I believe I've been saved, but I still struggle with sin daily. Does this mean I'm not saved?
There are three reasons a person may fear they are not a Christian. The first reason is that maybe they are not a Christian.
Not A Christian
The first reason a person may be struggling with sin is that maybe they never really became a Christian. John 16:8-9 helps us understand why this happens. Jesus was talking to His disciples and said to them,
And He [Holy Spirit], when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; (NASB) John 16:8-9
This simply says the Holy Spirit will cause a non-Christian to feel guilt over his sin. The Holy Spirit is tugging on his heart asking, “Are you a sinner? If not, come and believe and trust in Jesus to forgive you.” When a person believes, trusts, depends that Jesus will forgive them of their sin – they become a Christian and their sins are forgiven and their guilt flees away. The Greek word for forgiveness is a very special word. It has the idea of “to leave” or “to send away.” The word was used in Egypt to refer to the draining of pools. When we respond to the sin-convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit and we believe in Jesus, God sends our sins away and He drains away our pool of guilt.
If you are wondering, “Am I a Christian?” the answer can be found in scripture. You can use these passages to check out your life and see how many are true of you. The more that are true of you, the more you can be assured you are a Christian. Remember, a person is not a Christian because he or she chooses to live a certain way. A person is a Christian because God is changing their life.
“Living in Sin“
Christians sometimes will fear they are not for real because they are sinning and the Holy Spirit is saying, “Stop sinning!” When this happens, a real Christian will be miserable and may begin to fear they are not saved. King David appears to have felt this way after he committed adultery and maneuvered to have his lover’s husband killed in war. Here is David’s prayer of confession. As you read the passage, look for the reason he was feeling miserable,
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, And done what is evil in Thy sight . . . Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice. Hide Thy face from my sins, And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. (NASB) Psalms 51:1-12
Notice the first words in David’s prayer were a plea for forgiveness. He begs God to forgive his sin, “blot out my transgressions [sin].” David was really struggling like most of us who have been sinning and sinning or have committed a “big sin.” He was struggling so much that he begs God to “not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me.” What did David fear? He feared God would reject him. He wanted forgiveness – he wanted God to love him. Does this sound like some Christian who is afraid he/she is not for real?
Some Christians are in this situation. They really do believe in Jesus. They really are sorrowing over their sins. They really are depending or trusting that God, Jesus Christ, has forgiven their sins. Yet, they have sinned and they fear they are not really Christians. David was a broken man over his sin. His insides were like “broken bones.” He asks God to look away – to hide His face from David. He pleads for forgiveness. How did he get in this mess? The answer is in verse 6, “Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom.” David was not honest with himself or with God about his sin. It appears he did not admit his sin to God.
I try to frequently ask God to have the Holy Spirit convict me of any personal sins that I may have forgotten about and I need to admit (confess) to Him. And the Holy Spirit usually does remind me of some sin I need to confess. So I confess it and then thank Him for forgiving me. All honest Christians struggle with sin. In Romans 7:15, Paul, the apostle, shares with us his struggles with sin,
For that which I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. (NASB) Romans 7:15
To struggle with sin is part of being a Christian, but our heart does not always say, “That was sin.” Proverbs says,
Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. (NASB) Proverbs 4:23
The Holy Spirit will help us to be honest about our own sin. He knows our heart,
For He knows the secrets of the heart. (NASB) Psalms 44:21
And if after we sin, we do not confess our sins, we will suffer. He will discipline us (Heb. 12:4-13) until we come and confess our sins to Him. As David said, it is against God and God only that we sin. Today, you can be a Christian and the Holy Spirit could be convicting you of sins in your life because you really do not want to turn away OR you have come to Him and confessed like David did!
“Tell me more“
The third and last reason is that maybe you are a Christian (you are trusting in Jesus and Jesus only) and yet you are not aware that God sees you a saint – a holy person. To say we are Christians because we asked Jesus to forgive our sins means we believe He can forgive because is He both God and Savior. When Jesus forgives our sins scripture implies that He completely forgives them,
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. (NASB) Psalms 103:12
What does the verse say? It says our sins are removed. In Colossians 2:13 the Holy Spirit comforts us with these words,
And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions. (NASB) Colossians 2:13
And Paul, the apostle, calls Christians saints or “holy ones” in Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; and Colossians 1:2. Why did he do that? Because Christians are saints. We are going to heaven. There are no good works that we must do to get there – all our sins are already forgiven. 1 John 5:13 tells us that we can know we are Christians. We do not have to wait until then to “find out.” Ephesians 2:6 says that as far as God is concerned Christians are already in heaven, “[God] seated us with Him in the heavenly places.” There is nothing you can do now – you are going to heaven!
Yet, we will sin. That is what 1 John 1:9-10 says,
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (NASB) 1 John 1:9-10
Yes, God has already forgiven our past sins, any sins we will commit today and all future sins but He still asks us to confess our sins. What is confession? Confession is simply telling God you sinned – admitting you sinned against Him and only Him, just as King David did!
May I suggest that if you are not sure you are a Christian that you simply ask Jesus to forgive your sins, to take control of your life and to give you victory over sins. And then thank Him for doing that. Then ask the Holy Spirit to take control of your life every day and keep you from sin. Also, do CPR everyday! “C” is for confess. “P” is for praying. And “R” is for reading the Word of God. This is essential for spiritual growth and victory over sin.
Reference Links:Searching For God
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