Recently I’ve been writing about the afterlife and what it would mean to draw near to God. I believe a great fear which I saw spoken of it today is the fear that as Greg Koukl has put it, what if we’re right about God’s justice but wrong about his mercy? What if we cross the river and there is no grace for us?
This is a common concern for many people and I believe there are a number of non-Christians today who deconverted simply because they were living out of fear. There isn’t really any way to look into the book of life and see if your name is in there this side of eternity. I doubt few of us have miraculous events happen at conversion that say we are his.
How many people will wonder about it? Did I say the prayer the right way? Did I really know what I was doing? Was my heart really in the right place? Did I truly repent? Maybe your objections are something different. What if I’m living in sin now? What if I’ve committed the unforgivable sin? What if I’m just fooling myself?
Now something is to be noticed about those objections. All of them can be phrased in the style of “What if?” Unfortunately, such questions usually get us on the roller coaster of emotion and when we get on that roller coaster, it keeps going up and down and we can be sure that it will be a very bumpy ride.
So what is the answer?
One thing worth noting first off. For those worried about it, have you noticed that worrying about it hasn’t seemed to make the problem go away? If anything, it makes it worse. Consider it like it’s poison ivy. You think that if you scratch it that one time, that the itch will go away. Instead, you just make the itch worse. If this is emotional also, it is not a problem to be solved. It is a feeling to be dealt with and it’s not done by giving it an argument.
If only we could learn to ask one question of each feeling. “Is it true?” Don’t accept any “Well, it might be.” Just ask “Is it true?”
Also, consider in the Bible that often times, God says he forgives us for his name’s sake. God is shown as holy and glorious in forgiving us. When he does so, it is a direct attack on evil each time and a reminder to the forces of darkness that they have lost. The goal of the evil one is to use sin to create a barrier between us and God. Forgiveness destroys that barrier.
If you think your salvation is important to you, rest assured, your salvation is not as important to you as it is to God. The simple question again then becomes if we will trust him or not with it. Let us dare not think that we will decide to see if we are saved based on our own works! Our own works will fall short every single time. Now I’m not against doing good works, but we sure can’t base eternity on them.
Also, consider that you only worry about one thing. You worry about what is important to you. What you think about is what matters to you. I do not think about what is going to happen in the next episode of Heroes. Why? Because I’m one of few that doesn’t watch. I don’t watch 24 either so I don’t think about that. I think about what’s going to happen in the next Smallville though. Why? Because that matters to me.
Now if you are thinking about salvation and the things of God, then you can be sure of one thing then. It matters to you. For those who don’t think you care about such things, look and see. If you truly didn’t care about such things, you wouldn’t care to worry if you didn’t care.
The only ultimate answer is to live each life more and more trusting God and not relying on our own emotions. They will easily mislead us. We need to return to the promises of Scripture that have been given to us about salvation and not look so much at who we are but rather at who he is.