner being I delight in God's law; (23) but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. (24) What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
He wrote that AS A CHRISTIAN who 'in his inner being delighted in God's law but couldn't carry it out.'
This was actually part of his Christian journey and led him to discover the wonder of what he wrote about in Romans 8. I would encourage you to read both of these chapters.
To keep it really simple, Corrie Ten Boom (a wonderful Christian lady whose family hid Jews in WWII before being discovered and led to concentration camps) said it like this:
“If you look at the world, you'll be distressed. If you look within, you'll be depressed. If you look at God you'll be at rest.”That is good advice and should be remembered. Salvation is not meant to be complicated and it is not about whether you believe 'enough' or not. Being the most important thing in this world, God has not placed it outside our grasp. It was simple enough for a condemned thief on the cross to state his belief in Jesus as the Messiah saying 'Lord remember me when you come into your Kingdom'. Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." Salvation! Why? Because the thief saw his need, believed that Jesus was who He said He was, and humbled himself to ask, in his own way, for eternal life. And eternal life was granted! Look at salvation from the words of Jesus Himself (in probably the best loved verse on the topic - John 3:16)
Joh 3:16-18 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (17) "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. (18) "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Esther, that is you. You do believe. You have humbled yourself and cried out for salvation (several times by the sounds). God will never despise a desperate humble prayer for salvation! You shall not perish. That is God's promise. Not because you are good but because He is and you have seen your need for His salvation.
Your problem at the moment is not salvation related. It is that you are overly focusing on yourself desperately wanting to see change as evidence of salvation. But what if I told you that your old nature doesn't change? Because it doesn't. God can't redeem the fallen nature we are born with and doesn't try to tidy it up. What He does is create a new spirit within us, and gives us His Spirit to overcome the old nature. And thank God that as we thank Him, rely upon Him, renew our minds with His word and truth, then the fruit of His Spirit comes through and we see change... but it is HIS fruit in and through us as we abide in Him. And fruit takes time in both the natural and the spiritual realm. And it requires the right soil and conditions!
Let me just say personally, that I've been a Christian 31 years. I've been a leader in the Church, taught His word both in Church fellowship and online through my website for over 20 years. Let me tell you, for it is true, that my fallen nature hasn't changed in that time. Given the opportunity it will still do things I am certainly not proud of. It will still worry, lust, covet, get proud, despise and only look after number one... To be honest the longer you are a Christian the easier it is to see. I often find myself saying'Lord, look at me. Look at what that old corrupted nature is doing now. But I thank you Lord that you are not like that and you have given yourself to me. So I need you Lord. I ask you that you will be in me, what I am not.'
Esther you need to just focus on who He is, what He has done and THANK HIM for salvation. Thank Jesus for what He has done for you. Find a promise of God, it may be John 3:16, and thank Him for it. Change will come but don't focus on whether you are changing... Just focus on Him. I'll leave you with a link to a similar question for another person that wrote in which has a book recommendation and some interesting advice that the author did when they were doubting God.
May God bless you.
Thank you for the help! I think I understand a bit better now. In the time between me sending you my question and me reading this I was moved to learn more about grace so I think I'm heading in the right direction. I truly appreciate you taking the time to answer my question 😊
That's really good Esther. Thanks for writing back. Grace is 'the good soil' that fruit can grow in : )
2Pe 3:18 Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
Heb 13:9 Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace...
You are heading in the right direction. May God bless you!