Question #167

What should I do if I'm not sure I believe in God anymore?

I'm not sure if I believe in God anymore. I'm 13 years old and was baptized in the Church of Christ when I was about 11 and 1/2. I had a lot of pressure coming from my parents to become a Christian. I think that when I was baptized I didn't believe in God. I used to and then I got all messed up when I read about how God has always been there forever and ever and nothing created him. I have read the bible I have prayed to God but I just don't believe in him that he exists. I don't believe in evolution or anything else. I just try not to think about it. I was hoping to become an astronaut someday and I am afraid to now because I know that if something goes wrong and I die I will go to hell. Don't ask how I can believe in hell and not believe in God. I'm just messed up and weird. My parents don't know about my problem and I know that if you answer this you will probably say oh trust your parents if they really love you they will understand. Well they won't I know they won't. If you know of anything that can help me please e-mail me. If you think I'm hopeless then forget I ever sent this.

The Answer:

You are most definitely not hopeless. In fact, your experience is similar to what many Biblical figures experienced in that they too had highs and lows in their walk with God, and sometimes the lows were very low. And perhaps such highs and lows are experienced by those with the greatest faith as opposed to those who never really think about God but just plod through their lives believing what their parents believed. Thus, my first point to you is that you should not despair because you are asking questions about God or questioning your faith. The fact that your are interested and concerned about such matters means that you are more concerned about spiritual matters than worldly matters, and that is a very good path.

But where is that path leading? Some who question God and question their faith ultimately reject God, and that path leads to destruction. Thus, it is important that as you raise questions, you continue to look for answers because those who seek will find. And the only place to look for those answers is in the word of God. (You might look at this lesson to see why you can trust the Bible.) You should also talk to your parents and to others, but be sure to compare what they tell you with what you read in God's word. Thus, my second point to you is that you open God's word and read it. In the Bible you will find comfort, assurance, and faith. And you will also find many examples of others -- some great examples of faith -- who experienced low points in their walk with God. Trust in God, and he will never fail you.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)