Could a Person Be Saved When He Thinks He is Lost?
Today's lesson is also written by Douglas Hoff. This excellent article considers the opposite perspective from the previous lesson. We appreciate Doug sharing these helpful studies.

As was pointed out in the prior article, a favorite trick of the devil is to deceive people into believing a lie (cf. II Cor. 2:11; II Thess. 2:11; Gen. 3:4). Many think they are saved when in fact they are lost in sin (cf. John 8:21). However, some Christians think they are lost when in reality they are saved. How can this be? In both cases, people are believing lies.

Some good, sincere Christians who obeyed the gospel and are living faithfully incorrectly feel that they are lost. What is the basis for this self-incrimination? Feelings convince them of their undone condition (cf. Isa. 6:5). Emotions are able to powerfully affect a person's thinking. Some people trust their feelings, but this is foolish since they are not based on truth. As such, they are often quite fickle. The lost sometimes feel saved because of their feelings and the saved can convince themselves they are lost because their emotions move them away from the truth. There is no reliable evidence to show they are condemned, yet they still feel it. Yes, Satan can use our emotions to fight against our faith (cf. II Cor. 2:6-11)!

Believing a lie can cause unnecessary heartache. Based on a misleading report, Jacob thought Joseph was dead (cf. Gen. 37:31ff). As a result, the great patriarch needlessly mourned for many days. The same thing is true of faithful Christians who have allowed their capricious feelings to convince them they are lost. This can yield years of misery and sorrow. Left unchecked it can even cause one to fall away from the Lord. Consider the words of Proverbs 15:13 - "A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."

Paul commanded the church at Corinth to accept the man who had been the object of the punishment (cf. II Cor. 2:6). If they did not do so, the penitent brother could have concluded he was not right with the brethren and perhaps God also. He would have been believing a lie since God had forgiven him. Therefore, the Holy Spirit used Paul's pen to write - "You ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him" (II Cor. 2:7,8).

It is possible to feel lost because of doubts in either God or self. Some people do not trust God's promises. The remedy for this is reading the powerful word of God (cf. Heb. 4:12; Rom. 10:17) and by considering the evidence that confirms it is inspired (cf. Heb. 11:1; II Tim. 3:16).

Others feel lost because they have a hard time forgiving and then trusting themselves. Although God has forgiven them, they still labor under an imagined burden of sin. The good news for the faithful disciple is that "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Rom. 8:1).

Please notice what John wrote regarding one's assurance of salvation in I John 5:13 - "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God." It does not say: "You will know that you have eternal life." Neither does it say: "You must know that you have eternal life." Such knowledge is possible ("you may"), but one can be saved even though his heart condemns him - "And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things" (I John 3:19,20).