I’ve watched it happen, over and over again and it breaks my heart every time. He stumbles into old habits, berates himself, questions his salvation, and wanders from the faith for a season, thinking he needs to clean himself back up before he enters the Father’s presence again.
But if he could see what I see, he’d never wander again. I see a man who was painfully lost, until he was found. His salvation experience was radical and transformative. He loves Jesus with a passion that makes me smile. He loves God’s presence, His Word, and His willingness to love sinners like us. His salvation experience was real. He’s a beautiful person and a delight to all who know him.
But old habits die hard.
And I’m not talking about the tendency to drink too much, eat too much, or chew too much. I’m talking about the habit of shame; how we roll it over in our minds and give the enemy an audience to spew his shameful lies in our face when we feel most weak and vulnerable.
Recently on Middays I had a fantastic conversation with author and pastor Greg Gilbert. We talked about his book, Assured: Discover Grace, Let Go of Guilt, and Rest in Your Salvation.
Greg shared this important truth:
“It’s time for you to be released from the grip of guilt; to put the false theology of salvation through works behind you; and, to be free to find rest where you once fought doubt and fear. God wants to lead you to an enduring hope and assurance: Your salvation is REAL.”
He suggests that many who’ve sincerely trusted Christ for salvation, begin to question their salvation after they’ve blown it. Their default response is to try harder to earn their place in the Father’s heart. We tend to think that even though Jesus may have made a way for us to get there, now it’s up to us to prove we deserve to be there. This mindset will only weaken our sense of assurance and diminish our ability to rest in the Father’s heart for us.
Greg further writes:
“Through Him we have obtained access into this grace in which we stand. What does this mean for you if your sense of confidence and assurance of salvation are weak? Well, at least part of the trouble may be that you’re trying—and failing—to prove to yourself and maybe even to God that you’re worthy of the salvation Jesus has given you. Every time you fail, you spiral into a vortex of despair that makes you think, ‘well if I’m not worthy of it, it must not be mine.’ Maybe part of what you need to do is stop trying to merit grace and start focusing on the One who acted in love to save you even though you were and are a hopeless wreck of an ungodly sinner.”
Maybe part of what you need to do is to stop trying to merit grace and start focusing on the One who acted in love to save you.
Read this powerful passage:
“Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears,[a] we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” 1 John 3:2-3
We were once slaves to sin and Jesus paid a ransom for us. We weren’t purchased by another slave owner. We were purchased by a King who grafted us into a royal family line. We were slaves and spiritual orphans. And now? We are sons and daughters of the Most-High God.
May God give you a fresh assurance of your salvation. He will never yank you from your place at the table. And, He is 100% committed to getting you safely home.
Isn’t that just the best news ever?