In all of my years of pastoral ministry, there is one question that I’ve been asked more than almost any other. Most of the time it’s in the context of a counseling session or discipleship setting where the conversation takes a dramatic turn with the simple question, “Am I really saved?”
If you are struggling with this, let me ask you three questions that I walk through with someone when they are dealing with this idea and I hope it will be of help to you.
1. What sin are you struggling with?
It’s common for individuals who struggle with doubting their salvation get to this point because they are at war within themselves against some form of sin, maybe even habitual sin. They will often point to the fact that God won’t allow His children to live in sin or let it overtake us (1 Corinthians 10:13). So, when they are faced with this relapse into sin they struggle with the idea that they aren’t saved (1 John 3:6-7).
While the Bible does speak to the fact that those who are truly saved will have a desire to pursue holiness and righteousness, it doesn’t teach anywhere that Christians won’t struggle with sin. It could be that the recognition of this sin in your life and the grief it’s presenting has less to do with your potential lack of being saved and more to do with the conviction of the Holy Spirit in your life because you are saved.
2. If you aren’t saved then why is this bothering you?
When you read a passage like Romans 3:10-11, it seems God is making it clear that left on our own we will not naturally seek out God or salvation. The fact that you are questioning your faith could mean that God is actually revealing your sin and drawing you to Himself so that you might repent and place your faith in him. It could also be evidence that you have been saved and are working out or testing your own salvation (Philippians 2:12-13; 2 Corinthians 13:5) as Paul describes it in the New Testament.
It’s important to remember that God is always going to encourage us in our faith, He won’t tear us down. Take heart that God is speaking to you and take time to search your heart and respond.
3. Are you living for God today?
It doesn’t matter what the date is that you have written down in the front of your Bible as the day you were saved. I know a lot of Christians who can’t tell me exactly when they were saved, they just know that they were. I would argue it can be more damaging to hold onto a time, place, or prayer as your foundation for your faith. When you decide to cling to a decision, you’ve made in the past when it’s not influencing the way you live your life today then there’s a problem.
Be completely honest with yourself, are you living for God today? Are you pursuing Christ above all things in your life? If so, then I would be encouraged.