Q: Can a person be saved even though they have a fear of trusting? When we ask Jesus for salvation and repent of our sins, must we also have to trust?
A: I have an interesting story to tell you that I think will help in explaining the answer to this question. This story is a true story, and it demonstrates that there are indeed different types of faith — and, at the outset, I want to clarify this, because there is a possibility, when answering this question, that we are talking about different types of faith. So I’d like to clear this hurdle first. The following is the story — and again, this is a true account.
More than 25 years ago, I came to put my faith in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins. When I did, I did not even say the “sinners prayer” (which, actually, in the Bible, there is no “sinners prayer” per se, but it is still not wrong to say a prayer in order to receive Christ as Savior). But the point here is that the Bible says that salvation comes by faith — and not by saying a prayer. And many people are caught on this point, thinking that it is the prayer that saves a person, when in fact it is their faith in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Now the question is, what type of “faith” is that, that saves a person? Does the person believe or not? To further complicate this scenario — which I want to do, and I think I really need to do in order to make sure this point is absolutely clear — prior to the day that I exercised saving faith in Christ for the forgiveness of my sins, I actually believed that Jesus died on the cross. I never doubted that. So why was I not saved before that time? I was not saved before that time, because I did not receive Christ as Savior and — as a clear evidence of my faith — act upon it. Thus, saving faith is something special. It not only believes that Christ is Lord and Savior, but it acts upon it.
So my question is this. Where is your faith at?
Question number 1: Do you believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior? If so, this is great! This is prerequisite number one.
Question number 2: Have you acted upon it? For example, if others saw you, and spoke about you, would they say there is any evidence to support the fact that you are trusting in the Lord? Note, I did not say you were perfect, but I’m asking for evidence. There is not a man or woman alive who is perfect. This does not excuse you or I for our sin. But it is a reality. There is One who is perfect, and who is without sin. It is Jesus Christ Himself.
“For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Note that the demons fulfill prerequisite number one — so prerequisite number one is not a definite indication that a person is saved! Yes, the person who is saved will fulfill it. But the demons also fulfill it — and are lost! Thus, true saving faith is something that acts on that faith, and demonstrates it. However, I am not even saying that the demonstration of our faith is what saves us! It is not! We are saved by grace, through faith (see Ephesians 2:8-9, quoted above).
Now, let’s move on a bit, in order to distinguish different applications of faith. A person can have faith for salvation — they believe Christ is Savior and Lord, and they actively seek to demonstrate that (even though the actual demonstration is not what saves them, they are saved by grace, through faith). Yes, they can do many things, and many good works. And all there are good — if they are done in faith, with a good heart, and with service to the Lord. The Lord does not despise any of that, and in fact will bless each person who truly serves Him. You will not lose your reward. But in the midst of this, there can still be fear. How so? This is the “big and puzzling part” of the whole deal. And here is one part of trying to deal with that “big and puzzling part.”
We were born and raised into this world by imperfect parents, living in an imperfect world, and were ourselves are imperfect, and all of this goes right back to the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve. This imperfect environment brings with it many challenges. Who can we trust? Only One is perfect — God. How can we trust God when everything around us is shouting “untrustworthy”? Thus, learning to walk in faith is a step by step process. OK. Now for part two of the real life example I was mentioning earlier!
After I was genuinely saved, I was diagnosed with a really bad disease. It had affected others in my family, and seemed to be in the family line. I was fellowshipping with a “good” church at the time, but lo and behold, but they were lacking faith in one critical area. They had faith for salvation — and they preached it and people came to faith in Christ. But one night, I had a dream, and in the dream, the Lord spoke to me. He said (almost exactly) the following words to me: “You should go to such and such a church, because they have faith for healing there.”
I’m not going to tell you all about that experience here — you can read my book “Ready or Not!” for that, which will be published in the very near future and which will be available at www.lifesanswer.com. But what I want to show you by this is that there are clearly different applications of faith! On the one hand, a person can have faith for salvation, but not faith for healing. The Lord was telling me to “move on over” to be with that other church, on account of their faith in a particular area. Now you might want to ask how this relates to your question.
Well, I cannot say that this applies to you specifically — though it could — but when in your question you talk of fear of trusting, is your fear really in salvation itself, or is it in some other area? The area of trust is many faceted. Simon Peter, for example, when he got out of the boat (and Jesus commanded him to come to Him on the water) lacked faith at one point, to which Jesus replied, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31) So in this case, He was calling Simon Peter, “You of little faith.” In some cases, we might feel like we have “little faith” in some areas. Does it mean we are not saved, though? Ah, I think a person can actually be saved and still lack faith in some areas!
So getting back to your question, I think I can now answer that, as long as we consider everything that has been written. You wrote, “Can a person be saved even though they have a fear of trusting? When we ask Jesus for salvation and repent of our sins, must we also have to trust?”
The answer is, “Yes, absolutely.” It is possible to have fear of trusting, and still be saved.
All this does not actually say whether or not you are saved, but if you want to test yourself to see whether or not you are in the faith, you can ask yourself, (1) Do I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, who died on the cross for me by shedding His blood for the forgiveness of my sins, and who rose again the third day, and who will return one day? (2) Am I doing my best to act on this faith daily and am I willing to share my story of faith with others, so they can trust in Christ, too, and be encouraged even for salvation? I would say that if you answer affirmatively to both of those, then you probably do not need to worry that you are not saved, even if you find that you have a fear of trusting in some other areas.
In the end, I suffered with the disease that I had for quite some time. But God healed me. I had to get involved with people who had faith in that area, so that I myself could receive my healing. This entire story is recorded in my book, which I would encourage you to read. God desires to set us free in many areas, and one of the areas that I myself had to be set free in — in order to find the healing I needed — was in the love area. God revealed His love to me one day, and it caused me to weep for several hours, under the strong influence of that love. Yes, I was saved at the time — more than five years, in fact. But there were still some incredible blockages that had come in through those three things that I mentioned above — imperfect parents, an imperfect world, and an imperfect self. All of these things — parents, the world we live in, and ourselves — come from the Lord and are given to us as a gift. However, sin has marred the finish, as it were, and we can become affected by it. God is in the restoring business, and desires to heal, set free, and forgive. Often, our areas of fear relate to things we have learned. Sometimes, they can be the result of plain old disobedience! In all these things, the solution is found in Christ, and in the proper application of His word.
May God bless you as you consider these things.