Assurance of salvation in Christ has been a lifelong challenge for me. At first, the struggle was in learning to believe that assurance was possible at all. Even now, I catch myself doubting. I get caught up in reasoning that the grace and mercy of God are too good to be true. Thankfully, God has repeatedly given us His great promises to convince us of the assurance Christ has secured for His children. Take John 6:37, for instance: “Everything that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I certainly will not cast out.” This tells me that if I come to Christ, I will be kept by Him, which has brought me a great measure of peace.
But how can I be sure that I’ve really come to Him? I’m still learning to accept that this is true for me, even as I live in this body and continue to fall short. When I am grieved by my failure, I’m tempted to wonder whether I was saved in the first place. My feelings begin to cast shadows over my faith. However, in “Resting in the Faithfulness of God,” Dr. Stanley explains: “Our emotions oftentimes sort of run counter to the promises of God. And we have to decide, ‘Am I going to believe what I feel? or am I going to believe what God [has] said?’ And that’s where faith and doubt clash.”
God is neither surprised by my sin nor stymied by its presence, and He loves me the same no matter how I falter. Aware of my brokenness and continual need of His help, I have learned that Christ lives to make intercession for me (Heb. 7:25). On the cross, He paid for my sins, and now, in the present, He applies this victory to my life each day and every moment.
God is neither surprised by my sin nor stymied by its presence, and He loves me the same no matter how I falter.
You see, I had to reckon with the truth that my actions couldn’t save me in the first place, so how could these efforts keep me saved? I need Christ continually. At best, my righteousness is like filthy rags (Isa. 64:6), so I must seek Him with just as much dependence today as I ever did.
And yet, doubts never completely vanish. More and more, I’ve learned to be honest with people. When I confess my fears, I find that others have them, too. That’s why we continually support and remind fellow believers that Christ is bigger than our emotions and hesitations, our failures, and even our victories—that God is love (1 John 4:8). It is those who know their desperate need and are willing to lean close to their loving Savior who find rest for their anxious hearts.