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Can someone who grew up in the church and professed faith (but was not saved) who then turned away to live a blasphemous, vile, perverted, life be a Christian when they are older? Everything I read says that there’s just no hope for an apostate. But I genuinely believe that God has saved me. I’m born again. But I’m trying to make sense of my experience when I was sixteen when I left to pursue worldly lusts. I’m not positive I truly understood the gospel, though I may have. I was not saved, though I did believe in Jesus.
But I’ve been walking in the faith for three years now and keep having these fears that what I did when I was sixteen was apostasy and what that means concerning my faith now. There has been a real transformation in my life. I see evidence of God’s grace working in me. Repentance and faith. The fruits of the Spirit (though not as much as I’d like). But it’s been a fantastic experience.
I want to continue to grow in grace and faith. I enjoy great seasons of assurance. But I sometimes am overwhelmed by these fears about what I did when I was sixteen and after that. I mean, I sought the world with complete abandon. I tattooed Lucifer on my arm in jail and used to yell “hail Satan” to people on the street to be obnoxious and vulgar. This condition was not a backslide, because I was never truly saved before.
I am truly ashamed of all my sin, and now older, I’ve been walking with the Lord for three years. There continues to be growth (all glory to God). But I have been struggling and bothered by the question of whether I committed apostasy at age sixteen. And I have spent countless hours trying to find any similar experience to mine—a not truly saved profession of faith, falling away, and then coming to faith later in life.
Does this experience contradict Hebrews 6? Is there hope for apostates? I would truly appreciate any insight into this. Everything I’ve read says the apostate is hopeless. But I know that there are many stories of people who grew up in the church and left when they were younger only for the Lord to save them at a later age, aren’t there? Thanks and God bless.
When you are motivated to accept and follow Christ as your Savior, it’s a sure sign that the Lord is granting you the gift of repentance (2 Timothy 2:24-25.) God calls people to repentance, and if He moves you that way, more than likely, it’s genuine.
Though your experience is vital, if it tamps down the Word of God, your experience has more influence over you than the Bible. You must change what you prioritize.
A child can become a Christian, as many folks have testified to a genuine profession of faith when they were young.
The Bible does not give a timeline for when to baptize a person after making a profession of faith. Some read the historical narrative of Acts 2:38 and teach that you must get baptized immediately after making a profession. This interpretation is improper. Taking a historical narrative and making it normative is not wise.
You have the freedom to choose when you want someone to baptize you after a genuine testimony of faith. The way that we have landed on this matter is waiting until our children are older so that they can make a more mature and responsible decision about baptism and communion. Perhaps you think otherwise, which the Bible permits you to do.
Do you believe the Lord has saved you? If you have asked God to regenerate you, salvation is probably yours. Study these verses and passages: John 3:7; Romans 10:9, 13; and Ephesians 2:1-10.
When I was twelve years old, I made a profession of faith. I am not sure if it was genuine or not. I wanted someone or something to rescue me from my horrible family experience. I did not change a lot, though I did sense guilt and shame for the bad things I was doing. I always wanted to do good as a child, but I had no role models to help me.
At twenty-five years old, I made another profession of faith, and several months later my pastor baptized me, which was my second one. This “second conversion” seemed to “take.” There are a couple of ways to think about my salvation journey.
End of the Story: I don’t give much thought to either scenario. What is more crucial is where I am today and how I think about and respond to God in my life, practically speaking. For the past thirty-five years, I have been walking with the Lord, and I don’t let my mind fall into subjective analysis.
If a person struggles with the assurance of salvation, they probably are believers. It seems likely that a non-Christian would struggle with such matters because they don’t care. Typically, folks who want something so much that they will fear not having it. Unregenerate people don’t want salvation, and, thus, they don’t fear losing it.
If you did not want a particular job, you would not fear not having it. But if you desired a specific line of work, you would worry about it, wondering if you could get it or keep it. We fear what we want but think we can lose. My goal is not to “talk you into heaven” but to bring some common sense about the human psyche when it comes to our desires, hopes, dreams, and wishes.
There are two primary personality types: those who overthink a situation and those who can let things go. It’s the introspective, reflective type that can worry too much. They have a continuously running processer that they have not learned how to stop. That other personality type has the gift of “pushing stop” on the “voice machine” that runs through their heads.
The “backside liability” of the overthinker is a person who worries too much. Their gift is the ability to think, analyze, and process data. Then when sin enters, this type of person ties themselves into mental knots, overthinking their fears.
Here are a few things the question-asker mentioned in his question, all of which point toward a genuine conversion.
Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).