When doubts assault you
The church is a place where the good news of Jesus is preached. But sometimes we doubt the truthfulness of that good news. At least not at first we don’t though. I don’t know about you but I would almost have to use all fingers to count the times I responded to the invitation by walking down that long church aisle.
Every single time looking for some sort of final peace about my final resting place. And seeing as I am a pastor now I am sure that I am not alone in this experience.
Let’s get real about our situation. We do not want to go to hell but yet we know we have issues. We know in our hearts that sinners can’t exist in sinless heaven.
Your journey if it is anything like mine starts at a young age. We respond to a pastor giving an invitation to respond to the gospel. Our conviction is so strong we find ourselves walking down the aisle of the church almost through muscle memory.
We then pray a prayer of repentance and bam was good. that is until we figure out that this experience doesn’t automatically root out all our issues on the spot. We find ourselves weeks later messing up and the doubt begins to creep in. Was our salvation experience actually real?
These seeds of doubt if not dealt with can become a full-grown problem. So what do we do? We tell ourselves we just need to pray another prayer and walk down another aisle.
And to seal the deal another dunk in the baptismal waters will give us lasting peace. It is almost like we believe that the baptismal waters actually wash all our sins away.
When in reality it is what Christ has done for us that makes us good. But yet again the process repeats itself and we find those seeds of doubt creeping in.
I think if we were all to admit it we would confess that we struggle with doubts about our salvation. Is it possible that we are not saved and need to experience true salvation? That could completely be the case.
But you and I have to realize that doubt is like dynamite to the effective Christian. So the enemy loves to sow seeds of doubt in our hearts to attack our identity in Christ.
your doubt problem is really a trust problem
So why is it that the devil can torment us with doubts about our salvation? The answer is that we are trusting in something else for the strength of our salvation.
We are counting on prayer, the act of walking down a church aisle, or even worse the goodness of our conduct to measure the surety of our salvation. The reality is that these are not bad things. They can even be part of the pathway of accepting Christ.
Problems occur though when we confuse the pathway with the actual destination of salvation. This being the unshakeable truth that Jesus died for our sins, rose again the third day, and ascended up into heaven. It is only when we take Jesus at His word that our doubts are destroyed.
If we start our Christian journey believing that our salvation is dependent on the actions we have taken then we are doomed to fail. Jesus said ” It is Finished” for a reason.
So when we base the validity of our salvation on water, the literal words of a prayer, or even our good works we will be plagued by constant doubts. So what is the answer?
Sometimes we all wish if there were a red or green light on our foreheads to show us if we were really saved or not. But that is not the way God works. What the Apostle Paul says here in Romans 10:13 can actually be a Huge doubt killer in your life.
We know that God answers the prayer that is according to His will. Jesus also made it clear that God desires that none will perish. Will some choose not to trust in Christ? They sadly will. So knowing these two truths we can trust the truth of whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
Isn’t that amazing that God answers us? There is not one instance in the Bible where someone has called on God to save them with a humble heart and He allowed them to be destroyed.
When God says Whosoever He actually means anybody. Now if that isn’t good news I don’t know what is. Also if you notice it is God who is doing the saving here not us. This takes a huge burden off of our shoulders.
Because that means God has done the work. So when these doubts arise we should confront them with the truth of the gospel. How can I have lost my salvation when I didn’t work for it in the first place.
God invested in our salvation when He sent Jesus to die for our sins on the cross and rise again the third day. So sometimes all we have to do for our doubts to melt away is preach the good news to our own wayward souls.
The doubt cycle stops here
The enemy shoots arrows of doubt into our confidence in Christ immediately after we are unfaithful to Him. He says things like “if you were a real Christian then you would not have fallen for it again“.
Even though we want to hide from God at that moment. We have to allow ourselves to bear it all before our savior. The doubt arises from our mistrust of the forgiveness of God.
We often feel like there is an expiration date on the offer of salvation that we accepted. But we have to grasp one freeing truth. That God is faithful even when we are not. That is something that you and I have to etch on the very fiber of our souls.
As John points out in this verse God will forgive us every time. But God doesn’t just stop there. God forgives and cleanses us from all of our mess. That means that God took the wrath meant for your sins and diverted it towards the cross for the redemption of all.
God is not surprised when we are faithful or when we disobey Him. But as you notice there is one important action on our part. That is we have to confess our sins to God.
We can write them down or share them with a friend but God is the only one who can actually do something about our unfaithfulness. To address your case in court you want the judge on your side because your friend doesn’t have the power to set you free.
so let us choose to be real with God about our mistakes and discover that God will forgive us for our failures.
Never Doubt the training wheels
What makes a person a Christian? Is it their church clothes, their knowledge of the Bible, or even their good works? These are actions of Christians but through works alone no-one is saved.
It is very similar to when you were a kid who wanted to ride a bicycle on your own. The problem was you couldn’t balance the two wheels to ride safely. So your parents attached the training wheels.
All of a sudden your confidence goes up because you can ride the bike like a professional. But take the wheels off and you fall flat on your face.
Salvation is kinda like that. We have to realize that just like a kid with training wheels can’t ride a bike, we cannot live a Christian life without Jesus. We will fall flat on our faces.
If we were to strip away our good deeds and knowing what is left? Would there be a steady belief in the finished work of Jesus on the cross as what makes our faith true?
This truth found in Jude tells us that since God saved us God is the one who will keep us. Doesn’t that lift a huge burden off of your shoulders?
Strangely we have more faith that training wheels are going to keep us safe than we do that God is going to follow through on His promise of Salvation.
So we have to come to the point of trusting that our sins were dealt with at the cross. Not just today’s sins but tomorrow’s sins also. Once we realize the truth that today’s me is still covered by the sacrifice of Jesus then we can begin to breathe easy once again.
If God had the power to save us then know He is not going to leave us high and dry. He gives us His Holy Spirit to guide us. The testimony of His word to direct us. And the peace of His presence to empower us. So when you want to freak out over the doubt that so easily takes over choose to do one thing.
Admit to God your weakness and trust in the finished work of what Jesus has done for you at this moment. Making this choice will suck the life out of the doubt that plagues your heart.