Backslidden but Saved?|
Q. I'm living in sin and I know it. I guess you could call me a backslidden Christian. My question is how do I know I'm saved for sure even though I'm not walking in the Spirit? Will I be a part of a rapture if it occurs in my lifetime? Will I be in heaven when I die?
By Grace through Faith
Thank goodness the Bible is clear that we are saved through faith and not on the basis of our own works. If you believe the Bible to be God's Word then you can rest assured of this because Paul says,
"For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves. It is God's gift - not from works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8, HCSB).
Sealed with Holy Spirit
Keeping you saved is not your job either. Once you accepted Jesus as Lord who died for your sins then you are "sealed" with the Holy Spirit as one of His.
A Guarantee for You
Paul explains, "And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee" (2 Corinthians 1:21-22, ESV).
As if this isn't enough Paul says it again to the Ephesians:
"In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:13-14).
But Why Diminish a Gift&Guarantee?
OK. But, now I have a question for you: Why would you want to live in sin when God has so graciously given you eternal life and hope for your future? Why would you insist on living completely in the here-and-now when we can look forward to great things later? Are we that childish in our thinking that we must have everything we want right now?
We Will All Account for Everything
While, yes, you are saved and will be a part of the rapture and will go to heaven, you could lose out on future rewards. When that time comes it will mean a great deal to you.
Paul says that each one of us will account for everything we have said or done while we live out our lives on earth. There is no exception.
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil" (2 Corinthians 5:10, ESV).
In fact, it's possible some Christians may only receive part of a reward they should have had. John carefully warns:
"Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward" (2 John 1:8).
Shame in front of Christ&Others
Continuing on, John also cautions us that it's possible we could feel shame in heaven. He notes:
"Now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming" (1 John 2:28).
Therefore in light of all this, we suggest that you confess your sin before the Lord and ask for His forgiveness - it seems clear the Holy Spirit is convicting you of sin in your heart. That is one of His jobs (John 16:8):
"And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment."
You can rest assured that He will forgive your sin if you repent of it now:
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Being "Saved" vs. being "Delivered"
Being saved is a one-time deal. But, being delivered from sin is an ongoing process. Maybe you can't change the way you feel right now. But, you do have the power to change the way you act.
It's time to grow-up and look toward the future instead of living only for today.
One life to live
will soon be past.
Only what's done
Benware, Paul N. 2002. The believer's payday. Chattanooga, TN: AMG.
Lutzer, Erwin. 1997. Your eternal reward. Chicago: Moody.