Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Addressing the Fear that we may have lost our Salvation

Depression is a brutal illness that affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Many Christians who suffer from depression are particularly distressed by the effect depression has upon the spiritual part of their lives. This may include feelings of guilt and condemnation, an inability to feel God’s presence or love, and an inability to take lasting comfort from reading God’s Word or prayer.

Dr Weekes even mentions this in her book, “Self Help for Your Nerves.” Some nervously sick religious people complain of being unable to contact [connect with] their religion, like the mother who could not contact [connect with] her family. This is an added worry, especially when they find no solace in prayer. When they understand that they feel this way simply because their emotions are exhausted, they are greatly relieved. (1)

One issue that some Christians suffering from depression struggle with is the fear that they have lost their salvation. Some also have obsessive fearful thoughts that they will go to hell. This is what I wrote in my diary on 20th July 1990:

Experiences like the past eight months almost make you wonder,
it makes me wonder if I am one of His children.


WayneThomasBatson, a Christian author of five fantasy/adventure novels, shares:

When I was in the midst of it, I didn't know what was going on. As a matter of fact, off and on for seven years prior to my worst experience, I'd had a series of "heart events." After every single cardio test out there: tilt table, EKG, Halter monitor, stress test, nuclear stress test, etc, nothing heart related came up.

Stress, they told me. Little did I know that all along, it was anxiety attacks.

And what you said about the enemy prowling around and then pouncing on us...that was so true. I remember laying in a hospital bed after the worst racing heart/anxiety attack, I was terrified I was going to hell. I just couldn't get the thought out of my mind. It was like all those stories you hear of old saints on their deathbed, just peacefully passing on, saying something wonderful like, "I'm going to be with my Jesus now." Except for me, there was no comfort at all. I thought it was all over...even in an eternal sense.

Thing is, the word says neither angles nor demons, nor death or life, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God through Christ.



Christians suffering from depression should not be surprised or worried by such fears, as the suffering and exhaustion caused by depression destroys our worldview - we look at everything through depression-coloured glasses. Everything looks bleak, including our perception of God and the things of His Kingdom.

I have written previously about how important it is to obtain a fresh perspective on the things we fear. Therefore, I share below scriptures we can use to help us see the new perspective regarding the fear that we are no longer one of God’s children. Meditate on these scriptures, write them down, and reflect on them when the fears come flooding in.

Salvation, or eternal life, is a free gift we receive from God when we believe in Jesus. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23.

We need to remind ourselves that when we have repented of our sins and turned to God, God wipes them out of existence. 'Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,' Acts 3:19.

The Bible assures us of our salvation when we believe in Jesus, (which means we trust in, cling to, and rely upon Him), and believe He died on the cross to pay for our sins and rose from the dead three days later. That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9 And "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16.

When we believe in Jesus like this, we are born again, this time into God’s family. Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." John 3:3. Yet to all who received him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God. John 1:12-13.

Here is more assurance of our salvation. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:11-13

And as Wayne Thomas Batson shared above, nothing can separate us from Christ’s love. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

Nothing can snatch us from Christ’s almighty hands. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. John 10:27-29

It does not matter if for the time being we cannot feel these truths if we are suffering from depression, what matters is that we believe them and stand on them, reminding ourselves that God is completely trustworthy and His promises and Word cannot be broken.

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock." Matthew 7:24

(1) ‘Self Help for Your Nerves,’ Doctor Claire Weekes, Angus & Robertston Publishers, 1989, p146.

22 comments:

  1. Loved that Scripture you shared from Romans...It's sad when I see custody staff responding to inmates having anxiety attacks with anger because they don't understand the severity and reality of this on them. Same thing with medical staff. Thanks for sharing all of this to enrich me at what I do at work and spiritually. Blessings to you bro. Peter.

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  2. Peter thank you for sharing. Romans is a powerful book of the Bible. Especially Romans 8:38-39. Peter you are truly a blessing.

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  3. I made myself memorize that scripture - it is a good one!

    Rose

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  4. you help me soo much thank you

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    1. You are most welcome, Anonymous.
      God bless

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  5. this helped me

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  6. It is so unbelievable how much of what you went through I am going through now. I can't remember ever once doubting my slvation untill anxiety took over my life. Peter, you are helping me through this more than you will ever know. It's almost like I'm living your life during this time right now.

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    1. Hi Jcar
      So glad the Lord is using my writings to help you through this time. Hang in there. I'm remembering you in my prayers.
      God bless
      Peter

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  7. Hello,

    My name Is Mayra, I'm 31 years old and I'm in the recovery proccess from Depression and Anxiety the most horrible experience of I life. When I'm having a set back and start getting all this fearfull thoughts I search the web for positive tips and today I found your website, which by the way is wonderfull everything you went through I'm going through the same at this momment and your page is so encouraging I mean I would of nerver though someone can feel exactly what I feel. After what I have read I have hope!

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    1. Dear Mayra
      I am so glad that this blog has been encouraging. And yes! You can have hope, because so many of us have gone through, and are going through what you are experiencing, and have gone on to recover and return to a normal, wholesome life again.
      God bless
      Peter

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  8. wow....I am glad I came across this. I also have had the fearful thoughts trying to get to believe them. It's nice to know others are out there that I can relate to. I know the truth. But when you have depression and anxiety....your mind is so tired and it plays tricks on you. Especially when you have insomnia. I really needed this blog tonite. thanks. I thought I may have lost my salvation or that God left. But I know He is there with open arms!

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Your most welcome, I'm delighted the blog has been able to encourage you tonight.

      'The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.' Deut 33:27

      Gog bless
      Peter.

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    2. i'm crying right now because this past few days i have anxiety, depression, and tinnitus and insomnia. i'm an overseas contract worker and my family is relying on me. i'm a christian and i've been praying and crying to God for help but i feel desperate and abandoned because when i pray its like He is not there. i thought that God is punishing me for my sins and also i'm afraid that i have lost my salvation. still i will pray to God and believe in His Son Jesus Christ.

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    3. Dear Naven,

      I am sorry to hear you have been struggling so. Please do not despair, but remember that Jesus is your hiding place, your refuge. Please seek Him with all of your heart.

      Regarding sins, God promises to forgive us when we confess them, so please do not fear that God is punishing you after you have said sorry for any sins. 1 John 1:9 ' If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.'

      May I encourage you to read these articles too please:
      How depression/anxiety causes its symptoms
      Facing depressions symptoms instead of fearing them
      Breaking depression's fear cycle.

      And about tinnitus, please read this article
      Breaking depression's fear cycle.

      Lastly, may I encourage you to read Psalm 23 every morning and bedtime, and remember that Jesus is our wonderful Shepherd, and He will never let go of us.

      God bless
      Peter
      Peter




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  9. Peter, I have struggled and been terrified of the mixed messages of the assurance of someone's salvation, some of them from preachers themselves, who have said that if you're scared about not really believing you are saved or feel like you're still unsaved even after repenting and trusting Jesus as your Savior, then that maybe it is true that you aren't really saved. I know that we must consciously turn from our sins and I have no plans to deliberately sin again but of course we sin multiple times a day even without effort (thinking a mean thought about someone/something, saying an unkind thing to someone in anger) and I have always wondered, what would happen if someone who genuinely felt that they repented, turned their lives to Jesus, and lived doing the Lord's work, but then fall away many years later and live in sin for one year and die one day, in their sin? I know some people would say, "Well, if he was really saved, then he never would've fallen back into a life of such sin again, so it means he was never saved in the first place" or "He was saved, but then he lost his salvation when he went to live in sin again."

    It's so confusing. All I know is that I am going to do my best to live as godly a life as possible because I keep hearing that if you are saved, then you will show the fruits of it. Currently, I'm scared that my father has lost his salvation (or maybe he was never saved to begin with) - he has stopped going to church or if he does, he attends a different church than my mother or he will not go and just listen to the recorded sermon on the internet. I know he has reasons he doesn't want to go and I always thought he accepted Christ as his Savior but now, I'm not so sure of his salvation because he has stopped going. I know simply going to church doesn't mean you're saved or a Christian but the scripture talking about the fruits as proof of your dedication and sincerity causes me to worry that my father is not living his confession, then. I guess I should pray to God about this. I want all my family members to be saved and my father is elderly so I worry...

    Any words of advice for me? Thank you in advance.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thanks for your comment. I would like to encourage you to remember that God is more than able. He is greater than anything we can do or manage by ourselves. The disciplines, filled with doubt, asked a similar question of Jesus - "Who then can be saved?" And Jesus replied, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." Matthew 19:25-26.

      So I would firstly encourage you to stop worrying that you, or your father, have lost your/his salvation, and instead, be assured - be encouraged - that your salvation is safely in God's hands. Rest in the Bible's assurance - "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved." Acts 16:31. Please read the verses in this blog post again, and again, and stand on them. Trust in, rely upon, and cling to Jesus, to bring about what He promised to those who believe in Him - eternal life with Him and the Father in heaven. God is bigger than issues such as people attending church or not. And God also understands that the elderly often do not have the same ability or opportunities to bear fruit as they did when they were younger. And that's okay. Not to mention that there are different kinds of fruit, such as praying for others. How many children have gotten saved because their stay-at-home grandmother prayed for them to get saved every single day.

      I hope this helps,
      God bless
      Peter

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  10. Thank you for sharing this! I have panic disorder, and you've given me the first glimmer of hope that I can recover and become healed. I have been very tired, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Realizing that tonight took TONS of crushing weight off my chest.

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  11. Thank you so much for this. I've been reading a lot of articles to seek comfort from my depression. It gives me joy how someone who had undergone depression overcame it. And now, I know I can overcome it, too. Indeed, God doesn't change our circumstances but rather changes our heart. May He keep pouring out blessings to you. :)

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    1. Thanks Marialie, praying the Lord Jesus will lead you to wholeness in Him soon. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to get help if you need it, such as seeing a family doctor, or a counsellor, to help you work through any underlying issues.

      I also recommend that you download the book on this blog, which has the articles from the blog in a logical sequence. I believe you can receive a lot of practical help and comfort from the Lord in the articles.

      Free book on depression

      God bless
      Peter

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  12. Peter please call me. ive been a Christian for many years. ive played music all over the world with billy grahams son franklin graham for God. i got kicked in the head by a horse and fear started in a and half later i thought i lost my salvation. is there any way we could talk on phone? I would be happy to give you my number if there is a way to get it to you without making it public

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Thanks for the message. Sorry, phone calls are not something that I can do, however, you are most welcome to send me an email/s, and I will get back to you as soon as possible. My email address is peter7r9stone@gmail.com

      God bless
      Peter

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