Reason #12: They have a guilty conscience.
Hebrews 10:22 says, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” Many times, people who doubt their salvation are in a sinful lifestyle, they have a sin issue they have not dealt with, or a sin issue in their past so huge they do not believe God has forgiven them nor could forgive them. Therefore, they are stuck. They need to surrender this area or these areas to the Lordship of Christ. If you find yourself in this dilemma, we should probably talk. People who do not doubt their salvation have a clear conscience. They are walking in victory and the assurance made possible by the Holy Spirit.
God is transforming genuinely saved people into the image of our Lord Jesus. However, we are not there yet. When we “slip off the path” of faithfully following Jesus, we will come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. We will leave that sinful lifestyle and pursue holiness. If we resist His conviction, we will quench the Spirit. When we quench the Spirit, the Provider of assurance, doubting salvation will follow. If this could be a reason for doubt in your life, utilize 1John 1:9; God’s remedy for dealing with sins and sinful activity after salvation. Let me know if I can help.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible … (1Pet 1:3-4)
Reason #11: They believe challenges from the enemy.
The enemy always wants us to doubt divine facts. This is as old as Genesis 3:1. The enemy threw out the question to Eve “Has God indeed said …” Ever since then, he has been causing people to question the truth of what God has said in His Word.
The enemy is the deceiver of the world and the accuser of the brethren. He is a skillful liar. He distorts, confuses, tricks, and deceives people. If he can get you to believe his challenges and work on you in any single area, it will be this one. If he can get you to doubt, not only does he make you miserable, he keeps you quiet in your witness for the Lord. Why would you witness about that which you are unsure?
When we listen to the enemy more than we listen to God, when we believe him more than we believe God’s Word, it is natural that we will doubt. Consider how quick we are to receive bad news and yet question the accuracy of good news. This is his ploy. To cause us to question the truth of God’s Word and believe his lies.
Let us remember that three times he tempted our Lord during the wilderness temptation. Each time Jesus used the Word of God to counter his attacks. Once again we see the power of known truth.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1Peter 1:3)
Reason #10. They depend on another person to give them assurance.
Although I have never had anyone come into my office or call me with this specific request, if we could filter through much of the verbiage, this is what they are requesting many times. They want a person to assure them of their salvation. The fact is, assurance of salvation is a work of the Holy Spirit alone.
I want you to imagine this picture. You sit in a dimly lit room. You have a Bible in your lap. It is at night. The moon is shining so there is a little bit of light coming into the room, but not enough to read the Bible. You say to yourself, “I wish I felt more saved. I wish I had more confidence in my salvation.”
The truth that will set you free is in your lap, but it is too dark to read. On the table beside you is a lamp. You say to yourself “I wonder why that lamp is not on. I wish that lamp were on. I wish someone would turn on that lamp for me.” As silly as this scenario appears to be, what are you doing? You are expecting someone to do for you what you could do for yourself. What do you need to do? You need to flip the light switch or turn on the lamp.
The situation here is you need illumination. You need to read the Bible. You cannot expect someone to do for you what you are able to do for yourself. You need to reach over and flip on the light, open the Bible, read it, and keep reading it on a regular basis.
Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” One of my favorite statements of Jesus is “You shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.” To the degree that we know Him and know truth, is the degree to which we will be free. While we read, the Holy Spirit illumines the Word so we can see what we need to see.
“Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25
Reason #9: They deprive themselves of time in the Word.
I find this problem to be quite common. It is especially true of people who do not spend sufficient time in the Word for one or more of the following reasons:
- they just don’t or they choose not to,
- they lose the ability to read, or
- they lose the desire to read because they are in a pit of depression or have become disillusioned.
The Word of God is spiritual food for us. In 1 Peter 2:2 we find these words, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,” In Matthew 4:4, we find Jesus saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” Remember the Bible is the inspired Word of God. In Jeremiah 15:16 we find, “Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.”
When we deprive ourselves of time in the Word, our spirit begins to dry up. It is like what would happen to your physical body if you were to just stop eating food. It would start getting weak, anemic, etc. When we deprive ourselves of time in the Word, the result is loss of hope. A remarkable illustration of this is what I call the John the Baptist Syndrome.
The John the Baptist Syndrome
To appreciate this, remember the time when John the Baptist sent some of his disciples to Jesus with this question: “Are you the Coming One, or should we look for another?” (Matthew 11:3). Can you imagine? This same John said previously “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” and “His sandals I am not even worthy to untie.” But now he is questioning whether Jesus is the Christ. How are we to understand this? John was losing hope. John had become disillusioned. In his situation of prison confinement, John was not in the Word as he had been.
If you are questioning your salvation, examine your personal time in the Word and you personal time with the Lord in prayer. If it is lacking, that just might be an important cause for your doubt.
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. Rom 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (John 10:7-10)
Reason #8: They have not fully reckoned on why Jesus died on the cross in the first place.
Sometimes, the reason why we doubt our salvation is simply weak theology. We have not developed a mature personal understanding of why Jesus died on the cross. In Romans 4:25, the Apostle Paul tells us Jesus “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.” In Romans 5:8 he wrote, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. In Matthew 9:13 Jesus said, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
The truth of the matter is Jesus came for the very purpose of providing the only way for our salvation. In John 10:10 Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” . The fact is we need to personally embrace the truth that He came for this purpose. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Since He is the way, the truth, and the life, He is the only way of entering into an eternal relationship with God here and now and entering heaven when this life is over. To consider the depth of this truth is powerful in our quest for assurance of salvation.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)