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 Seven Reasons!

Based upon an article by Dennis Rokser with additions and further comments by Bill Petri. The original article can be read at www.duluthbible.org  .

Have you ever heard someone say, "In order to be saved from hell and go to heaven, you need to ask Jesus into your heart"? Does this sound familiar? Have you ever read this on the back of tracts? Have you heard pastors or evangelists teach this? Though no doubt sincerely spoken and well-intended, is it biblically accurate to ask Jesus into your heart? Are those who have simply trusted Jesus Christ and His finished work alone not yet saved because they have not asked Jesus into their heart? On the other hand, do those who have asked Jesus into their heart truly possess eternal life because they have done this? Or is all this simply a matter of semantics? I would like to take this time to go through seven reasons why you should not ask Jesus into your heart.

#1: Asking Jesus into your heart IS NEVER FOUND IN THE BIBLE.

Yes, that is unbelievably true! With its enormous popularity, it is amazing to find out that nowhere in the Bible is anyone ever instructed to ask Christ into his heart to be saved. In fact, nowhere in the Scriptures is there even one example of individuals ever asking Jesus into their heart (see end note 3&4) period! If this is true, why then should one do it or encourage others to do it? Donald Bunge rightly raises the questions..."Did Jesus ever say: 'Let me come into your heart?' Which one of the apostles wrote in New Testament books to ask Jesus to come into our hearts for salvation?"[1] Does the Apostle of this present Dispensation of Grace ever once state that a person should ask Jesus into his/her heart? The answer is a resounding no! No verse even comes close to supporting this idea anywhere in the Bible. It appears that while a number of people affirm that the Bible is God's inerrant and inspired truth, they have never evaluated this false response to the Gospel as to its scriptural accuracy. And if it is never found in the Bible, why use it? In fact, if it is not in the Bible it cannot produce salvation.

Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Is it not safe to assume that if you never listened to Christian radio, or never attended an evangelistic crusade, or a church, but simply read the Bible from cover to cover, that you would NEVER conclude that you had to ask Jesus into your heart? Dear reader, God has promised only to bless His Word, not inaccurate clichs regarding it.

Isa 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isa 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

If this popular but misleading clich has no scriptural support, SHOULD NOT THAT SETTLE THE ISSUE? But since to some people this reason alone is not enough

#2: Asking Jesus into your heart IS NOT HOW ONE IS SAVED.

When Paul presented the gospel he did not give the listener four spiritual laws, or steps to salvation, nor did he tell anyone to ask Jesus into their heart, rather he gave the following verses:

1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

Interestingly enough, the Corinthians did not respond, "Have you ever

read the Four Spiritual Laws?" Nor did they reply, "Well, just pray and

ask Jesus into your heart." Is this not how people think before they are

saved by God's grace? They wonder, "What is the bottom-line necessity

of on-going works or church rituals that I must do to be saved?" In our

flesh we yearn by nature to DO something to merit God's approval and

to save ourselves. This is also the way of false religion. However, this is

not God's plan of grace. The Bible clearly teaches

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Eph. 2:8-9)

The word "believe" (pisteuo) means "to rely upon, to trust in, to believe in." Being in the aorist tense in the Greek, it does not require on-going action but a definitive decision. Salvation is not a work of man for God, but a work of God for man, which one must choose to receive. Faith is the hand that receives the gift of salvation, which Christ paid for through His sacrificial and substitutionary work on the cross. (2 Cor.5:21;Col.1:13-14; 1 Cor.15:1-4; Rom3:24-28; Rom.4:4-5). The late Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer wrote, "This one word 'believe' represents all a sinner can do and all a sinner must do to be saved."(see end note 2) The Bible supports this simple truth repeatedly in over 100 verses in the New Testament.

#3: Asking Jesus into your heart REQUIRES NO UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL OF GRACE TO DO IT.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of WHO Jesus Christ is and of WHAT Jesus Christ has done in order to save lost sinners from the just penalty of their sins by God's grace (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Rom. 1:16). Because of this, God wants believers to proclaim the Gospel to others so that they will know what exactly to believe (2 Cor. 5:17-21). Frankly, any five year-old-can ask Jesus into her heart without any true understanding of the person, work, and accomplishment of the Lord Jesus Christ; or the freeness and totality of salvation by God's amazing grace. Over the years I have talked to hundreds of people about their salvation. I have found that asking them three basic questions normally discloses their understanding of God's grace plan of redemption.

The three questions are . . .

  • If you were to die in 10 seconds, do you know for sure that you would go to heaven?
  • If Jesus Christ was at the gates of heaven and asked you, "Why should I let you in?" what would you say?
  • Is there anything you can do or fail to do to lose your salvation?

    It is amazing that while people have "come forward" or "made a commitment to Christ" or "surrendered their lives to Christ" or "asked Jesus into their hearts," many do not yet grasp that salvation is all by God's grace, based solely on Christ's cross-work and received through faith in Christ alone, and has nothing to do with whether they ever came forward, made a commitment to Christ, or surrendered their lives to Christ. The truth is that all of these actions require someone to do something, and doing something is a work. Salvation has nothing to do with our work, and everything to do with the finished work of Jesus Christ. Instead, it is very common to hear them explain how good works are necessary either to get saved or to stay saved. This indicates they are confused about God's simple plan of salvation. And being told to ask Jesus into their hearts has certainly added to their confusion. Do we really want a person to place their eternal destiny in something which creates confusion? This is why the Scriptures go to great lengths to explain to us how one IS saved and how one is NOT saved.

    Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Romans 3:28)

    Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:4-5)

    And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work. (Rom. 11:6)

    Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Gal. 2:16)

    I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. (Gal. 2:21)

    For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. (Gal. 3:10-11)

    For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of god: not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

    Not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. (Titus 3:5)

    After a Bible study a few weeks ago at an area nursing home, an elderly man named Baxtor came up to me to introduce himself.

    Baxtor: "We've never met before, Pastor Petri, but my name is Baxtor."

    Me: "Nice to meet you, Baxtor."

    Baxtor: "Thank you for the Bible study today. It was really great."

    Me: "Well, thank you, Baxtor. Why was it so helpful?"

    Baxtor: "Because I was saved by God's grace today."

    Me: " That's fantastic, tell me about it."

    Baxtor: "When you taught that any five-year-old can ask Jesus into their heart without understanding the Gospel, that's exactly what happened to me 43 years ago."

    Me: "Really, explain further."

    Baxtor: "Having come to a sense of my sin and a knowledge of hell at the age of 35, I greatly wanted to be saved. So my pastor told me to pray and to ask Jesus into my heart. So I did. As the years went on I dedicated my life and re-dedicated my life several times because I wasn't sure that I was saved. I never had assurance that I had asked Jesus correctly to come into my life. But tonight I understood for the first time how Jesus Christ did it all on the cross when He died for me and my sins, and I've trusted Him alone to save me. Now I KNOW I'm saved. Thank you for presenting the gospel in a clear manner."

    Unfortunately, Baxtor's testimony is not out of the ordinary in the professing churches when the Gospel of Grace is not presented clearly. When asked about your salvation, there is quite a difference between replying, "I am saved because I asked Jesus into my heart," versus "I know I was saved by God's grace when I trusted the Lord Jesus Christ who died for my sins according to the Scriptures, was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. This saved me according to to the gospel recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4." The first reply focused on what YOU did. The latter response focused on what CHRIST has done. Are you trusting in a prayer that you prayed to be saved? Or are you trusting in the wonderful Lord Jesus Christ "who loved me, and gave Himself for me" so that He washed me from my sins in His own blood? (Gal. 2:20, Col.1:14)

    #4: Asking Jesus into your heart CONFUSES THE MEANS OF SALVATION WITH THE RESULTS OF SALVATION.

    The Apostle Paul goes on to explain to us in Galatians 4:6"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Please note, "AND BECAUSE YE ARE SONS" This became true of you through faith alone in Christ alone. This is reaffirmed in Galatians 3:26 "For ye are all the children of God BY FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS." So what was the result of this? "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts." Notice how every child of God has had Jesus Christ come into his heart via the holy Spirit when they believed and trusted in Jesus Christ's work according to the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. This is not because he asked Jesus Christ in, but because He came in as one of the many spiritual blessings given to him by God's grace at the moment of faith in Christ's complete salvation work.

    To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)

    I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)

    You need not ask Jesus into your heart. Biblically, He comes in the very moment you shift your trust from a church and good works, and instead place your faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ alone. Anything else is a confusion of means with results. Furthermore, why is it that the holy Spirit permanently indwells and seals every believer at the point of salvation (Eph. 1:13-14, 4:30) without being asked in? Why is it that every believer in Christ is justified (Rom. 5:1), redeemed (Eph. 1:7), reconciled (Rom 5:10) and forgiven (Col. 1:14), etc., without asking for these blessings? Are they not given by God's grace the very moment that one rests by faith in Jesus Christ alone? Imagine a wealthy millionaire who offers you five million dollars as a free gift based on his hard work. "Here is five million dollars. I want you to personally have it. While I know you don't deserve it, nor have you earned it, you can have it right now as a love gift from me to you." Would you respond by saying, "Oh, please give me your five million dollars. While I don't deserve it and cannot earn it, oh, please give it to me." Dear reader, if you responded like this, it would not only be bad manners, but would actually be an insult to the millionaire and an indication of your UNBELIEF. The wealthy millionaire already offered and promised to give you the money. You simply needed to take him at his word and receive it. No pleading or asking required. And if that is the case, would you not also be insulting the gracious God of the universe, [who at the infinite cost of His dear Son, provided for you "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Eph. 1:3)] if you do not simply take Him at His word and believe and trust what He has already stated through the pen of the Apostle Paul.

    #5: Asking Jesus into your heart EITHER RESULTS IN NO ASSURANCE OF SALVATION OR BRINGS A FALSE ASSURANCE TO PEOPLE.

    In talking about this issue to a pastor from a local denominational church one day, he replied, "I would never tell the people of my church that they're not saved by asking Jesus into their hearts. They might lose the assurance of their salvation!" Ironically, I had talked to a man a year earlier who now attends this same church. He told me, "Though I asked Jesus into my heart several years ago, it was only in this past year that I've come to know for sure that I'm saved based solely on the work of Jesus Christ for my sins. I asked Jesus into my heart years before, but lacked full assurance of salvation until recently." Dear friends, I am convinced that NO ONE has ever been saved or received the assurance of their salvation by asking Jesus into his/her heart. Why? Because there can be no salvation, nor assurance of salvation, by something that is foreign to Scripture. Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches the how of assurance when it says,

    Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

    Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

    The assurance of a "know-so" salvation is based on Christ's work alone and the promises of God. Now this is not to say that those who have asked Jesus into their heart are not saved. They may be genuine believers in Christ. But if they are saved, they have been reconciled to God through placing their faith in Christ and His completed work of salvation, not by asking Jesus into their heart. I have counseled a number of people who struggled for years with their assurance of salvation because, instead of hearing the Gospel of grace clearly presented, they had been told this inaccurate and misleading clich.While asking Jesus into your heart may be an expression of positive volition towards God, or may accompany faith in Christ, it certainly is NOT SYNONYMOUS with faith in Christ.

    #6: Asking Jesus into your heart is not what REVELATION 3:20 TEACHES. Nor is REVELATION 3:20 WRITTEN TO THE BODY OF CHRIST !

    Whenever a scriptural attempt is made by someone to support this wrong response to the Gospel, normally Revelation 3:20 is used.

    Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

    Ironically, the words "ask," "Jesus," and "your heart" are not even found in this verse! How could this verse then ever be teaching that? So what is Revelation 3:20 teaching? The general context of this verse is Jesus Christ's letters to the seven churches of Asia Minor (Rev. 2-3), WHICH ARE ALL JEWISH CHURCHES (see Rev.2:9; Rev.3:9). These are actual local churches that will exist at the time of the Lord's Day; Revelation 3:14-22 is addressed by Jesus Christ to the church of Laodicea in particular. Like the waters that flowed into the city of Laodicea, the spiritual state of this church will be "lukewarm" and will make Christ want to puke (3:15-16). While the church viewed itself in a good condition materially, our Lord viewed this same church in a wretched condition spiritually (3:17). They will be in desperate need of what Jesus Christ alone can provide for them (3:18). Verse 19 is especially significant to our discussion where the true Head of any church, in any dispensation declares

    Rev 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.

    This raises the important question: who is it that Christ chastens or disciplines in His dealings with Israel? Is it the unsaved or the redeemed? Hebrews 12:6-8 answers this by teaching

    Heb 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

    Heb 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

    Heb 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

    While God condemns the unsaved, He chastens the Israelite so that they "might be partakers of His holiness" (Heb. 12:10) in their walk according to the curses of the law. This indicates that these verses in Revelation 3:19 are addressed to Jews under the law. Regarding the use of the word "love" in Rev. 3:19, Greek grammarian Daniel Wallace has insightfully written, "Here 'phileo' is used for 'love,' a term that is never used of God/Jesus loving unbelievers in the NT. (Indeed, it would be impossible for God to have this kind of love for an unbeliever, for it routinely speaks of enjoyment and fellowship.) Agapao, rather, is the verb used of God's love for unbelievers [cf. John 3:16]. This 'phileo' must be applied to the Laodiceans here, for the verse concludes, 'Be zealous, therefore, and repent.' The inferential 'oun' ("therefore") connects the two parts of the verse, indicating that the Laodiceans are to repent because Christ loves (phileos) them!" (see endnote #4) Thus, Jesus Christ must be addressing genuine believers who are members of the Little Flock in verse 19. Furthermore, it would be inappropriate to command a spiritually dead unbeliever to "be zealous" (or "hot" - 3:15). The Bible knows nothing of "cold" or "hot" unbelievers. And like the corrective commands given to the other four churches in this section (Rev. 2:5, 16, 22, 3:3), the believers of the church at Laodicea were to "repent." This would involve them choosing to have a decisive change of mind (metanoeson aorist active imperative of repentance) regarding their spiritual condition. This results in genuine confession of sin to God (which is further proof that the law is in effect in these passages [see issue # 10 of this paper see also 1 John 1:9; Prov. 28:13]) and a change in national direction. Right on the heels of this corrective rebuke, Jesus Christ then gives these believers a wonderful offer: Rev 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. "Behold (pay attention, listen), I stand at the door." Jesus Christ has been and continues to stand (perfect, active, indicative) at the door. The question is "what door?" Now, to assume this is the door of your "heart" is totally foreign to the passage. It would seem more appropriate to understand this as the door of the Laodicean church meeting. While this church was saying, "I am rich, and increased with goods and have need of nothing," they actually had Jesus Christ on the outside of the church. No wonder He is then described as repeatedly "knocking" (present tense). Moving from the Laodicean church generally, Jesus Christ then appeals to the individual believers on the inside of this Jewish church. "If (3rd class condition one might or might not) any man (singular) hear my voice, and open (singular) the door, I will come in to him." Notice the two conditions that Christ requires to be fulfilled by those on the inside:

    #1: "if any man hear my voice" This refers to what Jesus Christ has been saying in verses 14-19.

    #2: "and opens the door" (Verses such as 2 Chronicles 27:2;28:24;29:3 talk about shutting the doors to the temple). This, again, refers to the door where the church is gathered and involves the genuine repentance He required according to the Mosaic law. Perhaps a good student of God's Word will compare Luke 22:28-30 and Revelation 3:21. Very clearly John is teaching that the Overcomers in the Seventieth Week of Daniel will get to reign with Christ! Connected with these two conditions are three wonderful promises by Jesus Christ Himself to this particular Jewish Church:

    #1: "I will come in to him" This is a promise of Christ's personal, actual, entrance into the church to meet the believer face to face (the literal idea of the Greek word "pros," translated "to").

    #2: "and will sup with him" This is a promise of Christ's personal fellowship with this Jewish believer at the end of the Seventieth Week of Daniel (Luke 22:28-30), and how the overcomers will get to reign with Christ, as in the next verse, Revelation 3:21.

    #3: "and he with Me" This is a promise of reciprocal fellowship with Jesus Christ.

    Some people have misunderstood the phrase "I will come in to him" to mean that Jesus will come into their heart, i.e., penetration into their heart. Michael Cocoris clarifies this when he writes, "Now, verse 20 itself says Christ will come "in to" (two different words), not come "into" (one word). The verse is saying that Christ will come in the church to the person, not that Christ will come into the person. When He gets in the church with the person, He will eat dinner with him. That is, He will have fellowship with him. This is not a hair-splitting of the English text, but an accurate reflection of the Greek. In Greek, "come in" (eiserchomai) is one word. It is followed by the preposition "to" (pros). That construction occurs eight times in the New Testament (Mark 6:25, 15:43; Luke 1:28; Acts 10:3, 11:3, 17:2, 28:8; Rev. 3:20). In each instance it means to enter into a building and stand before a person." (see endnote #5) Now please note that there is no need to ASK JESUS IN! He promises to come in and is knocking, wanting to come and fellowship with any Jewish believer if he/she is willing to hear His word and open the door of this particular local church. Chester McCalley further writes, "verse 20 is speaking of fellowship, not salvation. There were different words for the morning, noon, and evening meals. The word translated dine was the one used for the evening meal that consisted of leisurely, relaxed conversation and fellowship around the food. This verse is not appropriate in the evangelization for the unbeliever. The proper term for the required response to the gospel message is to believe." ( see endnote #6) Dear friends, Revelation 3:20 is a verse for the Little Flock, NOT the MEMBERS OF THE BODY OF CHRIST. It is a promise of personal fellowship with and from Jesus Christ, NOT AN OFFER OF SALVATION. And even if it was a salvation verse (though it is not), nowhere is the concept of "asking Jesus into your heart" found in this verse. "If any man hear my voice and open the door, I WILL COME IN TO HIM." You need not ask Him in.

    #7: Asking Jesus into your heart DOES NOT CLARIFY THE CONDITION OF SALVATION, IT CONFUSES IT, ESPECIALLY WITH CHILDREN. (see endnotes 3&4)

    I have been told on various occasions how helpful this Christian clich is with children. Frankly, I am convinced the opposite is true. Children begin life thinking very concretely, not abstractly. They understand "ball," "dog," and "hat" before they understand "death," "hell," and "salvation." When confronted with an appeal to ask Jesus into their heart, they are prone to imagine Christ in bodily form somehow living in the organ that pumps our blood. Perhaps this is why the young girl who was leaning against her mother's chest exclaimed . . .

    Girl: "Mom, I hear Jesus in your heart."

    Mom: "Really, honey. What is Jesus doing?"

    Girl: "Oh, He's just perking coffee."

    Bob Wilkin, a well-known Baptist preacher, testifies of the confusion this inaccuracy has wrought among children when he writes, "Years later I was teaching an evangelism course at a Bible College in East Texas. I had my students write out their testimonies after I had explained what I have recounted above. I found that quite a few of the students went through years of confusion because someone told them as children that if they asked Jesus into their hearts they would be saved. They wondered if they had done it right. They wondered if they had been sincere enough. So they asked Him in over and over again for years. They couldn't gain assurance. Finally, someone shared with them that to be saved they had to trust in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 alone. Only then, by their own testimony, did they come to faith in Christ. Years of inviting Him into their lives had only confused and frustrated them." (see endnote #8) The condition of salvation for children is the same as it is for adults, namely

    1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

    1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

    1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

    1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

    NORMAL OBJECTIONS

    When presenting these truths, I am normally confronted by some of the following objections:

    Objection #1: "BUT ISN'T THIS ALL SIMPLY A MATTER OF SEMANTICS?"

    My reply to this is "yes" and "no," depending on what you mean. Yes, it is a matter of semantics if you mean that word meanings and definitions are very important. Charles Ryrie addresses this by stating, "Furthermore, it seems to me that those who believe in the inerrancy of the Bible ought especially to be concerned with accuracy in communicating the truth. All the Bible is inerrant and important to us. But certainly how we as Christians express the Gospel ought to be our greatest concern. We do not want to confuse or shortchange or obscure God's good news of His grace how He gave His Son so that we might have eternal life through faith in Him. Semantics is key in understanding and communicating the Gospel." (see endnote #9) On the other hand, this is not a matter of semantics if you mean that trusting in the gospel alone and "asking Jesus into your heart" are really saying the same thing. Ryrie goes on to wisely state, "Just as words were the means God used to record the Gospel in the Scriptures, so words are the means we use to explain the Gospel to others. Therefore, a correct choice of words is important, even essential, in stating the Gospel well." (see endnote #10) When the holy Spirit directed the writers of Scripture to record in perfect accuracy the inerrant Word of God, He knew the difference between "pisteuo" (believe) and "aiteo" (ask). Time and time again He decided that "pisteuo" (believe) would be the word used to describe the one condition of salvation. Dear friend, if "pisteuo" was good enough for the holy Spirit, isn't it good enough for you?

    Objection #2: "BUT IS IT REALLY THAT BIG OF A DEAL HOW YOU EXPLAIN THE WAY OF SALVATION AS LONG AS YOU ARE SINCERE?"

    Regarding one's sincerity, Joshua 24:14 reads, Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve Him in SINCERITY and in TRUTH. God is a God of truth and commands us to be "speaking the truth in love." Is Gospel clarity really that big of a deal? Yes, it certainly is

    a. if you are concerned about preaching the Gospel accurately. Why?

    Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

    b. if you believe a correct understanding of God's plan of salvation determines where one will spend eternity.

    2Th 1:6 Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;

    2Th 1:7 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

    2Th 1:8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

    2Th 1:9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

    c. if you sense your great responsibility toward God to teach the Word of God just like God gave it.

    1Co 11:1 Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.

    1Co 11:2 Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

    d. if you want God's blessings and not His cursing in your ministry.

    Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

    Gal 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

    The late William Pettingill, in his commentary on Galatians titled, "By Grace Through Faith Plus Nothing," writes,"An appalling score awaits settlement for those who have muddled the Gospel of Christ and preached something else, either through ignorance, or through a desire to please men." (see endnote #11) Can you imagine hearing a doctor say to you as you lie on the surgeon's operating table:

    Doctor: Well, let's remove that liver now.

    You: But doctor, it's not my liver, but my gall bladder that needs removing.

    Doctor: Liver or gall bladder, what's the difference? You're so picky!

    Dear reader, by that time I would be requesting another surgeon immediately! Yet, when it comes to someone's eternal destiny, we too often are satisfied with something less than scriptural accuracy. Why is it that we demand extreme accuracy and exact wording when it comes to various contracts that we sign, yet, when it comes to a person's eternal salvation, we tolerate biblical inaccuracy or doctrinal fuzziness? And does it not bother you when a minister tells you not to worry about EXACTLY what the Bible says?

    1Co 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

    The great emperor Napoleon had three commands he gave his messengers as they conveyed his messages to various sections of his army. Those three commands were, 'Be clear! Be clear! Be clear!' Those who are entrusted with proclaiming the Good News of Christ must also be clear. The battle is on for the souls of men. If ever we needed a "clear call" from the bugler, it is now. Do not garble the Gospel, nor the right response to it! Do not add requirements to the gospel that are not there.

    Objection #3: "BUT HAVEN'T PEOPLE BEEN SAVED BY ASKING JESUS INTO THEIR HEART?"

    Again, let me emphatically state that NOWHERE in the Bible is ANYONE ever saved BY ASKING JESUS INTO THEIR HEART! A resounding NO is the only answer that Scripture would agree with in regards to this question. Now it is true that they may have trusted the gospel at the same time they asked Jesus into their heart and God, in His grace, saved them, in spite of this confusing clich. Nevertheless, this is no excuse for biblical inaccuracy. Furthermore, how many people have asked Jesus into their hearts while never trusting in Him and His work alone? Is it worth the risk? In inviting men and women to come to Christ, we must invite them to do what the Scriptures ask them to do, trust Christ's work to get them to heaven according to the gospel of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. We must make that clear. And to be clear, we must avoid misleading and confusing phrases. Invitations such as "give your life to Jesus," "pray to receive Christ," and "invite Jesus into your heart," are not only not used in Scripture, but can result in a person's trusting in a prayer, or depending on something he or she did, instead of trusting Jesus Christ and what He did. Remember, the battle is for souls, and any confusion the enemy can spread results in the loss of more souls.

    Objection #4: "BUT SO MANY PEOPLE USE THIS EXPRESSION, IT CAN'T BE THAT BAD."

    The accuracy of Scripture is not determined by a popularity contest, otherwise we would all be Roman Catholics or Moslems by sheer numbers. Also, the issue is not what I am writing versus Pastor so and so. It is not an issue of personality, but biblical principle. The issue is: Does this clich accurately communicate the truth of Scripture or not? Does it have the divine approval of "thus saith the Lord"? Many times in human history the majority has been wrong:

  • "Adam Thompson of Cincinnati, Ohio, near the middle of the Eighteenth Century, was the first American to fill a bathtub. Those who heard of it became alarmed. Doctors predicted rheumatism and inflammation of the lungs from such practice. Some American cities put a ban on bathtubs and even refused permission to do the new "bathtub exercise." But today a home is not complete without a bathtub or shower. The crowd was wrong.
  • Musicians and critics groaned and laughed at the music Richard Wagner wrote. But his compositions have transformed the music world. The crowd was wrong.
  • "Fulton's Folly" was the name the crowd gave to that first steamboat. But today steamships,sail the seven seas. The crowd was wrong.
  • For eleven years Goodyear and his wife worked on vulcanizing rubber. Everyone laughed at Goodyear but today, wherever rubber is named, you hear the name, Goodyear. The crowd was wrong." (see endnote #13)
  • Noah proclaimed the coming judgment of the world, and the world ridiculed him. The world was wrong.

    Will you base your beliefs and practice on the popular opinion of the human crowd or upon the unfailing and unchanging truths of the Word of God?

    Objection #5: "BUT DOESN'T ROMANS 10:9 TEACH ONE TO ASK JESUS INTO HIS HEART?"

    Like Revelation 3:20, Romans 10:9 is used as a proof-text to support this erroneous clich of evangelical Christianity.

    Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    Unlike Revelation 3:20, at least the context of this verse does deal with personal salvation.

  • Romans 9 .The Past National Election of Israel
  • Romans 10The Present Personal Rejection of Christ by Israel
  • Romans 11The Future National Salvation of Israel

    However, in Romans 10:9, like Revelation 3:20, there is no "asking Jesus into one's heart" mentioned. This passage is targeted at Jews (chapters 9-11 is about Israel) who would make the claim to "believe in the Lord." It is important to note here that Paul is not talking about the salvation of a member of the Body of Christ but about Israel and their salvation. To confess that one believes in the LORD, while rejecting Jesus Christ as that very God, misses the true person of the Saviour. And a failure to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead (which is proof of His propitiatory death) means that one has yet to embrace the finished work of our Lord. Verse 10 then clarifies the correct order for us when it reads

    Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

    This verse emphasizes what Jesus Christ taught when He said "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Matthew 12:34b) Hence, this whole passage is dealing with Israel, her condition of unbelief and how they will come to salvation. A member of the Body of Christ is not even in view here (see Issue 10 of this paper for a further discussion on this verse).

    A SUMMARY

    #1 Don't ask Jesus into your heart because IT IS NEVER FOUND IN THE BIBLE.

    #2 Don't ask Jesus into your heart because IT IS NOT HOW ONE IS SAVED.

    #3 Don't ask Jesus into your heart because IT REQUIRES NO UNDERSTANDING OF THE GOSPEL OF GRACE TO DO IT.

    #4 Don't ask Jesus into your heart because IT CONFUSES THE MEANS OF SALVATION WITH THE RESULTS OF SALVATION.

    #5: Don't ask Jesus into your heart because IT EITHER RESULTS IN NO ASSURANCE OF SALVATION OR BRINGS A FALSE ASSURANCE TO PEOPLE.

    #6: Don't ask Jesus into your heart because REVELATION 3:20 DOES NOT TEACH IT.

    #7: Don't ask Jesus into your heart because IT DOES NOT CLARIFY THE CONDITION OF SALVATION, IT CONFUSES IT, ESPECIALLY WITH CHILDREN.

    In this article I have not sought to be personally judgmental, but discerning. The Word of God has already judged the inaccuracy of this misleading salvation clich. Furthermore, is it an act of love to stand by and watch your neighbor's home burn down and not awaken them because they do not like being disturbed? I think not! Genuine love warns men and women of the truth of the Gospel, and how by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone they can be saved. So if you find yourself disturbed, be like the Bereans of Acts 17 and "search the Scriptures daily whether those things are so."

    A FINAL APPEAL

    Dear readers, do not let your pride (I've taught that clich in the past) or your emotions (I've prayed this with my kids) or your traditions (Our church has always said that) get in the way of truth and biblical accuracy on the most important issue that anyone must address. While this misleading clich is a sacred cow in evangelicalism today, let us return to the authoritative Word of God to embrace what God Himself says about our eternal salvation.

    1Co 15:1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;

    1Co 15:2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

    1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

    1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

    Don't ask, just believe and trust!

    endnotes:

    1 Bunge, Donald H., What Happened To The Word Believe (p. 15)

    2 Chafer, Lewis Sperry, Salvation (p. 33)

    3 Fugate, J. Richard, What the Bible says about Child Training (p. 136)

    4 Wallace, Daniel B., Scripture Twisting (www.bible.org)

    6 Cocoris, G. Michael, Evangelism, A Biblical Approach (p. 82-83)

    6 McCalley, Chester, The Gift of Salvation (p. 31)

    7 Wallace, Daniel B., Scripture Twisting (www.bible.org)

    8 Wilkin, Bob, Don't Ask (The Grace Evangelical Society, p. 1)

    9 Ryrie, Charles C., So Great Salvation (p. 22-23)

    10 Ryrie, Charles C., So Great Salvation (p. 24)

    11 Pettingill, William, By Grace Through Faith Plus Nothing (p. 20)

    12 Moyer, R. Larry, Free and Clear (p. 42)

    13 Olson, Nathaniel, The Crowd May Be Wrong (p. 1-2)

    14 Spurgeon, Charles H., C.H. Spurgeon Autobiography, (vol. 1)



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