On Sunday morning, September 9, 1973, I asked Jesus Christ to forgive my sins and become my Savior and Lord. But when I finished praying, nothing happened. I saw no lights. I felt no weight lift from my shoulders.
My first thought was, “Is that all there is to it?”
And my intellectual questions about God didn’t evaporate. I still wondered about creation and science, world religions, why God allows evil and suffering. And so I doubted for many months whether my salvation and faith were real.
Was I alone?
The renowned historian Will Durant mailed questionnaires about the meaning of life to a number of famous people. After reading their answers, he published them in a chapter he titled, “An Anthology of Doubt.” Who hasn’t contributed to that topic?
What do we do when we doubt our salvation or our faith or our God? How can we help someone else deal with their doubts?
Know what you can know
Start with his promise: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). A literal translation would be, “We can actually and with full assurance know intellectually and personally that we have eternal life.” This phrase does not mean that we gradually grow into assurance, but that we can possess here and now a present certainty of the life we have already received in Jesus.
But here’s the catch: first we must “believe in the name of the Son of God.”
“Believe” means more than intellectual assent—it is the biblical word for personal trust and commitment. I can assent to the fact that an airplane will fly me from Dallas to Atlanta, but I must get on board before it can. No surgeon can operate on the basis of intellectual assent—we must submit to the procedure.
If you have, you can claim the biblical fact that you “have eternal life,” present tense, right now. You are already immortal. Jesus promised, “Whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:26). We simply step from time into eternity, from this life to the next.
Nowhere does the Bible say how it feels to become the child of God, because our feelings can depend on the pizza we had for supper or the weather outside the window. No circumstances or events can guarantee our salvation. It takes as much faith to believe I am a Christian today as it did to become one more than thirty years ago. I still haven’t seen God, or proven my salvation in a test tube. If I had, I could question the reality and veracity of what I saw or thought. So could you.
Either the Bible is true or it is false. Either God keeps his word or he does not. He promises that if you “believe in the name of the Son of God,” you “have eternal life” this moment. You cannot lose your salvation, for you are already the immortal child of God.
This is the fact of God’s word.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Jim Denison