One of the important foundations for a healthy, vital Christian life is the assurance of your salvation. It is nearly impossible to have Christ as the center of your life if you’re not sure He is in your life as personal Savior (John 1:12).
Many believers who struggle with uncertainty regarding their standing with God could progress to assurance if they could discern the causes of their insecurity. Let’s consider some common factors that may hinder a true believer’s sense of assurance.
1. Feeling unsaved
Sometimes the nature of the believer’s insecurity is more of an emotional issue than a doctrinal or spiritual one. In other words, there is a difference between feeling unsaved and doubting God’s promises of redemption.
For example, when a person is raised in an atmosphere of performance-based acceptance or blatant rejection, this causes emotional damage in childhood. Although parental love should be an expression and symbol of the Heavenly Father’s love and faithfulness, this family love is often lacking or not expressed meaningfully.
Therefore, when the rejected person becomes born again through faith in Christ, he/she may lack the emotional confirmation that they are truly accepted by the ultimate Parent–God.
In a counseling session, Dr. Charles Solomon had a veteran missionary come for help because she suffered from a chronic lack of assurance. This sister had an obvious Christian testimony, a strong grasp of Scriptural promises, had led many to Christ, and appreciated the doctrines of grace. In light of her background and rejection patterns growing up, Solomon challenged her to consider that she did not doubt her salvation; instead, she felt unsaved. When she distinguished the emotional component from her spiritual condition, she was enabled to understand and eventually resolve this uncertainty.
The apostle John affirmed, “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God” (1 John 3:20,21).
Emotional healing comes as we experience divine and human love and acceptance over time. God’s assurance to His prophet applies to each one of His children: “The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: ‘Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you'” (Jeremiah 31:3).
Biblical faith is not based on feelings–whether positive or negative–so we should recognize the possibility of emotional resistance to feeling saved. In spite of misleading emotions, the believer can have confidence that salvation in Christ has been received and will be kept by God. Paul’s assurance rose above circumstances and distractions: “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (2 Timothy 1:12).
For further information on the effects of a lack of meaningful love, see Charles Solomon, The Ins and Out of Rejection (Sevierville, TN: Solomon Publications). This is available through GFI (the sponsor of Grace Notes).
Related Grace Notes: Correcting Your Conception of God, Your Palette of Emotions, and How to Gain True Assurance.
Copyright 2007 by John Woodward. Permission is granted to reprint for non-commercial use. Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version, Copyright by Thomas Nelson.