Puritan Board Freshman
The first thing I want to talk about with you is just what saves us. Let me be clear: our faith does not save us, but rather God saves us by uniting us to Christ through faith in him. Faith is like a conduit through which saving grace flows. This faith is not generated by us. It is worked in regenerate people by the power of the Holy Spirit. We learn from Scripture that every good gift comes from above. This includes faith. You and I have absolutely zero capability to well up in ourselves the faith required to lay hold of Christ. Zero. The Bible teaches us that we are dead in trespasses and sins. We do not have the ability or will to reach up in faith toward God. First, he must make us alive, and give us then the faith we need to be united to Christ. Do you believe this? Ask yourself: am I trusting in my own faith, or am I trusting in the object of my faith? Am I trusting in how well I spread the blood on the doorpost, or am I trusting in the blood? Am I trusting in the fact that "I believed the gospel", or am I believing the gospel? The blood of Jesus covers even our unbelief and doubt. I am not talking about full apostasy but various wavering we experience. Jesus chided his disciples for being of "little faith", and for "doubting". Their faith was not perfect, it had various deficiencies, but it was sufficient because it's author was God himself. Remember, Jesus told them that their knowledge of the things of the Kingdom of Heaven was given to them. Naturally they could not comprehend it.
Secondly, we must understand that it is God who preserves our faith, not us. 1 Peter 1:5 teaches us that God's elect are being kept by the power of God through faith. That is, GOD keeps us using the MEANS of faith in Christ. It is his work, not ours which causes a believer to persevere to the end.
Thirdly, we must understand the salvation is permanent and unchanging. From God's perspective, the salvation of the elect has been a reality since before time began. For us, we experience this salvation in time. From God's eyes however, it has always been sure. It makes no sense though, for us to think that anyone can lose their salvation. On what possible basis can we lose it? 2,000 years ago, God laid the sins of all his people on Christ. What's more, we were united with him in his death and resurrection. In Him we were circumcised and baptized, and raised with him (Col 2). There is no basis for anyone to bring a charge against God's elect, for there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
I can tell that this ultimately boils down to this question for you: Am I "in Christ"? Do I have "real, Spirit-worked faith"? You look at your wavering and you wonder if it is possible that you have never been saved at all. I have thought about this in my own life. The first thing I would do is truly examine yourself and see if there is any hint of self-righteousness in you. Pray to God and be frank with him. Ask him for the help of the Holy Spirit to expose this in you. Realize that nothing about us is "good enough" to merit salvation. Our level of belief is not high enough; our sincerity is not sincere enough; our motivations are not pure enough; our prayers are not long enough; our sorrow for sin is not sorrowful enough; our contrition is not contrite enough; we cannot promise God to be better and stop sinning because we do not have the capacity; our repentance is never "good enough" to satisfy God. ALL of our merit must come from Christ. We are wretched in every sense of the word, and contribute nothing, not even a proper disposition toward God a proper "coming to him".
I would urge you to thrust yourself on God's mercy. Do it several times a day if necessary. Trust that "he who comes to me I will by no means cast out". God is happy to receive sinners. There is a celebration in heaven when a sinner comes to repentance. Were you born into a Christian family? If so, then that is already evidence of God's grace in your life. Have you been exposed to the gospel message? That is evidence of God's grace in your life. Do you think that God gets a rise from dangling the gospel in front of people's eyes and then pulling it back? Satan would love for you to think that but it is not true. Jesus tells us to come to Him if we labour and are heavy laden, and he WILL give us rest. He sent his Son so that those who believe in him might have eternal life.
Confess to God "Lord, I have nothing to offer you. This prayer cannot be offered to you even in a right frame of mind without the work of thy Spirit. I need help. I have no hope outside of you covering all of my faults with Christ, including my sins of unbelief. Sin has permeated every aspect of my being. I come to you only because I know that you have revealed yourself as a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. On this basis, and on the basis of thy promise that "he who comes to me I will by no means cast out", I come to you in faith. Father, I know I am not worthy to be called your child, but I know that you delight when a sinner comes to you and asks for mercy in Christ's name". I recognize, Holy Father, that the placement of myself into a Christian household or the fact that I have heard the gospel is evidence of your good will toward me. Thank you for that. I continue to rest my soul on Christ alone. I confess that I cannot contribute even one iota to my justification. I am reliant on thy mercy alone. Please help me."
Every time you are afflicted with doubts, bring it before God in prayer. Every time. Do NOT let yourself wallow in these thoughts. IMMEDIATELY cast yourself on Christ in prayer.
I've managed to conclude that a regenerate person, perhaps one struggling with mental issues, can fall into certain heresies for a time but then be recovered unto the truth. However, when I fell into certain heresies, I taught them to my friends and argued for them on facebook, and even wrote about it on my website (which has like no subscribers). It didn't last long, but it still happened. And, I read those verses in 2 Peter 2 about false teachers, and I can't help but fear damnation. And, I read in Galatians 2:4 about "false brethren" who taught heresies, and I get nervous. I stay up for hours, sometimes until the sun comes up, worrying about theological issues.