Why People Doubt Their Salvation
by David J. Stewart
For several years after I was saved at age 14, I doubted my salvation. I remember crying many tears of worry and fear, wondering if I was going to be cast into the Lake of Fire. What if? What if I'm not really saved? What if I didn't do something right? What if I go to Hell forever? These are very frightening thoughts. I remember reading as many Gospel tracts as I could get my hands on, reading them over and over, and praying the sinner's prayers dozens of times.
I remember oftentimes going to God in prayer, saying something like this... "Lord, I believe I am saved, but am uncertain. I just don't know for sure. I am scared of going to Hell. I know I am a sinner. I know I deserve to go to Hell. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for my sins. I know there's no other way to Heaven except through Jesus. I've asked you many times to save me in the past, but I am very scared I am still not saved. Please don't let me go to Hell Lord. I beg you to show me if I'm saved, because I just can't get any assurance. If I'm not saved Lord, then please save me now and forgive my sins. If I am saved, then you owe it to me as your child to show me. Please!" I must have asked the Lord to save me 50 times over several years. Those were tearful times for me.
My Fear was Rooted in Ignorance of the Scriptures.
Glory to God! He did answer my prayer eventually. It wasn't until I was almost 20 years old that I finally KNEW I was saved, and had the peace of God in my heart concerning my salvation. Oh! What a time that was when all my doubts dispersed. I can't pinpoint any certain truth, date, or experience that caused my doubts to flee. All I know is that in my diligent search for the truth, I one day realized that my fears were gone, and I KNEW I was saved certain. Every time I heard a sermon in church, I hinged at the edge of my seat when anything dealing with "faith" was taught. The Holy Spirit over time taught me many wonderful truths, which prompted me years later to write a book about it.
The reason why I had feared so terribly is because I was IGNORANT of God's salvation, i.e., I didn't fully understand the Biblical doctrine of salvation. I knew I was saved in my heart, but had doubts in my mind which were rooted in ignorance of the Scriptures. I remember going down into the basement as a young boy. It was pitch black. Back then most lights were turned on by a string hanging down from the socket. I vividly remember the fear I felt in my heart as if something unknown might be lurking in the dark. I remember slowly walking forward, swinging my arms in the dark, desperately feeling for that light string! I felt indescribably happy when I finally grabbed that string and turned on the light. Whew!
The reason why I feared the dark was because I didn't know what might be in the dark. Likewise, I feared going to Hell because I didn't understand salvation. When I was 17 years old I went to talk with my pastor about the matter. His opinion was that I must not have been saved since I wasn't sure. Although he was sincere and meant well, I was indeed already saved. The Holy Spirit came into my life when I was 14 years old. According to Romans 8:9, only born again believers have the Holy Spirit, "...Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." People are naturally afraid of the unknown. Thus, if you are having doubts about your salvation, the answer is in studying the Word of God, specifically the doctrine of the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
It's the Blood that Saves!
Very few believers ever grow in their knowledge of the Word of God to the point where they CLEARLY understand the fundamental doctrines of the Bible. This is an indictment against America's pastors who have veered away from the basics of the Word of God. It is the pastor's duty to feed his people the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Many ministers are afraid to touch on certain subjects, or become too relax concerning fundamental pillars of the faith, such as the blood of Jesus.
The word "atonement" is an Old Testament word, which means "to cover." Most believers don't know that. We read in Hebrews 10:4, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins." You see, the Old Testament Highpriest went once a year into the Holy of Holies with the blood of a young male lamb, without any spot or blemish. This pictured the coming Savior, the Lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world... "The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." What a Savior!
The blood of bulls and goats only temporarily covered the sins of the people in the Old Testament; BUT it was Jesus' blood that TOOK OUR SINS AWAY! Jesus' blood doesn't atone for our sins; but rather, His blood washes our sins away forever. 1st Peter 1:18-19 states, "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
It's not our prayer that saves us, or something self-righteous we say or do; rather, it's the blood of Jesus that TAKES AWAY our sins in response to our faith in Jesus Christ. Galatians 3:26, "For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus."
Salvation is of God!
Many believer's doubts are rooted in a misunderstanding of God's exclusive role in salvation. Salvation is of God! We complicate things by wondering if WE did everything just right. I used to wonder in anguish... "Did I have enough faith?," and "Was I sincere enough?" I was focusing on my prayer, my faith, my words, and my sincerity; but what I needed to learn is that I am to rest in God's salvation. The honest truth is that God doesn't ask anything from you other than your faith. Our part is to simply believe on Jesus, the Christ, and then it's all up to God the Father from there.
Man has NO part in God's salvation. A man asked me, "Isn't calling upon the Lord a 'work'." Yes, but it's not a self-righteous work... "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent" (John 6:29). We are clearly WARNED in Ephesians 2:8 and 9 not to be so foolish as to think we can merit salvation, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." But you ask... "Didn't the Apostle Paul say to 'work out your own salvation' in Philippians 2:12"? Yes, but carefully notice that Paul said YOUR salvation; not GOD'S salvation.
We are clearly directed in Matthew 6:33 to seek HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, not our own self-righteousness. We have NO righteousness of our own, which is why Jesus came to die in our place... "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." Oh! How foolish is mankind to think that he can please God in his own self-righteousness... "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Salvation is of God; thus, we can't earn it, maintain it, keep it, or lose it. Thank God!
Salvation is Not an Experience!
Many people doubt their salvation because they are trying to remember an experience from years ago. With most people, facts do become hazy over time. I would be frightened if my salvation were dependant upon some distant vague memory. I don't base my salvation in a religious experience that happened years ago. I KNOW I am saved NOW, PRESENTLY, because I have a genuine faith in my heart in the Lord. If I go to Hell, it will be Jesus' fault because I'm trusting Him 100%. I am not relying upon a prayer I prayed. No, I'm relying upon the precious blood of Jesus my Savior. I'm not relying upon an experience, or something that happened at an alter in a church years ago. No, I'm relying upon the precious blood of Jesus my Savior.
No amount of doubt or lack of emotion can keep the soul out of Heaven who solely trusts upon the precious blood of Jesus. Colossians 1:14, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins." Isaiah 45:22, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." We are saved because we look to Jesus, depending wholly upon His blood sacrifice to take our sins away.
Salvation is a supernatural act of God in response to our faith. Christianity began as a relationship with Jesus Christ. When it went to Greece it became a philosophy. When it went to Rome it became an organization. When it spread throughout Europe it became a culture. And when it came to America it became a business. Sadly, most people today have churchianity without Christianity. They are make-believers instead of true believers.
Ye must be born again!
How Much Faith Does a Person Need to Be Saved?
How much faith do you need to be saved? The answer is so simple... JUST ENOUGH! If you have just enough faith to trust upon the name of Jesus for salvation, that's all the faith you need to go to Heaven... "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."The word "call" means "to rely upon." Hence, we are saved when we solely rely upon Jesus to forgive our sins and save us from Hell. Did you know that you can be saved in spite of great doubt?
What if I were to ask you to stand upon a shaky looking chair to change a light bulb? Even if you were 99% doubtful that the chair wouldn't hold you up, it would be no less than 100% faith if you stood upon the chair. Here is Biblical evidence of what I say in Mark 9:24, "And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." It doesn't matter how much doubt you may have, just as long as you obey the Gospel by placing your faith in Jesus Christ to forgive your sins.
The Condemnation of God's Law
We don't hear enough preaching these days concerning the Law of God, which condemns all mankind as GUILTY, and deserving of Hellfire. Do you know why Jesus DIDN'T come to condemn anyone (John 3:17)? It's because the Law already did that! Romans 3:19 states, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." I don't have to condemn anyone, because the Word of God already condemns everyone! That is why the lost world hates the Bible, because It is God's Word, and because It condemns sin (John 3:20).
Many churches have turned apostate in these last days, perverting the gospel (Galatians 1:7). As a result, fewer people are being saved. People are being led to trust Jesus, believe on Jesus, commit their life to Jesus; BUT, they are not coming to Jesus as lost sinners under the condemnation of God's Law. There can be NO salvation without the Law. Some of the doubts people experience today are legitimate, because they are NOT saved. Please read, The Sin Question / Son Question to learn more on this subject.
The Incorruptible Word of God!
I highly recommend that you use only the King James Bible. All modern bible versions are corrupt. Corrupt bibles can only produce corrupt fruit. I had a man recently write me, sincerely believing that Jesus was not God because of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. He quoted me Philippians 2:6 from the NIV. It is a dangerous thing to tamper with the Word of God. Did you know that The Satanic Bible is published by the same parent company who owns the NIV? It's true! Thank God for the inspired, inerrant, preserved, and trustworthy King James Bible.
The Simplicity of Salvation
God's salvation is so free and simple that mankind cannot fathom it..."But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ" (2nd Corinthians 11:3). Men complicate things! People either add or subtract from the simple Gospel message. Why is it so hard to accept the notion that a loving God in Heaven would want to redeem mankind? Romans 3:4 proclaims, "Yea, let God be true, but every man a liar..." The Bible says what It says, and we must accept It at face value.
There are so many false prophets nowadays, who preach a perverted gospel of damnation. Why can't people just rest in the wonderful words of Romans 4:5, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." There is absolutely nothing we can do to merit salvation, or even help to save ourselves. If there were, then Jesus wouldn't have had to die upon the cross for our sins, but He did.
There's a natural tendency for people to feel some type of personal obligation in salvation. It's difficult for some people to grasp the idea that God would freely forgive them and allow them into Heaven. I received a letter from a woman this week who believed she was going to Hell because she got a big tattoo on her body. I thank God for the opportunity to share the truth of God's Word with such people... "To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me" (Acts 26:18).
Please read The Simplicity of Salvation. Ye need not fear going to Hell. Salvation is of God. If you came to Jesus as a Hell-deserving sinner, and placed your trust in His shed blood to take away your sins, then you are saved certain. If you'd like to read much more, please read my book Salvation.
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." -2nd Timothy 1:7
"Unto Him That Worketh Not"
The Simple Gospel