Was I really saved?

There was a point last summer when I began to question my salvation. I sat through sermons feeling, well, like a failure. I would listen to the pastor talk about eternal security of the believer, and how you don’t have to remember the day and time you accepted Christ as long as you remember doing it. Well, I could (and still can) remember it in great detail, short of the day and time. I know what time of year it was, what year, what time of day, where I was, where my parents were, and that I felt the weight of the world lifted from me as I prayed that night for forgiveness and for Jesus to come into my heart as my Savior. I can remember that additional relief once I went before the church and shared my salvation, and the following baptism. Yet, I sat Sunday after Sunday for the past few months wondering if I really had accepted Christ or if I had accepted instead a delusion.

So I turned to the Bible. I studied this, and I studied that, but the reassurance seemed to be escaping me. I would pray, but still didn’t feel reassured. Just after Christmas when I was home visiting Mom, I went to church with her, and she insisted I come to her Sunday School class. I laughed at being in the “old women’s” class, even though they aren’t all old. But anyway, as they were discussing the lesson, one of the ladies told a story about a woman she used to work with who at one time had questioned her salvation as well. She told how the woman said she finally prayed to God and said “If I end up in Hell, I will go there trusting You.” So I prayed that same thing, because I remember accepting him. Yet, I still didn’t feel reassured.

I decided that the reason I felt so unsure was because of how I was living my life. First I cut the drinking. Then I started working on the potty mouth. Then the innuendo-laced joking. Then the anger. Then the sharing of my experience. With the exception of the drinking, I still felt like a miserable failure. About 3 weeks ago, I had a meltdown to God. I poured it all out to Him as I sobbed uncontrollably. All the guilt, all the feelings of worthlessness, I poured out. And I began to feel some peace.

As I was studying something after that little meltdown, I ran across “the unforgivable sin.”

Matthew 12:31-32 (New American Standard Bible)

31 “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.

32 “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.

Well, that really got my questioning going. Had I blasphemed the Holy Spirit? My Apologetics Study Bible says in the footnotes that “Fear that one has done so is probably a good sign that one hasn’t, for full-fledged apostasy is a defiant rejection of everything Christian and lacks the tender conscience that would be worried about such an action.” In the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary under blasphemy, it states that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit “is a state of hardness in which one consciously and willfully resists God’s saving power and grace. It is a desperate condition that is beyond the situation of forgiveness because one is not able to recognize and repent of sin. Thus one wanting to repent of blasphemy against the Spirit cannot have committed the sin.” So, after all of that, I stopped questioning whether or not I was saved back when I was 12. However, it seemed I was questioning my eternal security, when I shouldn’t.

John 10:27-29 (New American Standard Bible)

27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me;

28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.

29 “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Romans 8:1-4 (New American Standard Bible)

1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

Romans 8:35-39 (New American Standard Bible)

35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36 Just as it is written,
“FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG;
WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED.”

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,

39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

So not only can I be assured of my salvation, I can be assured that I cannot lose my salvation. Remember how I said “I decided” what was causing my guilt? Well, that is the root of my doubting problem.

Proverbs 3:5-8 (New American Standard Bible)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your body
And refreshment to your bones.

As a child, I was taught the meaning of faith as “Forsaking All I Trust Him.” I grew up, and in my arrogance, forgot that lesson and had to be retaught it.

Psalm 121
The LORD the Keeper of Israel.
A Song of Ascents.
1 I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not allow your foot to slip;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, He who keeps Israel
Will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun will not smite you by day,
Nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will protect you from all evil;
He will keep your soul.
8 The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
From this time forth and forever.

12 Responses to 'Was I really saved?'

  1. I won’t bore you with my path through things spriitual or religious other than to say I think it is central to such endeavors to struggle with it and by its nature, for instance, requiring much ‘faith’,it presents a significant task.

    The obvious good part here is it seems you have reconciled this quandary which I have always heard strengthens one’s faith. I simply struggle on a regular basis to determine if how I deal with faith meets some minimum standard that would be acceptable as I do not participate any longer in what I refer to as institutional religion. Too many times i have found organized religion quite often doesn’t ‘practice what they preach’. Sort of like they are saying exceptions for us none for you.

    I just hope you are where you feel you need to be. How’s that for vague?

    • DragonLady says:

      Vague? Not too vague that I don’t understand exactly what you are talking about. ;) I struggled with that same thing for years, which is why I was out of church for so long. Only my issue was directed more at preachers than the congregation. But, without going into another post rather than a reply, I think a lot of folks these days make religion about “religion” rather than starting out with a personal relationship with God grounded in His Word. Jesus said not to point out the speck in someone else’s eye when you have a plank in your own. That is lost on a lot of people, and it’s easy to do. It is really easy to get so wrapped up in your own self-piety that you can’t see how far you have strayed away. That’s where I was for years. I became that hypocrite.

      • Cathy says:

        I’m always late to the dance!! But at least I made it!

        DL,

        I have to tell you- I have been facing this same struggle– I have just been trying to ignore it for a variety of reasons. Maybe in an an e-mail, I’ll share with you. In the meantime, you have given me courage to face some demons and I thank you. I thank God.

        “I think a lot of folks these days make religion about “religion” rather than starting out with a personal relationship with God grounded in His Word.”

        This comment of yours made me think of two books I read when I was a kid… How to be a Christian without Being Religious and More Than a Carpenter. I think I need to find those and read them again.

        • DragonLady says:

          Cathy, don’t thank me, just thank God. And feel free to email me if you want. :-)

          We have a copy of More Than a Carpenter that a friend gave us, and I still haven’t read it. I plan to though. :hugs:

  2. Although congregations can be hypocritical I too was pointing at the preacher or other leader, top dog, whatever at a given church. My favorite story on that was a cross country move years ago that required finding a new church as well as other things. We found one, joined and had a sit down in our house with the pastor at his request. First order of business was business. No concern about things spiritual just show me the money. We were informed that it was expected we contribute 10% of gross and not much else was on the table, certainly not religion or faith. But that is just one anecdote. Another church I belonged to published annual contributions from parishoners in what appeared to be a method to coerce members to give more or be publicly humiliated for not meeting someone’s idea of what is enough.

    There are many other stories but life is short and you get the idea.

    Keep the faith. (seriously)

    • DragonLady says:

      I’ve never been in a church where individual contributions were published. I could go into a dissertation why that is wrong just like requiring a tithe (10% gross) is wrong, and may eventually. :cheesy: But, when I give, I give cash only (no checks) because it is between me and God as to what I give to the church.

      Thank you for your encouragement. I certainly need to keep the faith, and particularly remember to keep the trust part of the faith. :)

  3. Danny Poole says:

    Part of the problem is our culture of “experience”. We are taught to feel and experience rather than use reason and logic. I may feel alone, but I can reason the Jesus said He would never leave me, so I disregard my feeling. I liken it to vertigo: I may feel upside down, but the instruments show I’m doing fine.
    I’m alot like you, a beliver with congretional problems. I think I’m post-denominational, post-congregational. I see too many Christians “experiencing God” and very few “knowing God”. I try to use this as a pattern: God called Abraham His friend. God wanted to walk in the Garden in the cool of the evening with Adam and Eve. I will do whatever I can to fulfill what He wants, not what makes me “feel” right or happy. My feelings are easily fooled and subject to the weather and my last meal.
    Hang in there, my friend. Doubt in your own rightousness is a good sign. Do what is God has written as what He wants; leave the feelings and experience to the….lost. As always, I’m here if you need support. ;)

    • DragonLady says:

      That is it. Our feelings can fool us, just as mine were. And the conviction I was feeling was not a sign that I had never had salvation or had lost it, but was more guidance by the Holy Spirit. I shouldn’t be discouraged by that, but rather encouraged. :hugs:

  4. Trish says:

    In C.S.Lewis’s spiritual autobiography, Surprised By Joy, he mentions how concentrating on feelings hurt his early faith. He thought he had to feel pious and sincere when he was praying, and after his prayer he would agonize over whether it was sincere enough. Sometimes he would be up all night trying to FEEL that his prayer was sincere. When he considered atheism, it was a great relief to him, because he no longer had to try to force emotions.

    In faith, just as in marriage, there will be emotional ups and downs. We just need to accept that feelings fluctuate, and not lose sight of the goal.

    • DragonLady says:

      And God never promised us happiness here on this earth. I think I was thinking I needed to feel happy rather than at peace. I can only be at peace when I am completely trusting God, and God always keeps his promises. :hugs:

  5. Our culture, especially in the workplace, discourages honesty and truth. While everyone may agree on a particular situation and what the ‘truth’ is or what is the correct ‘moral’ response should be we are often coerced to act otherwise and one could say those choices are made under duress. In other words you need to keep your job.

    I have a habit of responding to the question ‘what do you think?’ by telling the person asking what I think. It has caused more than a little bit of trouble over the years.

    I felt really stupid the day I realized when a boss asks you that question that is not really what they are asking. So do I say what is expected and how does that reflect on me as a Christian?

    • DragonLady says:

      Well, I will give the boss the honest answer whether he or she wants it. I had a Chief one who after I had told him the facts of how long a recovery was going to take tell me that major wasn’t going to want to hear that. I told him that I didn’t care what the major wanted to hear because he needs to hear the truth. His telling the officers what he thought they wanted to hear came back to bite him, and that was so gratifying for me. I should not have taken such pleasure in his looking like a fool, but he did set himself up for failure. :pullhair: