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"are You Really Sure You're Saved?"


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Back when I was a teenager and still a christian, one of the big anxiety inducing ideas was "Are you sure you're saved?" If you believed "once saved always saved" you'd sometimes hear people question the validity of your salvation, as to if you'd dotted your I's and crossed your T's and said the sinner's pray right, or if your denomination believed "faith without works is dead" if you were being good enough to keep your salvation, and get into heaven when you died.

 

What were everyone's experiences with this sort of thing?

Tab

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Never ran into this... but then, German mainstream protestantism isn't exactly a morontheist cult.

 

Task: "Define 'lukewarm'. "

 

Resolution: *points at his former church*

 

;)

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This was a big part of my struggle. After all, Christianity can't decide on what is required to be saved. Some say works are necessary, others not. Some sects insist that baptism is a requirement, other don't; and some Baptists will say that if your faith is in Jesus plus baptism then you won't be saved. And then there is the Lordship salvation controversy; on one side you have those who say that one must surrender to Jesus' lordship in obedience to be saved, while others say one must simply trust in his work on the cross.

 

You would think a loving god would make all this clear. But it isn't.

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Yes I used to hear this "you should be certain you are saved" stuff. It was one of the things that made me deconvert. I don't believe that I ever was certain I was saved with the brief exception of when I was about 12 years old. How the hell do you determine that? It isn't as if Jesus appears in front of you and says "yes, you are saved forever".

 

This question alone is really enough to drive a sensitive person crazy.

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Raised So. Baptist, my dad, a minister, got on the Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS) bandwagon when I was in High School. This doctrine is fairly new to Protestants. It was not even known in my house until the late 1970s. I did not believe it then since there were too many scriptures claiming OSAS was a false doctrine--there are stipulations to holding one's salvation in check for a lifetime. I read a very good book that helped me through my deconversion even though it was a help-book for Christians called, 'The Believer's Conditional Security by Daniel D. Corner. It does a good job lambasting OSAS doctrines.

 

What used to drive me crazy were the loons preaching, 'are you sure you are following the right Jesus?"

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Nah, I was raised Catholic. We have our own version, it's called Purgatory. If we weren't complete heathens and we were only in a state of venial sin, not mortal sin, people could pray for you to get out of purgatory and into heaven. Of course that doctrines is derived from the Book of Maccabees (I think) which aren't even in the Bibles that most American Christians own.

 

Either way, it's a bogus doctrine because all it amounts to is just a third kind of prison besides hell and heaven.

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I struggled with this question every single day of my Christian life. It was a very big issue for me, and I could not get God to confirm if I was doing the right thing, or was on the right track, or make me feel secure in my faith. The "unforgivable sin" was an problem too for a while, but I managed to talk myself into that it was good, because of the little trick someone invented: If you think about it, then you're worrying about it, which means you still have the Holy Spirit in you, and you haven't done the unforgivable sin. Sure. That's a good Jedi trick. But where does it say that it works that way in the Bible?

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I hated this question. Sometimes it was asked outright...sometimes it was just implied...but it never went away. I think more evangelizing is done "within the ranks" than is ever really done to people of radically different beliefs.

 

I remember when I was a teen, a singing group came to our church, and through song....emotionally pushed all the buttons. They were only singing for the youth group (us). No one else. And they made us all cry. Then when they were done, they individually came down to sit with us. Our group had been encouraged to spread out throughout the church...so there was 1 of us for every 3 pews or so. So two or 3 of these chior members were sitting with each bawling kid...encouraging them to spill their sins and "rededicate".

 

Soon as I saw this happening...I got angry. I have NEVER liked crying in public, and I really HATE emotional manipulation...especially the kind specifically geared for tears. Pretty defensive about tears on my face. I've gotten better about that as I've gotten older...but as a teen, no.

 

I wiped my eyes, and when a trio of them got to me and all warm and gooey, asked if I was "Ok" (that hits my instant pissed off button pretty good...getting "sympathy" from someone who had deliberatly set out to make me cry). I said "I'm fine.", they started to sit, but one of the ladies was actually paying attention to the look in my eyes (barely contained violence) and she encouraged the others to move on to another teen. I think they'd hoped maybe my isolation would soften me up...because that was all that was going on for the next 45 minutes. They did occasionally come and check to see if I was "safe" to approach....

 

Nope.

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In independent Baptist circles this was the "talk of the town," so to speak. We even had an evangelist come into our church for a week and teach us on how we could really know if we were really saved and how we could help others were were doubting. Some, he said, were really saved, but were struggling with unbelief ... they needed to simply affirm what had already taken place in their lives. Others, he would say, may have been convinced "intellectually," but had not really had any faith and, as a result, were actually "lost." He wanted to show us how we could shore up the faith of those that doubted, but were saved, and how to lead to the lord those that thought they were saved, but were not.

 

Looking back, it is amazing that I believed any of this stuff. I mean, if god is so powerful and his spirit comes into the believer's life, leading them and guiding them into "all truth," then why do so many doubt their faith? Why do so many, even if they don't doubt their faith, have no idea what the will of god is? Why is there such debate over certain doctrinal "truths" if the spirit of god is supposed to lead the believer (ALL believers) to truth?

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Back when I was a teenager and still a christian, one of the big anxiety inducing ideas was "Are you sure you're saved?" If you believed "once saved always saved" you'd sometimes hear people question the validity of your salvation, as to if you'd dotted your I's and crossed your T's and said the sinner's pray right, or if your denomination believed "faith without works is dead" if you were being good enough to keep your salvation, and get into heaven when you died.

 

What were everyone's experiences with this sort of thing?

Tab

 

That is sad. I still see these things in church today and it really bothers me. I think the church is bored, and doubtful in the God they serve; so to encourage themselves they basically begin to judge everyone around them until people start cracking. I wrote a blog about this on my myspace. Very upsetting.

 

The blog:

I used to hate church, and in some ways still get frustrated in church. Even before my life turned religious, I remember sitting in church, watching every movement, sound, that the church people would make, paying more attention to the preacher than any one else. Anyone that talks to people daily would have to agree with one thing. We know whats show and whats not, religious or not. Who's full of themselves and who isn't.

I think God knew that about me. Everyone may not look at the etchings of people, but alot do, including myself. It wasn't the show, or the 'being filled with the Holy Spirit' with people running around the church screaming and groaning that changed me; it was hearing the Words of Christ,and the new desire to want to know more about it. Have you ever been in church, and you could tell the preacher was trying to hard? Thats what I mean by show. It's as though they are trying to accomplish something that isn't supposed to be accomplished. If that didn't make any sense, then I'll explain why I say that.

Jesus called on all who wanted to be a Disciple to preach the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. Christians calls this the great commission from Christ. Most Protestant churches, any church other than Roman Catholic, have what they call an alter call or invitation at the end of the service. This act I agree with, as Christ welcomed followers of any light. Its the part where the whole preaching/sermon is geared toward winning people to Christ; or in my words, compelling someone to feel guilty, sinful, ashamed, and lowely to the point of a public breakdown; then followed by the footsteps to the front for total healing, by our best friend Jesus who saves all and flies down from the heavens to save us when we are having a bad day.

I have a thing on my myspace that says, Jesus called (has a picture of a phone) then it says He wants His religion back. Sometimes Jesus is made out to be like superman, than the Son of God; which God sent to make way for all people to believe and worship the only True, Living God. Before Christ, if you were not Jewish you were 'stained' in a matter of speaking.

One time, speaking to a fellow believer, they said to me, "The world won't end until all people have accepted Christ as their personal Savior."... ?. That is nowhere in the Bible. It says,

 

Matt 24:14

14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.

I feel as though sometimes the preachers get so caught up in the preaching and denominational practice, that they either forget or don't understand the present case scenario this world. If a preacher, preaches the Gospel of Christ to people in all the world, and once this is done, the end of this world is to come; then that must mean there is a

 

Harvest of people from God. If there is a great Harvest by God, then there are labourers for this Harvest. According to the Bible, they are few.

 

Luke 10:2

2 Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

This scripture below describes the World and the Harvest of people

Matt 13:38-39

38 The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

39 The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

 

The labourers are few? Why would the labourers be few with all the churches, preachers, etc? Below is a scary verse if you are a preacher.

 

Matt 7:22-23

22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

End game is this. As preachers, the unknown factor is that; nobody knows who really is saved until the time of the Harvest; except God. To try and purposely keep tabs of people to the highest spec of their being is just ridiculous. It is like this, an old saying. If you are trying to do something to hard and its not working, then your not doing it right in the first place. Dig a little deeper for the true meaning of following Christ, and the role of a labourer.

The wheat(or good seed) and the tare. A tare is imitation wheat.You can't tell the two apart until it is harvested. Just as we are. And the role of the labourer is as below.

Luke 10:3-5

3 Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

5 And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace be to this house.

 

People don't save people, only God can do that. All God ever wanted from His people was for them to know He is God, believe in His Son, and obey the first and greatest commandment.

 

Matt 22:37-38

37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38 This is the first and great commandment.

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Nah, I was raised Catholic. We have our own version, it's called Purgatory. If we weren't complete heathens and we were only in a state of venial sin, not mortal sin, people could pray for you to get out of purgatory and into heaven. Of course that doctrines is derived from the Book of Maccabees (I think) which aren't even in the Bibles that most American Christians own.

 

Either way, it's a bogus doctrine because all it amounts to is just a third kind of prison besides hell and heaven.

 

I am wondering what a Catholic would say if they heard you talk about purgatory like that.

 

If I had been on here two years ago when I was Catholic, I would have been very dutiful in reminding everyone that:

 

(a) All of those in purgatory have already been saved. Once you reach purgatory, you are assured heaven. (Were you ever told that purgatory can be compared to heaven's dressing room?)

(B) You can't compare purgatory to heaven and hell like that. Purgatory is not eternal for anyone.

 

With regards to the derivation of the doctrine, if I remember correctly, Catholics also use a section from the NT to support it, too.

 

"Christ refers to the sinner who "will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come" (Matt. 12:32), suggesting that one can be freed after death of the consequences of one’s sins. Similarly, Paul tells us that, when we are judged, each man’s work will be tried. And what happens if a righteous man’s work fails the test? "He will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire" (1 Cor 3:15). Now this loss, this penalty, can’t refer to consignment to hell, since no one is saved there; and heaven can’t be meant, since there is no suffering ("fire") there. The Catholic doctrine of purgatory alone explains this passage. "

 

 

On a side note, I just realized that the line "will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come" does not necessarily suggest that one can be freed from one's sins after death. It simply says someone who blasphemes the HS will not receive forgiveness after they die. That doesn't mean that such forgiveness will be open to other sinners.

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I used to worry about my salvation all the damn time. It was crazymaking. I'd go to the Bible for confirmation, and I'd find verses about how no one could pluck me from my Father's hand... then somebody would remind me of the "unforgivable sin", and I'd worry whether or not I'd committed it inadvertently... and if I had, wouldn't God know whether it was on purpose or not? Couldn't He excuse me if I had, by accident? But no, if I had I'd know... but how would I know? Back to the reassuring verses... then I'd find others about how it were worse for someone to taste of the Spirit and fall away than to never taste it at all, which would imply that one could indeed lose their salvation...

 

It was all very confusing, and very agonizing. I drove myself nuts trying to figure out if I was really saved or not.

 

Nowadays, of course, the answer is no. I was never saved. No one ever is. There isn't any such state of being as salvation* at all, it's just an idea cooked up by Christians. If someone tells me they're saved, I know it means nothing outside of a very specific religious context. And of course I no longer worry about it myself.

 

*Heh - when I first typed this word I spelled it "slavation." Typo, or Freudian slip?

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When I was in second grade, I distinctly remember my Sunday school teach telling us, "A lot of people think they're saved, but they're not - because people lie to themselves." Well, that pretty much stuck a knife in things for me. Eternal damnation at risk, and I couldn't trust my own conclusions. Well, doesn't that suck?

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Back when I was a teenager and still a christian, one of the big anxiety inducing ideas was "Are you sure you're saved?" If you believed "once saved always saved" you'd sometimes hear people question the validity of your salvation, as to if you'd dotted your I's and crossed your T's and said the sinner's pray right, or if your denomination believed "faith without works is dead" if you were being good enough to keep your salvation, and get into heaven when you died.

 

What were everyone's experiences with this sort of thing?

Tab

 

 

Oh yeah, I must have gotten "slaved" hundreds, no thousands of times in my life....just to be on the safe side. Whenever I'd express this concern to anyone they say (to themselves or to me??) but GOD PROMISED! Well, I couldn't help but point out these verses:

 

Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

 

 

Obviously those verses were referring to self-professed Christians....not non-christians or atheists. I would really get "bothered" with all the emphasis the Christian evangelical leadership put on "See you at the Pole", forcing public prayer and icons into/onto government property (courthouses, schools etc) because according to the Bible, Jesus (the god we were suppose to be worshipping) said not to. I was "bothered" every Christmas because we celebrated it when I knew it was a pagan holiday and that the Bible (which we kept saying was "gawd's word") said not to adopt the ways of the heathen....but we were encouraged to do it anyway with a number of "excuses" that were suppose to gloss it all over and make it a-okay with our wrathful gawd....even though the bible also said that thing about a man doing what was right in his own eyes and not gawd's eyes.

 

The doublespeak drove me crazy but people would get pissed if I tried to talk about it or point it out and acuse me of not being a true christian or being under the influence of say-tan.

 

 

Anyway, those verses in Matthew primarily scared me because it meant that no matter how much groveling to gawd a person did that person could never be truly secure. But then, how can you be secure with gawd that is basically a serial killer and mass murderer, who tortured his own son, who was himself???

 

 

I'm so glad I figured out that the whole thing was man-made bullshit. I just wish I'd figured it out sooner....I came so close during my teenage years.

 

 

Oh well, better late than never. And guess what....I absolutely love Christmastime again...and all the holidays....I would prefer to call it something besides christmas but if I said "Happy Winter Solstice" I'm sure in no time, the town rumor mill would say I'm a satanist or something.

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Yes, NaturalSelection, I always hated those verses in Matthew. You never really knew how much faith was enough faith, how many works were enough works. If you think works are not important, look at your Bible. Really, Christians out there, how do you know if you have enough?

 

I guess we just didn't have enough faith. Considering the character of Bible God, to me this is understandable.

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And all the confusion and turmoil expressed here belies the idea of being born again. That is a keystone idea in Christianity, but it continually fails to express itself in reality, i.e. nobody really is born again. For some there is an emotional high when they first believe, but the year-to-year living out of the religion is one of struggle to behave abnormally (i.e. as a Christian), in the mindset that "I'm a new creation so I shouldn't be thinking or doing ______". This leads believers to think they haven't really believed (despite the former emotional high), and thus they become fodder for everyone with a "solution". When that solution fails, it is on to the next solution. This is a great way to sell books and tapes to the sheep.

 

Then there are the believers that simply don't give sin a second thought. My brother is about as fundamentalist as they come, but has slept with every girlfriend he has ever had. Sin is a big deal when it is in someone else's life, but he gives it a pass when he does it.

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Really, Christians out there, how do you know if you have enough?

My honest answer is I never will have enough! That's why I trust in Jesus, who did it all for me. What else I could do?!

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Really, Christians out there, how do you know if you have enough?

My honest answer is I never will have enough! That's why I trust in Jesus, who did it all for me. What else I could do?!

 

You are not picking up on what I am saying. I don't believe in Jesus, much less that he "did it all for me". Does that still mean he "did it all for me," and I don't need to do anything? I don't need to believe in any of it?

 

If I do need to believe it, then how much of it do I need to believe to be "saved"? Also, which version of Christianity do I believe in?

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Would you care to elaborate on it? That you "will never have enough", does that bother you?

 

Or am I wasting my time trying to discuss this with you?

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Would you care to elaborate on it? That you "will never have enough", does that bother you?

Sure. Those questions have bothered me, yes, but then I found grace. I realized I don't need to be, and actually I never could be, good enough to keep my salvation and get into heaven. It's all about God's grace not my goodnes. So I trust in Jesus - he is enough.

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Would you care to elaborate on it? That you "will never have enough", does that bother you?

Sure. Those questions have bothered me, yes, but then I found grace. I realized I don't need to be, and actually I never could be, good enough to keep my salvation and get into heaven. It's all about God's grace not my goodnes. So I trust in Jesus - he is enough.

 

How lovely for you. I take it this means you are certain of your salvation.

 

Too bad everyone doesn't experience this level of trust, isn't it? How would you account for the fact that many here have had faith and yet never certainty?

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How lovely for you. I take it this means you are certain of your salvation.

Well, I do have doubts sometimes. But all I can do is to trust in God's grace in Jesus. This grace means that my relationship with and standing before God is not based on my success or my behavior; it's based on Jesus Christ. This gives me hope.

 

Too bad everyone doesn't experience this level of trust, isn't it? How would you account for the fact that many here have had faith and yet never certainty?

Maybe they failed to understand God's grace; maybe the Church didn't ever explained it to them; or maybe they couldn't believe the grace is just for them. I dont' know, but it's very sad.

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