June 6 I Thursday
2 Chronicles 25-27
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” —Romans 10:9
Many Christians have a “fire insurance” definition of saving faith. They understand the Christian life as something like this: “Invite Jesus into your heart, and once you have done that, you will be forgiven of your sin and be assured of eternal life that guarantees you will go to heaven when you die.” This familiar invitation sounds almost authentic, does it not? But it is not authentic––it is a distortion of the gospel.
Nowhere does the New Testament ever state, “Ask Jesus into your heart.” Instead, the Bible says He will come in on the basis of our personal repentance and faith. However, as a result of this kind of instruction, there are many people who think that when they have said the “proper prayer,” they can now live as they please and believe that when the final curtain falls they are going to be okay.
Paul tells us the doctrine of assurance is when, “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16). I often say to people, when I have the joy of leading others to Christ: “Now don’t believe you’re a Christian because I say you’re a Christian. Allow the Holy Spirit inside of you to give you that inner assurance and He will. It will come because suddenly you’ll love Jesus. You’ll have an appetite for what is right and true.”
Prayer is an expression of our heart, but if a change of heart is not there, we can pray any prayer we want and it will not reflect our internal transformation. The Bible warns us about these false securities; long-term growth, not the short-term response, gives real evidence of the genuine work of the Spirit of God.
Some Christians think the main concern of the Christian life is making a decision to repent and accept Jesus into their life, but that is not a New Testament concern: discipleship is. A decision is only the beginning of the response. Just as no farmer measures the success of his farming by the seeds that he has sown or the seeds that have begun to germinate, we should not focus on decisions made. Rather, a farmer measures the value of his farming by the harvest that he brings home. Similarly, when we look into the heart of Jesus, we find that He was not looking for decisions but disciples. He was not looking for superficiality but for spiritual reality, depth and growth. A decision is flimsy fire insurance, but when our lives have been truly transformed by Christ, His great harvest will be evident in our life.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, thank You that assurance of my salvation is found in You alone through the basis of faith. Guide me in becoming a true disciple of You.