preacherman

Friday, June 05, 2009

Are You Sure?

As a youth minister I remember being at camp and asking a group of 150 teens, "those of you who are Christians, if you were to go to meet God tonight, if he was to return, do you think you would go to heaven? How many of you could say you would be saved?" Only about 5 teens of the group raised their hands. I asked this question at youth rallies, youth devotionals, and meeting all over the country and still had very few respond that they would know that they were saved. Why? Self-esteem perhaps? Doctrinal teachings of their churches? Maybe. Both?

I stressed that Jesus Christ wants us as believers to know that we are saved. How are we to make other believe if we ourselves don't? Listen to the words in Romans, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to seperate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." I love the words of John as well, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may KNOW that you have and eternal life." (1 John 5:13; NIV).

I hope that we will bring up believers that will know that they have eternal life. I hope that we can be confident in our salvation and relationship with Jesus Christ.

So the questions I have are: Why do some doubt their salvation? How does this doubt affect the relationship we have with Jesus Christ? How does this doubt affect our influence on the world? Should we have this confindence? Why is having confidence in our salvation so important? Have you doubted? Why? Is it self-esteem? Doctional teachings? What can we do to change what is being taught? How can we help other believers have confidence in knowing that they have eternal life?

What do you think?
Share your thoughts?

27 Comments:

OpenID wjcsydney said...

Great questions, Kinney. I think people fear they are not saved because they don't understand that is by grace we are saved "through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God not by works, so that no one can boast."

10:17 PM  
Blogger Franklin Wood said...

Good post. Looks like we're thinking along the same lines recently.
I think people are used to advancing by "doing." Work harder, hang out with the right people...and you'll be promoted. (Sounds kind of like the church sometimes, doesn't it?)
I think we don't KNOW we're saved because we don't THINK we're forgiven! We think we're too "bad" for God to forgive or love.
Paul had some pretty direct words for those who try to attain faith by keeping law:
"Are you so foolish...are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?" (Gal. 3:3)
I also think we have a problem accepting a gift without giving anything back of equal value.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Dusty Chris said...

Amen to the first two comments. and here's my 3 cents worth:

Why do some doubt their salvation?

I think "doubting one's salvation" is a phase most Christians go through. Grace is difficult to understand and grasp...I know men who have been Christians for decades and still don't grasp it. One has to grow into that one.

We all doubt as a phase of salvation. We move through as we grow and mature in Christ....into confidence and power. We have to get away from the "bad people do bad things and good people do good things" mentality. Good people do bad things and the grace of God covers...that is so difficult (and wonderful)to grasp.

Should we have this confindence?

Yes. Yes. Yes. God wants us to be confident in our salvation. That confidence is what gives us the passion and freedom to serve aand love without limits. It makes being a Christian fun and exciting.

I think mature Christians need to remind and teach grace at every opportunity to immature Christians. So when they make it through the phase, then they can come to some understanding and experience of grace. I would teach them to ask God for confidence and confirmation of their salvation each time they doubted. Tell them to ask God to speak to their heart, God is good about confirming it.

Thanks for writing.

1:14 PM  
Blogger Jeff Pinyan (japhy) said...

If St. Paul could be concerned about his salvation (cf. 1 Cor. 9:27) and admonished the Churches about it (cf. 1 Cor. 10:12; Phil 2:12), and St. John could call the saints to endurance (cf. Rev. 13:10; 14:12), then I think it's reasonable for us to be concerned.

Faith is a gift from God, but faith is not a fossil, it is alive. We are "created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." (Eph. 2:10)

10:49 PM  
Blogger Royce Ogle said...

Why do some doubt their salvation? Especially in the churches of Christ it is because of false teaching. It is an ingrained belief that salvation is "man centered" rather than "Christ centered".

The common teaching is that we are saved by grace but after the moment of baptism you are pretty much on you own and your eternal destiny depends on how well you perform.

The Bible view is far different. It teaches that we are only justified based upon the obedience of Jesus, not our own. It is by his doing and dying, His work and worth, that we have any standing with God.

If you will take the time to read what Jesus said (the letters in red) and take them at face value, it is clear that those who are trusting Him are safe and will be raised from the dead when He comes. How many? All, who put their whole trust in Jesus.

Royce

10:14 AM  
Blogger Jeff Pinyan (japhy) said...

I have a blog post from two years ago which developed from a discussion I was having on the concept of "merit" with a Lutheran.

The majority of the post, though, is focused on Scripture (mostly Jesus and Paul) that describes worthiness as it pertains to salvation. I think it's worth reading.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Jeff Pinyan (japhy) said...

The core of that post, by the way, is this:

"God wishes those who have accepted His free gift to, in turn, be worthy of it (after the fact, and only through His grace)."

11:44 AM  
Blogger nannykim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:34 PM  
Blogger nannykim said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:35 PM  
Blogger nannykim said...

I think it is so important that we be assured of our salvation that John wrote I John for this reason-- he stated in I John 5:13 "I write to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life."

I do believe the problems with the teens you have mentioned is they have not been grounded in the doctrine of Christ. They do not understand who and what He has accomplished for us--the whole concept of Ephesians 2 that we were dead and that He made us alive.

I think many kids just have not had the doctrines fleshed out--doctrines of Christ, grace, salvation, and of the fact that when we are his no one can pluck us out of his hands and as Romans 8 says that nothing can separate us---If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? Who shall bring any charge agains God's elect? It is God who justifies; who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us...."

So there is a lack of doctrinal grounding. But it is good for all of us , including teens, to examine our faith and to know if we have a trusting faith. As James says the demons believe--kids have to understand what kind of belief we are talking about---a complete trust in Christ alone for salvation--a being born from death to life by the Spirit. And then to look at some of the tests of true belief---it will cause good works, there will be fruit, there will be a love for the Bride of Christ (Christ's body) etc. They will delight in fellowship, confess sin, etc all the things layed (sp?) out in I John for this reason.

I don't think our joy can be complete if we don't know (have assurance) we are saved. I John also says "And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete"

If we are not assured we will not be fully delighting in God---This is our purpose in life to delight in Him and thus bring Him glory. How will we have a zeal to tell others of him , if we are lacking in assurance and thus in Joy?

2:42 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

Is it grace that motivates and encourages us to live faithful? I know the more that I understand the grace of God the deeper my relationship with Christ grows. The more I cherish the gift of salvation. Yes, Paul and John encourage the St.'s to be faithful and endure what we face in life. We should. We should fight the good fight. We should keep the faith and when we do there is a crown of righteousness for us as Paul mentions. I think guilt drives those who doubt. Paul might have had some guilt issues of killing Christians which could have definately affected his faith. Yet we see a demonstration of faithfulness and close relationship to Christ. Paul states that he wants to know Christ and the power of his rising, share in his suffeerings and becoming like him in his death.

Hebrews 11 tells us of all the faithful. Did those mentioned in this chapter doubt the salvation they had in God? Who? Why?

For me personally it is the grace of God and the confidence and knowing that spurs me on to worship, communion, community and faithfulness in life. It has always helped my relationship with Christ. I thank God that I can't do it alone.

Has legalism caused this mentality of salvation doubting?

4:39 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I appreciate everyone's thoughts and comments. So, why do people doubt? Is it Satan? Teachings? Legalism?
What can be done about it?
What can we do to change the way people believe in their salvation?

5:03 PM  
Blogger Dusty Chris said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:52 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I agree Dusty Chris.
You make a great point about guilt and confession.
Thanks brother!

9:55 AM  
Blogger Dusty Chris said...

I believe doubt can come from a guilty consceince that has not confessed sin and Satan begins to blow it out of proportion. I have noticed that people who confess their sins to another person is better able to let go of the sin and receive grace. That's been my observation anyway.

I think one can teach confession and repentance as a way of dealing with doubt.

9:56 AM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I do honestly believe as my personal opinion that legalism, and ridged dotrine and preacher has caused a majority of this problem.

What do you think?
How could legalism and ridged doctrine and teaching cause the problem of knowing is saved or not?

5:10 PM  
Blogger preacherman said...

I was wanting all of my readers to know that you can contact me through my new e-mail adress. It is kinney.mabry@gmail.com

I would love hear from you via e-mail as well as this blog anytime.

God bless and thank you for your comments and all you have done to encourage me.

5:47 PM  
OpenID jrsheets said...

I'm with Royce on this. It is first, the teaching that we had anything to do with "choosing Jesus" and secondly, the teaching that one can lose salvation. Either we believe John 10:27-30 or we don't.

We like to make it say "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand ... ... ... well, except you - you can pluck yourself out of my hand."

Its actually the lack of the doctrine of the Sovereignty of God that is a problem. It's all about us nowadays ...

10:31 AM  
Blogger Jeff Pinyan (japhy) said...

jrsheets, a person CAN lose their salvation, and a person CAN "jump" out of the hand of God.

St. Paul wrote "I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified." (1 Cor 9:27) Shouldn't he have known that he could never "be disqualified"?

What about the letter to the Hebrews?

"Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it." (2:1)

"Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God." (3:12)

"Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest remains, let us fear lest any of you be judged to have failed to reach it." (4:1)

And St. Peter, too:

"You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability." (2 Pet. 3:17)

And the book of Revelation:

"Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life." (2:10)

"Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God. Remember then what you received and heard; keep that, and repent. If you will not awake, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you. Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy. He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life..." (3:2-5)

(Hear that? Jesus is promising NOT to blot someone's name out of the Book of Life. Why would he promise NOT to do such a thing if it COULDN'T do such a thing?)

"So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth." (3:16)

(The Christians in Laodicea were "in the mouth" of Christ, so to speak. They were threatened with being expelled from him!)

John 10:29 and Romans 8:38-39 must be interpreted in the light of the Scriptures which CONSISTENTLY warn the faithful in Christ to endure, to keep from falling, etc.

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