5 Reasons Why People Doubt Their Salvation

I am confident of this: that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1:6).

The Bible teaches not only does Jesus save us, but He keeps us in the faith. It teaches God not only gives eternal life, but will preserve us in that life. It is not life until we sin again, it is not life until we feel differently, it is not life until times get tough and our faith grows weak, it is eternal life which will never end. Scripture is filled with the assurance that our salvation is secure.

Many people, however, tend to doubt their salvation. Here are five reasons why:

1. They have a faulty understanding of how they are saved.

If a person thinks he is saved by good works, then it stands to reason he would think his salvation could be lost by bad works. This is the problem with many people today. They feel they can lose their salvation. They say, “If I could earn it, I could lose it. If I could deserve it, I could desert it.” But this is incorrect. The truth of the matter is since we cannot earn it, since it is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast, then we did not deserve it in the first place.

This is why a proper theological understanding of salvation is important. God chose to save us, not based on our merits or what we deserved. Rather, He chose to save us in spite of who we are and contrary to what we deserved. Salvation is based on His goodness and grace, not on our merit. When we get a proper understanding of that, when we get a clear picture of how bad our sins are and how great God’s grace is, it will give us a new and deeper appreciation for our salvation.

2. They do not have a biblical understanding of perseverance.

Instead of realizing what God has said and trusting He will be faithful to His Word, many people have based their beliefs on what someone has told them, how they feel, on faulty interpretation, or something other than the revelation in God’s Word. This is the fundamental problem with all doctrinal error, that people have not rightly divided the Word of God and have based their belief on a view which is not biblical.

Many people base their beliefs on experience. They might say something like this: “I knew a person who was a great Christian for many years, but then one day he decided to walk away from the faith and leave God behind. He just laid down his salvation and abandoned God.” Scripture gives insight into such cases: “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us” (1 John 2:19). If we are truly saved, we will persevere in our salvation to the end.

3. They are ignorant of God’s promises in His Word.

The level of biblical illiteracy today is astonishing. Many professing Christians know more about their favorite sports teams than they do the doctrines of the faith. It is no wonder why so many of us are so easily led astray by every wind of doctrine which blows across the ecclesiological landscape.

The antidote for this is simple: get grounded and rooted in the Word of God, and learn what it says about who God is. God’s Word tells us He gives eternal life: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever 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 you have eternal life” (1 John 5:12-13).

4. They are out of fellowship with God and do not sense His presence.

There are many Christians today who experience doubts about their salvation for no other reason than they are out of fellowship with God. Our salvation is all about relationship. It is about walking and talking, breathing and being; it is about practicing the presence of God in our lives. But many Christians have allowed sin to remain in their lives, unconfessed and unaddressed. They have grieved the Holy Spirit of God and are no longer sensitive to His presence in their lives, nor are they aware of His movement around them. It is little wonder why people in such a state doubt their salvation.

The solution for this is simple: Get right with God. “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).

5. They are not saved and sense they are lost because they really are.

One of the reasons people doubt their salvation is simply because they are not saved. They may have knowledge of the church. They may have knowledge of Scripture. They may have grown up in a Christian home, surrounded by Christian friends and family, but at the end of the day, they cannot say they have ever experienced a transformation of their life, the kind of transformation which only Jesus can bring when He gives a person a new heart and a new mind.

It is to this end that Paul tells the Christians at Corinth: “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). The reason many people will go to hell from a church pew is because they never gave themselves a spiritual examination. They never stopped to consider whether or not they were really saved. If you are truly saved, you should know it. God does not want you to be paralyzed by fear or doubts, which are ungrounded or unfounded.

The solution is clear: know what God’s Word says about your salvation. Stand on the truth that it is Jesus who saves you and not anything you have done. Ground yourself in good doctrine. Remember your salvation is a reflection and an extension of God’s character. Let Him show you if there is any sin in your life and stop for a moment to examine yourself spiritually to see if you are truly in the faith: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

* If you enjoyed this, I encourage you to read more in my book, Back to the Basics: A Guide for Christian Living.

Cover (woods)


  1. Good stuff, and I would add this note of caution: I have no problem with children coming to the Lord. But it is very hard to know what is truly in a little one’s heart or mind. Are they praying that prayer to please God, or to please a parent or a Sunday school teacher? Do they really understand the Gospel? I would never dismiss a child’s profession of faith out of hand, because Jesus said we must come like little children. But it’s important to watch and see whether the fruit of the Spirit begins to grow. If not, the whole question may need revisiting when the child is older.

    A young adult who was “saved” at a very early age may want to do a self-examination. I think many come to that point naturally in their teens; as my pastor put it, they arrive at a need to “own their faith” rather than just taking what was handed down to them.

    As for myself, I was saved at 17, and I consider it a gift from God that I can put a date to it. Also that it came quietly–no altar call or overt drama, just the Spirit working in me and through a few believing friends. I never have to wonder if I just got swept away in a moment.

  2. Very good explanation, we tend to over complicate salvation by poisoning it with works, when in fact Jesus did the hard part for us, all we need to do from our side is repent from our old ways, starve our old self and feed the new on a daily basis. Thank you for your teachings. God bless you.

  3. Wow this is simple, biblical and clear. Excellent! I love studying the topic of Christian assurance as I notice it is those times in my life that I examine myself with the Fear of the Lord that I bear much fruit in my life as a consequence of it.

  4. Good word! One of the verses that I have found to be most compelling in regards to the salvation debate is Hebrews 7:25: “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (NASB). To say that one could lose his salvation after a genuine experience with Christ would be to lack confidence in Jesus’ prayer life. If that’s the case, nobody can be saved!

  5. Reblogged this on Teesma's blog and commented:
    Couldn’t sleep so I found myself here. God must have sent me here. This is something that just reaches me. Enjoy.

  6. hey joe,..i have been gone from wordpress for so long that i have forgotten how to use it!!!!!! seriously,………ok,…on a serious note,….i recently found noah’s ark,….and i am in NO WAY kidding,…i have new pics taken during last years heat wave in turkey,…if you wanna see em,…let me know,……….it’s pretty cool!!!!!!!!!!!!! there are only huge chunks of it left,…but you still will be able to “see” exactly what you are looking at with no doubts!!!! i am trying to be on the top of ararat in august if the heat wave continues this year,……hope you’re well,….drop me a message soon

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