What If I'm Not Saved?

Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

I am going to share with you my personal testimony, and battle with the assurance of my salvation for seven miserable years. I don't remember the exact age that I was saved, but I think I was 13. I remember a place, a sermon, my heart's conviction from the blessed Holy Spirit, I knew was a needy sinner, and I placed my faith in Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I didn't think at the time to write down the date, or take notice of how old I was. You don't think about stuff like that unless someone tells you to write it down. That's why I think it's a good idea to tell a new convert to write down the day they got saved, so years later they can reflect back with that knowledge. I was between 12 and 14, that's all I remember as far as my age. I tell everyone I was 13.

I had prayed a prayer years earlier when I was about 6-7 years old in kindergarten. I didn't really get saved at that early age, but I thought I had in my mind. I was water baptized following this superficial profession. I had been having learning difficulty in public school, so my parents enrolled me into a Christian school. Then I went back to public school for 2nd grade, Christian school for 3rd and 4th, public school for 5th and 6th, and then ultimately a Christian school from 7th grade through high school. I love my parents for enrolling me into the Christian school at a local Baptist church, without which this blog and my online ministry would not exist. I owe it all to my parents, my pastor who led me to the Lord, Pastor Jack Hyles, and most of all my wonderful God and Savior. Being away from the evils of public school kept me out of a lot of trouble as a teenager in Chicago (despite all the trouble I still got into...lol). I strongly encourage all parents to get your kids into a Christian school.

Growing up I had attended several churches; including the Methodist Church, non-denominational, the Salvation Army and Baptist churches. It wasn't until in a fundamental soulwinning Baptist church that I first felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit, where the Gospel was presented. I remember it was on a Sunday morning. I'll never forget what the preacher said. He said if you don't have the Holy Spirit convicting you about sin in your life, then you're not saved. Boy I was scared. I knew God was talking to my heart that morning through the sermon. For the first time in my life I was convicted about my sins.

I had never felt conviction up until that day. I never even thought about the Bible, nor the things of God (and I attended Sunday School regularly). I was used to hearing Bible stories. There was something about that sermon which God intended for me. God convicted me and I got saved. I was too shy to walk an isle. The best I knew how I called upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ from my pew and asked Him to forgive my sins and save me. I remember my face being red and my hands griping the pew in front of me, as I was a bit overwhelmed with conviction, emotion and fear.

Pastor Curtis Hutson (1934-1995) has a similar salvation testimony as I do. Brother Hutson was saved at age 11, but he couldn't remember the date that he was saved, and he went through years of uncertainty as I did. Here's an awesome sermon by Dr. Curtis Hutson titled, 'ASSURANCE.'

Seven Years Of Uncertainty And Fear As a Teenager

After church that morning, I had fear in my heart on the way home while riding the church bus. I had tears in my eyes. I was afraid of going to Hell. I went home and for the first time in my life began to read the Word of God. I started with a King James Bible (and I thank God I've learned the truth that the King James Bible is the true inspired Word of God). I'll die believing and preaching from the inspired King James Bible! I read Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and then got bored with the Mosaic Law (being your typical teen), so I jumped ahead to the more exciting New Testament. But I was hungry to learn the truth of the Bible. I was reading all the little commentary notes in my “Open Bible” (it was a Nelson study Bible). I remember my mother saying: “You've changed.” I'm fairly certain that I was about 13-years of age, being in 7th grade. I was saved, but I couldn't find any assurance!

The Holy Spirit had come into my body and soul to stay, because I was saved (1st Corinthians 3:16-17). I was a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26). However, I lacked the assurance of my salvation and wouldn't find peace for another seven miserable years. I used to cry in Christian school on Monday, after hearing a sermon on Sunday about Heaven or Hell. I'd hide my tears thinking, “What if?” “What if I go to Hell?” “What if I didn't have enough faith to be saved?” “What if I missed something and didn't pray right?” “What if, what if, what if?” I must have read at least 50 different religious tracts. After reading each one, I'd pray the sinner's prayer. At home I'd fall on my knees and beg God to show me if I was really saved or not. I'd go through the following mental steps time and time again, trying to settle the matter...

  1. Do I know that I'm a sinner? ... Yes!

  2. Do I believe that there is a penalty for sin in Hell fire forever? ... Yes!

  3. Do I believe that Jesus is the Christ who died, was buried and bodily resurrected three days later? ... Yes!

  4. Will I believe on the name of Lord, trusting His work of redemption as payment for my sins? ... Yes, yes, yes!

I'd mentally assure myself that God cannot lie and since I obeyed the Bible, I am saved, case closed. Yet, I couldn't deny what I felt in my heart, that is, fear, mental anguish, worry, uncertainty and misery. I was so sad and scared. It was a very lonely feeling! No matter what mental process I went through in an attempt to settle the matter, it wasn't settled!

It didn't help my fears, when I heard sincere preachers say things like:

  • “Just take God at His Word!”

  • “Don't insult God by questioning your salvation!”

  • “Fear only comes from the Devil!”

  • “If you don't know you're saved, you're not!”

  • “If you worry, then that's not faith and something is wrong!”

I was terrified and all these statements from preachers only made it worse. Although some of those statements are true, they don't help a person obtain the assurance of their salvation. What I needed was knowledge of the truth! I was just ignorant of what God expected of me to be saved. I was saved, but didn't know if there was more required of me.

Eventually, at age 17 I finally couldn't take it anymore and went to my pastor for counseling. After four years of worry, fear, tears, mental anguish and sadness, I wanted help to find out if I was saved or not. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done. As you can imagine, I was very apprehensive, because everybody thought I was saved all those years in our Christian church and school. No one ever questioned my salvation. I was worried what people would think about me. What would my pastor think? What would my friends think? But alas, I decided that I didn't care what people though, I wanted to get the assurance of my salvation. I didn't want to worry anymore. I desperately desired to settle the matter once and for all.

When I explained the situation to my pastor, he made a classic mistake that so many preachers make by saying: “If you don't know if you're saved, then you must not be.” That's simply not true. There are many doubting believers who are saved, but as babes in Christ they are ignorant of the Scripture. So my pastor sincerely led me in a sinner's prayer. The next week I was water baptized for the second time in my life, but I was terrified getting into the baptistery, because I still didn't know if I was saved or not. Now (I thought to myself) I'd really look stupid if I went to my pastor, after he thinks I just got saved. I figured if he couldn't help me the first time, then he wouldn't be able to help me the second time either, so I didn't go back.

As I stepped into the baptistery water, all I could think about was Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Was I going to be damned for getting baptized, while still having doubts and fears in my mind and heart about being saved? Was my lack of assurance, in fact, unbelief that would get me damned to Hell? I was water baptized with a worrisome heart, having lingering doubts about my salvation, and I was terrified. What was I going to do? Not knowing that you're saved and on your way to Heaven is one of the most miserable feelings in the world.

I was already saved, but I didn't have peace about it. I had prayed a sinner's prayer at age 17 (but I had already been saved since I was age 13). When I was 13 I didn't pray audibly. I simply believed in my heart for Jesus to forgive my sins. From that moment until this day in 2020, I've felt the blessed presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. That is because the Holy Spirit came to live inside me, the very second that I got saved. Romans 8:9b teaches that every Christian is indwelt by “the Spirit of Christ.” The moment you personally receive Jesus as your personal Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside your body.

You, dear saint, are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1st Corinthians 3:16-17; 1st John 3:24). This is why Christians ought not smoke, drink or abuse their health with junk food and drugs. You are the house of God! God doesn't dwell in a big church building with stained-glass windows, plush carpeting and padded pews; but rather, He lives in you as a true believer in Christ Jesus. Religion superficially worships God in vain in their church buildings and manmade traditions (Matthew 15:7-9; Mark 7:9-13), but Jesus said the Kingdom of God is within the breast of every believer (Luke 17:21).

Never Assume Someone's Unsaved Because They Have Doubts

It is cruel to tell someone that they must be lost, simply because they don't know for sure they're saved. My situation is a perfect example of why this assumption should never be made. By attempting to lead a person to the Lord who is having doubts, you still haven't addressed their underlying fears, concerns and worries. The worst thing you could ever do to someone having any kind of problem, is to offer them a false hope. By telling someone that they need to get saved to remove their doubts, you're only slapping a temporary patch over a long-term problem, thus forcing them to suffer in continued fear, unanswered questions and endless worry.

I know the utter misery of not knowing whether or not I'm going to Heaven or Hell. It is a frightening thing to read Scripture passages; such as, Hebrews 10:31, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God,” and not know for certain you are okay with God. I had already prayed the sinner's prayer at least 50 or more times. I had read through dozens upon dozens of religious tracts. I couldn't stop worrying and I felt bad about myself for having doubts.

One of the main reason why I couldn't settle my salvation was because of poorly written tracts. Every single tract that I read directed me to PRAY A PRAYER. That really confused me. I love something that I read recently by Dr. Bob Jones Sr. (1883-1968):

“'Pray to be saved. Ask the Lord to save you.' This is what I heard a minister say to a convicted sinner who came forward for prayer at the close of an evangelistic service. Nowhere in the Bible are men told to pray to be saved. There are examples where men did pray and were saved. Men are told to repent, to believe, to obey the Gospel, but the Bible never says to pray for salvation. It does say that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved, but nowhere does the Bible command men to pray to be saved. I think I know why, God, who made the human heart, knew that it was not necessary to tell convicted sinners to pray. If a sinner can see Jesus Christ on the cross, it is as natural for him to pray as it is for birds to sing or flowers to bloom. 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.'” —Dr. Bob Jones Sr., “Comments On Here And Hereafter,” chapter: Prayer And Praise, page 163; Bob Jones University Press, Inc., © 1942

I so much love Brother Jones for saying that! I wish I had learned that truth as a teenager, back when I was struggling to find the assurance that I was saved. What I needed as a teenager was some good (doctrinally sound) books on salvation, which I didn't know existed. This is why I am a firm believer, that every church ought to provide free books to help mentor God's flock. I recommend the 'Sword Of The Lord,' who publish numerous books and booklets available on the subject of SALVATION to help new believers.

Doubts are not evidence that a person is not saved. Although some Christian workers and pastors may feel that the safe approach is to lead the person to the Lord, doing so will not remedy the underlying fears, uncertainty and doubt caused by ignorance of the Scripture regarding salvation. We need to teach them Bible truths about eternal security, which is our assurance of salvation. This is why I have published this blog article, to help others who are struggling with the assurance of their salvation to find peace. By God's grace, I have also written a 42 chapter book about my experiences and all I learned, called: 'SALVATION.'

The Epistle of 1st John was written so we can KNOW that we are saved (1st John 5:13). The Bible teaches that a couple of the ways that we know we are saved is if we, love one another, and desire to keep God's Commandments with gladness. These are NOT requirements to be saved; but rather, evidences that we are saved. These are the FRUIT of genuine repentance. Faith is the ROOT (Genesis 15:6). A changed life is the FRUIT (result) of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and not a part of the ROOT of saving faith (Romans 4:5-6).

Please don't misunderstand the Epistle of 1st John. The key verse is 1st John 3:24, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” The evidence that we are saved is the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit. If you have Him, you know Him! I have met unsaved Roman Catholics who are sweet, honest and good people. So looking at someone's life is not a reliable way to determine if they are saved. The Epistle of 1st John is for YOU, the individual, to help determine if you have the Holy Spirit in you. I cannot look at you, or anyone else, and determine if someone is saved by the life they live. God is not saying in 1st John that you are not saved if you live in sin, He is saying you are not saved if you don't have the Holy Spirit in you.

“Just Enough” Faith Is All You Need To Be Saved

God sent a dear man of God who used to preach week-long revivals at our church. I'll never forget something he taught us about Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” He asked, “How much faith does a person need to be saved?” Romans 10:13 answers this question... JUST ENOUGH! If you have “just enough” faith to call upon the name of the Lord, then you will be saved. All God requires is that we obey His Word. It matters not how many doubts you have, just so long as you act upon the faith. All the faith you need to be saved is “just enough” to call (appeal) upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This truth greatly helped me, but I still had worries and doubts concerning all my other questions... WHAT IF? WHAT IF? WHAT IF?

The Promises Of God

One of the most important truths to bare in mind is that salvation is based upon the PROMISE of God. All of the false religious systems in this world are rooted in self-righteous works and uncertainty. Basically you do your best and hope it all works out okay! As Bible-believing Christians we don't have to live with fear, uncertainty or doubt. I've learned that salvation is a PROMISE from God, and that means I can KNOW (beyond any shadow of a doubt) that I am saved. Eternal life is a PROMISE from God. Titus 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” God wants us to have sweet assurance and peace that we are saved and secure. God made us a PROMISE.

But He went further, reminding us in Titus 1:2 that God cannot lie. But He goes even went a step further and informs us that He made this promise of eternal life before the world began. What precious truths! God PROMISED us eternal life in Christ Jesus, a promise that He made before the world was ever created, and God wants us to keep in mind that He never breaks a promise! Brother, that's eternal security!!! If you have been struggling with the assurance of your salvation, I am confident that some of these truths will help you immensely to find the sweet peace and harmony of soul that God wants us all to have. Eternal life is not a reward for good behavior; but rather, it is a gift from God to ungodly sinners, paid for by Jesus' precious blood!

No matter how ungodly you may be, God will forgive you of every sin and declare you justified (Just-If-I'd) never sinned (Romans 4:5-6). All you have to do is cease from your own religious and self-righteous labors; and instead rest upon the PROMISE of eternal life by faith in Jesus, the Christ, Whom God the Father sent into the world to save men from their sins (Luke 19:10). Jesus DIED, He was BURIED, and He ROSE again three days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). If you receive the gospel as payment for your sins, then you are saved eternally my friend. I trust that I will meet you in Heaven someday.

I haven't doubted my salvation in well over 20-years now. I fully understand the gospel and what God DOESN'T require of me for salvation. Most religions mislead people to think that God requires a bunch of things from them to get to Heaven. The truth is that the Bible says Jesus paid our sin debt because He loves us, and eternal life is a free gift at no cost, no obligation, nor burden to the recipient. Jesus paid it all! The burden of salvation rests upon Christ, Who bore our sins at Calvary on the cross.

I learned over time that it didn't matter what I could or couldn't remember from years past. Salvation is NOT an experience. Salvation is a new birth, a second birth, a spiritual birth; which is as irreversible as the first physical birth. What matters is that I have faith in my heart NOW, today. I am saved now this minute. I can say with total confidence that I am saved. Biblical salvation is instant and immediate. It is not a process. Eternal l life is a gift from God.

Although I had asked the Lord to save me at least 50 times during a 7-year period, I was saved the first time! At the very moment at which I believed on Jesus Christ to forgive my sins, I was saved eternally. All the other times I prayed a sinner's prayer out of ignorance. Although I was confused back then as a teenager, not being able to see the forest for the trees; in hindsight today I KNOW that I was saved as a young teen. It was like a light switch was flipped in my life. I've felt the strong presence of God's Holy Spirit in my life ever since that morning when I prayed in my heart for the Lord to save me.

I believed on Christ that Sunday morning. I knew that I was a guilty sinner. I knew that I wanted to go to Heaven. I knew that Jesus died, was buried and rose again three days later for my sins. I placed my trust in the Lord the best I new how, receiving the gospel as payment for my sins, and Jesus saved!!! Thank you Lord for dying for my sins and shedding your precious blood!

BEWARE of any false gospel which places the burden of salvation upon the sinner to change, amend his ways, make a commitment, fully surrender to Christ, stop sinful bad habits, forsake the world, or turn over a new leaf. These things are all appropriate in their own respective places; but when added to the gospel they constitute a perverted and corrupted FALSE GOSPEL of self-righteousness! In salvation, the total burden rests upon Jesus Christ! Upon trusting Jesus Christ, anything other than instant and immediate eternal life is a false gospel of self-righteous works!

We are saved by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, i.e., Christ's righteousness, and not our own self-righteousness. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

What a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see; When I look upon His face, the one Who saved me by His grace; And when He takes me by the hand, and leads me through the Promised Land; What a day, glorious day, that will be!

Thank God for His precious gift of eternal life, through faith in the gift of His dear Son!

“The Devil's children are always religious people!” —Pastor Jack Hyles, a quote from the sermon titled: “The Sin Question And The Son Question