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Maybe I still just don't "get" salvation

Discussion in 'Struggles by Non-Christians' started by Bob8102, Jan 25, 2020.

  1. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

    United States
    I posted that I think that, maybe, even in my most sincere repentences or givings of my life to Christ, I am really, in my heart of hearts, still clinging to self and not submitting to Jesus. In response, aiki wrote:

    "But, you see, you're trusting in yourself rather than in Christ for your salvation. You're making your sincerity the key to your salvation. The key, though, isn't you, but the Saviour. He loves you. Enough to bear the guilt and punishment of your sin upon himself on the cross of Calvary. When you are convinced of this, when you are confident in God's infinite love for you, your fear and doubt will dissolve. "He who fears has not been made perfect in love," the Bible says. Your anxiety over your saved condition suggests you haven't really laid hold of the truth of God's love for you. (See 1 John 4:16-19)"

    I am thinking that maybe there is yet something I just don't "get" about salvation. John McArthur relates how some people talk/hear/think about Christ, Christianity and the gospel, to something hilarious that used to happen to his wife and him at night. He would be awake and she would be talking in her sleep. She would say something, and he would respond. She would respond to what he said, in her sleep. He would say something and she'd respond again, and so forth. He said that some church speakers would talk in Christian phrases and lingo, but it was like they really just didn't "get" the gospel in their hearts. Their talking about Christianity was something like his wife talking in her sleep. I wonder if my understanding of the gospel is also like his wife talking in her sleep. Maybe I know the basic facts and doctrine, but there is some way I'm just not "getting" it in my heart (or maybe still not even getting it right in my head).

    I have a book by JD Greear called "Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How To Know For Sure You Are Saved." In it, he writes:

    "I went out in the woods and yelled at God. Why was He withholding assurance from me? Why was He hiding? Had he predestined me not to be saved, and was that why I couldn't find assurance? Or was He waiting on me to make some promise to Him - about going to the mission field or living in poverty or something - before He'd let me find assurance? Was He punishing me for my sin?

    "One day I got so angry at God that I asked Him why He just didn't make me a dog, since dogs at least don't have to worry about going to hell. Often, through tears, I pleaded with God that if He'd let me have an assurance of salvation, I'd be the best Christian who'd ever lived.

    "But no matter what I did, what promises I made, or how many times I asked Jesus into my heart, I could not shake the fear I was headed for hell."

    In recent days, one of the matters with me has been my attraction to a certain neighborhood woman. I see her walk by my house on a regular basis and we always greet each other. One day last week, when she walked by, I had a seismic reaction to her internally, deciding I was willing to structure my whole life around getting to know her and to getting along with her. But, on some occasions, I have thought about this decision, and said, you know, I've got to make sure I'm a Christian, first and foremost. I can structure my life around her AFTER I become a Christian. I've at times laid this out before God: 'If that potential relationship needs to be dropped, help me to let it drop. I can't let it stand in the way of my salvation.'

    SOMETHING has been standing in the way of my salvation, or at least my assurance of salvation, for ten years of seeking. Recently, I have been doing lots of pondering about aiki's post. Maybe there is something I just don't "get" about salvation.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
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  2. TzephanYahu

    TzephanYahu Member

    United Kingdom
    Shalom @Bob8102

    What is it you don't get about salvation? Is it a mind thing or a heart thing?

    These days, we have a lot of "teachers" who can make salvation seem complicated, illogical or even hypocritical at times. Such people have more zeal than wisdom and others have ill-motive. It can unfortunately muddy the water - much to the enemies delight I'm sure.

    But salvation through Messiah is a simple message. So what about it specifically has become a hurdle for you? And if I can help, Yahweh willing, I will.

    Love & Shalom
  3. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

    John's First Epistle has a lot about assurance of salvation through faith in God's beloved Son.
  4. GaveMeJoy

    GaveMeJoy Well-Known Member

    United States
    Hey friend, it may feel anxiety producing and difficult to feel like you are struggling and striving with this and seeking to have confirmation and understanding of salvation in Christ. I want to encourage you that this is AMAZING news. The fact that you are striving, and posting in a forum and have been seeking for 10 years all indicate to me that the Holy Spirit is doing a great work in you.
    Remember what the gospel is, Christ crucified. Believe, repent of sins, have faith in Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross for your salvation. That’s the gospel.

    I went through great pain in my life and during that time (still in it) Jesus drew me closer to him. That’s when I found true JOY in my sadness. I focus on the joy now and it’s brought great peace. I have left a road map from the word of God to find this peace below.

    Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

    Philippians 4:4-7
    In Christ
  5. Ahermit

    Ahermit Active Member

    There is no assurance of salvation because we still hold the power to make choices, hence, self-will. Can you imagine what would happen if we were assured salvation and then felt free to run amok sinning all over the place. Believe me, there are Christians just like this. You even see them on TV, doing sin, while wearing a crucifix necklace. . . go figure.

    If you want some sort of assurance, then refeel that tiny bit within you that loves the truth. Let yourself melt into that tiny bit that you know is true. Feel the Love that loves the truth. That Love (from God) is loving your innermost being _ the real you. When you feel that Love, love it back with all your heart, mind and soul. Surrender to that Love that loves you. While you are loving the Love that loves you, you won't even care about assurance because you are, at the very moment, in salvation.

    So, if you ever doubt God. Just love the Love that loves you, and all doubt will disappear.
  6. Bob8102

    Bob8102 Member

    United States
    I figure it's a heart thing more than a mind thing. I try to sincerely give my life to Christ, asking Him to "take me." But, usually, in the next moment, I figure nothing really happened. I must not have really been sincere when I supposedly gave Him my life. This goes on repeatedly.
  7. At Your Footstool

    At Your Footstool Cool people hang with Christ Supporter

    United Kingdom
    The fact alone, you have acknowledged you have weaknesses, allows the Spirit of God to continue working in your life. Believe me you are actually going somewhere in the Lord right now. Even if it feels like the opposite.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  8. com7fy8

    com7fy8 Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States

    Trust God to be the Good Judge who knows what He wants to do with you.

    God is quiet, not silent. But if we submit and surrender to and excuse what is not quiet, of course we will not experience sharing with and submitting to God.

    "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:31-32)

    "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful." (Colossians 3:15)

    These are basics of Christian living. If we obey how God rules us in His peace, we will experience God. And we will not be merely about getting assurance for our own selves; because in Jesus we are family; we care about one another as ourselves. So we need to share with one another, trust one another, minister for one another to be changed by God so we are with Him in His love and sharing as His family.

    But people can isolate themselves with their own unquiet stuff, self-righteous criticizing, and picking and choosing who they judge to be good enough for them to associate with. And they love their independence which has them depending on their own selves, but really which isolates them so they can not share as God's family.

    "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you." (James 4:7)
  9. SkyWriting

    SkyWriting The Librarian Supporter

    United States
    Yup. What you are missing is a foundation of Faith. You have the faith that God is there so if you die, your not going to scoff at God and say...."Never mind, big guy, I choose Hell."

    But you need a stronger exchange to build on. Here is the solution:
    Who Wants to Know God Better?
  10. Anthony2019

    Anthony2019 A work in progress. Being moulded by the Potter! Supporter

    United Kingdom
    We don't have to wait until we have got everything sorted and straightened out in our lives in order for God to love us. We can come to Him just as we are. He loves us and He is always looking for us to respond to Him.
    After some very difficult childhood experiences, I grew up finding it very hard to open my heart to anyone or to express feelings of emotion. For many, many years, I could not bring myself to say the words "I love you" to a single soul. For many years as a Christian, I found it very hard to tell God I loved Him.

    But I remember the day I did.

    For many years, I had described God as my Heavenly Father, but one day I finally decided that I was going to allow Him to be exactly that. I told Him I wanted to become fully a child of His, that from now on, I was going to trust Him more, not just with parts of my life, but that I would share everything with Him. I finally surrendered and said to Him "I love you". I felt the Lord telling me how much He loved me and how much those simple words touched Him.

    I believe that we often make the mistake of thinking that somehow God is distant and not affected by our words and emotions. But in the same way there is rejoicing in heaven over a sinner who repents, the heart of our Heavenly Father is stirred and quickened when we respond to Him in love and trust.
  11. TzephanYahu

    TzephanYahu Member

    United Kingdom
    I know what you mean. Okay, to me it sounds like one of two possibilities:

    1. You are not being entirely upfront with God and completely honest
    2. You need the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

    On possibility 1:
    When we hold things or opinions or sin back from God and kinda act like its not there and speak to Him, we can get silent treatment. It's almost like "if you won't really speak with me, I won't really speak with you". Yahweh requires complete raw honesty, warts an all. That includes any hidden resentment you may be habouring towards Him, His Word, the Gospel or the Messiah. I think He gets more cross with how we try and bury it rather than what we actually think. Because we can't offend Him with our thoughts and issues, but we can if we try and hide it.

    Are there any unresolved issues or feelings or complaints you have against Him or His Word? Deal with these first, brutally and honestly, before asking anything of Him.

    On possibility 2:
    This needs to happen. It is absolutely mandatory. Living as a Christian without the Spirit is very tough, difficult, confusing at times, and basically just work. I know, I done it for about 14 years in my own strength, assuming I already had the Spirit in me (as the church teaches happens when you believe). However, once I was baptised in the Holy Spirit, it was a different life entirely. I understood what Paul was saying on a heart level, and not just the mind. The life of a Christian became a joy, exciting, clear and peaceful. Yes, it is still challenging, as we are still in the world, but believing alone vs believing with the Holy Spirit inside is a totally different thing.

    If possibility 1 applies to you, work on this matter before seeking possibility 2, but your ultimate goal is that baptism my friend.

    If possibility 1 does apply and you feel comfortable to share those deep thoughts, confusions and tensions about Him or His Word, I'm more than happy to try and help, Yahweh willing.

    Love & Shalom
  12. Romansthruphilemon

    Romansthruphilemon Member

    You have the gospel completely backwards. You keep saying over and over “I try sincerely to give my life to Christ”. John MacArthur has taught you this false gospel. He doesn’t believe the real gospel.

    The real gospel is Christ gave his life for us. It’s got nothing to do with you giving your life to Christ. He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. When you trust Christ you are saved. John MacArthur doesn’t believe that and until you believe that and trust in Christ alone you will have no assurance.
  13. A_Thinker

    A_Thinker Well-Known Member Supporter

    The salvation process ... isn't primarily about reformation (i.e. getting your life aligned with God).

    The primary goal ... is RESCUE. God says ... I recognize your life's dilemma, ... and I'm offering you a way out. You just have to take it. It's akin to when Noah had completed the ark, ... and OFFERED the folks around him a place on the ark. All they had to do was believe Noah ... get their tail on the ark.

    Now, once God has RESCUED you, He does embark upon a program of personal REFORMATION for you. Typically, ... it's a long process, ... even LIFE-LONG. But you just roll with God ... along the bumpy streets and highways of this life. You will learn ... you will adapt ... you will reform ... as you submit yourself to His reformation plan.

    As far as other things going on in your life, I would continue with those which bring value to my life. You gotta eat, sleep, enjoy life with friends and family, get some recreation, ... AND I would consider acting on my attractions sooner, rather than later, ... in as Christian a way as I could, knowing that if it's meant to be, ... the Lord will work it out for you. And, yes, it would be BEST, if you were to eventually marry, if you and your bride were both moving along the path of God's sanctification program. To do things God's way will avoid all sorts of issues for you ... and provide resolution for the issues that you will, inevitably face.

    My final comment to you here is that ... christians are not perfect, ... they're just looking forward to being perfect. It's all about moving FORWARD.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
  14. Mathetes66

    Mathetes66 Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me, all you who are weary & burdened & I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you & learn from Me; for I am gentle & humble in heart & you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy & My burden is light.”

    Romans 8:15-17 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery that returns you to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. And if we are children, then we are heirs: heirs of God & co-heirs with Christ—if indeed we suffer with Him, so that we may also be glorified with Him.

    Acts 5:32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him."

    Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

    I John 5:9-13 Even if we accept human testimony, the testimony of God is greater. For this is the testimony that God has given concerning His Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. And this is that testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

    Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 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.

    Are you trying or trusting? Are you living for Christ or self? We don't 'try' to please God or believe in Him. We 'trust' in God by obeying His commandments & thus please Him. The life of a spiritually born again Christian is a walk of FAITH from the first step to the last one.

    Do you actually have a personal RELATIONSHIP with the Lord Jesus Christ? How do you KNOW your parents are your parents? How do you KNOW they love you? How do you show your love to them? It is because you have a personal relationship with them!

    So stop trying in your own power & trust in Christ moment by moment. If you have been saved, you will KNOW IT by having eternal life. You have the very life of God in you. The Holy Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. You must be born again.

    Philippians 3:3-16 For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God & glory in Christ Jesus & put no confidence in the flesh, although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh.

    If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

    7But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count (consider, reckon) all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things & count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ & may be found in Him

    --not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, so that I may know Him & the power of His resurrection & the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

    12Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind & reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude & if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you; however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.

    Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ & it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me & the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me & gave Himself up for me.

    Read the epistle of I John over & over again. Read about the testimony of the evangelist Charles Finney.
  15. d taylor

    d taylor Well-Known Member

    United States
    You seem like a person whose post i have replied to before. But what i read from your opening statement, sounds like you are hung up on the term salvation. Which is not the best way to look at what you are seeking as the word salvation in the Bible carries many types of salvation's.

    The best thinking and way to look at a person receiving salvation is actually from the point of receiving Eternal Life. And the Gospel of John is the main book (the only book in the Bible written for that very reason) in the Bible that states how to receive Eternal Life.

    And to receive Eternal Life a person must believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah from the prophecies in the Tanakh and trust in Jesus for the free gift of His Eternal Life.

    If a person believes in The Messiah for Eternal Life they have Eternal Life at that moment of belief. Never to loose their Eternal Life, they become born again, a child of God. and have crossed over from Adams spiritual death to Gods spiritual rebirth.

    Receiving Eternal Life is not about feeling or emotions but about reading the evidence presented in the Bible about The Messiah and then believing the Bibles witness, that is it.

    You are not going to be able to say i know i have salvation because i no longer feel like a sinner or i no longer have the urge to sin. But you now have God who claims you as a child and when you do sin again you can simply confess your sins, if it is a sin you continue to do then you need to repent of that sin and try to stop committing that sin or God may discipline you, His child of God.

    And Gods discipline always hits the mark and you may or could be in for various types of discipline. A fine example of Gods discipline in the bible is. Ananias and Sapphira or the people who were getting drunk at the Lords supper and who were falling sick and even dying.
  16. paul1149

    paul1149 that your faith might rest in the power of God Supporter

    United States
    Perhaps your operating on a false paradigm. If you look at Romans 10, there Paul boils salvation down to its bare essentials. We must confess Jesus is Lord, and we must believe that God raised Him from the dead. In that simple formula there is belief and there is obedience. There is no mention of feeling anything. It is a heartfelt decision. The feelings can come later.

    Now this business of asking Jesus into our hearts. I will submit to you that even saved Christians ask Jesus into their hearts regularly, and are right to do so, but the difference is that they believe that He is already there and they are asking for more of Him, whereas the unsaved do not yet have that starting point.

    Do you have the faith to accept what Romans 10 says at face value and conform to it, and then to start thanking God for salvation instead of asking Him for it? Then you can continue to ask for more of Jesus, but from an already-laid foundation of faith rather than doubt. This takes the focus off of you, where there is doubt, and puts it on the Lord, which is where the overcoming power lies. Paul says there that the Word is not far away, and that you don't have to go to extraordinary lengths to find Him. He is near. Salvation is simple, a matter of trust and obedience. And we don't start off perfected; we start off in need of a lot of remediation. But God is faithful to complete the good work He has begun in us (php 1.6). So don't make it more complicated than it is. Keep it simple and get on board. You don't have to jump through anyone's hoops.
  17. eleos1954

    eleos1954 God is Love Supporter

    United States

    Salvation is: Justification + Sanctification = Glorification

    God’s plan for our salvation has three parts in this order: Justification, Sanctification, and Glorification.


    Each one of us have broken God’s Law. This is sin. The wages of sin is (eternal) death (cease to exist forever). This price is more than we can ever repay–it is impossible. Because of God the father’s unconditional love for the us, he gave his only begotten Son Jesus to pay for our debt of eternal death on the cross. This one time event was done by Jesus. Only Jesus is worthy to pay the price for each one of us because he never sinned. He has not broken God’s Law. Jesus (in the form of a man) died a physical death, giving His life willingly and was raised back to life; thus conquering eternal death.


    It’s the reciprocation of our love toward God. We are sanctified with the help of the Holy Spirit (Comforter) that Jesus gives us. Sanctification means to set a part or to make holy. His Holy Spirit helps us in this process to become more like Christ. This is not a one time event; it’s a life long process (we stumble here and there). The process of sanctifying and purifying us (the works that Jesus does in the believer, and is not of ourselves) ... it is HIM working in us and through us. We are separated from the world. We are in the physical world but not of the world spiritually. Our mind (thinking) changes over time and therefore our actions also change. Our faith increases more and more as He faithfully works in us. Hebrews 12:2

    The third stage in the plan of salvation is our glorification.

    We won’t be glorified until after Jesus returns. John writes of this in his first letter when he states that “when he shall appear we shall be like him (1 John 3:2). Paul refers to this stage frequently. For example: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:53). He also refers to a time when “we shall all be changed in a moment in in a twinkling of an eye at the last trump” (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Paul speaks further of the doctrine of glorification when he says in Romans 8:18, “For the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” We receive glorified spiritual bodies. Receiving eternal life and being with Him forevermore. Those saved (justification + sanctification) will be glorified when Christ returns at the first resurrection.

    If ... or when one experiences thoughts of condemnation ... this is not from the Lord ... these thoughts are from the accuser (Satan) .... cast him out of your thoughts in the name of Jesus.

    The Lord will bring your sin to your mind .... ask Him to help you overcome it and He will do so (over time) and without condemnation.

    We will sin, it is our nature ... we are to ask for His forgiveness and to turn to Him for help to overcome it and He will do this and does so without condemnation.

    John 8:11

    Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

    Philippians 1:6

    New Living Translation
    And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

    Praise the Lord .... He will finish His work and we are not condemned!

    God Bless!
  18. Maria Billingsley

    Maria Billingsley Well-Known Member Supporter

    United States
    In Relationship
    Welcome! I selected this very important quote from your OP because it seems Jesus Christ of Nazareth is just not enough for you to come into full belief. Christ paid for our sins long ago. We are now only to accept that He did this work for humanity. Once you have come into full faith, you will receive His Holy Spirit and be in His Body, the Kingdom of God. You can search out numerous teachings on soteriology but the fact remains, you have not let Him in. Your love for Him must be greater than your love for anyone or anything in your life. Once you have reached this point, then you will get it. I will pray for you.
  19. Steve97

    Steve97 Active Member

    UK - SNP
    When all else fails, ask God, through His son Jesus Christ, for help.
  20. crossnote

    crossnote Berean Supporter

    United States
    Salvation is in the 'purse son', of Jesus Christ.
    The Holy Spirit points us to the person Jesus through the Scriptures.
    The Scriptures points us to the person Jesus through the Holy Spirit.
    Go to Him and Him alone for salvation.

    And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luk 24:27)