I Read What You Said, But

Q. I have read your posts on the unforgivable sin, but still wonder if I may have committed it. A few years ago when I was in high school, I read that passage for the first time, and someone explained to me what it meant. After they did, immediately I started having these awful thoughts. I didn’t want to have them, but I couldn’t seem to stop thinking them. It got so bad that I tried to stop thinking about God altogether just so I wouldn’t have them in my head anymore.

I feel like if I really wasn’t a Christian, then I wouldn’t feel guilty about them at all, but I want to be sure. This made me wonder whether or not I was saved in the first place. I know no one can tell if someone is saved or not because it’s between that person and God, but I’m so confused.

I know Christians can’t be perfect, but I feel that maybe I’m the person described in the parable about the seeds who fell on thorns because they got caught up in the cares of the world. I just can’t seem to give up this one particular sin, and I feel that because of that, maybe I’m not saved. Sometimes I feel like I will never get past this; I’ve struggled with it for so many years. I just don’t want to stand before God and say, “Didn’t I do all these things in Your name” and Him say, “Go away, I never knew you.” It scares me so much!

A. As I’ve said before, I don’t think it’s possible for a believer to commit an unforgivable sin. But it’s not what I think that counts, so here’s what the Bible says. The Holy Spirit was sealed within you at the moment you first believed to guarantee your salvation (Ephes. 1:13-14, 2 Cor. 1:21-22). There’s nothing anyone or anything can do to change that, not even you (John 10:27-30, Romans 8:38-39).

As for whether you’re really saved, Matt. 7:7-8 and Romans 10:13 say everyone who asks receives, and Ephes. 2:8-9 says even the faith that saved you was a gift from God. The seed that fell among thorns (Matt. 13:22) represents the one who becomes a believer but who is so preoccupied with the things of this world they don’t produce any fruit. They’re still saved, but their life produces nothing of value for the Kingdom. A majority of Christians fit this description.

Also many believers become obsessed with defeating a particular sin and because of this, they just can’t seem to get past it. The harder they try the worse they get, and wind up wondering if they’ve ever been saved at all. Paul wrote about this in Romans 7:14-20 and explained that God doesn’t see it the way we do.

And finally, your quote from Matt. 7:21-23 is meant for those who don’t rest in the completed work of Christ but strive to do good works to finish of maintain their salvation. Thinking they have to work for it means they don’t believe the work was finished at the cross. They wind up trusting in themselves instead of the Lord and prove they never were saved in the first place.

Remember, the devil can quote Scriptures too, and he’s placed a bunch of them in your head that don’t mean what you think they do. It’s one of his best strategies and it works so well he even tried it on the Lord (Matt. 4:1-17).

You must learn to rest in the Lord’s completed work and quit trying so hard to be a good Christian (it’s an oxymoron anyway). When you first believed you became a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), as righteous as God Himself (2 Cor. 5:21). From His perspective the new you does not sin, it’s the old sin nature who does all the damage. Submit yourself to God. The only thing He requires is that you believe in the one He sent (John 6:28-29). Confess and be forgiven (1 John 1:9). Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you. (James 4:7)

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