I laid in my bed, staring at the hair-line cracks in the ceiling, with these thoughts tumbling in my mind: am I really a Christian? Does God still love me? Am I a child of God or a false convert? Sleep was impossible, and the weight of fear and doubt laid heavy on my chest.
Have you found yourself in a similar place? Doubts and lack of assurance of your salvation churning in your heart, with fears of hell and condemnation shaking you to the bone?
When I lacked assurance, I wanted mentors, pastors, and friends to reassure me that I was saved. I wanted them to give me proof I was truly a child of God. I wanted them to point back to my life, to a time when I made a commitment of which they were positive couldn’t be false.
But people do not see your heart, and they do not see God’s book of life. They aren’t in the place to give you the assurance you desire. So, we must turn to God’s Word and seek the Holy Spirit to be truly assured. Here are four questions you may be asking yourself in the midst of your doubts and four Scriptures to take those questions to.
Am I Really a Christian?
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13
The entire book of 1 John is a series of tests to prove the validity of a believer’s salvation. The church John wrote to was being deceived by false teachers who were preaching another gospel. John wanted to give these believers a way of recognizing the sheep from the goats, the lambs from the wolves—so he wrote this letter to show them how a true believer lives.
If you are unsure whether you are truly a Christian, spend some time in 1 John, holding yourself up against the fruit John lists that characterize true believers. Remember that 1 John is not a list of attributes that make a person a believer—only the grace of God and righteousness of Christ imputed to us saves—but rather a list of fruit a believer produces.
How Could God Forgive Even That Sin?
“Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” Isaiah 53:4-6
There are many sins you could commit, and every single one can be forgiven by God. If you are truly his, his grace covers you. We committed the ultimate sin against God—treason, hatred, spitting upon his crown—yet he showed mercy by sending his Son to pay the price for each of your sins. Like his life, Christ’s death was perfect and atoned for each of the sins of his people.
What If I Lost My Salvation?
“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” John 6:37-39
If you could lose your salvation, that would mean your salvation depended on your works. Your salvation is no longer by grace alone if you have to keep it on your own. But we know that it is “by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). You couldn’t earn your salvation, and you cannot keep it either. You are kept secure in Christ.
But I Don’t Feel God’s Presence?
“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,’ Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.” Psalm 139:7-12
Feelings come and go, but God is omnipresent. In seasons of anxiety, depression, grief, exhaustion, and suffering, God may feel distant, but that does not mean he is absent. God is always near to you. God is present even in hell in dispensing his wrath. And for the believer, he resides inside you—fully and constantly. Your heart is deceptive and creates feelings that carry no truth. During those times, you must learn to cling to the truth you know about God, that he is always present.
Face Your Lack of Assurance Boldly
Lack of assurance is not something to be swept to the side, left alone, or shuffled away as, “Mean words from a mean, old devil.” Lack of assurance should be considered and held against Scripture to see if it holds any validity: “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
And when you are found to be truly of the faith, take comfort in the promises of the Gospel—that he will keep you until the day of redemption, because your righteousness is found in Christ alone and no merit of your own.