Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Part 2-Don't Ignore Doubt

Are you a Christian? Do you love Jesus Christ. Love Him? Are you currently clinging to Jesus Christ as your only hope for pleasing God and for the fulfillment of all of God's promises to you, even eternal life?

Part One of this series on spiritual doubt, I tried guide us through three potential sources for why true Christians will struggle with doubting their salvation. The introduction focused on our need to be known by God. Here, in Part two of this three part series, I want to address the deceived non-Christian.

Resting in a false hope of salvation, with no doubts, is worse than being tormented by an accusing conscience. Becuase you don't doubt your salvation doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't! Perhpas you do battle with doubt? Maybe your accusing conscience will stimulate genuine repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Being comforted by a false assurance will only damn.

So I must ask again, on what grounds do you set your eternal hope of favor with God? Thinking you are a Christian is not enough. Knowing right doctrine is not enough. Knowing the only true God and Jesus Christ Whom He has sent is essential. Do you know God? Do you doubt if you know God? Although an accusing conscience doesn't always equal lostness, it certainly could. If it's there, please don't ignore the doubt.

Based on my experiences with professing Christians, it would not surprise me if the majority of professing Christians who read this post have recently struggled with spiritual doubt. Doubt is common. Ignoring it is crazy. Doubt or no doubt, every person who names the Name of Christ should regularly "examine himself" to see if he is truly in the faith. Are you in the faith?

Doubter: What NOT to do:

Ignore doubt

Of course, doubt is there for a reason. Tend to it.

Nail it down
In my estimation this approach is nothing more than a mockery of Christ's cross, making Jesus a means rather than an end. To say to someone, "Just re-do it and everything will be cool between you and God" is a sure indication of a wrong understanding of the gospel. Isn't that the same thing as saying, "Hey, I know what will get God off of your back so you can go back to living the uninterrupted good life."

Get busy

A common response. Fill up life with other distractions so as to satiate the nagging conscience.

Get more religious

Read the bible more. Attend church more. Do more good things for people. Pray a bit more. But remaining empty.

Change your words

Use new words in your spiritual talk to make yourself sound more spiritual than you are. Another common, but wrong, response to doubt.

Look at others

Begin measuring your spiritual "health" according the standard of other professing believers (who may in fact be unbelievers) rather than measuring yourself according to Christ.

Remember the time

When you were in your room and prayed with your mom, or talked to the pastor about your salvation, or attended that camp, or had that experience when you were "saved." After all, you wrote the date down in the front of your bible, right?

Of course, the list could go on and on...

Doubter: What TO do:

Don't ignore it!

Consider the source of the doubt. Ask God for help in discerning the root cause.

Evaluate your present hope

Are you, right
now, in this moment, hoping fully in Christ Jesus for your eternal salvation? Are you so tightly clinging to Christ alone, that you will never be saved if Christ is not the Way--because all of your hope is completely in Him? A previous "conversion" experience means little if you are not presently hoping in Christ--which is the best indication that your "conversion" was indeed genuine!

Look to Christ

Those who seek assurance of salvation will ultimately find themselves in hell. The same fate is true for those who seek peace, or joy, or hope. But those who seek
Christ--with all their heart--will find Him, and He will bring all of the aforementioned blessings to bear on the soul with Him. He will be found by those who seek Him. As Nathan Sawyer said a few weeks ago, "God will never say, 'Seek My Face,' in vain." Is Christ the ground of all your hopes? Is Christ the source of your assurance? Is Christ the fountain of your joys? Is Christ the ocean of your confidence before Holy God? Is Christ the highest love of your soul? He will be loved by His own. Do you love Him?

Doubter, seek Christ. Non-doubter, seek Christ.

No comments: