What if I don’t feel saved?

Jesus saving Peter from drowning

By S. Michael Houdmann, Supporter of Got Questions Ministries

This is an all-too-common question among Christians. Many people doubt their salvation because of feelings or the lack of them. The Bible has much to say about salvation, but nothing to say about “feeling saved.” Salvation is a process by which the sinner is delivered from “wrath,” that is, from God’s judgment against sin (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:9). Specifically, it was Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection that achieved our salvation (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 1:7).

Our part in the salvation process is that we are saved by faith. First, we must hear the gospel-the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Ephesians 1:13). Then, we must believe-fully trust the Lord Jesus (Romans 1:16) and His sacrifice alone. We have no confidence in works of the flesh to achieve salvation. This faith-which is a gift from God, not something we produce on our own (Ephesians 2:8-9)-involves repentance, a changing of mind about sin and Christ (Acts 3:19), and calling on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:9-10, 13). Salvation results in a changed life as we begin to live as the new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We live in a feeling-oriented society and, sadly, that has spilled over into the church. But feelings are unreliable. Emotions are untrustworthy. They ebb and flow like the tides of the sea that bring in all kinds of seaweed and debris and deposit them on the shore, then go back out, eroding the ground we stand on and washing it out to sea. Such is the state of those whose emotions rule their lives. The simplest circumstances-a headache, a cloudy day, a word thoughtlessly spoken by a friend-can erode our confidence and send us “out to sea” in a fit of despair. Doubt and discouragement, particularly about the Christian life, are the inevitable result of trying to interpret our feelings as though they were truth. They are not.

But the Christian who is forewarned and well armed is a person not governed by feelings but by the truth he knows. He does not rely on his feelings to prove anything to him. Relying on feelings is precisely the error most people make in life. They are so introspective that they become preoccupied with themselves, constantly analyzing their own feelings. They will continually question their relationship with God. “Do I really love God?” “Does He really love me?” “Am I good enough?” What we need to do is stop thinking about ourselves and focusing on our feelings and instead redirect our focus to God and the truth we know about Him from His Word.

When we are controlled by subjective feelings centered on ourselves rather than by objective truth centered on God, we live in a constant state of defeat. Objective truth centers on the great doctrines of the faith and their relevance to life: the sovereignty of God, the high priestly intercession of Christ, the promise of the Holy Spirit, and the hope of eternal glory. Understanding these great truths, centering our thoughts on them, and rehearsing them in our minds will enable us to reason from truth in all of life’s trials, and our faith will be strong and vital. Reasoning from what we feel about ourselves-rather than what we know about God-is the sure path to spiritual defeat. The Christian life is one of death to self and rising to “walk in the newness of life” (Romans 6:4), and that new life is characterized by thoughts about Him who saved us, not thoughts about the feelings of the dead flesh that has been crucified with Christ. When we are continually thinking about ourselves and our feelings, we are essentially obsessing about a corpse, full of rottenness and death.

God promised to save us if we come to Him in faith. He never promised that we would feel saved.

See http://www.gotquestions.org/feel-saved.html

12 thoughts on “What if I don’t feel saved?

  1. Hi Naomi. Great post. I’ve often found myself questioning my salvation. I find that I am not following the precepts – living the CHANGED life. I don’t focus on God and Jesus and the Cross, instead I focus on how miserable I am here in this world full of lies, deceit and greed.

    “Salvation results in a changed life as we begin to live as the new creation” – This was true for me in the beginning, but I fell back to the old ways and never again raised my head above the water. And in that old life, I don’t read my Bible, don’t watch any videos from church, and I don’t attend church at all. I fear that I am on the outside looking in and wondering if I ever will have that eterneal bliss again.

    “What we need to do is stop thinking about ourselves and focusing on our feelings and instead redirect our focus to God and the truth we know about Him from His Word.” – This is sound advice. I need to spend more time thinking about Jesus and the Cross rather than how miserable I am in this existence. Perhaps if I wake up every day singing praises I will change my outlook?

    Thanks for posting this. As always, a much needed flicker of light in a dark and evil world.

    • Hi Eric,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, glad the article struck a cord with you. I thought I’d share what helps me when I feel down, or as though I am not saved. This may or may not resonate with you, feel free to ignore if not. 🙂

      I keep a gratitude/blessings journal and spend a few minutes each night reflecting on the positive things that I have experienced during the day. This allows me to see God’s hand at work even on dark or depressing days. I also volunteer at a charity shop near my house, helping out most days on the register or in the back sorting and pricing items. My condition makes it tricky for me to hold down a normal “professional” job but I find I get enormous mileage out of focusing on others and not on the negative voices in my mind plaguing me about my salvation. I also pray the Psalms morning and evening which helps reinforce in my mind the merciful and loving character of God. Another thing I have done recently is to curtail my alcohol intake – the meds I am on make drowsiness and depression a real problem if I indulge too much. I am also exercising to ensure that my body remains healthy and strong even when on the strongest anti-psychotic I could be provided with (Clozapine – have tried many meds in my time and none of them worked except this). I also belong to a supportive local church and am making sure to surround myself with positive people, not naysayers who can push a person back into an agitated emotional state.

      I wanted to add that I find it helpful to read the recipes you post up when cooking, especially when I’m feeling down. That is a positive thing you do that helps me see the value of engaging with others to share meal tips. I am sure there are also other little things you do to keep yourself feeling connected. It may help to make a list of these each day, like a to do list of actions that promote wellness.

      Kind regards,

      • Thank you, Naomi, those are great helpers to keep in mind. I’m now keeping a journal. I don’t write in it every day, but, I find it is helpful in that I can look back at what my previous days were like and I can find some golden nuggets in each day. My memory keeps me from a lot of things, so that journal really helps.

        I used to volunteer at a mission years ago and that was very good for my emotional and physical health. I haven’t gone back as they have changed management and policy and I just wouldn’t fit in there anymore. Aside from reading scripture, I have little to fall back on when times get tough. But, Jesus is all I need and all I need to remember is the cross. That, and having friends like you keeping my eyes on the skies with your terrific posts should be enough to keep me in line.

        Thank you for your help and thank you for caring.

      • No worries at all Eric. Those of us who have periods of mental distress can help each other move forward positively – we’re all in the same boat.

  2. Forgive me for intruding, but I haven’t seen a new post from you in quite a while. I am praying that God is working in your life and that everything is fine.


    • Thanks for kind well wishes Eric. I’m on new meds which make me feel sleepy soon after taking them, so I get up rather late each day. Have been having a sabbatical from writing on WordPress (due to lack of energy) but hope to get back into it soon.

      God bless.

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