For the past 25 plus years I have feared that I committed the unpardonable sin or am not saved. Most likely, because of holding on to my sin, I missed my opportunity to walk through the narrow door. Or, because I seared my heart, as for the last year, I have no spiritual tears, I repeatedly visualize my heart as being seared. I have started listening constantly to Reformed theology sermons and started attending an OPC for the past 3 months. Spurgeon sermons used to bring me to tears, but now I feel my heart hardening and feel only dread. I am convinced that I am a non- elect vessel of destruction. I have worldly sorrow, a “sad faith,” and no genuine repentance with fruit. While I want genuine sorrow, saving faith and genuine repentance, when I ask God for them, I fear that deep inside I must not really want them or want them only to escape hell. At the OPC I feel like an intruding goat or tare; thus, I don’t want to waste the pastor’s time to talk with him or an elder.
Though I pray for mercy and salvation, I am still in my sin, unable to sincerely want to leave or be able to leave my sin. I feel my fate is sealed because I am not elect, and non-elect can never become elect just because they want it. I have had a thousand nights that I have been up, fearing and struggling to be saved, but with no results. I think I just stumbled across the Gospel, which was not meant for me, which explains why I try to live right but cannot. How can one get godly sorrow and genuine repentance if he is the one wanting it, and it is not God who is wanting for him? Yes, I have great sin in my past and present, and yes, I am wicked, self-centered, a lover of comfort—man-fearing, not God-fearing—with a rebellious heart that has resulted in me being non-elect from creation. I fear I am the female version of Cain, Esau, Herod, Pharaoh and Judas, as well as Lot’s wife. Is it too late for me to be saved, or am I just non-elect?
My dear, dear sister in Christ!
I read your long and involved question and am so sorry for your fear and anxiety! The answer is so simple. (Notice, first of all that I called you SISTER IN CHRIST! That should get your attention and rivet it!)
I want you to focus upon just one promise of Jesus and take it very seriously: John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” Do you want to be saved? That desire alone is not from you but from the Holy Spirit, who draws sinners to Christ. By nature we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1ff). Dead men and women desire NOTHING! I would give you one hundred dollars from my own pocket if you could prove to me that anyone from your local cemetery ever asked for anything! By definition, they cannot! Neither can a man or woman dead in trespasses and sins ever desire salvation or favour from God, because they hate God by nature. But you? You love him! You want him to love you, to save you! Don’t you see? That means you have been given that desire by Christ himself, by his Spirit!
Now, to be saved, all you need do is ASK!
You mentioned Spurgeon. Are you familiar with how he came to assurance of salvation after years of misery and fear? Read his story and I think you will recognize your similarity to him! For it seems to me your problem is not the unpardonable sin—if you had committed that, you would not care about being saved; your heart would be too hard. But your heart is not hard! It is simply confused—or worse, you have believed the devil’s lie! I believe that you are either a saved woman because you have truly confessed your sin and sought to put your faith in Jesus, or you will be, once you take your eyes off how you feel and off how you have sinned. Every Christian, from Paul, the self-confessed Chief of sinners, to the very least of us who love Jesus, still sins. But the good news is that there is no condemnation for us because we are in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1). Look to Jesus and his death for sinners; his death for you.
Trust him no matter, how you feel. And memorize his promise and believe it: All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
Go to the nearest OPC pastor and share your problem and this note with him. And this time, go prepared to believe him when he tells you the good news that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, and that you have no grounds to doubt that you are one whom Jesus died to save.
Note: Spurgeon’s account of how he came to be assured of salvation may be read here.
March 03, 2023
November 19, 2022
May 26, 2022
February 15, 2022
December 21, 2021
July 24, 2021
May 15, 2021
© 2023 The Orthodox Presbyterian Church