I think there are 3 things that make the vast majority of believers doubt in themselves that they’re saved. Number one is – UNCONFESSED PERSONAL SIN – if you have an area of your life that you’re unwilling to turn over to God. If you have a pet sin, or a terrible sin that you have not committed to Him, confess it to Him. You will never have assurance. Unconfessed sin will rob you, not only of the joy of your salvation, but it’ll rob you of the maturity of Christ. You must deal with unconfessed known sin. But how do I deal with it?, you might ask. 1 John 1:9 – It’s a passage not written to unbelievers, it’s a Bible verse for believers. And it says, “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – that’s talking to Christians about relationship, not about salvation. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin, and we will not stand before God for the sins we’ve done. But known sin in the life of a Christian destroys the relationship. It makes us feel like God does not care, makes us feel like everything we do is wrong, and it will rob us of the joy and assurance that we’re saved. so if there’s anything that you have between you and God, tell Him. If it’s between you and God tell only God. If it involves others go ask their forgiveness, and make restitution. If you have hurt the entire church, then you must come before the entire church. I guarantee you, knowing you’re saved, and having a joy in that is worth the pain of repentance. Whatever level, it must be done. It must be done! Unconfessed personal sin has destroyed the great majority of the lives of Christians of our day.
Number two, IGNORANCE OF BIBLE TRUTHS – you’ve got to know the simple truths of the Bible about salvation before you’re going to have assurance. You might say, “I believe my pastor, I trust him”. What if your pastor runs off of the church’s money? What if he leaves is wife for another girl? I know, this might be strange to you, but it is never a remote possibility. This happens over, and over, and over again in our day, and every day in the past. What if the guy you trust doesn’t live up to what you think he ought to? You can’t base assurance on your pastor, or denomination, or a church. You must know the truth of the word of God, and you can’t know it unless you read it for yourself! You’ve got to know what it says before you know what it means. This spoon-feeding on Sunday church services will never do it. Even if you include Sunday school, it won’t ever do it. You need to be in the Word of God so you will have assurance. Ephesians 4:13-15 admonishes Christians to be equipped with the Word of God, because there are Christians who are tossed about by every wind of doctrine, by every wave of people’s opinion. They’ve trapped by the schemes of the evil one. The modern church is filled with logical and charismatic type of heretics that come down the aisle with every false wind of doctrine, and if you do not know your Bible, you’re going to be attached to that which is holding you down. You must know the truth so you can analyze what you hear people say. Charismatic, gifted, and powerful cult leaders are all around. There are beautiful, articulate, and dynamic personalities anywhere, and if you don’t know the Book, there will be no mooring for your heart.
Number three – DESIRE FOR CERTAIN EXPERIENCES – desire for the answer to certain questions; desire for answered prayer and personal miracles. Those kind of desires if you let them take control of your life, will dash you on the rocks of uncertainty. Many people don’t trust Christ because of some intellectual question they have about some nitpicking part of the Bible. Many don’t come to Christ because they’re expecting experience like that of Pentecost. This desire for certain spiritual experiences is not bad, if you wait around for that before trusting Christ, you may miss the whole thing. Some folks say when God does a little miracle in my life, then i’ll trust Him. But we walk by faith, and not by sight. And the Bible says in Mathew 24:24 that false teachers will come in the last days doing signs and wonders, and lead even the elect astray if possible. You put your hope in the supernatural, I promise you there is more than one supernatural influence in our world – satan. Satan can get your life by healing you, or charming you, or wooing you. He’ll do it. He did it to Jesus, and it’s Jesus who refused to jump off the pinnacle the temple. I believe in a supernatural God active in His world, but I’m going to focus my trust on the promises of God in the person of His Son Jesus, and His finished work on the cross. Not on where the wind bloweth because i’m not always certain what wind it is. I submit to you, we must be very careful about an over-reliance on self; be it experience, be it morality, be it intelligence, or be it rules. If you focus your hope for heaven on YOU, you will not make it. Because anything that focuses completely on YOU is in jeopardy. In this fallen world our hope is based entirely on Jesus Christ (cf. Eph. 2:8-10).