You should know that our feelings are little to no indication of our true spiritual status before God. In fact, our feelings can be very deceptive (Jeremiah 10:23; Proverbs 14:12). As illustration of this point, please consider that the Old Testament contains many examples of people who genuinely felt they were doing God's will, but they could not have been further from the truth. (God intended us to learn from these examples - I Corinthians 10:6-12; Romans 15:4.) Some of these examples include: Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-3), Saul (I Samuel 15:22-23), Uzzah (Numbers 4:5-6, 15; II Samuel 6:3-9; I Chronicles 15:2, 13, 15), Uzziah (II Chronicles 26:3-5, 15-21). Probably one of the more notable examples left for us was the apostle Paul. Before he became a Christian, he persecuted them - even putting them to death (Acts 26:9-11)! Yet, the whole time, his conscience never warned him (Acts 23:1). He felt pretty good, even though he was committing heinous sin, simply because he had not been taught any better (I Timothy 1:13-16)! While we are on this topic, please consider the Christians who were being persecuted, torn from their families, and even executed by Saul: Do you think they felt happy? Probably not, but yet Jesus said, "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you ... Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven" (Matthew 5:10-12). So, from these passages, we learn that we can feel good, even while sinning profoundly. Moreover, we may feel bad, even though our Father is thrilled with us! Therefore, we see that our feelings do not necessarily reflect our true spiritual condition. Furthermore, Jesus recommends we bring our feelings in line with our spiritual condition (Matthew 5:10-12; 6:25-34). Therefore, we are to make our feelings follow our salvation, not the other way around. (Admittedly, it is easier to say than do, but that is our goal.
If our feelings do not indicate our true spiritual status, then what does? The book of I John answers this question. Please consider the following (somewhat lengthy but essential) compendium of verses:
- "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him." (I John 2:3-5)
- "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (I John 3:14-17)
- "My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.... Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us." (I John 3:18-24)
- "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. ... They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error." (I John 4:1-6 compare with I John 1:1-4)
- "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (I John 4:7-8)
- "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world -- our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?" (I John 5:1-5)
- "And this is the testimony: that 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. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God." (I John 5:11-13 compare with I John 1:3-4)
- obedience to the truth, God's commandments (see also Matthew 7:21-23)
- selfless love of our brethren (sacrificial love, not merely an emotional response - I Corinthians 13:1-ff)
- recognition and acceptance of Jesus' teaching given through His apostles and prophets -> The Bible ("He who knows God hears us"; compare with I Corinthians 2:10-16; 14:37-38; Ephesians 3:3-5)
- faith in Jesus Christ!
- Do you believe in God and Jesus as His Son?
- Have you accepted the Bible as God's truth?
- Are you obeying God's commandments, as expressed by His holy apostles and prophets in the Scriptures?
- Is your life manifesting this commitment through loving others, as God first loved us?
If you are struggling with assurance with your salvation, it may be because you sincerely believed and obeyed what men were teaching, instead of what God was teaching? Men's teaching will satisfy for a while, but God's truth will satisfy for eternity. Please don't be too upset, if that's what you have done. Like the persecutor Saul, who became the great apostle Paul, we must both look to the future, not what lies behind us (Philippians 3:13-17). We must repent and move forward, trusting in God to forgive as He has promised (Hebrews 11:6).
What do you think? Please take a look at the above article and get back with me. I look forward to hearing from you again.
May God bless us with a sincere love of the truth,
P.S., Did you catch that statement in I John 3:18-19, "For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things"? Sometimes we may be persuaded of our damnation, even though we are giving our utmost, diligent best to obey serve God. In such cases, God may be very well pleased with us, even though we are convinced He feels otherwise. John assures us that God "knows all things"; therefore, as is implied, He will save us when we do what's right, even if we feel we are somehow still unsatisfactory, even with the support of God's grace. God does not want us to live with that unnecessary fear. That is why this letter was written. I pray that this brief note highlights the spiritual benefit that God desired you to enjoy!
P.S. #2, Sometimes people ask this question in relation to the "sin against the Holy Spirit". I do not think you mentioned this, but if this somehow played into your concern, please let me know, and I will be glad to focus on a few passages regarding the "unforgivable sin".
P.S. #3, I know that that this contains a lot of Bible verses. I would encourage you to take your time, study each passage closely, meditate on them, and pray fervently. It could be that they contain the information that will change your life forever!
Notice that is impossible to "renew them". It is not impossible for them to be renewed. As illustration, if you fall away, what message can I bring to you, that you do not already know? If you know the Spirit's truth, then there is no tool in the Christian's weaponry to bring you back. The sword of the Spirit (the truth, the Bible) is the only weapon we have (Ephesians 6:11-17). Once a person puts themselves beyond the reach of the Bible, there is nothing left that we can do to renew them. Their conscience is no longer open or sensitive to the message of a loving, sacrificial Savior, because they in essence have willingly and deliberately "crucified Him afresh".
This does not refer to any sin we commit once becoming a Christian. Notice that John describes provision for this sin:
"But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." (I John 1:7-2:2)
The problem with the "blasphemy of the Holy Spirit" is that the person's conscience has become hardened, such that they are unwilling to confess their sins. They have fully known the truth, but for whatever reason, they reject it, despite all they have learned and know. Therefore, there is nothing left that either we or the Spirit can do. They have cut themselves off from any saving method.
So, as long as you are worried that you may have committed the "unforgivable sin", you are safe from that concern, because it relates to those with a hardened conscience. However, I cannot offer you assurance regarding your salvation in general, given our past question and concerns.
I pray this helps, and I look forward to hearing from you again soon.
Did you repent, confess, and submit to baptism as part of your conversion? The foundation must be firm, before it can support weight.
Second, you have not blasphemed the Holy Spirit, if you are still worried that you have. If you have disobeyed His commands, you may have "grieved" Him, but you have not blasphemed Him, because your conscience remains sensitive to God's Word. So, what should you do?
- Correct any wrong - Repent of any sin, confess your sin (Acts 8:20-23; I John 1:7-2:2)
- Grow stronger in God: study the Bible, pray, assemble regularly with saints as prescribed in the Bible, surround yourself with good influences (II Timothy 3:16-17; I Thessalonians 5:17; Hebrews 10:24-25; Philippians 4:4-8)
- Grow weaker in this world: As much as possible, cut off any influences that strengthen or appeal to your lusts, such as immoral content (sexual, pornographic, violent, filthy, blasphemous) found on the internet, television, radio, magazines. Distance yourself from immoral friends, etc... (II Corinthians 6:14-18; I Corinthians 15:33)
- Avoid sin by avoiding opportunities to sin - "do not make provision to sin" - think multiple "moves" ahead, like you were playing spiritual chess... (Romans 13:11-14)
- Have faith in God! "Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, ... let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful." (Hebrews10:19-23)
The only sin which cannot be forgiven is the one from which you are unwilling to repent. There is always hope, provided you are willing to repent, trust, and obey.
I pray this helps. Let me know what I can do.
I believe the Bible teachers a significantly different pattern of requirements for us to obtain salvation (hear the gospel, believe in Jesus, repent of our sins, confess Jesus, and be baptized for the remission of sins - Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38, Galatians 3:26-27, Romans 10:10-13; Acts 22:16 and many more...). I hope that you will be able to find the article easy to understand, because I believe it expresses the Bible pattern quite clearly and simply.
The article (and others referenced by it) will probably generate some good questions. Please feel free to forward them on to me, because it may be critical to answer and examine them closely.
I look forward to hearing from you again. Thanks for your patient following of these thoughts! :-) I pray that it will prove eternally profitable to both of us.
May God bless us with a sincere love of the truth,
Consequently, I would encourage you to study the Bible and obey it, because prolonged failure to study sets one up for this sin. Skipping Bible study is one way to dismiss the work of the Spirit. A lifetime of ignoring it would constitute committing the unpardonable sin.
I pray this helps. If I can help in any other way, please let me know.
May God bless us both with open eyes, honest ears, and tender hearts,
However, I must confess that I am concerned that you believe the Holy Spirit is communicating directly with you. Admittedly, many people share this belief, but the Bible teaches that direct communication with the Holy Spirit, also known as inspiration, was limited to a small subset of of first century Christians - the apostles and prophets (Ephesians 3:3-5). This verse also states that we can share their knowledge, not by inspiration, but by reading what they wrote:
Therefore, the Spirit communicates, not through feelings, intimations, or any other direct form of communication, but through the Word of God, which He revealed and confirmed."how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already, by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ ), which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:" (Ephesians 3:3-5)
Furthermore, you would need to test the revelation by comparing it against previous revelation. Maybe it was not the Spirit that was communicating with you...
I offer this as a simple warning: Please be sure that you are following God's revealed will in Scripture, because that is the standard by which we will be ultimately judged (John 12:48). Please be careful that you do not follow your feelings in place of the Scripture, which is the confirmed voice of the Holy Spirit. Remember our study regarding feelings from previous studies..."Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. ...They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error." (I John 4:1-6)
Finally, please recall that New Testament revelation, communication by the Holy Spirit, was always corroborated by external, undeniable evidence, such as miracles (Hebrews 2:1-4). Unless one can work undeniable miracles (raising people from the dead, making paralyzed walk, restoring missing limbs, etc.), then we should suspect the origin of the message.
I am sorry that this may come as an initial discouragement, especially after you have done such a good thing by returning to church. But, I am greatly concerned that you are misplacing your trust by relying on what seems to be the Spirit's will instead of trusting in what you know is the Spirit's will - the Bible. ... Only love motivates my words.
One of the ways people commit blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is by ignoring the Bible (the Holy Spirit's message) and following their own thoughts instead, supposing them to be the direct message of the Holy Spirit. I can't tell you how many times I have heard people say, "I know the Bible says that I should not do such and such, but the Holy Spirit said it was OK." Maybe I am overreacting, but please do not let yourself fall into this deadly trap.
May God bless us with an ever increasing love of the truth,
But, let's back up for just a second - kind of "first things first", if you will: Let's talk about conversion, if you don't mind. Clearly you believe in Jesus as the Son of God. I am assuming that you have repented of your sins in an effort to commit your life to Jesus. What can you tell me about your confession and baptism? Have you confessed Jesus before men (Acts 8:37-38; Matthew 10:32-33)? Have you been baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:37-38)? The key on this last point is to consider: Were you baptized after you were saved, or to be saved (I Peter 3:21)? If you were baptized, but not for the right reason, then you will need to be baptized again - just like the Ephesians who were also baptized in water, but for the wrong reason (Acts 19:1-4).
Assuming that all of this was done correctly, then yes, all you have to do is confess your sins and ask forgiveness of sins (I John 1:7-2:2 ; Acts 8:21-23).
I am looking forward to hearing from you.
In Christian love,
This is essential for me to answer accurately.
First, it is important that you act based on what you understand the Bible to teach, not any particular local church (Matthew 15:1-9). What do you believe the Bible teaches about baptism and salvation?
Second, I would encourage you to consider that water baptism is the point at which one's conversion is culminated. Specifically, baptism is the point at which our sins are forgiven (Acts 2:37-38; 22:16). I would encourage you to consider the passages in this article for further prayer and meditation:
It is fairly brief, but it should provide good food for thought. You would need to ensure that you have obeyed this command before you worry about anything else.
Also, would you prefer to study with someone, face to face, in your area? If you give me your city and state, I can check and see if I know anyone in your area. If I do, then I would give you their contact info, and let you contact them at your convenience.
I look forward to hearing from you.
In Christian love,