Tue, Apr 7th - 2:17PM
Unsaved Church Members
While there may be occasions in which a child of God may have doubts about salvation, this probably does not happen as often as supposed. Many professed believers have doubts about their salvation simply because they are not saved, and many unregenerate professors of faith are convinced that they are saved because they believe myths, misconceptions, and unscriptural theories about salvation. Many believe they are saved merely because they had a religious experience, but a religious experience does not necessarily mean salvation. You can bathe and brush your teeth religiously (and you should), but this won’t save you from Hell. It worries me when someone says they were so young that they don’t remember much about the experience: For one thing, if you had an experience that you don’t remember much about then you didn’t have much of an experience. Many refer to certain works or ceremonies as the reason to believe they are saved, but this tends to indicate the opposite: Salvation is a personal experience with Jesus Christ and is through the finished work of Calvary, not the shed blood of Jesus Christ and additional supplements. (John 3:13-16; Acts 2:21; 10:43; Romans 4:5; 5:1-2,8-11; I Corinthians 15:1-4; II Corinthians 5:17-18; Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5-6; Hebrews 5:9; I Peter 1:3; I John 5:20)
Did you repent? (Mark 1:14-15; Luke 13:3) Many describe a salvation experience that did not include repentance, which indicates that they are not saved. A mere belief without genuine repentance is not saving faith. (Acts 3:19; also consider Psalm 34:18; Isaiah 55:6-7; 57:15; 66:2) Faith and repentance can be described as the two sides of the same coin, as they are inseparable; repentance is the turning from sin to God, and faith is the turning to Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) for salvation. (Acts 20:21) Repentance is necessary for salvation; it is the effective agent for forgiveness and remission of sins through the power of the cross. (Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30-31; I Corinthians 1:17; II Corinthians 7:10)
In which Jesus did you believe and how do you describe Jesus Christ? Many describe Jesus Christ as everything but God in the flesh, Who was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died, was buried, was bodily resurrected, and in heaven today has a glorified human body. Faith always has an object and the proper object of saving faith is Jesus Christ, and more specifically, the Jesus Christ Who is presented in Scripture. (John 3:13-16; I Corinthians 15:1-4; II Corinthians 11:4; I Timothy 2:5; I John 4:2,3; II John7)
Did God change you? (John 3:3-6; II Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5-7)
Do you know that you are a child of God? “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14-16)
If you have doubts about salvation you should go to Jesus as a lost sinner seeking salvation. What if you go to Jesus for salvation and don’t need to? God will forgive you. It would be better to seek salvation and not need it than to finish this life hoping in a counterfeit salvation.
The problem is often a result of wrong directions to lost sinners. Note that in Acts 16:30-32 Paul and Silas responded to the jailer's question by leading the jailer and his household to Jesus Christ. Multitudes neglect the issue of salvation altogether, and multitudes of unregenerate feel assured of salvation, because of improper directions. All too often someone is assumed to be saved, even assured that he is saved, because of works and appearances. For example, in many religious circles someone is often assumed to be born again if he merely says a repeat-after-me prayer, affirms some basic truths, and decides to live right; this does not necessarily mean that he was convicted over sin, that he genuinely repented, that he knows he cannot save himself, that he has a personal experience with Jesus Christ, or that he even knows which God and Savior to whom he should pray. In many cases there was no genuine conversion, but merely a yielding to pressure from concerned friends or relatives or acting in accord with myths or misconceptions about God and salvation. When such people "backslide," losing what they never had, they are likely to assume that Christianity is vanity or meaningless. Preachers and lay members alike need to remember that we all have an obligation to spread the Gospel, but regeneration is an act of God (not man). We must be careful that we are directing people to genuine salvation.