I was born again decades ago, but contracted HIV five years ago. I am not gay. I feel like the Holy Spirit left me. I’ve lost the ability to sleep. I believe in Jesus as my Savior. Is my name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?
Your heart-rending six sentence story, along with my biblical counseling training, leave me with far more questions than answers.
Though I wish we could sit together and dig deep into your concerns, I want you to know that I hear your heart, especially your concern for your eternal position in God’s Kingdom.
I am so sorry that you have to live with this dreaded virus. You probably already know that contracting HIV does not cause anyone to lose their salvation. I’m not aware of anything in the Bible that indicates that possibility.
With that being said, I cannot speak to whether or not your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life because there are so many things about you that only God knows. He is the only one capable of making that decision and His decision is based on what Jesus did for you and whether you embraced Jesus’ work and follow Him with your whole heart. Don’t misunderstand…I’m not saying you must work for your salvation or have to have lived a sin-free life. You must simply (and for some of us it isn’t easy) trust that He did everything necessary to clear you of your sin and guilt. When you fully repent and wholly follow Him, no one can “snatch you out of His hand” (see John 10:27-30).
Many people live with the assumption that saying a one or two sentence prayer “accepting Jesus as their Lord and Savior,” —while acting as their own gods, ruling their own little kingdoms—supplies them with the necessary fire insurance to keep them out of Hell. That misconception will probably land many people in the unenviable, fatal position of standing before God’s judgment seat saying, “Lord, Lord!” and hearing, “Depart from me, I never knew you” (see Matthew 7:21-23).
There are many allusions throughout Scripture to those who are true Kingdom citizens and who are not—verses like “you’ll know a tree by its fruit…a thorn bush cannot produce grapes and a fig tree cannot produce thistles” (see Matthew 7:16-20).
Regardless of whether you were truly “born again” in 1972, have been consistently bearing fruit for the Kingdom, and somehow, through no fault of your own contracted HIV, or whether that experience made little difference in the life you led going forward, making choices antithetical to your profession of faith, today you have a choice. Are you sold out for Jesus? Are you willing to give Him every thought, repent of every choice He didn’t guide you to, give up every idol (anything that you place above or before Him in your life)? If that is your heartfelt desire then rest easy that, whether you feel like it or not, the Holy Spirit now dwells in you and your name is written in the Lamb’s Book.
One of my favorite verses that I seldom go a day without praying is, “Let the morning bring word of Your unfailing love, for I put my trust in You. Show me the way I should go, for to You I lift up my soul” (Psalm 143:8).
If you run to Jesus, He will open His arms wide to hold you tight. And He won’t ever let go. And you may be very pleasantly surprised by how close He is, and what a short distance your run will be.
“Never, no never will I leave you. Never, not ever will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). These are words written in our Redeemer’s blood just for you. What destiny do you choose?
Randy wrote an excellent piece on how we can be sure we belong to Jesus, which includes a video clip. You can view it here.
In this link, you’ll find an article on epm.org full of Scripture Randy compiled that leads you through the salvation process and counters some of the false assumptions people commonly hold.
I pray that you will find peace in Jesus—He is the only source of shalom (completeness, rest, inner tranquility, and absence of struggle). God bless you!
Photo by Nathan McBride on Unsplash
Doreen helps Randy with editing and answering reader questions. She is a certified biblical counselor and also serves other local and national organizations as editor, writer and support staff.