Question:

I am 23 years of age and in need of some help and prayers. Lately I have been faced with the question of if I am really saved or not and was wondering if I could get some advice on the situation. Also, I have been praying and praying and doing my best to repent certain sins in my life and sometimes find myself right back to doing them. I hate when I am doing them and feel miserable after I do them. I try and try to repent and turn away, but sometimes find myself doing the same thing again.

Thanks for any help or advice you can give me.


Answer:

What is generally taught in the denominational world regarding salvation is too often different from what God teaches in the Bible. I would like you to look at two articles and as you read them and the passages cited, I would like you to honestly look at yourself and ask if you have done all that God has asked of you. See: What Must I Do to be Saved? and What Saves a Person?

One mistaken notion that people frequently have about Christianity is thinking the problem of sin will disappear if you are really saved. Satan doesn't give up just because a person becomes a Christian. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world" (I Peter 5:8-9). Being a Christian frees us from the bondage of sin and teaches us how to battle sin, but if we aren't careful, we can reenter the trap.

Since you've only talked in generalities, I can only give general observations. Over the years I've notice that people fall back into sin because:

  • They think they have conquered sin permanently. "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12). Sin, then, takes them off guard and they can't figure out why they fell.
  • They mislabel what is sinful. "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20). This can cut two ways.
    • Some are involved in sin in one area of their life, but not seeing it as sin, they do not realize how it impacts other areas of life and makes them vulnerable to sin. A common example are the young people who know fornication is wrong, but never consider lust and lewdness. They repeatedly fall into fornication because their other sins keep them on the edge.
    • Some decide that something perfectly normal is sinful. A classic example are those who decide eating is wrong because they are too fat in their own eyes. They stay away from food until they are starving. Then when they do give in, they binge because the body needs norishment. They then look at themselves and say "I was right. Eating is bad. I have no self-control." They then go right back to not eating -- never realizing that set up for themselves an impossible task by labeling a normal part of life as sinful.
  • They are sorry they sin, but they don't really change their mind about sin. These are the people who will say something is sinful, but give excuses as to why it is allowed in certain situations. Because they have not wholely turned against the sin, there is always a crack of weakness that can be exploited. "But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage?" (Galatians 4:9). Paul is talking about the Old Law here, but the point is the same in regards to the bondage of sin.
  • They are sorry they sin, but they don't take action to change their behavior or to avoid sin. An example will be the drug addict who knows drugs are wrong, can see they are ruining his life, but he still hangs around with his drug using friends and can't figure out why he keeps giving in. "Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil" (I Thessalonians 5:21-22).
  • They use the wrong methods to battle sin. "Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations -- "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle," which all concern things which perish with the using -- according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh" (Colossians 2:20-23). An example would be those who see sexual sins as wrong, so they figure they will conquer it by giving up sex for life. The Roman Catholic church has been providing sad illustration that this is not how the problem of sexual immorality is solved.