My question about the meaning of “losing one’s faith,” as opposed to having doubts, has come to the forefront again. It relates to the reader’s question, and your response, to how a minister of the Gospel can be “left behind.”
I believe our Lord’s death fully satisfies God’s requirement for perfect justice. I believe His resurrection proves the Father’s acceptance of His sacrifice in that respect. I believe it is the only thing that does meet that requirement. There is no other way to live in the eternal presence of God.
I know God will not deceive me. But, I know, also, that scripture is full of examples where He has allowed men to deceive themselves. So, what is the difference between believing and trembling, as the devils do, and believing and being saved, as the Church does? Are the “left behind” preachers/teachers “certain” they are saved? Will they be truly surprised when they don’t go up in the Rapture?
Will Jesus tell me that He never knew me? How can I be certain, despite my acknowledgment of my sins and my prayers for forgiveness in Jesus’ name, that, somehow, what I have done, am doing, is genuine enough? God does not tell me. He has never given me the Blessed Assurance despite my prayers for more than 60 years.
I am unable, so far, to overcome my doubts, not in His promises, but in my self. How can I “let go and let God”?
James 2:19 says, “You believe there is one God. Good. Even the demons believe that, and shudder.”
Look at that verse carefully. Of course the demons believe there is one God. They’ve seen Him. But does the verse say anything about their response to Him? Does it say that they’ve asked for His forgiveness? No. Does it say they’ve accepted His death as payment for their sins? No. Does it say they’ve received Him into their heart? No. Have they made peace with Him? No. All it says is that they believe there is one God. There is no comparison between their position and ours.
I don’t know how certain the “left behind” leaders feel now. I imagine they think that they’re OK. They may even feel more certain than you do. But I do know that after the rapture they’ll realize that what they had was an intellectual assent, not an emotional commitment. In other words, head knowledge but not a heartfelt conviction.
In Matt.7:21-23 Jesus said that He’ll deny ever knowing those who haven’t done the will of His Father, no matter what else they’ve done. In John 6: 40 He gave us a very clear definition of His Father’s will in regard to our salvation.
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
If you believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins and have received His forgiveness, you’ve done everything you can do, and you’ve done everything that’s required.
God has given you His promise, and the devil knows he can’t have you. All he can do now is try to steal the joy of your salvation by casting doubt in your mind. Like he did with Eve, he’s asking you, “Did God really say … ?”
It’s this devil-inspired uncertainty that’s preventing you from receiving your blessed assurance. Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you. (James 4:7) Your thoughts of uncertainty are opposed to God’s promise, but you’ve been given the divine power to take them captive and make them obedient to His word. (2 Cor. 10:3-5) When you do, you’ll find peace.