Are you banking your eternity on a moment of decision, a time when you raised your hand, walked an aisle, or, perhaps the most common, “asked Jesus into your heart?”Okay, so you allegedly have a “conversion story.” That moment was the beginning of it…what do the chapters in between look like?
I can’t tell you how many times I heard it taught that, to be saved, I needed only to “ask Jesus into my heart.” Really, it’s just that simple. All I had to do was, at the perfect, emotionally charged moment, during that ultimately timed crescendo in the music, pray a prayer and ask Jesus to come in and fill some supposed God-shaped hole in my heart. And then POOF! I would be a Christian. End of story. To be honest, I cannot recall whether I actually did pray that false prayer of asking Jesus into my heart, but I lived enough years as a false convert to know that a temporary warm-fuzzy, emotional moment in a church does not save a soul.
The scary thing is, this is the teaching that abounds in church youth groups and children’s programs. The dumbing down of the Gospel begins at an early age and it’s a tragedy. Let’s be honest, kids understand far more than most adults give them credit for, and even a child can understand that he or she is a sinner who needs to repent and trust in a Savior. Unfortunately, in today’s world of boosting self-esteem and self-confidence, churches don’t want to tell kids that they are sinners. It may hurt someone’s feelings. So instead they opt for the gospel of easy-believism. Just pray this prayer, ask Jesus into your heart, and you’re good to go. Really? I knew quite a few kids in junior high and high school who asked Jesus into their hearts but showed absolutely no sign of regeneration. Even the crude, heathen singer Katy Perry used to sing in her church about…gasp!…filling the God-shaped hole in your heart. I think we can see how well that turned out.
There’s a resource at Wretched Radio entitled “10 Reasons Not to Ask Jesus into Your Heart” and I think it’s worth looking at if you or someone you know is resting in a false assurance of salvation based solely in a moment of decision and not in a regenerated life. If you read this document and it describes you, let me just urge you not to let pride keep you from crying out to God. If you are living in rebellion to Him, yet claim to be one of His own, then you must examine your claim to salvation. Trust someone who has already traveled this road and been graciously awakened and saved by the overwhelming mercy of Jesus Christ. And if this document describes the experience of someone you love, then I would urge you to present them with the full Gospel of repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.
The easy-believism, moment-of-decision gospel is one of the most deceptive lies being perpetrated in the church today. For one thing, it is not even remotely biblical. It ignores the clear commands of Scripture to repent (Acts 2:38) and to trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). The result of asking Jesus into your heart is most often nothing more than tossing a 90 minute weekly church service and the occasional declaration of “I’m a Christian” into an unregenerate, unrepentant life. Come as you are, stay as you are, and just add Jesus as the cherry on the top.
Most tragically, this watered-down gospel robs God of His glory. You didn’t just decide to get saved one day. No…GOD SAVED YOU IN SPITE OF YOURSELF. If indeed you are saved, it is because GOD saved you out of no merit of your own, but solely on the basis of the work of Jesus Christ because it pleased HIM to save you in order that HE may be glorified through the miracle of your salvation! But if we teach that it’s all up to us when we decide to pray a prayer or walk an aisle or a raise a hand, we are robbing God of the glory that is due solely to Him! How dare we.