What Does It Mean to Believe in Jesus?

Len

Well-Known Member
I always struggle with assurance of salvation or even wether I am saved at all, though I once yelled in my fear at God and said "You know the answer, but what is the question?" noticing a bible sitting on the table I picked it up and it fell open to Isaiah 43 and I read " Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name, you are mine" ....... I got the answer and the question, I believe God but I still have the same struggle, but this verse continues to be a part of my life. Thank you God, but I continue to want to meet Jesus to know His love, to share His love, to be His love
 
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ldonjohn

"God said it, that settles it!"
I always struggle with assurance of salvation or even wether I am saved at all, though I once yelled in my fear at God and said "You know the answer, but what is the question?" noticing a bible sitting on the table I picked it up and it fell open to Isaiah 43 and I read " Fear not for I have redeemed you, I have called you by your name, you are mine" ....... I got the answer and the question, I believe God but I still have the same struggle, but this verse continues to be a part of my life. Thank you God, but I continue to want to meet Jesus to know His love, to share His love, to be His love

Len, below is a link to several articles about salvation & assurance written by Dr. Erwin Lutzer. They are worth reading.

http://www.jashow.org/wiki/index.php/How_Can_You_Be_Sure_that_You_Will_Spend_Eternity_with_God?

Don
 
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donna1951

Well-Known Member
Len, the article from Doctor Rice that Andy posted is very good also.
Like you, I have struggled with this also off and on for several years. I am doing much
better lately. Every day when the enemy tries to tell me I am not saved, I remember
the verse that Jesus said about those that come to me, I will in no way cast out.
Just try to remember that.
Back in January I was having such a bad time that I went on Ariel Ministries web
site. They have a question and answer section there. I wrote to Dr. Fructenbaum
and told him I was severely depressed and was so afraid I wasn't saved. He wrote
back and told me that I must be saved because the lost never worry about this sort
of thing. That email from him helped me for awhile, but it would still come back.
Just remember Jesus wants everyone saved and he isn't going to reject us if we come
to Him.
May God help you, I know what you are going through.
 

ldonjohn

"God said it, that settles it!"
Len, the article from Doctor Rice that Andy posted is very good also.
Like you, I have struggled with this also off and on for several years. I am doing much
better lately. Every day when the enemy tries to tell me I am not saved, I remember
the verse that Jesus said about those that come to me, I will in no way cast out.
Just try to remember that.
Back in January I was having such a bad time that I went on Ariel Ministries web
site. They have a question and answer section there. I wrote to Dr. Fructenbaum
and told him I was severely depressed and was so afraid I wasn't saved. He wrote
back and told me that I must be saved because the lost never worry about this sort
of thing. That email from him helped me for awhile, but it would still come back.
Just remember Jesus wants everyone saved and he isn't going to reject us if we come
to Him.
May God help you, I know what you are going through.

Donna, the main point of my post here "What Does it Mean to Believe in Jesus?" is that we must focus on Jesus & not on ourselves. IOW, our faith must be in Jesus' finished work at the cross & not in anything we have done. God even gives us faith when He convinces us of the truth of His Way to save us.

Below is a link to one of Dr. Erwin Lutzer's videos about salvation. It also includes the transcript. It is worth watching & reading.

https://www.jashow.org/articles/gen...at-you-will-spend-eternity-with-godprogram-2/
 
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Andrew

Well known member
The only issue I had with Lutzer was when he implied that we cannot believe without God initiating that. That is Calvinist. Later, he mentioned the publican (the tax-gatherer for non-KJV folks) from Luke 18:10. The tax-gatherer asked for grace and received it in full because he knew he couldn't stand before God. The tax-gatherer wasn't a Calvinist.
 

donna1951

Well-Known Member
Donna, the main point of my post here "What Does it Mean to Believe in Jesus?" is that we must focus on Jesus & not on ourselves. IOW, our faith must be in Jesus' finished work at the cross & not in anything we have done. God even gives us faith when He convinces us of the truth of His Way to save us.

Below is a link to one of Dr. Erwin Lutzer's videos about salvation. It also includes the transcript. It is worth watching & reading.

https://www.jashow.org/articles/gen...at-you-will-spend-eternity-with-godprogram-2/
Idonjohn, I have read your wonderful testimony about how God helped you to understand.
I think it is wonderful that he helped you with that, but I believe He deals with us all differently.
I have prayed night and day for his help with this. I know it is simple belief in Jesus finished work
on the cross.
Are you saying that people that struggle are not really saved? Do you think that a person praying
for assurance of salvation isn't really saved? Do you really think Jesus rejects us?
 

donna1951

Well-Known Member
The only issue I had with Lutzer was when he implied that we cannot believe without God initiating that. That is Calvinist. Later, he mentioned the publican (the tax-gatherer for non-KJV folks) from Luke 18:10. The tax-gatherer asked for grace and received it in full because he knew he couldn't stand before God. The tax-gatherer wasn't a Calvinist.
Andrew, thank you for posting this. I don't want to have anything to do with the Calvinist view.
 

donna1951

Well-Known Member
I guess it was probably a big mistake for me to join this forum. It seems to be more for
mature Christians than someone like me who is struggling.
Thank you all for your kindness and prayers for me, but I feel I don't belong here.
 

greg64

Well-Known Member
I guess it was probably a big mistake for me to join this forum. It seems to be more for
mature Christians than someone like me who is struggling.
Thank you all for your kindness and prayers for me, but I feel I don't belong here.

Donna,

Will all respect, if that's the case, it might as well be shut down. Even those who seem mature struggle in some way, and probably more than you might think. Paul himself struggled (See Romans 7:15-25 for one). But if you read that, make sure to continue on to Chapter 8 as well.

In my opinion, places like this (along with a good local church and fellowship) are exactly where people who are struggling should be. It's a safe place where you can anonymously ask questions, figure things out, get encouragement, and receive input, correction, and refinement. Some forums can be very dangerous places, but in my somewhat limited experience I don't get the warning signals of that here at all. I think that pretty much everyone has good intentions, is honestly seeking God's truth, and is very caring. There is still the challenge of interpreting the intention and tone behind posts which are often written quickly, but that will ever be the case.

Praying for you -- I'm hoping you'll continue to contribute and grow here.
 

Randy - Saved by Grace

Well-Known Member
I guess it was probably a big mistake for me to join this forum. It seems to be more for
mature Christians than someone like me who is struggling.
Thank you all for your kindness and prayers for me, but I feel I don't belong here.

Donna I hope you stay with this forum.
There are mature Christians here where we can learn from.
I for one have learned much from the wisdom of others.
Praying you will stay.
 

pixelpusher

Well-Known Member
I guess it was probably a big mistake for me to join this forum. It seems to be more for
mature Christians than someone like me who is struggling.
Thank you all for your kindness and prayers for me, but I feel I don't belong here.

I'm not sure why you'd say this, maybe I missed something in this thread, but IMO, you belong and fit in here quite well, as Greg and Randy noted. Please do stay with us. :hug

wrestling with questions and searching the Scripture for truth is part of how we mature in the first place. Sounds like you are exactly where you need to be. IMHO.
 

Len

Well-Known Member
Hi Donna,
Thanks for your help in sharing that you are struggling as well, I think some of us just do struggle, though I was talking to a couple of Christian friends who just said I was silly to think I might be unsaved but they don't know my heart......and my heart just does not feel right, I don't feel Gods Holy Spirit on fire within me ..... everyone else seems super happy in Jesus, everyone but me (and you?) ..... BUT ....... where else can we go Donna? Jesus has the words of Life and the worlds way is going down the gurgler by the week, so hang in there Donna and maybe God will set us on fire somewhere down the track (though at 65 I hope He hurries!)
 

Randy - Saved by Grace

Well-Known Member
Hi Donna,
Thanks for your help in sharing that you are struggling as well, I think some of us just do struggle, though I was talking to a couple of Christian friends who just said I was silly to think I might be unsaved but they don't know my heart......and my heart just does not feel right, I don't feel Gods Holy Spirit on fire within me ..... everyone else seems super happy in Jesus, everyone but me (and you?) ..... BUT ....... where else can we go Donna? Jesus has the words of Life and the worlds way is going down the gurgler by the week, so hang in there Donna and maybe God will set us on fire somewhere down the track (though at 65 I hope He hurries!)

I believe that we all struggle at times.
There are Christians who seem very happy as well as Christians who are struggling.
In either case, our focus is on Christ.
Here we can discuss doctrine as well as ask questions and prayer for us who are in need.
Please free free to share your struggles with us so we can be of encouragement to you and also offer up prayers.
No one is alone here
 

greg64

Well-Known Member
Hi Donna,
Thanks for your help in sharing that you are struggling as well, I think some of us just do struggle, though I was talking to a couple of Christian friends who just said I was silly to think I might be unsaved but they don't know my heart......and my heart just does not feel right, I don't feel Gods Holy Spirit on fire within me ..... everyone else seems super happy in Jesus, everyone but me (and you?) ..... BUT ....... where else can we go Donna? Jesus has the words of Life and the worlds way is going down the gurgler by the week, so hang in there Donna and maybe God will set us on fire somewhere down the track (though at 65 I hope He hurries!)

I'll freely admit that I struggle, too. There are times, especially recently, that doubt creeps into my mind and I think "what if...". But, if nothing else, I can be stubborn sometimes, and I've made my choice in whom to place my trust. A constant prayer is to find my calling, be bold, etc., but I still feel like a very unfruitful servant. I'm horrible at reaching others for Christ, and, while the Great Commission is for all of us to carry out, I don't feel like it is my specific calling, and that can be (and is) a source of guilt. I'm better working with other believers, studying with them, etc. So maybe something in teaching. At 52, you'd think I'd also have a better handle on it, but I do know that God is working, even if I don't feel it directly much of the time. Anyway, this isn't about me, but I'm only sharing this because it shows we all have our issues and areas where we struggle and need to grow.
 

Andrew

Well known member
I guess it was probably a big mistake for me to join this forum. It seems to be more for
mature Christians than someone like me who is struggling.
Thank you all for your kindness and prayers for me, but I feel I don't belong here.
I had a lot to learn when I joined this forum, Donna. Dealing with the issues helps us to learn. I am still learning more and like to revisit some of the old threads from time to time as issues arise. :)
 

pixelpusher

Well-Known Member
I'll freely admit that I struggle, too. There are times, especially recently, that doubt creeps into my mind and I think "what if...". But, if nothing else, I can be stubborn sometimes, and I've made my choice in whom to place my trust. A constant prayer is to find my calling, be bold, etc., but I still feel like a very unfruitful servant. I'm horrible at reaching others for Christ, and, while the Great Commission is for all of us to carry out, I don't feel like it is my specific calling, and that can be (and is) a source of guilt. I'm better working with other believers, studying with them, etc. So maybe something in teaching. At 52, you'd think I'd also have a better handle on it, but I do know that God is working, even if I don't feel it directly much of the time. Anyway, this isn't about me, but I'm only sharing this because it shows we all have our issues and areas where we struggle and need to grow.
Amen.

Just like to add that unbelievers don't struggle. If you weren't worried about it sometimes, that would be worrying.
 

Andy C

Well-Known Member
I guess it was probably a big mistake for me to join this forum. It seems to be more for
mature Christians than someone like me who is struggling.
Thank you all for your kindness and prayers for me, but I feel I don't belong here.
It was certainly not a mistake for you to join this forum. You are a valuable member of this forum, and a strong prayer warrior. Your posts and prayers always encourage me.

When I first joined our sister forum (Rapture Ready), I was extremely intimidated. I had been lurking on that forum for years and had learned a lot from all the members. Then I found this forum, and I still felt like I don't belong. Actually, every time I submit a post, I wonder if what I said will make sense, or if I'm off in right field by myself. Most, if not all, are far better in writing then I am, and that also is intimidating. But, what is most important is the fellowship we have here, knowing we all deeply care about each other, and pray for each other. No amount of biblical knowledge IMO can replace this fellowship. We are all here to help promote Him, and give all Glory to Him.
 

Randy - Saved by Grace

Well-Known Member
It was certainly not a mistake for you to join this forum. You are a valuable member of this forum, and a strong prayer warrior. Your posts and prayers always encourage me.

When I first joined our sister forum (Rapture Ready), I was extremely intimidated. I had been lurking on that forum for years and had learned a lot from all the members. Then I found this forum, and I still felt like I don't belong. Actually, every time I submit a post, I wonder if what I said will make sense, or if I'm off in right field by myself. Most, if not all, are far better in writing then I am, and that also is intimidating. But, what is most important is the fellowship we have here, knowing we all deeply care about each other, and pray for each other. No amount of biblical knowledge IMO can replace this fellowship. We are all here to help promote Him, and give all Glory to Him.

Amen brother
 

ldonjohn

"God said it, that settles it!"
Idonjohn, I have read your wonderful testimony about how God helped you to understand.
I think it is wonderful that he helped you with that, but I believe He deals with us all differently.
I have prayed night and day for his help with this. I know it is simple belief in Jesus finished work
on the cross.
Are you saying that people that struggle are not really saved? Do you think that a person praying
for assurance of salvation isn't really saved? Do you really think Jesus rejects us?


Donna,

I agree that the Holy Spirit deals with us in different ways. Yes, I do believe that people who are truly saved can have difficulty with assurance. The fact that they are concerned about their salvation could be evidence that they are truly born again, but that is just my opinion & I cannot support that opinion through scripture. I believe that my struggle with assurance was due to the fact that I did not fully understand God Way of saving us, and therefore I believe that I was not truly born again.

Please allow me to explain more about my childhood so that you can see how God worked in my life. Thank God my parents took me to church as a child. I was raised in a fundamental Baptist Church where I heard about God, sin, hell, Jesus, heaven, etc. every Sunday. But we never read God's Word at home. I did not know to do that, so the only time I ever read in the bible was at church. I was supposedly saved in a revival at church at age 13, but I'm not sure I knew what I was doing at that time. When I was a young adult I forgot about God & stopped attending church. I finished college, got married, and started my career. Serving God was not part of my plans. A few years later I wasn't even sure if all the things I had heard in church were true, and I wasn't sure if God even existed. -

But, not too many years later, for some reason, I began to think that I might be wrong about not believing that God is real, and I came to the realization that if I was wrong and God does exist, and the Bible is true then I needed to find the truth of the matter. My wife and I started going to the same church I grew up in, and I talked to the pastor about believing in Jesus. I went to the altar and made a profession of faith . My wife also made a profession of faith. We became faithful Christians. The pastor got me involved in teaching a Sunday school class. We attended Wednesday night services, visitation on Thursday nights, and of course Sunday services. I drove a church bus. We were model Christians, but we were fake Christians. Turns out that several years later we both realized that we had not truly trusted in the Gospel; that our faith was misplaced. We had not fully understood God's Way of salvation, and our lives were really burdened with a lack of assurance & fear.

I can't speak for my wife but I'll try to explain the process that led me to find the truth about becoming a real believer in Jesus. As a fake Christian I would tell myself that I was saved because of things the preacher would say in his sermons: things like Romans 10:13, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” and that to be saved you have to repent & confess your sins, and have publicly confess Jesus as Lord, that if Jesus isn't Lord of all then He isn't Lord at all, and you have to promise to follow Jesus the rest of your life, that you have to turn from your sin, have to be baptized, etc. I did all of those things, but I still had no assurance of salvation. I would question if I really accepted Jesus as Lord, or did I really mean business with God when I accepted Jesus as my savior, or did I really repent of my sins, or did I really commit my life to Christ. I was looking at all the things I had done because the preacher said this or said that, and I did them, but I did not have a lasting peace about being saved. I would pray the sinners' prayer over and over, and would have a sense of peace for a day or two, but soon the doubts & fear would return. I had no peace; just misery. We didn't have access to the internet 40 years ago, so I read bible tracts, read books about salvation, listened to preachers on the radio, etc. I read & heard the same things I had already heard at church, and I still did not understand how to believe in Jesus so that I could know I was saved.

Sorry that I'm repeating my testimony here; that's the only way I know to explain what God did for me. Well, now I am at the place where I just gave up on all the things I was doing to try to find a lasting peace about salvation. Yes, I just gave up on myself. I could not figure out how to know that when I prayed the sinners' prayer that I was actually “believing” in Jesus in a way that would really save me. I came to the conclusion that I would NEVER know that I was saved. I was miserable & afraid, confused, lost, and desperate.

One night as I lay in bed trying to get some sleep, I looked up at the ceiling and out of a sense of hopelessness I said a prayer to the God who I hoped was there to hear me, but I was not sure He even existed. I said something like this, “God will you show me how to believe in you Son?” I went to sleep & slept well that night.

The next night I was sitting at my kitchen table working on a research paper for a college class. The time was late & my wife had already gone to bed, and I thought that the sound of the old Royal typewriter might prevent her from going to sleep so I put everything up, and for some reason I then picked up the family bible, dusted it off, and opened it up to the Book of John. As I began to read in the Gospel of John I noticed that something was different; for some reason I was understanding the words in a different way from anytime I had ever read in the bible before that night. When I read verse one something inside of my mind told me “that is Jesus.” That voice inside of me continued to tell me that I was reading about Jesus, and by the time I read through the 6th chapter of John I had found my answer & I was a real believer in Jesus. (I'm not an emotional person, but I need to stop and wipe the tears from my eyes because I can hardly see the screen right now.)

Donna, God showed me how to truly “believe” in Jesus. You said you read my testimony. Did you see the scripture verses I quoted at the end? There are 3 that the Holy Spirit used to convince me of the truth about believing in Jesus. They are listed below:


  1. John 5:39 Jesus said to them, “search the scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

    John 5:40 “And you will not come to me that you might have life.”

    John 6:37 “Jesus said “all the Father gives me will come to me and anyone who comes to me I will not turn away.”
Those verses convinced me that to believe in Jesus means that not only do I believe that He is who the Bible says He is, but that I must believe Him to do what He says He will do. John 6:37 was the verse that the Holy Spirit used to “turn on the light” for me, and I “got it.” That is literally what happened to me. It was like a blind man who could suddenly see. At the moment the Holy Spirit showed me the truth He totally convinced me that Jesus was waiting for me to come to Him; it was as though Jesus was right there in the kitchen with me, and I knew that He would not turn me away. No, Jesus did not appear to me in my kitchen; I did not see a vision of Jesus! I was seeing Him with my new spiritual eyes that seconds before had been spiritually blind, and I found myself talking to Him, thanking for dying on the cross for me and asking Him to come into my life and change me His way. (Remember Romans 10:13, well I found out that verse 14 explains that we “believe” before we call on Him.) No, Donna, I do not believe that Jesus rejects anyone who comes to Him to accept His gift of forgiveness of sin & a new life in Him. If I believed that Jesus would reject those who come to Him then I would still be living in the misery of hopeless fear & uncertainty.

Donna, God showed me that my faith was misplaced because my faith had been in “myself.” I had been looking at all the things that “I” was doing instead of what Jesus had already done on the cross. The Holy Spirit changed the focus of my faith from self to Jesus, AND He showed me how to “believe” Jesus will do what He said He will do. Actually, the Holy Spirit enabled me to have “saving faith.” IOW, He made a believer out of me. Jesus did change me. He gave me the power through the Holy Spirit who now lives within me to turn from my sin, the power to serve Him, the power to have victory over the power of sin, He changed the way I think, He changed the things I want to do, He changed me into a new person and gave me PEACE. Forty years later I still have that same PEACE. Praise God!

Before I first published my testimony online I was reluctant to do so because I feared that I was the only person who wanted to know without a doubt that I had truly believed in Jesus, but at the same time thought I would never know for sure. After much prayer about posting the article on a Christian forum, I did finally submit it to RR and to my surprise it was published. The next day I was even more surprised as I discovered many email responses from others who said that they too had struggled with the same doubt & fears that I had experienced, and many of them sought personal advice about their struggles. My advice to them was that they study God's Word, but I have also referred many people to articles by Dr. John R Rice and Dr. Erwin Lutzer & continue to do so.

Donna, I participate in 5 different Christian forums, and my purpose in participating in those forums is to share my testimony in hope to help others who might be experiencing the same kind of struggle that I experienced many years ago. I search those forums almost daily, looking for opportunities to help others find the truth about “saving faith” or about how to truly believe in Jesus. I do not attempt to promote any kind of doctrine other than “faith alone in Christ alone.”

Another forum member criticized Dr. Lutzer for his “Calvinist” teaching. I want to share my thoughts about that matter. I have read his, Dr. Lutzer's, view of the matter and I just have to admit that I do not know nor do I understand God's mind about the doctrine of “predestination/election,” but I don't fret over it. The way I look at the matter is God chooses those who choose Him. I can't judge Dr. Lutzer's ministry based on his view of predestination/election. I have read several of his articles & watched his videos regarding justification, salvation, and doubting salvation and I see his teaching is “spot on” when it comes to salvation & justification. Dr. Lutzer presents salvation as faith alone in Christ alone and he emphasizes the Gospel. IOW, as he explains in one of his videos, that someone can love Jesus & even trust Jesus for salvation, but still be lost because of misplaced faith. Faith in Jesus would not be saving faith if that faith is not specifically in His death on the cross, his shed blood there as full payment our sin, and His resurrection. Therefore, I am saying that if we can put the “predestination/election” argument aside & look at Dr. Lutzer's teaching on the meaning of “saving faith” that his presentation of one placing ones faith in the Gospel is clear, simple, & to the point.

Donna, sorry I took so much time & space to explain things. I hope you aren't bored with this post. I do want to help you with your struggle, and I hope this post makes sense to you.

I wrote all of this in an attempt to get you to get your focus off of yourself and onto Jesus. It's really about Him. He did everything on the cross that God requires for our forgiveness. Just before He died on the cross Jesus said “It is finished.” He was saying that the sin debt we owe God is paid in full by His blood He shed there. Sorry, but I need to quote DR. Lutzer again; he said and I have to paraphrase this “We bring nothing to Jesus except our sin, and we receive His forgiveness.

Focus on Jesus & believe Jesus will not reject you or anyone who comes to Him.

Don
 
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