The more I try to understand salvation the more confused I am.
Jesus tells Nicodemus
“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”John 3:3
So this is necessary. But is it sufficient? Are there other things one must be or do too? It seems like it, because there are other commandments we are given, like
“If you love me, keep my commands.”John 14:15
And then – looking for other things that Jesus said his disciples must do – there are a lot of them, and some of them are really hard. (I’ve seen one list of 49 commands that Jesus gave in His own words in the Gospels.)
But then we read
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.Ephesians 2:8
But Jesus also warns against true and false disciples:
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. “Matthew 7:21
Maybe this is just my own problem, but the more I read the more I fear that I’m not good enough or not doing it right or not being the kind of person I’m supposed to be or not submitting to God’s will, or not even understanding His Word at all, or too broken to be able to understand it or do it, or …. whatever.
When I was brand new-ly born-again I experienced such an enormous joy and peace … and closeness to God … and now I feel like I’ve totally lost that naïve grace and am just bogged down and stressed out (and failing at…) trying to be good enough to be acceptable to Him.
I think — *think* — I am repeating old patterns learned in worldly childhood which was not particularly great. But I can’t do it over, and I don’t even know who I’d be now if I’d had a different childhood, because I didn’t. So I don’t know how to not-be who I became as a result of it. And then I feel like I must not be praying right or trusting God enough or being a good enough Christian or learning whatever God wants me to learn from this because if I wasn’t doing something wrong, God would heal these issues. So sometimes I start to feel like I’ve even failed in my relationship with God.
I can make myself stop thinking about it, and then (at least temporarily) feel somewhat less confused and stressed out about it, at least for a while. But I can’t keep myself from thinking about it forever. This giant mess keeps coming back and haunting me.
Why is this so hard?