Dealing with Doubts

Dear children, the last hour is here. You have heard that the Antichrist is coming, and already many such antichrists have appeared. From this we know that the last hour has come. 19 These people left our churches, but they never really belonged with us; otherwise they would have stayed with us. When they left, it proved that they did not belong with us.

20 But you are not like that, for the Holy One has given you his Spirit, and all of you know the truth. 21 So I am writing to you not because you don’t know the truth but because you know the difference between truth and lies. 22 And who is a liar? Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ. Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist. 23 Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. – 1 John 2:18-23 [NLT]

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I’m guessing that someone put this bottle on the steps that remained after the house to which they led was swept away by flooding in Louisiana. I’m not sure why, however, anyone would place it there.

Sometimes a self-consumed concern about our faith leads us to self-doubt and despair. Is our faith strong enough? Do we believe rightly? Are we really saved? One approach to such doubts is simply to dismiss them: they’re silly and non-consequential. This may appear to be a wise and mature approach. After all, doubts about God, his word, or truth are groundless. But these issues are not inconsequential. If you do not have it right about who God is and what he has said and done, and what he has promised or threatened to do, you could be in danger of facing grave ramifications to say the least.

A better approach to such doubts is to ground them where they belong. Is my faith strong enough? Not the right question. Rather we should ask, “Is my Savior is strong enough to save me?” Am I really saved? No need to doubt that if you simply rely on God’s word and promise: “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:16) Do I believe rightly? Now there’s an important question to which John supplies the answer: Whoever believes in Jesus Christ has it right.

There are those who would discredit God, deny Jesus, and reject the work of the Holy Spirit. There are those who point toward the decline of the church in America as evidence of an antiquated belief system. There are those who say that Jesus was just a good guy, or an interesting religious figure of his day, but nothing more. There are those who say there is no God. These are the antichrists whose intent is evil and destructive. They come to steal, kill, and destroy. But Jesus has come to give life in abundance. Those who trust in him will be saved.

Doubts are best faced, acknowledged, grounded in the clear Word of God, and dismissed with the power of the Holy Spirit. But doubts do not disprove faith; they may even help us focus on what is true and clear: Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, the Savior in whom we trust. Through faith in him we are saved.

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