Assurance of salvation

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by webdog, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. webdog

    webdog
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    I did not want to start a discussion on a prayer request thread, so I thought I would move some of the contents to this forum. The initial OP...
    ...and a little later...
    My questions
    1. Could it be that Satan can deceive a true believer into thinking they only had "head knowledge" when they have appeared to bear fruit for years?
    2. Could it be that Satan can deceive a lost person into having a desire for the things of God, but only a head knowledge?

    Having read the posts of the author of the OP in the past, he did seem to bear fruit as a true believer....had doubts to the point of questioning his faith...and now has concluded he has just recently passed from death to life. I have a hard time reconciling that whole principal. The natural man does not desire the things of God, the Word is foolishness to those perishing, etc. For one to even be concerned about their status with Christ, IMO, would be evidence of fruit.

    What is now being rejoiced as a recent conversion, I am saddened that if this person was a true believer (from the outside what appeared to be the case), he has now been deceived into giving up his ministry, being unemployed, and has given into this deception with satan winning a major battle. Doubts happen, they are not from God, and they must be dealt with. I don't know if this was the best way to deal with it.
     
    #1 webdog, Feb 15, 2010
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  2. StefanM

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    As the one who started the thread, I can say that I was essentially pretending. I had major, major sin in my life.
     
    #2 StefanM, Feb 15, 2010
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  3. webdog

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    This brings up an entirely new question...is the presence of sin in one's life a sign they are lost? King David had "major, major sin" in his life as well, and I know of no believer who doesn't struggle with some sin on a higher level.

    I just want you to second guess giving up your ministry if you have been deceived by the "Father of Lies". There are three big things men deal with, pride, lust and anger.

    Did you have any remorse, uneasiness or tug at your conscious during this sin?
     
    #3 webdog, Feb 15, 2010
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  4. StefanM

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    First of all, I've not been in ministry since 2008, so it's not really a matter of giving it up.

    I had remorse at times, but I also was able to pursue sin without any remorse. I openly questioned the existence of God on many occasions. On many occasions, I essentially told myself, "I know this is wrong; I just don't care."
     
  5. StefanM

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    1) I admit that I actually pondered this possibility.

    2) I don't think it's necessarily a desire for the things of God, per se. I had a desire to be accepted by my family and by the community. I "went forward' at a young age because I saw someone else being baptized, and I wanted to know what that meant. I've lived a large part of my life trying to meet others' expectations, and I believe that religion played a role in that.

    Of course, there is also the issue of common grace that not every desire that a natural man has is completely and utterly evil. Corrupted, yes, but there still may be some good. For example, I could preach out of the desire for acceptance and prestige, but the end result still may help someone.
     
  6. webdog

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    We are warned not to suppress the Spirit, meaning one can do just that. The questioning of the existence of God does not relegate one to reprobate status, btw. These are doubts that many, if not all believers have dealt with, particularly when there is trouble in one's life.

    When one looks at the early church, you can see almost pagan practices being committed by true believers. The church at Corinth is a perfect example of this. Even the churches addressed in Revelation!
     
  7. webdog

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    As a new believer, I don't know if you are qualified to answer these questions :) (just kidding)

    Did you have NO desire for the things of God during your life?

    I'll be honest, your story almost mirrors mine, that is why this weighs heavy on my heart. I was saved as a child, bore fruit for years after that, then in my teens decided I wanted to try the "other side" of life I witnessed from my peers. I always had that tug at my heart from the Holy Spirit that what I was doing was wrong, and I continued to harden my heat until you would have been hard pressed to even know I was a believer in my 20's, early 30's. It took a great loss in my life to re-open my heart to the way God intends a child of His to live. My wife came to Christ 10 years ago when I was in the middle of this void, and I remember my heart softening to Him...only to be hardened again later.

    I dealt with the same doubts when I came back to Christ. I finally put them to rest when I poured out my heart to Him telling Him that day it was NOW from this day forward I commit it all to Him. I still struggle with sin to this day, anger and lust in particular.
     
  8. donnA

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    I think satan can and does decieve believers into thinking they are not saved. I've seen it happen.
    I also think he decieves people all the time into thinking they are and they are not. I've also seen this several times.
    As I am sure others on here have seen both instances before also. Satan is busy at work thats for certian..
    As for the prayer request thread, I can not say about that person as I do not know them and their life.
     
  9. Steven2006

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    "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.' Mat 7:23,24 (emphases mine)


    "Test yourselves {to see} if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test? " 2Cor 13:5

    There is plenty of warning in the bible that warns us that many are fooled into thinking they are saved when they are not. I do believe that once someone is saved they can not lose their salvation. But I sometimes feel in our eagerness to defend that belief we don't always preach enough about the warnings that some of us can be fooled, and the need for self examination.
     
  10. webdog

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    The Matthew passage is speaking of works salvation. Notice the "didn't I, didn't I" theme.
    The 2 Corinthians passage is a good one, and actually supports my point particularly in light of the church Paul was speaking to. It is apparent there were true believers acting and living like pagans, hence the many warnings. I think the OP was doing just that (examining) in their doubt. Whether Stefan was saved years ago or last week, he is saved now...I just hate to see satan win a battle using our own weapons against us making a ministry null and void.
     
    #10 webdog, Feb 15, 2010
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  11. Steven2006

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    I realize this, but are some of those being warned not deceived? I was just using one verse as an example in answering your question, and probably thought of this one because it said "many". There are also verses that each us that those that practice a lifestyle of sin are also to be warned they may not be saved.

     
  12. StefanM

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    I know that in my case, a fresh start would have been necessary anyway. I had even changed denominations in my confusion.
     
  13. Aaron

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    How do you know you're saved now? What if you relapse? Will you say again that you were never saved?

    How many confessions and baptisms will be necessary?

    You may simply be disqualified from ministry. Is that what you're having trouble accepting?

    (Earnest questions, BTW. NOT accusatory.)
     
  14. Marcia

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    I think people can be saved and think they are not, but they usually come to a realization eventually that they are saved, whether they were living as a believer or not. I've heard many stories like this from people who went through this in their 20s and 30s. If they were living like an unbeliever, they get heavily convicted and return to Christ.

    I've also seen new believers go through this doubt about salvation, and I went through it myself the first year after I was saved. I would wake up and wonder if I was going to hell (before I was saved, I had on such worries since I did not believe in hell). But then, the Holy Spirit would convict me in some way that I was saved; this was especially clear when I read God's word. It was just such a jump to go from being a New Age astrologer to a Christian that it was hard to take in at times.

    And for some, if one is not a believer but thinks he is, he also comes to an understanding that he is not. He realizes the missing ingredient - that it's all been external. I have a friend who went through this - she was in church, in Bible studies, active in church groups, etc., but always felt something was missing. Finally, she realized it was because she wasn't saved! She had gone through the motions but had never yielded to Christ in actuality. So she did and was saved; she knows when this happened.

    But I think it's often very hard to determine the state of another person in one of the above categories; I think only the Lord knows. If the person wonders about salvation, whether or not they are saved, and they are worried about it and pray, I think the Lord will show them one way or another.

    Two verses that helped me were
    Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24

    The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, Rom. 8:16

     
    #14 Marcia, Feb 15, 2010
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  15. StefanM

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    I confessed Jesus as Lord, per Romans 10. I'm not sure what I will do if I relapse. I pray I will not. If I do, then all I can do is address the issue as it comes.

    Confession will be a part of my walk, but the baptism really just needs to happen legitimately once. I was about 6 or 7 when I was first baptized, and I know that I didn't really understand what was going on.

    I'm not having trouble accepting any ministry issues. I haven't been in ministry since 2008. I do believe that I need to serve God now through his power, but whether or not that means ordained ministry really doesn't matter to me.

    In fact, I am mailing back my license and ordination papers this week. If I am supposed to go down that road, then I want to do so legitimately.
     
  16. Benjamin

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    I would and could argue that Stephan was already saved, but I won’t, not here. To many points to make and most would end up in C/A conflicting views, accusations, and ultimately fights before the points were ever made clear. In a nut shell, I think Stephan had some growing to do, from milk to meat in you would and in taking on some responsibly to trust, hear, act, and grow in faith. I hear want he is saying about intellectual assent and yes, God wants faith, strong faith and obedience, if He’s not getting that out of a believer…well….let’s just say they are in for it.

    At this point so many verses come to mind and into play which would cause debate over OSAS, works, grace, free will, etc, God wants one’s faith, He commands it, and He freely gives grace. Growth from a child to a saint takes great faith.

    Wouldn’t surprise me if the meanings behind these verses are getting deeper and coming into play for Stephan:

    Romans 8:13-17
    (13) For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
    (14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
    (15) 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.
    (16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
    (17) And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

    Romans 8:24
    (24) For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

    John 14:26
    (26) But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.


    2 Corinthians 13:5
    (5) Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

    (Joh 10:9) I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

    (Rom 10:3) For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

    (Rom 12:2) And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

    (Rom 14:22) Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.

    (2Co 4:6) For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    (Gal 6:4) But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

    (Eph 2:10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    (1Ti 4:8) For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.

    (1Ti 5:8) But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.


    These are all memory verses for me and without further explanation of why I’m using them here (and am thinking of many more about growth here) may not make a lot of sense at first, but I hope you (Stephan) think about them.

    P.S. I’m not so sure you should turn back your certificates either…but, that’s up to you. And if you feel that you are just now being born again and feel the need to express this in a new baptism, no harm, no foul.

    Sorry, I’m talking about this personal time for you in public like this and even like your not here, in a way. So glad for you.



     
  17. Aaron

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    I've gone through agony of spirit myself, with deep, deep doubts about my eternal state. I discovered something about the Psalms. Interesting enough, I just read a sermon yesterday by John Donne, and he best expressed what I found:
    The Psalms are my daily devotions. They are indeed the manna of the Church, and it's only there that one can find that Christ has indeed been touched with the feeling of our infirmities.
     
  18. StefanM

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    This is not a problem. If I didn't want it to be discussed, I wouldn't have brought it up. I think it's good to discuss these issues in a concrete manner with a real life situation.

    Regarding the baptism, even if this were more like a rededication than a conversion, I still need to be baptized. I know in my heart that I didn't really understand what I was doing when I got baptized as a young child. I just wanted to be like the other people who got baptized.

    The pastor is coming by my house this evening, and I'm sure I will discuss a lot of these issues tonight.
     
  19. Martin

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    ==It certainly can be but not always. If a person is practicing sin then it is almost certain they are not saved (1Jn 3:9-10). However Christians can be guilty of the worst sins imaginable (1Cor 5:1-13). If a person doubts their salvation they should "make sure" (2Pet 1:10-11). Salvation is too important, and eternity is too long, to ignore doubts.

    The problem in the modern church is not sin causing Christians to doubt their salvation. Sadly the problem in the modern church is that Christians want to have assurance in their sin. These people need to have their assurance destroyed. Nobody should think that they can be saved and continue to live in sin. Those who are living in sin can have no assurance. Assurance comes from walking with the Lord and trusting in Him.


    ==I agree. My understanding on this is the difference between falling in the mud and living in the mud. A true Christian might fall into the mud but they will not stay there because it is against their new nature. On the other hand, a false Christian is perfectly comfortable living in the mud. While the mud makes a true Christian miserable it does not bother the fake Christian.
     
  20. StefanM

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    This is where I stood. I was comfortable "living in the mud." Now, I wasn't happy. I was depressed, afraid that life had no purpose. However, I was able to persist in sin without it really bothering me.
     

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