How Often Should I Question My Salvation? Answered by Justin Perdue
Hi, this is Justin. Today on ask Theocast, I am answering the question, “How often should I question my salvation?”
Before I get into pointedly answering that question, I want to qualify what I’m about to say. When I talk about a local church context here in just a second, I am assuming a local church in which the word of God is rightly preached and the sacraments are rightly administered. I am assuming that this church is led by faithful pastors and that there is a loving environment that characterizes the community of that local church.
So the question itself is, “How often should I question my salvation?” Biblically, the answer is that you should question your salvation whenever you are facing church discipline. That’s it. I think that’s a surprising answer for many people. Many people were expecting an answer that’s much more individualized, perhaps, or much more subjective. But the New Testament is clear that there is an instrument that has been given to the church to deal with questions of whether or not people are in the faith. It is the mechanism, the tool, of church discipline.
If you were to find yourself in a church context where the word is preached, Christ is heralded, and the sacraments are rightly administered, and it’s a loving community led by faithful pastors, and your church, your pastors, and your congregation are coming to you patiently, graciously over an extended period of time, calling you to repent of ongoing, hard-hearted, high-handed, unrepentant sin- then that is the appropriate time for you to question your salvation and to question everything about your Christian life.
The purpose of church discipline, we see, even in First Corinthians 5, is that people would be put out of the fellowship and kept from the Lord’s table so that they might be shaken awake, so that they might be brought back into the fold and restored. It is a tool that the Lord has given the church for that purpose. So if you do find yourself in that situation where you are potentially going to be kept from the table and put out of the fellowship, that, in the providence of God, is the time for you to question whether or not you are saved, whether or not you have been united to Christ.
Outside of that, brothers and sisters, we look to Christ always as the ground of our peace and assurance before the Lord. We fight against our sin in the context of a community of believers and we live the Christian life like we always talk about, status forward. We are justified and now we live in Christ. We are united to Jesus and now we live in him, and pursue good works, and we seek to love our brothers and sisters.
So, please do not be burdening yourself with the slavery of hyper introspection. You’re not a good evaluator of yourself at all, in terms of how you’re doing. You need your brothers and sisters. You need your pastors in your congregation to help you do that, and the scriptures have outlined for us how we are to go about doing that by using church discipline faithfully in a gospel preaching church.
I hope this answer is helpful. I trust it may be paradigm shifting for many, and I hope that’s a good thing. The only time you ought to sincerely question your salvation is when you’re facing the discipline of the church in which you are a member.
God bless you. Keep trusting Christ.