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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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    My Sin Makes Me Worry If I am Really Saved

    Once in a while I will receive an email like the following from someone who is worried that some sin they have committed may have crossed the place of no return to God's favor.

    Visitor: Even after I was sealed for the day of redemption, I still have sinned against God. I continue to fight addicting sin(s), and though most of the time I defeat the sin, sometimes I foolishly give in to it. I'm so sorry that I have given in to foolish and sinful lusts, and all I want to do is to cast away those actions forever, and to be forgiven, and sin no more. But I don't know if I am saved anymore, because I have really been scared that my repentance is not true, because I have again sinned, and that God has cast me away. Please help me, because I am very scared. I want to be forgiven and be different.

    Response: Your sin is not greater than Christ's grace and work. Having been united to Christ, the Spirit of adoption can come to you no more with a Spirit of bondage and fear because in Christ you no longer stand in your own sins, merit or performances, but are clothed in His righteousness. Becaue of Jesus you are already on the other side of justice and it can no longer have you (Rom 8:1). No condemnation for you in Christ for the full justice of God has been satisfied. Christ's once for all sacrifice means there is no longer necessary a sacrifice for sin year after year (as in Leviticus) but now His atoning work is sufficient for all time for you before God. Remember, you can neither attain, nor maintain, your right standing before God. You never did and never will, for sin cannot disolve the covenant which God has graciously granted you in Christ. Now as always, our only hope is Jesus Christ. When God justified you, He did not then, and does not now, look at you but rather, at the covenant He made with you in Christ. Consider, when God made the covenant of grace with Abraham, God made Abraham sleep and God himself walked through the divided animals and so promised to take on Himself the punishment if Abraham did not fulfill his side of the covenant. And so it was, the seed of Abraham (that's us) all failed to keep the covenant and so God Himself came in the flesh to fully bear up the punishment we justly deserve for not keeping our side of it. Jesus Kept it for us. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves, from our side. We are justified for His sake, not for anything God sees in us or will see in us.

    It was not your obedience, repentance or faith that caused God to justify you because none of these things can pay for sin - not now, not ever. Only Christ alone can save and pay for sin. And He did. Your safety is based, therefore, on Christ's merit, not on what you do, otherwise you are looking in your self for confidence before God, rather than Christ. No one, not one of us would have confidence if we had only to look to ourselves. So look to Christ. Herein is the gospel.

    And if one thinks they can lose their salvation because of some sin they committed, they are essentially saying that what Christ did for them is insufficient. They are looking to Christ PLUS their keeping of the Law. It misses the whole point of the gospel which is that Christ saves from first to last. The passage that warns the Hebrews against falling away is warning them against one thing: abandoning trust in Christ alone by going back to now worthless and obsolete things, such as trusting in the temple sacrifice and the Law in order to be justified. The warnings in Henrews are given to those in the covenant community that they would not be tempted to turn from trusting Jesus alone (who is God over all) for some lesser or meaningless ritual act or law keeping that supposedly now can curry God's favor. Trusting in anything except Christ alone, who is the light that scatters all shadows, is said to be tantamount to "trampling under foot the Son of God", that is, believing that His once of all sacrifice is insufficient in itself to save. If something in place of, or in addition to, Jesus is trusted in it is no different than a denial of Him. So in context, the persons who go back by trading in Christ for the now-empty ritual of the temple (that itself was meant to point to the fulfillment in Christ), are then re-crucifying the Son to their shame. But unfortunately, Hebrews 6:4-8 is often read in isolation apart from this context.

    In fact this is a backdoor to the Galatian heresy where Paul says, "Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?" (Gal 3:3) To believe one can lose salvation, therefore, is trusting in something other than Jesus Christ to keep you righteous in Him. The Hebrews were tempted to go back to temple sacrifice (trusting in something other than Christ) and the doctrine that one can lose salvation is likewise trusting in ones' own moral ability to maintain a just standing before God, since Jesus, according to them, is unable to save completely those who He came to save. Either we are trusting in Christ alone to both attain and maintain our justification or we are trusting in something worthless which the author of Hebrews gives severe warnings about. Quite ironic. That passage is a warning passage for the very error those who teach we can lose salvation are making.

    So if your faith is in him today, no matter what you have done your sins are forgiven. As surely as God is good, in Christ's blood He remembers to never treat you as your sins justly deserve because justice has already been carried out (past tense) for them. You have been set free in Christ and have been given a new heart that loves God. We trust and obey Christ, not in order to be saved but because He has saved us already. May he grant you a Spirit of revelation and an increasing knowledge of Him that your affection for Him would overcome all other vain affections.

    Similar Articles
    How Do I Know I am Saved?

    Posted by John on May 14, 2008 12:48 PM

    Comments

    Thank you for this wonderful teaching. I am new to hearing the gospel...even though I have been in church 30 years. Reformed Theology is just turning my life around...the Scriptures are finally making sense to me. I do believe God has given me an awakening...I humbly thank Him for His Salvation and mercy extended to me...even me.

    I'm having some similar questions to the "Visitor." I was reading the first passage mentioned in this article (Rom 8:1) and noticed it said
    "There is no condemnation...for those who walk not in the flesh but in the spirit." When I sin, am I not, "Walking in the flesh" and therefore, condemned? I believe everything you said in the article...but in all my searching I constantly run into this paradox and it makes me feel like a failure all the time. please help

    The closer we get to the triune God, the more vivid we are to our sins. God's holiness will expose the our deprived nature, the corrupted nature of our thoughts and the limited ability of our strength to save ourselves.

    This is the paradox of sanctification. Analogically, a piece of white paper may look perfectly white under a normal light but if the same piece of white paper is brought closer and closer to the light, the paper is not all white and perfect after all.

    Only our Creator has the power to renew his elected creation according to His salvation plan by His sovereign will through His holy grace.

    :)

    Good day
    I read your response and really makes me feel good but as for me i am one of those thats not sure if i am saved or not. i am stuggling with alcohol,fornication,smoking,and lies and many others. i have been praying to God for my deliverance but to no avail. the worst part is that i am even ashamed of myself. how does GOD see me in his eyes as a disgusting young lady who has no self control and lies to GOD. i know i am playing a very dangerous game but please help me i grave for GOD so much i want to be JESUS desciple but very weak over the fleshly desires.please help

    Wow(: just believe in Jesus Christ and accept Him as your Savior. He has done it all. He said " come to me and I'll give you rest." don't u want to rest in the Lord? Be happy that will be for all eternity and know you are saved no matter what u have done or will do? Well the answer is Jesus Christ don look at the things you have done for that sin tries to tell u that you aren't good enough for Christ which is a lie!!! God came on Earth to save sinners not good people.

    Thankyou so much for this teaching. I have been in fear for many years that i would burn in hell because as a christian, I divorced and am unable to reconcile to him. It became that my salvation was dependant on my marriage, not Jesus, and so God became unfair and horrible to me. I have been living in hellish fear. I have such a peace after your teaching. Thankyou.

    I am glad to see that I am not the only one struggling with this! My friend (a fellow Christian) says that I am not truely saved because I sin (I disagree). And that I can live sin free (I agree). I believe that I can live sin free but I just haven't yet; but I believe I am still saved because of the blood of Jesus (she disagrees). If we all sin and God doesn't listen to our prayers because we are sinners, why would I even try? I know that I would try not to sin because of my love for Jesus and all that He gave for me. But I can't see God as one that says "She's not doing what I told her to do so she can't join me in Heaven. Eventhough, she believes I sent my Son for her salvation." I'm still confused...Romans teaches that God is pleased because of our faith and not our works...right? I understand that I "should" not sin because I "owe it to Christ" (in a sense) but does he turn his back on me when I fall short? Especially when I pray for forgiveness and I am truely, with all that I have, trying not to sin?

    Jesus would never turn his back on you!

    For if we died with him, we shall also live with him, if we endure, we shall also reign with him, if we deny him, he also will deny us, if we are faithless, he remains faithful, he cannot deny himself.

    Jesus would never turn his back on you!

    For if we died with him, we shall also live with him, if we endure, we shall also reign with him, if we deny him, he also will deny us, if we are faithless, he remains faithful, he cannot deny himself.

    I agree totally.

    I was wondering- the longer we live for Christ, the closer we come to Him, the more grevious our sinfullness looks, thus causing us to Feel that were are not a Christian, when in Fact - our self image of our fallen state reveals to us that "nothing good dwells in me - that is, in my Flesh"

    The closer we walk with Christ, the worse our dead man looks.

    There is absolutly nothing we can do to undo all the ministries the God Has done for us. We cannot undo Justication, or we cannot Un baptise ourselves from the Body of Christ, we cannot nullify the Adoption of Sons that God has done for us.

    This the So great Salvation that we have in Christ -in Christ Alone!

    Wow! What a great original question and reply. I think this string demonstrates the struggles that those who love Christ and want to please HIM go through in a fallen world.

    The Apostle Paul nailed this entire string when he penned in 2 Corinthians 4:4 "For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life"

    I think we must remember that the first sin Satan tempted mankind with, was the presumption that we could be like God. We cannot be and we were never made to be. We were made in HIS image and HIS likeness, not HIS being. Only Christ, as a man, was able to lay claim to that and because of that, we must trust that Christ will overcome our sinful nature, in HIS time and HIS way.

    I struggled for a long time, trying to combat sin and trust me, you will lose your mind fighting that fight.

    God saves, HE is saving and HE will
    save us. HE called us into Christ, HE will be faithful and Sanctify us in Christ and HE will bring us into glory with Christ when we pass.

    Your very sorrow towards the LORD about your sin, testifies to HIS refining work. HE will deal with it and it usually hurts when HE does, but it always will come to pass for those who are in Christ. Sometimes slower and sometimes faster, but HE is faithful and HE will do it.

    I struggle daily with sin of all types. In my heart I feel the lord Jesus. Ive struggled many years with thinking I must live sin free and perfect. As time goes on though I realize more and more Jesus was my sacrifice not me therefore I don't have to be perfect only believe that my Lord Jesus was and that his blood was sufficient to cover my sin.

    wow just the response it is wow I am christian struggling with si it made me realise that becourse I worry about bieng perfect and keeeping the law not aknowledging the fact that Jesus did all of that for me I just have to obey and trust him all shall be added wow its wow.

    1 Corinthians 15:56-58
    King James Version (KJV)

    56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

    57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

    Hebrews 4

    11 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

    12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

    1 Corinthians 6

    16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

    17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

    18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

    19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

    20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

    Rest in the word, spend time there and you will be delivered from hurtful and inconvenient lifestyles

    Hey there. Hope you are all well in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I have a problem as to whom to beileive anymore. I believe in God and His amazing Son but I struggle, with keeping the law. I end up hating myself, and but afterwards, I confess my sins to God through prayer and ask for forgives through His son Jesus Christ..,then I try living a holy life again, only to fail and hate myself once again. Then it gets harder to pray and ask fo forgives from God. Now back to my problem as to having trouble as to whom should I trust, other high priest and churches say we must believe in our Lord yes but must strive to keep the Law, and if we fail, pray to God and move on. They teach that we must be transformed in the renewal of our minds and not the world. Then, there's other people teaching the Word saying that, we must not worry, Christ did everything for us, so let's boast in our weakness, because we could never keep the law. If we try to keep the Law, and we fail, we don't have confidence that Christ died for our sins. All of these doctrines confuse me and make me angry and hopeless. Which one is true?? Then my bible says I should watch out not to be decieved by any false teachings.,which again worries me. What does the Word of the living God truly teach? I pray in the Name of Jesus Christ your answer will not come from you but from our Father in Heaven. God bless.

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