But What If I Don’t Feel Saved?

Posted by Pastor J.D. on July 18, 2012
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The following is an excerpt from a book I’ll be  releasing with B&H Publishing on February 1, 2013 called Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You are Saved. (preorder page)

If you were honest, you’d probably admit there are moments when you do not feel “Christian” at all. Moments in which you care more about what’s coming on TV that night than you do the spread of the kingdom of God in the world. Moments in which you have fallen to that same old temptation for the thousandth time. Moments when God feels distant, almost like a stranger. Seasons in which your emotions for Him are lukewarm, if not downright cold. When you don’t jump out of bed in the morning hungry for His Word. When your mind wanders all over the place during prayer—that is, when you can bring yourself to pray. Moments when you’re not even sure you believe all this stuff.

Does that sound familiar to you? Times like that are familiar to me. Not all the time, not even most of the time, but certainly more often than I’d care to admit.

What do you do in that moment? Pray “the sinners’ prayer” again? Should I call my old church and have the pastor fill up the all-too-familiar baptismal?

The answer is to keep believing the gospel, to keep your hand on the head of the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how we feel at any given moment, how encouraged or discouraged we feel about our spiritual progress, how hot or cold our love for Jesus, the answer is always the same—exercise faith in the gospel.

On your very best of days, you must rest all your hopes on God’s grace to you in Christ. On your worst of days, it should be your refuge and your boast. Your posture should always be one of dependence on it.

Many people assume the “feeling” of being saved indicates whether or not they actually are saved. Feelings, however, are fickle and dangerously misleading, and Scripture never points us to our “feelings” for assurance. Feelings come from assurance; they are not the basis for it. Assurance is based on the fact of Christ’s finished work; our “feelings” of being saved come from faith in that finished work.

“Feelings” are the fruit of faith, not the source of it. So don’t feel your way into your beliefs; believe your way into your feelings.

Pastor J.D.

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J.D. Greear is pastor of The Summit Church, in Raleigh-Durham, NC and author of Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary (2011) and Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved (2013). More

6 responses to But What If I Don’t Feel Saved?

  1. Thank you for obeying the Holy Spirit. Most preachers will not touch such topics much less admit that they them selves have these same states of mind. Hence the Gospel is true in the Summit Church and its leaders. I am in the midst of this type of turmoil but I do find relief and rest in the word of God. Be blessed Pastor J.D. Be blessed

  2. wow thank you God bless

  3. Pastor JD,
    I got right with God yesterday. For a long time I have been struggling with low self-esteem. I remember reading your Gospel book where you said you wanted, “the admiration of others”. When I was reading it I thought to myself, “I don’t know that I want ‘the admiration of others’ as much as I want the acceptance of others.” You’ve asked people before, “Are you living a Gospel Centered lifestyle in every area of your life?” I realize I haven’t been doing that. However, I intend to change that and bring more honor to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have often wanted the acceptance of others, getting right with God yesterday made me realize that I’ve always had it. I was just too blind to realize it. I know you are a man who believes in accountability. I’ve noticed that you do hold the audience accountable during your sermons and I thank you for making our sins present. However, I think I need to hold you accountable on one thing. I’ve noticed that some people who get up on stage when talking about struggling with sin some will say stuff like, “I know because I struggle with this too” or “If there is anyone struggling with sin right now then help them Lord Jesus and Lord Jesus I put myself in that list”. However, I’ve noticed you say things like “Are you living a Christian life?” and I haven’t really noticed you saying that you struggle with sin too. You almost seem like you are calling yourself exempt and it makes me think you are struggling with arrogance. I say this not too insult you, but to help you grow as a person and as a Christian just like when you are holding us accountable for our sins I know you are just trying to help us grow and move closer in our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One thing though, you definitely have the admiration of others. For a long time I have heard the saying, “No one is special”. They’re wrong. Everyone is special because of God.

  4. Anonymous,

    You said of JD “I haven’t really noticed you saying that you struggle with sin too”.

    Well, In the spirit of Proverbs 27:2, JD is actually quite transparent about his personal struggles with certain sins. Given his calling as an office bearer in Christ’s Church (1Tim 3, Titus 1) and what that necessarily means as to how he leads his life, JD has been quite open from the pulpit and in various group settings about his efforts with mortifying sin. Even in this post, JD alludes to his own felt distance and coldness to God at times.

    In the six years I have listened to JD regularly, in keeping with his calling in the Church, his overall level of transparency around his personal struggles, in my opinion, could only be defined as commendable and appropriate.

  5. JD,

    I appreciate what you said in this excerpt. On the face of it, I agree with it. I also realize it is only an excerpt. I don’t have the context of the rest of the book so I wanted to ask you: do you speak to the fact that some people don’t feel saved because they’re NOT saved? This is often left out in discussions such as this. (Maybe you have touched on this in other posts and I’ve missed it). Thanks.

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  1. This and That 07-21-12 « The Thompsonian Times - July 21, 2012

    [...] But What If I Don’t Feel Saved? – The answer is to keep believing the gospel, to keep your hand on the head of the Lord Jesus Christ. No matter how we feel at any given moment, how encouraged or discouraged we feel about our spiritual progress, how hot or cold our love for Jesus, the answer is always the same—exercise faith in the gospel. – J.D. Greear Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Categories: Uncategorized Comments (0) Trackbacks (0) Leave a comment Trackback [...]

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