By Jack Weaver
Below is a distressing note from a young man who is tragically unsure of his salvation. I am terribly distressed when I read his words and thoughts. We need to pray for him and many like him who have been confused by false teachers like Francis Chan, John MacArthur, John Piper, Paul Washer and others.
We witness many visitors to our web site who have been victims of the teaching of Lordship “salvation.” We see many who have finally and joyously understood the real meaning of God’s Free Grace and have trusted, not their behavior, not their works — but Jesus Christ alone as their eternal Savior.
Because of the nature and content of his letter, I will assign to him an assumed name of “Joseph.” I will also highlight in bold parts of his email, some areas of his concern and our possible discussion. I pray some of our readers will offer Joseph scriptural answers to his concerns.
Hello. I have seen your website a couple of times. I usually end up on your site when looking up stuff about Francis Chan.
I really don’t know how to start this email, so I’ll just dive right in I guess. I need help. I need prayer.
For years now, ever since I started college, more so in my second year of college, I have continually and constantly had nagging doubts about my salvation. I still to this day continue to have these doubts.
I will confess something to you first, however. Also since I started college, I have had a continual worry about evangelism. The thing is, I am uncomfortable talking with strangers, and as a result, have had trouble evangelizing them, almost not doing so at all. I have told my friends the gospel, but not usually right away. I am a person who struggles a lot with fear as well.
I know the gospel message of grace. I have told it to people, to myself, and I have been comforted by the grace of Jesus Christ toward me as a sinner. But always, without fail, my assurance goes away. I become increasingly more aware of my sin, which is good of course, but I then question my salvation.
The Bible teaches that good works follow those who believe. I look at my life, and have trouble seeing them. If I do see them, I question my motives. I’m a mess, in short. I am tired of not having any peace. I am tired of clamming up like a turtle because of my fear of judgment.
I know I have so many sins to deal with in my life. There are things i know I am not even aware of. You seem to be a person that loves the gospel of grace. Is there any words you can offer me for help?
I want to trust in Jesus Christ, and I do, but sometimes, I get scared that because I don’t do certain things, like evangelize often, I am not really saved.
I am in seminary now, and the problem is getting worse. Please help. I hope this all makes sense.
Joseph, we do understand your consternation and pray we can help you see God’s absolute assurance in Jesus Christ through His Word.
I will take a few of your concerns and address them:
- You have been taught falsely that good works will follow those who believe. NOT TRUE, the Bible says believers SHOULD (not must) walk in good works (Ephesians 2:10) Nowhere in God’s Word does He say that a lack of good works condemns a person. Yes, believers SHOULD (not must) do good works but, by His Grace, we have that choice.
- Be warned that some churches and seminaries teach that one must “Repent of or turn from sin”to be saved and/or stay saved. Read the Statement of Faith of your seminary. Such a statement is false doctrine. See this article:
- Very important. Your assurance does not depend upon your behavior or feelings — but solely upon God’s Word.
“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God [Jesus]; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, …“ 1 John 5:13 Believing that Jesus’ death and resurrection to pay your sin debt (which is death) is sufficient personally for you. Your belief/trust in Jesus is your guarantee of salvation. Jesus says to you: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.“ John 6:47 plus hundreds more similar verses.
- Discard Francis Chan. His false teaching is misleading you and thousands of others. Use the search bar on this web site (upper right column) for “Francis Chan” and additionally read Bruce’s accurate articles about Chan’s apostasy here:
- If your seminary training has not by now shown you how to have absolute assurance from scripture, you should seriously consider a change of seminaries. And one of the best is a good, solid Bible College Dayspring Bible College and Seminary in Illinois.
- Go to Gospel Campaign’s web site, read and download the Gospel Booklet. It is very simple and clear.
- Joseph if you indeed “know the Gospel of Grace” I question whether you actually sincerely believe it. See also our page: Eternal Life For You – Guaranteed!!
- Don’t worry about evangelizing anyone until you are absolutely sure of your own salvation. I can imagine it would be difficult trying to explain salvation assurance in Jesus Christ when you do not have it yourself. But when you do understand and have that assurance then, by all means, enthusiastically share that freeing Good News with others. That Truth shall make you (and them) FREE!! “And ye shall know the TRUTH, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32
Joseph, I am confident others will offer suggestions and encouragement to you from God’s Word. These are only a few thoughts but you must realize your assurance cannot rest in your behavior or works but only in Jesus Christ. He is necessary, He is enough and in Him alone is True Salvation.
Please join us in this discussion.