Salvation, Fear and Trembling

As I’ve been working through the Arminian upbringing of my childhood and the Calvinist beliefs of my current church (and I think mine now as well), I have been confused, fearful, heartsick, and starting to question my mental state. Some days I think I’m fine…I can live with the uncertainty…and then there are days, such as I’ve had in the past week that I would like to hide under my bedcovers and cry myself to sleep, so that I can turn my brain off for a while. To make the thoughts stop. The endless cycling of the what if’s and the how can I know’s and the this says this thing’s, but the that says that thing’s, and I can’t see how they both can be true’s. I can feel them traveling over the same grooves in my brain, wearing down the matter and imprinting themselves in my soul.


Was I saved as a teen? Was I apostate for the last 20 years? Was I never a “true” believer before? If I wasn’t, how can I know whether I am now? How can I take comfort in the assurance of my salvation if there’s even the slightest chance I was not ever really saved before or am not really saved now? How do I know whether I’ve had or have now, the fruits of the Spirit? Where is the yardstick, that I might measure myself against it?


I’m not going to go into all the evidences for or against me in the last 20 years, or in the last few months. I was a sinner and continue to be one. But for Christ crucified, I believe I was saved then and I believe I am saved now. The Spirit never left me. I believe I didn’t always (even often) listen to the Spirit when I should have, but I knew who it was. I believe the Spirit wooed me back home, a prodigal daughter. I believe Jesus never did and never will let me go.


I do not simply profess, but I believe.

    All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. [John 6:37]



Filed under Difficult Questions

2 responses to “Salvation, Fear and Trembling

  1. Tracey:

    You cannot be or have been an apostate because you believe in Christ as Lord and want to live for him. An apostate is one who turns away and never comes back–in fact, cannot come back. Hebrews 6 speaks of this kind of person (who was never truly a Christian to begin with).

    You showed some kind of interest in Christ as a teen and acted on that. Then you drifted or rebelled… What matters now is that you are a follower of Christ, who is trying earnestly to make sense of the faith and live it out consistently. This is evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in your life.

    The most important question is not really, “When did I first believe?” but “Do I now believe?”

    One of the classic Calvinist statements of faith is The Westminster Confession of Faith. It is available on line. I believe most of it –but not infant baptism–and encourage people to read and think about it. Most versions give the biblical texts that support the affirmations.

    Doug Groothuis

  2. Bethel

    Hi Tracey,
    I responded to your post on ‘Thinking Christian’ asking for the source re: the study I cited.
    Then I came over to your blog. Wow, I could have written what you posted just a few short years ago. Thank God He showed me the answers to all those questions and gave me the assurance through His Word that I am His and He will keep me in the palm of His hand forever. I have much information and am more than happy to share with you if you would like. You have my email address, just email me, we can discuss anything you like.
    God Bless you all ways

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