CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
How can we feel saved if we do nothing to earn salvation?
By Lesley Mitchell
Are you struggling with feeling saved? It's a common feeling, even for mature Christians. I didn't become a Christian until I was in my late 40's and 13 years later, sometimes I still struggle. For the first five years of my Christian walk I was supported by strong Christians from the church I attended, but then we moved to another area and I haven't had that fellowship recently. I now realise how important it is to meet with and talk to other Christians. It helps when the going gets tough, when I lose the joy I used to have, when I feel God isn't listening to my prayers and when reading the Bible becomes a chore instead of a pleasure. Even strong Christians can feel that way at times so please don't think you are alone. Sometimes this can be caused because we are trying to do everything in our own strength and we rely upon our own wisdom. We might fall into the trap of thinking that we have to keep on doing stuff to prove that we are worthy.
Praying and reading the bible isn't "doing stuff." From my experience, the "stuff" that a lot of Christians feel obliged to do centres round church activity — you have to turn up at all the services, be part of a home fellowship group, attend prayer meetings and church meetings, volunteer to help out in Sunday School, bake cakes, knit, sew and do whatever is deemed necessary to raise funds and/or help the poor. Here in the U.K. Baptists and Methodists are so busy "doing stuff" they sometimes forget the point of being a Christian is to worship God and point others to Christ! Jehovah's Witnesses are a classic example of a works-oriented form of Christianity — your salvation depends on doing more and more to prove yourself worthy (in the eyes of men).
Let me share with you some words of encouragement from the Bible:
Ephesians 2:8-9: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast." Did you get that? We are saved by grace and it is a gift from God. He just gives it to us, even though we don't deserve it! We cannot save ourselves by works or deeds or by trying to be "good". God doesn't want us to strive to prove we're good enough! He simply wants us to put our faith in him.
Romans 8:28: All Christians who love God can be assured that everything works to the good of those who love and obey him. We love God because he called us and we know that God's purposes are working out in every circumstance and every event — even though we may not see it at the time. This is of great comfort to every believer when they are suffering or struggling or beset by doubts and fears.
Romans 8:29-30: Every person whom God has chosen he called by the gospel message, then he justified them through what Jesus did. There can be no doubt — not one of those on whom God has set his love will fail to arrive in heaven.
Read John 6:37-39. Romans 8:31: God is for us. Nothing can prevail against God's designs, or thwart his purposes and no present suffering can possibly alter God's will for us.
Romans 8:32: God's greatest gift to us was his Son. Will he then withhold the grace, the courage and the strength to live through present trials? Of course not!
Romans 8:33-34: Because Jesus died for our sins and has risen for our justification and pleads our cause at God's right hand, who can condemn us? No-one! We have been cleared from the guilt and penalty of sin and this comforts us when we struggle and suffer.
Romans 8:35-39: Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. Every difficulty is just one more stepping-stone towards our goal. We can overcome every obstacle because of the strength and extent of God's love for us. He has loved us eternally — he loves us now and he will love us forever. Even in our darkest moment, we can cry out to him for the necessary strength, wisdom and grace to endure, to overcome and to conquer. We are not alone.
Here is a suggestion for you. This helped me to get out of my spiritual rut and rediscover the love and the joy that comes with being in a right relationship with God. In the morning, before getting out of bed, I thank God. I thank him for this new day and for the fact that his mercies are new each morning. I thank him for my health, for all the good gifts he bestows upon me. I thank him, most of all, for Jesus who laid down his life for me, a sinner. Then I ask God to grant me the grace, the strength and the wisdom to get through this new day, to remind me that it is his will that has to be done, not mine. I pray that I will put Jesus first, others second and myself last and that my conduct and words might point people to Jesus.
What I'm doing is putting my faith in God, not myself. I'm looking to God to show me the way forward — and he will. Don't give up. You know where to go — to the foot of the cross, in prayer, where you can lay your burden down and leave it there for the Lord to deal with it. Stop working at it yourself and trust God to take care of it. He will. Even though we are thousands of miles apart my prayers are with you as I think about your situation and it is my heartfelt desire that the Lord will send angels to minister to you in your need and lift you up.
Image Credit: Leland Francisco; "Peace within yourself;" Creative Commons
Tags: Biblical-Salvation | Biblical-Truth | Christian-Life | Ministry-Church
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Published on 7-11-14