I have been a disciple of Jesus for five years. I am having a hard time
overcoming my sinful nature especially with my purity…a lot of times I
am even confused about whether I am still saved. I have been falling to a
lot of pornography, masturbation, and impure thoughts…over and over
again…the Bible gives a description of a God who is very merciful but
yet is hard line… how can I grasp more understanding of God’s mercy but
in same time not abusing His grace? I have been open about it on a
continual basis. I have sought some advice with some disciples as well but
nothing seems to work and I am having a hard time gaining Godly sorrow in
my repentance. It seems like I have done everything but I still fall to
these sins. Is there still mercy for me? Is there a way I could eventually
overcome my sinful nature? Am I still saved? What practicals could you
give me? I feel I have done everything. I would greatly appreciate your

I respect your amazing openness to ask such a question in a setting in
which the answer will be “on the web.” My first response is that you have
come to the wrong person. You must continue to do what you appear to be
doing already, which is to seek counsel from those who know you
personally. “As iron sharpens iron, so one brother sharpens another.”
(Proverbs 27:17) You ask me whether you are still saved? How can I know,
not even having met you? Even if I met you, I probably could only refer
you to scripture to consider the question for yourself.

With great reservations, let me give you at least some preliminary advice,
with the proviso that you need to continue to seek advice from those who
know you already.

The Bible teaches that God wants us to be sure of our salvation (1 John
5:13). Yet it also teaches us that we should examine ourselves to see if
we are of the faith. (2 Cor 13:5) God wants you to be saved, and he wants
you, through your continued walking in the light, and repentance of your
sin, to be confident of your place before him. Clearly this whole process
is not working for you as it should. I suggest you get down to the issue
of what is really motivating you. Is it love for God? Is it deep gratitude
for what Jesus did for you on the cross? Is it a heart-felt desire to do
what your creator and giver of eternal life wants you to do? I suspect you
are aware there are some problems in this regard in your life. You need to
get to the point that you can read 2 Cor 7:8-13 and say, with some
confidence, that this is you. In fact, you need to get to the point that
others would say this of you as well. I am simply not able to help you get
to this point. You need to work this out in your own life, along with
those spiritual men or women in your life who know you.

As far as questions of your salvation and your original conversion, in my
opinion, you are best to put this question aside for now. Once you reach a
point in your life that you can say to yourself with confidence that you
are putting 2 Cor 7 into practice, then you will be in a position to look
back at your original conversion experience. Only when you can reach a
repentant state in your life now will you be in a position that it may be
helpful to look back at the time when you were baptized. For now, it is
only confusing to look back. Your job is to repent in the situation you
are now in. Once this job is complete, then you will be in a position to
ask whether your repented or not in the first place five years ago. If you
reach the point that you have examined yourself (2 Cor 13:5) in your
current repentance, then you will be able to look back as well. In the
end, you will be able to reach a point, as God wants for you, at which you
will have the confidence in your salvation which God wants for you.

May God be with you.

John Oakes, PhD

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