“Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come fearlessly into God’s presence, assured of his glad welcome.” Ephesians 3:12.
You’re experiencing periods of depression because you feel you’re not worthy of God’s free gift of salvation. You’re terrified God might send you to hell even though you’ve said yes, to Jesus Christ. You’re in constant fear because you can’t accept that God would allow you to be saved since your motives for being saved are only to avoid an eternity in hell. You’re living a defeated Christian life.
Above are some common concerns generated by some of the readers of my past commentaries. Mostly these kinds of feelings are submitted by new believers, but occasionally even the lifelong believer can come to a place where they too feel defeated.
Fears and doubts, ups and downs are commonplace in the lives of believers. I say this so you won’t feel you’re all alone. As we grow in our knowledge and understanding of God’s word, the lack of worthiness and sometimes overwhelming fear about losing our salvation mostly dissipate. Those who neglect a Bible study routine can expect the enemy to use these doubts and fears, frequently leading the believer into a life of defeat.
Depending on where you are in your walk with the Lord you may still be in a position that many refer to as a “babe in Christ.” I hated it when a mentor of mine referred to me as a “babe in Christ” but as I grew in the Lord I came to realize what he meant. He wasn’t trying to berate me or make me feel insignificant as a member of the Body of Christ, but as a new believer I still had a long way to go to grasp the deeper meanings of God’s Word.
I believed and read my Bible, but I wasn’t studying my Bible. As such, my understanding of His word was, for the most part, superficial. I couldn’t see all the falsehoods that were at work around me, many of which were right in front of me where I worshiped.
At times we all experience lackadaisical emotions concerning our Christian, and then other times we seem to be on fire for the Lord. This rollercoaster ride of emotions diminishes over time, and depending on your frequency of Bible study will determine you’re being on fire for Jesus or simply in a rut of apathetic indifference.
The sin nature which we all bear in our flesh is a drag on our emotions. Believers, for the most part, want to do everything right and yet many times we fail. It’s not easy to cast all the old things away, all the sinful things we were into while we were unregenerate (lost). What we’ve all had to learn is how to say no to the flesh.
The apostle Paul was no different than any of the rest of us when it comes to overcoming the sin nature. Just look how he struggled.
“ For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do” (Romans 7:15, 18-19).
Even Paul, a mighty man of faith, could not overcome the sin nature by himself. So what do we do? Continue in sin? By the end of chapter 7 Paul gives us the answer: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7:24-25. Our flesh is at war with our spirit, for this reason we will continue to sin. The only way to avoid sinning is to be rid of these fleshly vessels. But we won’t be separated from them until we die or we’re raptured.
When it comes to believers, Satan has a specific agenda. His agenda is to do everything he can to disrupt the believer’s life. He does this by stealing our joy in the Lord. Before we were born again we belonged to Satan. Even though we may look like the same person on the outside, inwardly, at least, we are a changed and new creation, in Christ.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Obviously this new arrangement doesn’t set well with the enemy. We were Satan’s property and through a simple change of mind (belief and repentance) we now belong to God.
God sealed us with His Holy Spirit at the instant we first believed. That’s why we now belong to Him. That seal can never be broken – not by you or anyone else. All the hateful, prideful, scornful, pitiful emotions the enemy will bombard us with or that we may be laying on ourselves can’t change the fact that we have been justified in God’s eyes.
Of course the enemy of God now becomes our worst enemy ever. Becoming a new creation “in Christ” only adds fuel to the flame which is the enemy’s distain. Satan has always hated humanity, but those who belong to God are hated many times over.
The enemy is a deceiver and he’ll endeavor to convince you that you can do all the sinning you want since you aren’t, and can never be, worthy to be called a son of God. If we fall for that lie we may slip back into a rebellious state standing against God until we come to the realization that it was only our enemy’s lies that we’ve been listening to.
A great example that points to a believer’s security is the parable of the prodigal son. (Jesus’ parable begins in Luke 15: 11). The story begins with a man who had two sons. The youngest grew restless and asked his father for his inheritance so he could go out and experience all that the world had to offer. His Father relents and gives the youth his inheritance and the boy goes out from his Father’s home and begins to live a riotous lifestyle, with drinking and all forms of perversions.
Finally after exhausting his entire inheritance he ends up working for a pig farmer (which for a Jew would be the lowest of low) where all he gets to eat is the pig’s leftovers. When he comes to his senses the young man returns to his Father’s home ready to plead for his Father to forgive him.
What the young man didn’t understand is that even though he had left his Father’s home he never lost his Father’s love or the relationship he enjoyed by being his Father’s son. He was only out of fellowship with his Father (A place of defeat because we allow doubt and fear to rule and reign over our lives).
We read that his father rejoiced when He saw His son approaching and He ran to welcome him back with open loving arms. This parable is proof that once we become sons of God we cannot lose our sonship (salvation); no matter how far we move away from God all believers remain forever His children.
If that boy had died in that pig sty before coming to his senses and returning home he would not have lost his sonship (salvation). Once we belong to God we are His forever. Whenever a born again believer in Christ goes through a period of rebellion he/she is only depriving themselves of God’s fellowship. Instead of living with God they are living with the pigs.
There are verses in the Bible that will haunt you if you take them out of context or if you determine their meaning to be different than what they were originally intended. Never allow anyone to tell you God can lose His grip on your soul. That person has definitely misinterpreted the scriptures
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God” (Romans 8:14).
In God’s eyes a son is a son forever.
Our enemy Satan and his demonic hoard delight in erecting strongholds such as doubt and fear in a believer’s life and they are relentless in their efforts. But Paul tells us:
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).
Satan will never stop his attack on believers but the enemy strongholds can be defeated. Only through God and His word is the believer given weapons to demolish satanic strongholds. A major stronghold that the enemy will exploit is an attitude of defeatism in a believer.
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
The devil can’t stand it when we open our Bibles; as we begin to rely on the word of God, Satan flees. God gave us life and He wants us to live that life abundantly. But if we live life so abundantly that we neglect God or we relegate Him to a position of insignificance, or we allow the enemy to build those strongholds over us, then we will live our life defeated instead of in the abundant love of the Lord Jesus.
It’s an understatement to say the enemy isn’t happy about your decision to follow Christ. Satan considers your change of mind as a defection from his camp. This leads to a battle over the soul of every believer. That supernatural battle rages on all around us.
The enemy is outside of our plane of vision and yet he continually lobs stinging darts at us. You avoid those darts through the study of God’s word and prayer. God’s word is likened to wearing armor and the enemy has nothing in his arsenal that can penetrate it.
The process of being born-again is complete and there is nothing that can add to our salvation, or for that matter detract from it. But justification is only the first part of a three part process. Next comes sanctification. This is of course God’s domain and He is fully involved. God will do His sanctifying in us and through us for the rest of our lives.
God keeps us saved, we don’t keep ourselves saved. That would be as impossible as saving ourselves. Lastly we’re glorified. This happens when we die. At some point after we die we will be given our new glorified bodies and we will live forever with Jesus Christ.
Don’t let anyone tell you that if you mess up and sin you can lose your salvation. That is a lie and completely non-biblical. If we are born again, we are born from God, and God doesn’t have butterfingers. He will never lose any of those He has brought to His Son.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 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 10:27-29.
That’s God’s promise to the believer. He knows us, we will never perish, He gives us eternal life, and He will never lose even one believer.
Lastly, and give this final point some serious thought, when Jesus died on that cross some 2,000 years ago, He did it not because He was guilty of any sin but because we are all guilty. We deserve the punishment that He endured. God died for His creation.
Jesus, while hanging on that cross, looked into the future and saw every sin you and I would ever commit, and still He died for us. Man did not take our Lord’s life from Him, but God gave up His life so that we could have life.
“So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit” (John 19:30).
The Greek word which Jesus speaks from the cross is “tetelesti”. In our English Bibles we read it as “It is finished”, but “tetelesti” actually means “Paid in full”. Your sins and my sins as well as the sins of the rest of the world were “Paid in full” when Jesus died on that cross.
Jesus Christ defeated the enemy and sin when He died, was buried, and rose again on the third day. And all anyone must do to receive the covering Christ provided with His shed blood that day is believe.
Defeated? Not hardly.
God bless you all,