Why You Never Feel Assurance of Salvation

Scrupulosity Video Post

Jaimie Eckert

Published on Dec 16, 2022; Updated on Dec 16, 2022

“I just want to know that I’m saved,” Bella sniffed, dashing tears from her cheeks. “Everybody talks about ‘assurance of salvation’ as if they’re so sure. I feel like I’m on the outside looking in, never really a part of the ‘in-group’ of the saved. I try so hard to have enough faith, and I’m constantly policing my life to check for anything that might not please God. But I never feel totally sure!”

Have you ever felt like Bella?

About one in a hundred people sitting in your church (1.2%) have obsessive-compulsive disorder, a complex mental health condition that can sometimes affect the way we relate to spiritual realities. The obsessive urge to know things beyond all shadow of doubt, combined with the chronic, looping doubts that are so characteristic to the OCD experience, can create a perfect storm for our assurance of salvation.

In this article, I’d like to discuss assurance of salvation for believers who have a chronic anxiety disorder.

Preconceived Ideas About Assurance of Salvation

We all grow up with preconceived notions about God, salvation, and what it means to live in this world as a Christian. Certainly, we have beliefs–either examined or unexamined–about what “assurance of salvation” actually means.

Some of us believe that assurance of salvation is a feeling, a deep, secure, unshakeable confidence that should operate seamlessly and continuously for the believer during all life circumstances.

Others might reference Romans 8:16 to say that assurance of salvation involves a mystical sort of inner voice from the Holy Spirit, bearing witness in the quiet chambers of our mind to confirm that we are indeed saved. As it is written,

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

Romans 8:16

At some level, those who chronically struggle with assurance of salvation are stuck on the belief that “assurance” is something tangible and constantly accessible to our emotions, like a precious pearl hidden in our pocket that we can reach in and touch whenever we’d like.

However, one of the issues with this interpretation of Romans 8:16 is the idea that if we are truly saved, the Holy Spirit will never allow us to feel insecure or doubtful. Those who follow this line of thinking may suggest that any and all spiritual doubt is a sign of not being saved.

This, of course, can’t be true. Even people like Elijah, John the Baptist, Thomas, and Job experienced major doubts about God and their own experience with Him.

Others might escape the pit of waiting for the Holy Spirit to deliver unshakeable confidence onto their doorstep. Instead, they replace this passive, tortured waiting with intense personal effort. They may believe that assurance of salvation is something produced through our own hardworking faith, strained to a high pitch of belief so solid that we feel we could move mountains. One of the verses they may call to mind is,


But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

James 1:6

These people feel that faith and doubt are complete polar opposites, and that any tiny grain of insecurity–about anything–could spell spiritual disaster. Thus, they feel it is up to them to work very hard to have the right kind and quantity of faith. If they don’t feel 100% sure of their salvation, they may experience guilt and fear, thinking they have failed in their responsibility to “have enough faith.”

Are these appropriate ways of understanding assurance of salvation? Or did God have something different in mind–something more restful?

What is assurance of salvation, according to Scripture?

Biblical Truths About Assurance of Salvation

I would like us to read the following verses clearly and plainly, just as they read. Try not to impose your own interpretations or obsessive-compulsive fears on them. Just read in a straightforward way, like a child would read.

And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.

John 10:28-29

Notice in this passage that my security is contingent upon the efficacy of Jesus and the Father. No one can snatch me out of His hand. My eternal salvation is safe, but not because I was able to rein my mind up to a high-frequency pitch of uber-faith. It is safe because Jesus holds onto me.

These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

1 John 5:13

Here we see that eternal life is for those who believe in the name of the Son of God. This is so comforting to tortured, anxious souls who feel that they must do this and do that to be “enough” for God.

There is one thing, and one thing only, that we must do–believe in the name of the Son of God.

He has already done everything to secure our salvation. Assurance is never meant to be self-referential. Assurance of salvation is not to be found in a mirror, but through a skylight towards the heavens. It is based entirely upon what Jesus did for me on Calvary and what He continues to do every day as He imparts the beauty of His character to me.

Think about this: do you feel less assurance on days when you struggle with your sins and mistakes? Then it is probable that you are looking to yourself to fill your heart’s desire for assurance. If we are keeping our eyes properly fixed on Jesus and His unmoving, unrelenting love for us, our confidence will not dip and soar in tandem with our good and bad days. It will remain fixed and constant, externally anchored in Christ rather than our faltering selves.

This is not to say that we can toss our hands in the air and live a life of hedonistic vice. Certainly, good works are the fruit of salvation. But good works should never, ever form the basis of my eternal confidence. (Think of the thief on the cross and how many good works he had the chance to do!)

If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 10:9-13

Here we are reminded, once again, that my salvation is meant to be a very simple thing. I believe with my heart and confess with my mouth. God, because He is rich in mercy and because of the great love with which He loves us, saves me when I call upon Him.

Many people with religious OCD have a tendency to complicate this very simple experience. Typically, we obsess over the quality of our faith or the presence of it, perhaps bemoaning the fact that we don’t “feel” our faith. We may hyper-analyze our confession of faith, wondering if it was truly sincere enough, informed enough, or pure enough. We wonder if we said the words “just right.”

For those struggling with your confession of faith, let me remind you that the Bible gives us no creedal formula for confessing our belief in Christ. Centuries after the time of Christ, Christians came up with nice, compact confessions, but keep in mind that these are manmade, formulaic prayers that are not essential to the salvific experience.

You might be thinking about the Sinner’s Prayer. Maybe you prayed it when you gave your life to Jesus. But where did that prayer actually come from?

Well, let’s go back in time to the revivalist era of American and European history. Remember the First and Second Great Awakenings, when spiritual revival swept across the western world? During that time, John Wesley introduced a piece of furniture in the church called the Mourner’s Bench (also called “the anxious bench”). This was a wooden bench in the front of the church where people would kneel for hours and hours in anxious prayer. It was taught that one could be sure of their salvation if they prayed long and hard and anxiously enough. (Doesn’t that sound rather scrupulous!) This was the historic period in which terms like “altar call” were popularized, as people were called forward to kneel at the Mourner’s Bench and receive a new life in Christ.

However, as time went on, this approach was seen as too time-consuming. In the early 1900’s, as preachers began using voice-enhancing technology like microphones, they were able to preach to larger and larger crowds. Having mourner’s benches was impractical when hundreds and thousands might be brought to Christ in one evening. So preachers simplified the process by inventing short, formulaic confessions like the Sinner’s Prayer. It was, in part, invented to meet a logistical need on the frontlines of evangelism.

But that doesn’t mean it is “the” divinely inspired way to experience salvation.

If you prayed the Sinner’s Prayer when you came to Jesus, that’s fine. But if you’re one of the obsessional ones who has been praying the Sinner’s Prayer 400 times per day for the last decade of your life, trying to get the words and feelings and motives just right, it might be a good idea to permanently file this prayer away and search for a more authentic, non-scripted way of relating to God.

When you call on the name of Jesus, He immediately and gladly covers you with His blood. You are saved–rescued from this dark world–and your name is registered in the Book of Life.

You might have mixed motives, weird feelings, stuttering speech, or distracted thoughts. But yet, you chose to call on His name. That’s what matters. No one forced you at gunpoint. It was your decision, even if it was a pitiful little peep for help.

Jesus responds to our pitiful little peeps. He moves mountains to get to us. And once He has us, there is nothing that can snatch us out of His hand.

But Why Don’t I Feel Saved?

I’m sure you’ve read these verses and many others. We could include a dozen more if we had time. But maybe you’re not looking for more verses, you’re wondering why they don’t seem to sink in.

What is it that makes you keep coming back again in mind-numbing loops, like rats on a wheel, trying to figure out if you’re really saved?

I believe that certain segments of the population–such as those with obsessive-compulsive disorder–are particularly vulnerable to the effects of our emotions. We take our feelings way too seriously. In a culture where therapists and social media stars tell us to “validate our feelings” and always “listen to our gut,” let me be that one lonely voice telling you not to jump on that bandwagon too quickly.

Sure, some of our feelings are valid. But some are totally off the charts nutty. It is possible to feel anxious when nothing bad is going on. (For people like you and me, that could happen a dozen times per day.) Chalk it up to messed-up brain patterns or too much negative self-analysis–either way, our brains have the ability to manufacture bad feelings that have zero foundation in reality.

That’s why I’m careful with the whole “validate your feelings” thing.

(Though, to be fair, there’s a place for that. Especially if you’ve survived toxic, gaslighting, abusive, or narcissistic people, you might have a compromised ability to listen to your own emotions when they really ARE important. So keep that in mind. There’s balance to be sought here.)

If we think assurance of salvation is something we are supposed to feel, but yet our feelings change every few hours, we’re headed for trouble. This is why it’s important to recognize that assurance of salvation should never be self-referential; my assurance is not related to what I’m feeling or how well I’ve performed today. My assurance is anchored in the work of Jesus Christ on my behalf. This is what gives me confidence, or “assurance.”

“Yes,” you might be half-agreeing, “but how can I know that I’ve done what I’m supposed to do to receive His work in my life?”

That’s where I come back to my “Theology of the Pitiful Little Peep.” If at any point in your life you have uttered even the most awkward and pitiful prayer–or less than a prayer, just a string of confused words, spoken from trembling and uncertain lips–you’re safe under His wings. He has started a chain of events–no, even before your pitiful little peep–that cause Him to be eternally interested in your welfare.

“Even if I was calling on His name from selfish motives?”

Yes, even if.

“Even if I’ve sinned over and over again since then?”

Yes, even if.

“Even if I didn’t fully understand what I was committing to when I said that pitiful little prayer?”

Mmm hmm.

“Even if I’ve made promises to God and broken them, and cursed His name, and had horrible thoughts about Him, and doubted His existence, and failed to read my Bible for a year because I’m too anxious to approach Him?”

Yes.

All these questions are a way of reversing the focus back onto ourselves and our performance. It is a false view of salvation, one that depends on ME ME ME instead of our merciful Savior Jesus Christ. Remember Paul’s reason for having assurance of salvation? He chose to use the word “confidence” to express his outlook on eternal realities. What gave him confidence for the future?


Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

Philippians 1:6

No, you’re not perfect right now. Neither am I. Let’s not kid ourselves.

We need massive amounts of sanctification and growth in grace.

But this is the point I’m trying to hammer home: the amount of work needed in my life doesn’t have anything to do with my name being in the Book of Life.

I’d like you to think of salvation in this way.

Imagine that God is an investor and He has bought a thousand plots of land for development. You own a few acres of miserable, undeveloped swampland that’s basically good for nothing. God-the-real-estate-investor comes and asks if you’d like to sell Him your swampland. He offers you a billion gazillion dollars plus an everlasting home in glory if you give Him the land.

After thinking about it for awhile, you agree. You give Him your ugly, stinky swamp.

God is elated. He begins work right away. He starts draining the swamp, working the soil, and removing rotten logs.

But you start strolling through town to take a look at the other plots that God is working on. Near the middle of town is the pastor’s plot. There’s a shiny church building on it, with a golden bell tower and sparkling stained glass windows.

“Did God build this on your land?” You ask the pastor in surprise, your mouth hanging open. “Everything is so perfect. God could never make my land investment turn out this good.”

“Well, don’t be deceived by how things look on the outside,” the pastor winks. “God’s not done here yet. He’s still working on some wiring issues in the basement and a few foundation cracks that I caused with some unfortunate DIY attempts. It’s been taking us some time. I don’t know why, but it seems like that final fixes always take the longest.”

You meander down the street and see all the other plots. Everyone’s buildings seem new and beautiful. Some are clearly in progress, with open window frames and unpaved driveways. But everywhere you look, you can see God’s development.

You begin to feel discouraged. Your plot of swampland seems so puny in comparison. You’ll never measure up to what you see in everybody else! Maybe this is just a useless endeavor. You go back to find God on a backhoe on your plot.

“God, we need to talk,” you call out.

He shuts off the engine and the swamp goes quiet.

“God, I don’t think this is going to work. I can’t live up to my end of the bargain. My plot of land is hopeless.”

God smiles.

“Why don’t you stop looking at the swamp and just let Me work?” He asks gently. “You gave me the land. I’m going to give you eternity and a beautiful building. The only thing you need to do is let Me work and stop worrying so much.”

“Yes, God, but I just don’t feel very secure about this whole thing. Isn’t there anything I should be doing to ensure that the building project will go well?”

“Why?” God asks. “Do you think you can build as well as Me?”

“Well, umm, it’s not exactly like that…”

“Your efforts are to be placed in trusting Me. ‘Fight the good fight of faith,’ not the fight of works.”

“Yeah, but it’s really, really HARD to trust You when I don’t feel secure about how everything is going to end up.”

God revs the engine on the backhoe again. “I didn’t say trusting Me is easy,” He smiles. “I just asked you to trust.”

Conclusion

I hope my analogy isn’t too hard to follow. We give our swampy, worthless hearts to God and He gives us the riches and immortality of heaven. Then He works in our lives “to will and to do of His good pleasure,” building characters that reflect Him in the world around us. All of us are at different stages of that journey, and all of us are vulnerable to self-doubt, insecurity, and worries.

But God asks us to trust.

He never promised that we are going to have a constant, tangible “feeling” of assurance. Our assurance rests in His unchanging promises, not our own frail emotions.

We can say, “today I woke up anxious and I don’t really feel so sure of my salvation. But I’m confident that God is who He says He is and He’s going to take me all the way to heaven.”

Some days–the really bad days–our doubts might be so strong that we aren’t even sure we believe in God. We aren’t sure He is who He says He is. On those days, we can say, “I’m not sure of anything today, and that’s still fine. My intellectual attempts to figure things out are not what save me. Jesus is the only One who can save me. I choose to trust Him–to just say the words ‘I choose to trust You’–even though my thoughts and feelings are in complete, chaotic rebellion.”

>Deep breath<

“I choose to trust You, Jesus.”

This is how we experience deep and lasting assurance of salvation. It is by reversing the focus and by not expecting assurance to be an emotional experience. As we learn to do this consistently, we will begin to experience the peace and stillness of true rest.

What about you? How have you learned to be less worried about your salvation? Share your comments below!

Best wishes on the journey,

jaimie-eckert-signature
  • that’s exactly how i feel, i’ve been a believer for 25 years and worry about my relationship with him. I tend to be independent and live in my head. At 70 i’ve realized i am probably on mild end spectrum and ocd, back then nobody cared, parents moved constantly always changing schools, consequently i always felt awkward socially in groups. (one on one fine).
    I’ve mostly been in independent fundamentalist churches and the pastor tends to say things like,”if you’re born again,you should be (fill in blank). The blank is often fellowshiping endlessly with large groups of people. It just seems like high school again.

  • I am constantly obsessing over the fact that I sinned greatly since I sm saved. I as a Christian fell in love with an unbeliever whose wife left him. During our dating she eventually remarried and this man became a believer. I went to the pastor for counseling and help to give up this relationship. The Pastor said the man was free to remarry according to 1 Corinthians because his wife had left him, he was now a believer and she was an unbeliever who did not wish to reconcile but eventually met someone, remarried and had a child.

    We were told we could marry and we did but I doubted I was doing the right thing when we married and ever since even though I have counseled with my current pastor who said I should not have married but now I should not seperate. We have been married since 1992 and we have 2 adopted girls.

    Every day I feel like I am an adulteress going to hell even though I asked God to forgive me.
    I know He forgave me and I have refused sex with my husband for almost 2 years because I feel I am a perpetual adulteror and doomed with no assurance if we have sex.

    I am so worried about my husband feeling rejected but I am stuck in this state of thinking.

  • Thank you for this article. It's Christmas Eve and my church is doing communion this morning and I'm feeling unworthy to join. I'm so broken.

  • Thanks so much Jaimie. This article mirrors some ideas I've read in the past, and it's comforting to see the same key points across different authors.

    Personally, I struggle with faith-maintenance works. Since I've never had that elusive "connection" with my faith, my mind hyper-fixates on proving to myself it's genuine. I feel like I lose the authenticity of my faith if I miss a reading, don't think about God enough, don't care about Jesus enough, etc. – surely everyone else cares/feels about this more authentically than me.

    As soon as those things happen I just want to quit.

    When you associate works with a genuine faith, it's very difficult to let works flow naturally from faith. Your mind wants to jump the gun and obsess over works to get authenticity assurance FIRST.

    It truly helps to be silently seen. Thanks for providing that.

    Thanks again.

  • Jaimie,
    I absolutely love this article! I am relatively new to your site and love what I see so far.
    I wanted to share something that may help others, as it has helped me as I struggle with this issue. John 3:16 clearly states that those who BELIEVE on Christ will be saved. John 3:19 then describes condemnation – which I would assume would be a result of unbelief. However, the condemnation is describes as a result of loving darkness.

    So I find it very helpful to see that I am not one who loves darkness. And how can you and I know this? Because if you are even reading the above article or the following comments, it is because you want so badly to know you are saved. And what does that mean about you? Simply that you want to be with Christ. You have already admitted that you are a sinner and Christ is so appealing because He redeems you, loves you, and wants to bless you. (We love because He first loved us).

    Also, OCD always makes us fear the most horrifying consequences. No one struggles with the thought "I better wash my hands or I might be 10 seconds late for work today!" The potential consequence is always dire, instense, too heavy to bear.

    So the fact that OCD drags us into the terrifying thought of eternal separation from God shows us that we truly do value Christ, knowing Him, and spending forever with Him. Otherwise, OCD would not be able to latch on to that scenario. Those who love darkness could not care less about being separated from Christ, for they love darkness and want nothing to do with the light of Christ. We on the other hand know we are sinners and love Christ and what He has offered.

    Looking at it this way has been very freeing for me when my mind wants to lean on "mustering" up enough faith to have assurance.

      • I’m struggling because I’m obsess over my salvation but I know only Jesus can save me and I’ve begged him to but it’s like my only way of being saved is abandoning hope in no other than his blood and it’s like I’m not doing that because I try to go back to me praying and that’s me thinking that my praying is what got me saved but that’s wrong and so I’m stuck because I want to
        Twist him alone but feel like I can’t and so I’ve been asking him to make me stop doing that

  • 'To the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness.' Romans 4 – I have suffered with salvation doubts for many many years. I have found that the only place where I can find any peace is by seeing that Jesus has done everything needed to save me, and when I asked him to save me, he did. His death covers all my unbelief, lack of repentance, wobbly commitment et etc. We are saved through faith alone in Christ alone. And all the faith you need is to come to him and ask. Confidence will follow in time, Work to try and make your commitment better is useless and is only trying to add to his sufficient work for you. It doesn't depend on you, but on his work on the cross to cover all your weakness and sin. Praise God what he has personally done for you is enough . I dont know if this helps or not, it has taken me quite a while to let it sink in,, but I think that is the direction you need to go to get your thoughts away from obsessing about you and onto Him. Sue H

  • Thank you so much for this article. My daughter is really struggling with assurance of her salvation. And even though my husband and I both have OCD, sometimes if it's not a particular thing you struggle with it's hard to help someone else in their OCD journey. This article helps so much to see not only that this is exactly what she's dealing with, but also get a sneak peek into what she's thinking.

    Thank you so so much!

  • I have major anxiety, about my husbands faith as well as mine. I came to Jesus in an alter call, and he stated to be in April that he believes in God and Jesus and accepts the gift of his death on the cross. I constantly stress over whether that was enough, because sometimes he says weird things, and then I find blogs and ministries that are like oh no you're deceived because there are conditions on that gift. Then I spend days in panic trying to figure out if we are saved or not. it's killing me and I hate it.

  • Many thanks for this. Although I don't struggle with OCD in general l, I often worry about assurance. I have particularly stumbled on the notion that we must "feel saved". I appreciated your reference to some of the unhelpful ways of talking about this that was present in revivalism (Wesley). I certainly have not had my heart "strangely warmed".

    I do puzzle over passages such as Romans 5:5, Galatians 4:6 and 1 John 4:13. These seem to indicate that there is a definite experience of the Spirit. When reading those I am reminded that I don't perceive such an experience and therefore doubt my salvation. Do you have any thoughts on how to read them?

    • That’s a really good question, Jon! I should write a whole post about those types of passages. My short answer would be that yes, these are general truths that may be obscured at various times and seasons in our lives due to intervening issues such as an anxiety disorder, past traumas, or overwhelming situations. The fact that such psychological/emotional proofs are not always available doesn’t mean these are the only proofs we have.

  • im struging with depression and torment that Jesus has saved me. i feel exhausted with worrying. one minute i feel sure then if i do something wrong or hear something of the bible i find hard to believe i literally have panic feelings thinking im not saved and I will always feel in this terrible miserable state..its a nightmare. Then i feel worried as im not trusting and that's a sin too..i seem unhappy and miserable to my family and they arent christians and thats sin too..i feel sick with worry..

    • I also feel the same as you do at times. Sometimes it’s just diving into the darkness and trusting Jesus. It’s definitely easier said than done. If you read Psalm 88, the psalmist talks about a lot of struggles they have and even says darkness is their only friend in the last verse. The irony, is that in the very first verse of Psalm 88, the psalmist says Lord, God of my salvation. The psalmist has these fears and is scared and feels alone, but still calls the Lord the God of his salvation. I can’t give you an answer for why we go through our struggles and why it feels so dark sometimes. These are things only God knows, but what I can tell you is that choosing to just trust Jesus is the way to go. It may be hard because we don’t feel like we are trusting or believing, but sometimes I just have to say Lord, I’m trying and I want to trust You even though it feels scary and uncertain. My heart goes out to you, because I have very similar struggles and that is why I’m reading this article myself. I hope you see this and God can encourage you through it. You are not alone, and even when it doesn’t feel like it’s true, I want you to know that Jesus suffered in the cross for us and He paid our sin debt and has secured us. Jesus is loving, and He knows our suffering and one day He will end all of it. If I can leave you with one thing, it’s to always keep going to Jesus and even when your feelings don’t agree, and your mind is trying to convince you that you don’t believe, just go to the perfect Lord Jesus.

  • This is a great article… I struggle constantly with this! Slowly but surely i've been starting to counter my doubtful thinking with the bible… and still working on it. But I'd also like to give a little further help to anyone else who may be struggling with uncertainty even after reading the above article.

    It's important to realize that the answer to someone who's saved and doubting is the same answer as for someone who's unsaved and never even known the truth. The gospel!

    The gospel is a wonderful truth: While you on your own are not right with God and never can be because of your sin, Jesus Christ (God the son and the Son of God), through dying for you, being buried, and rising again, has already done everything needed to make you right with God.

    If you believe that truth and are trusting in him and his finished work alone to save you, then you are saved – even if never before. Even if you didn't pray the prayer… God looks at the heart, not so much the words you say. Even if you call on him from your heart without saying the words, that's all. The ethiopian Eunich in Acts 8, and the 3,000 who were saved on the day of Pentecost when Peter preached to them… I don't even see them praying there!

    What about repentance? Here's the best explanation of repentance I can offer: Obviously as Christians we should constantly be repenting of sins we find, but the repentance that brings salvation is NOT promising to never sin again; it's NOT trying to clean up your life or work up the right attitudes and tears.

    It's simply changing your mind, or turning – though I completely understand how easy it can be to get confused by "turning from sin" and mix it with the work of cleaning up your life.

    That's all a misunderstanding, and it's why I love to focus on the positive side of it: turning TO God. Acts 20:21 says it. When someone recognizes they're not right with God because of sin, they TURN to God to get that right, coming through the only possible way – the person and finished work of Christ.
    When someone trusts in Christ to save them, they have repented – because they're saying "I'm no good and I can't make it, so I'm trusting you instead! I thought I could save myself or was good enough, but I repent and realize, I can't save myself, I need to trust you instead".

    That's repentance and faith, simply put. They're two sides of one coin, impossible to have one without the other.

    Let's look at two bible illustrations that make this so simple.

    First, the thief on the cross. Did he have to do any of that stuff? No, he simply recognized he was getting what he deserved, (ackowledging his sin) and called on Jesus in faith. And Jesus saved him right there.

    Second, in Numbers 21 we see a story where the children of Israel rebelled, and God sent a bunch of fiery snakes to bite them. Moses begged God for mercy, and God told Moses to make a brass snake and put him on a pole… so anyone could look to that snake, and they'd be healed.
    Jesus ties right into that story in John 3:14-15 – "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so also must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life".

    See that? Just like those people had to look at that snake to be healed, so we are to "look" (trust) to Jesus. Now how often did those people have to look to that snake? Did they have to keep looking at it all day? Did they have to keep eyes on it inside their house at night, because if they stop looking at it then it shows they never looked at it at all?
    Of course not! Once you've trusted in Christ alone and his finished work to save you from sin and hell, your sins are gone.

    Since you're struggling with doubt, you fit in one of three categories:

    1) Maybe you've trusted in Christ but you're just struggling with doubt.

    2) Maybe you've never trusted Christ and are not saved.

    3) Maybe you just don't know if you have or haven't because thoughts in your head can mix up and be so confusing.

    Here's the great news: No matter which of those categories you fall into, the answer is the same: the Gospel! Whether you were saved before, simply go back to the gospel truth *right now*, and know that if never before, believing and accepting the truth of the message right now settles it all.

    Now regarding all the thoughts in your head… Scripture warns us in 1 John 4:1-3 not to believe every spirit. God's holy spirit only tells you truths connected to God's word. He doesn't say "what if", "how sure are you", etc. He speaks very specifically. When he goes to tell the lost they need to be saved, he's telling them they need to trust Christ – not "how sure are you that you really meant that?" So if you get thoughts like "Jesus is enough for my salvation", that lines up. A thought like "What if I didn't really do it right" is not biblical, and therefore not from God. It could be from the devil, or from your own analytical mind.
    Read through the books of John and Romans. They're incredible for helping understand the truth more. I still struggle often with uncertainty and doubt, but i've been starting to counter bad thoughts with thoughts of God's word. The gospel message is shown in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Ephesians 1:12-13 shows that when you hear the gospel, and trust in Christ/believe the gospel, you're sealed with the holy spirit of promise. Ephesians 4:30 says you're sealed with that holy spirit UNTIL the day of redemption! That's a very specific promise that he can never be lost. And do you really think that you could go to hell with God the Holy Spirit in you? I should think not!

    So don't look back at an experience! Don't look at a prayer you prayed ten years ago! Don't look at all the sin you've done since! Just look at what you're trusting to get you to heaven right now! If it's in Christ and his finished work alone, then you're his. If you're trusting in anything you've done, then transfer your trust to him entirely, and know that the work is done! God will never cast you into hell if you've trusted in Jesus as your savior and what he did on the cross for you. That would be him punishing both Jesus AND someone who trusted him, which he promised to never do! John 8 – "I give them eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand"
    Romans 8 – [in summary] "NOTHING can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ".

  • So, I was sobbing most of the time I was reading this.
    I relate so so so much and this helped. I've struggled a lot with this type of OCD since I became Christian (about 2.5 years ago). It started with a thought and then the fear of "what if I committed the unforgivable sin", and that really caused me to have intense anxiety which ultimately led me to fall in to a depression. After that, the OCD continued to affect my walk with God and other random aspects of my day to day life. I've tried to open up to people, friends, family, therapists, but none of them actually know about this specific type of OCD and truly knows how to help me. Some can only listen, some get frustrated with me, some give me some general tips for reducing and coping with anxiety. It's hard to feel like barely anyone knows about your condition and that every time you try to open up to someone, you *pitifully* attempt to teach them what it is. But I'm glad I found this resource and it is sooo comforting to know that there are people out there who know this condition and how it practically affects people. Thank you!

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