Inevitably it happens. You commit sin and are grieved over it. You repent and try to move on. But that nagging feeling in the back of your mind gets you every time. You start to ask yourself if you were sincere enough or sorry enough for that sin. Doubt creeps in and depression takes hold. Eventually, doubt gives way to fear and fear metamorphs to anger. The cycle you experience is much like that of the Israelites in the book o f Judges. They sin and call on God time and again. And time and again they fall back into apostasy.
Like the Israelites, you feel powerless. The only thing you know to do is to call on the Lord. And my friend, that is enough! It may seem too simple a thing that God can simply forgive you. But in Christ Jesus, He already has. Here are 10 biblical reasons you can stop doubting your salvation or stop doubting that God has forgiven you after you cry out to Him.
1. God desires to be gracious to you (Isaiah 55:1) Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
God’s offer of forgiveness to you is one that requires nothing in return but acceptance. Remember that the context of this passage is God talking to His own rebellious people who continually swayed back and forth into apostasy. When you are in doubt, you may indeed have forgiveness without cost. You may simply call out to the Lord and know that He has heard and forgiven you.
2. God swears by His own Name (Hebrews 6:13) For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself.
The entire book of Hebrews focuses on the superiority of God’s covenant in Jesus as superior to any other covenant or divine thing, even the heavenly angels. God promised the blessing of Abraham’s Seed (Jesus) to the entire world and He ratified this promise by swearing upon His own Name. The International Critical Commentary focuses on the Greek word ὀμνύω (swear) and states,
Taking Abraham as the first or as a typical instance of steadfast faith in God’s promises, the writer now (vv. 13–19) lays stress not upon the human quality, but upon the divine basis for this undaunted reliance. Constancy means an effort. But it is evoked by a divine revelation; what stirs and sustains it is a word of God. From the first the supreme Promise of God has been guaranteed by him to men so securely that there need be no uncertainty or hesitation in committing oneself to this Hope(Moffatt, J. (1924). A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews p. 85. T&T Clark International) [emphasis are mine]
You can rest assured that God’s promise to you in Christ is certain and unchangeable.
3. God cannot lie. (Hebrews 6:17-18) So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.
The writer of Hebrews follows up his former example of God swearing an oath by Himself by grounding that promise in the fact that God cannot lie. Your salvation, and mine, are based solely upon this oath. If you’re looking for a reason to ground this hope within yourself, you will fall into despair. While we falter and waiver in our commitment to the Lord, He never waivers with us because He cannot lie about His promise of Christ to you!
4. God’s plan to save you was written in eternity past. (Ephesians 1:3-4) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
According to Ephesians, God chose you in Christ before He created the world. He did not leave to chance all those that will be finally saved. Our election in Christ should be a great source of comfort, knowing that the security of our election is in God’s own hands.
5. God’s promise of salvation is objective. (Luke 24:45-47) Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
When we talk about something being objective, we mean something that does not depend on us or something that is outside of us. The Latin phrase Extra Nos is used to describe this objective standard. In Luke 24:45-47 Jesus places Himself as the object for the forgiveness of sins.This means that He is the objective standard, He is the object of faith, and He is the one who decides the basis upon which forgiveness is granted. HIs only requirement is faith in His finished work which causes us to turn to Him in repentance. Believer, the object of your faith and the assurance of forgiveness rests on Christ alone.
6. God’s promise is not dependent upon your failures or successes. (Genesis 28:15) Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.
This may seem like an odd Scripture to put forth as proof of God’s promises. But think closely on the context: Jacob is fleeing for his life. He. with the help of his mother, has just swindled the birthright of his brother for himself. And the odd thing about this? God had already promised Rebekah back in Genesis 25:22-23 that Jacob would receive the blessing. In other words, Jacob didn’t have to steal it. It was already his. And in the passage above, God appears to Jacob after he stole, cheated, swindled the promise and yet God reaffirms this covenant to him. Christian, God is faithful to His promises even when you fail. And just like Jacob, His promises are not dependent upon your own failures. Let this be a source of comfort to you in times of failure.
7. Your “feelings” don’t sway God’s feelings. (Psalm 5:1-2, 7) Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my groaning. Give attention to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray…But I, through the abundance of your steadfast love, will enter your house. I will bow down toward your holy temple in the fear of you.
The Psalms are full of every kind of emotion imaginable to the human heart. They speak of joy and sorrow, anxiety and peace, sorrow and gladness. While mortals express these emotions to the Almighty in prayer, He will still hear and fulfill His promises. Consider what Augustine says of this particular Psalm in his commentary:
The Psalmist well shows what this cry is; how from within, from the chamber of the heart, without the body’s utterance, it reaches unto God: for the bodily voice is heard, but the spiritual is understood. Although this too may be God’s hearing, not with carnal ear, but in the omnipresence of His MajestySchaff, P., ed. (1888). Saint Augustin: Expositions on the Book of Psalms (Vol. 8, p. 12). Christian Literature Company.
God heard David when he cried for deliverance. And He will certainly not hide from you when you cry.
8. God was faithful even to those who “blew” it. (Judges 16:20, 28) And he [Samson] awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had left him…Then Samson called to the Lord and said, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.”
Samson is a man who squandered what God had given him. Reading through the story of Samson in Judges 16-18, we see that he broke every single vow of the Nazarite, one that was supposed to make him holy and set apart to God. While God’s chastisement finally caught up to him, Samson cried out to God in the midst of it and God heard him. Samson is recored in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith amongst those who received their due from God by faith. How is it that Samson could be so sinful and God hear him? Because God’s deliverance of His people was not about Samson. It was about God’s promise. God’s promise will never be nullified when you fail. Like Samson, when you cry out to God, He will hear you and deliver you once again.
9. God saved the worst people in the Bible. (Matthew 10:2-4) The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
If ever there was an example of God saving bad people in the Bible, it would be amongst His very own disciples. Peter was brash and quick to speak. James and John wanted Jesus to kill a bunch of Samaritans. Judas betrayed Jesus. but one in particular, Simon the Zealot, comes to mind. He belonged to a radical political group that wanted liberation from the Romans. Many of these Zealots would go even as far as political assassination. Easton’s Bible Dictionary gives us a bit of insight into what a Zealot was.
A sect of Jews which originated with Judas the Gaulonite (Acts 5:37). They refused to pay tribute to the Romans, on the ground that this was a violation of the principle that God was the only king of Israel. They rebelled against the Romans, but were soon scattered, and became a lawless band of mere brigands. They were afterwards called Sicarii, from their use of the sica, i.e., the Roman dagger.Easton, M. G. (1893). In Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature p. 701. Harper & Brothers.
Though we are not privy to Simon’s role within this group, we are told that he was a part of it. This implies that Jesus didn’t care about money or status when He called the disciples. They were bad men. We are bad people. Yet God still desires to save and change us. Thank God for His mercy!
10. God promises to forgive those who confess their sin. (1John 1:9) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
John was writing to a group of believers to combat the heresy of a form of Gnosticism known as Doceticism. This “philosophy” stated that the flesh was evil and the spirit was good. As a consequence, people began to deny Jesus’ humanity and believe that how they lived in the flesh had no eternal consequences. John emphatically denies this and tells his hearers that those who deny their sins do not have the Spirit of God living in them. In contrast, he states that those who do acknowledge and confess their sins before God are assured of forgiveness. The Lutheran scholar, Lenski, gives us a bit of insight.
“Faithful is he and righteous” refers to God. John has just mentioned “his Son” and the fellowship effected by the blood of his Son and the fact that the remission of our sins is fellowship with God. “Faithful” means true to his promise, and this is placed first; “and righteous” with its forensic sense as it is here added to “faithful” and its connotation of promise states that, when he acquits us according to his promise, God, our Judge, is and remains “righteous.”Lenski, R. C. H. (1966). The interpretation of the epistles of St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude, pp. 392-93. Augsburg Publishing House. [emphasis are mine]
Oh! what blessedness to know that God is faithful first to His own promise and that by being faithful, He is justified in forgiving us. It should never be a question of “how can God forgive my awful sin?” but it should only be a matter of, “He has promised to do it and I believe Him.” God’s faithfulness to His own promise is rooted in His word and Name.
Dear friend, we are all prone to be swayed and be tossed along with our emotions. In our times of failure and depression, let us remember these ten Scriptural promises God has given to us. Let us rehearse them in our minds and preach them to our hearts daily. Then we will sing and exclaim with the Psalmist, Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit (Psalm 32:1-2).