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Why do I doubt my salvation?

– To begin with, we don’t want to overlook the possibility that it
could be persistent sin, unrepentant sin, in a person’s life. God does not tend to flood with assurance those who are in a part of their life they know they’re living
like an unbeliever. That by persistent sin, that
in that part of their life, they’re actually living
like an unbeliever, so God does not tend
to flood with assurance that a person is a believer
when they’re in that situation. But, on the flip side of
that as it relates to sin, when someone is converted, they’re indwelled by the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit brings
his holy nature with him. And so, the new believer
has a new sensitivity to sin that they didn’t have before. They are aware of things in their lives that are contrary to the will of God, that are sin that they
didn’t see as sin before or they saw just as minor problems but they didn’t see as sin against God and so, actually, in one sense, that’s one of the marks of assurance that you do have that new awareness that something is sin and that bothers you and there’s a sensitivity
you didn’t have before. So, that’s actually a good thing but a person, even
though they have stopped many of the sins that were in their life before they became a Christian, now they have a greater sensitivity so even small things bother
them in ways that didn’t before. So, it may be that new awareness to sin, where they say, “You know,
when I first came to Jesus, “I felt so new and so clean. “Now I’m just so aware of the great amount “of sin in my life, so maybe
I’m not a Christian at all.” In fact, that can be a very good sign. Another reason is that people will compare themselves
with other Christians and especially, again, if
they’re new in the faith and they kind of think,
“Am I doing it right?” And, “How am I doing as a Christian? “Am I growing?” And they look at others and say, “Wow, they’re so far beyond where I am. “I’m not where this person is, “so maybe I’m not a Christian at all.” A fourth reason may simply be related to the spiritual immaturity of the person. Again, if they’re a new believer, they haven’t grown that much yet, or they may have been a
Christian for some time but their lack of maturity,
their lack of growth, contributes to their doubts because, well, they don’t know the Bible, perhaps, as well as they should. They haven’t grown, in
terms of a knowledge of God, as they ought to and so,
this lack of biblical truth, a lack of the awareness of the things the Bible says will
strengthen our assurance, the immaturity in those
areas may make them more susceptible to doubts
about their salvation. And a fifth reason I would
mention may sound a little odd but I really think it’s true. It’s been an issue in my own life, in that those who are
truly converted as children sometimes struggle with assurance more than those who are
converted later in life. Now, I think perhaps a larger problem, a more frequent problem, is a person who makes a profession of faith as a child and they weren’t converted. But, I’m speaking of someone
who I believe, like myself, I was converted, I believe,
at nine years of age. I was raised in the church. I mean, I was taken to
church Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, nine months before I was born, so I never knew anything
but growing up in a church and in a home where the Bible
was believed and taught. And if that’s your experience and you come to Christ in that context, then you continue to live in that, you may become an older teen, let’s say, or maybe a young adult, and
say, “I’ve only known one thing. “I’ve only known a Christian experience. “I wasn’t saved ’til I was nine “but I mean, the whole ethos of my life “was raised in a local
church and around the Bible. “That’s all I’ve ever known. “I’ve only know one thing. “Is it the real thing?” In other words, I don’t
have a stark contrast. I wasn’t a hardened criminal
before I was saved at age nine. And so, a person who is
converted later in life, who has a real memory of years of darkness and then suddenly the light comes on and now their life has
totally transformed, they can look back and say, “Wow, I know. “Maybe I’m not all I ought to be “but I’m certainly not what I used to be.” And, so, they see a clear distinction and that’s when I came to Christ, there’s no question about that. But if you’ve been converted as a child, you’ve only known one thing, you sometimes wonder is it the real thing because I don’t have a comparison there. So, without that, a person
who’s genuinely a Christian may struggle with whether or not they were converted when they were a child and those doubts may
persist for a long time. Let’s be reminded of course, that children can genuinely be saved. We don’t know, there is no timeline, the Bible doesn’t give us
that you have to be this age or that age or such an
age you can’t believe. It’s not required that we be adults to understand the gospel. The gospel’s a simple message
and a child can believe that and I’m confident that at age
nine, that God did save me. So, we want to affirm that. We want affirm the fact it’s a good thing that those early years
were spent serving Christ. I sometimes talk with people who say, “I wasted so much of my life. “I wish instead of being
converted as an adult, “even though it was a dramatic change “and I don’t doubt it,
I look back and think, “oh that I had a Christian
background in my childhood.” So, that’s a positive
thing we want to remember that those who were saved
when they were children don’t have years away from God. So, it’s a good thing that this person professed faith in Christ and we want to affirm that
children can be saved. There are many who say they’re
Christians as children and it turns out that
they probably were not but yet, we want to affirm
that many who were converted, were converted, indeed,
when they were children. And I think I was. The president of our seminary,
Dr. Mohler, are the same way and so many of my colleagues and so many people I’ve
pastored over the years were genuinely converted as children. I have baptized, myself,
many who are children who I’m convinced really knew the Lord. What do you do though, if
you’re in that situation and you’re still struggling
with assurance of salvation and whether or not you are saved and so, we’ll talk about how
to deal with those doubts in the next episode. – [Narrator] Thanks for
watching Honest Answers. Don’t forget to subscribe. (music)

Reader Comments

  1. The explanation is that we are not saved because we prayed once and then we go and make love with all the neighbors wifes and go rob banks all night long until we die. Repentance is a struggle for every day and every hour. When i sin i am not saved. i have to repent again and again and fight with evil every day and hour and minute until my last breath. And i have to confess my sins and depart in that way from it. I am orthodox. We are not saved just because we said a prayer when we war 13. That s fast food christianity. Don go sleeping in sin thinking you are saved, because you are not saved. Every time you fall, get up! That s salvation. The protestant doctrine of salvation is predestination. Now, about justification, another issue here. That is what causes atheism in the west. The image of Jesus who saves us from the angry Father. That s repulsive. He saves us from death. He had to die not because the Father wanted to see blood and because His pride was insulted, but because Christ had to go in hell and defeat the devil. Not anger, but love is the motivation for Him to let them crucify Him. Of course He is ransom for many, of course He had to be without sin to defeat satan, but He did not died because the Father was insulted by sinners and then He just beat up His own Son until He died and that s it. What a barbarian view of who God is. No wonder the reformation leeds directly to atheism. Christ had to die in order to go and defeat death, hell and satan, our enemies. He was restoring our humanity, that s why God the Father had to send Him down here and let Him die. Saint Gregory of Nyssa says that God tricked the devil, when Christ died, because he tought that He was a simple men. Death was our enemy, not the Father s anger.

  2. Some people struggle with mental illness of fear and depression and that always brings doubts. Don’t believe in the magical thinking that your mood is truth because some pastor says so. If they knew the bible as they claim they’d know the word pastor and it’s job isn’t even in the bible. Our righteousness is by faith and faith is determination in belief and not a feeling that comes by approval from other WASPs for complying with their culture and beliefs. Would a WASP church welcome a stinking drunk prostitute sobbing at their altar? Yes, but she better be in a twin set and pearls the following week.

  3. I was converted at seven-years-old, but I didn't get baptized until I was 26. My softer personality and side-effects of past medical procedures drive a lingering doubt. Yet, I know God still has saved me. Thank you for another helpful video, Dr. Whitney! It's been a while!

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