Can God really love and forgive really bad sinners
By: The John Ankerberg Show
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|Saved for Sure, Overcoming Doubt: How do you overcome those doubts, to be brought to the point where you say, “Yes, I know it’s okay. I’m going to Heaven.” For Doubters Only: There are still some people who have a tough time in having confidence in their salvation. What do those folks need to do? Dr. Erwin Lutzer’s personal testimony.
Copyright: 2003, Number of Programs: 4, Cat. No. YBS2
Keywords: Accept Christ, Reject Christ, Matthew 17:20
- Ankerberg: Alright, switch hats and let’s give help to those who are the doubters out there. What do you say to the person who has an over-sensitive conscience?
- Lutzer: You know, we have people like that in our congregations. I remember counseling a man who, everybody knew he was a Christian because, you know, he had the fruits of faith. He loved Christ. And he had every reason to believe, and yet, you know, because of psychological reasons – he was another Cowper. A sense of distrust; a sense of saying, “I don’t know whether or not I’ve believed enough. I believe in Christ but.” And you know, I worked with him over a period of time and I tried to get him to see something.
- I don’t think we help these people by trying to minimize their sins. There are some people who say, “Oh, well, you know you’re saved. It’s true you sin, but, you know, your sins aren’t that great.” I don’t do that. What we have to do, John, is to magnify grace. You know, there’s an interesting thing historically. A friend of Luther’s wrote to Martin Luther and said, “Luther, I can’t forgive myself for what I have done, (he had given some wrong counsel to somebody), so I’m led to despair.” Luther didn’t say, “Now, Spalatin, your sin isn’t that big. Don’t get too excited about it.” But he said, “Spalatin, you have to get used to something. We have a real Savior for real sins.” He said, “Jesus just didn’t die for nominal, small sins. Oh, no, Spalatin! He died for damnable iniquities.”
- And when this man comes to me and he says, “You know, I’m a Christian but look at the sins I’ve committed,” I don’t say, “Well, those sins aren’t too great.” What I say to him is, “Well, you know what? God’s grace when Jesus died was so complete that it includes all sins, even yours.” And you keep helping them to look in the direction of Christ. You keep helping them take confidence in the promises and to grow in faith. That’s the way in which you help people to overcome doubt.
- But you know what the good news is? Well, first of all the bad news. The bad news is that Cowper apparently died with lack of faith. The good news is, it’s okay, if his confidence was in Christ alone. He shall be saved despite his doubts. So, let me simply say that faith does not necessarily exclude doubt.