What Do You Do When You Ask Jesus Into Your Heart But He Doesn’t Stick Around?

I have heard this story before. A young boy or girl attends VBS and at the end of the week, they raised their hand and said the prayer. Or maybe, when they were older they came forward at the altar call at church or at the local evangelist crusade. No matter the venue, they were told to “ask Jesus into their heart,” and assured that once He came in, life would get better. They were assured they were a Christian now, and were told to never question it, no matter what. The initial spiritual high carried them for a time. They read their Bibles, went to church, talked about how great it was to be a Christian. But in time, the buzz wore off. The feeling just wasn’t there anymore. Other things, people or events just seemed more interesting. Or they began to be ostracized by their peers, so the compromises began. Before long, life was like it was before, or maybe worse because they began to look for other things to fill the void. But no matter how bad it might be, they were still a Christian…weren’t they?

When it comes to the modern day evangelism of “asking Jesus into your heart” there is a very big problem in that it rarely, if ever, addresses the issue that a person is a wretched, vile sinner. A spiritual criminal deserving of God’s righteous judgment. It avoids examining the life of the person under God’s law. It fails to show that when we lie, steal, lust, hate, blaspheme God, or any other sin, we are committing crimes against our Lord. It fails to reveal that on the day that we stand before God, every sin, every thought, word and deed is called into account. And because God is a good and just Judge, He will condemn us to Hell for eternity. It does not explain that the punishment is infinite because we have sinned against an infinite God.

When the church tells a person to, “just ask Jesus into your heart” there is very little weighing of the issue. Very little understanding of the severity of their sins. Consequently, many people will experimentally ask Jesus to become part of their lives without ever turning away from the sinful life they have lead. In other words, because they didn’t understand how wicked they were, they never obeyed the command to repent. They simply saw Jesus as a way to make their life better, or as some sort of “fire insurance.” There was no genuine commitment or surrender of their lives. If that happens, that person is not genuinely born again. And if they are not born again, they are still slaves to their sinful nature.

Often times, churches today will ask people to repeat a prayer, sign a card and get them baptized. Once that is done, they absolutely assure them they are saved and tell them to never doubt it. And if they see that person returning back to worldly pursuits, they claim they are backslidden, a person who is a Christian, but is actively sinning.

Such an evangelistic program, while certainly adding numbers to church roles, actually does more damage than good. The problem is twofold. First, the Bible tells us to examine ourselves to see if we are truly in the faith. Both the books of James and 1 John help us examine our walk to see if we are actually producing fruit that is consistent with a born again Christian. That doesn’t mean that once a Christian gets saved he is suddenly perfect, but what is the course of his life. If a person can look at their life and see that it is, bit by bit, growing in a God honoring direction, then they can see true spiritual fruit that is consistent with being born again. But if they look like the rest of the world day to day, if there is no brokenness, no desire for true repentance, then it would become prudent to ask if they were ever actually born again.

The second problem with the modern day gospel presentation is that it ignores the truth of false converts. In the parable of the soils, Jesus taught of two groups of people who spring up as apparent converts upon hearing the gospel. However, in due time, they fall away either because of the cares of the world or from persecution. The falling away demonstrates that they never were in the faith to begin with. So when the church baptizes someone and assures them they are saved without ever looking at the fruit of their walk, it can actually add numbers of false converts to the list.

So what does all this mean for you the reader? Well, the first question would be to ask yourself if you are truly saved. Examine your walk in the light of the Bible. Do you truly love the Lord? Do you desire to obey His commandments above all else? Do you hate your sin because you love Lord and don’t wish to sin against Him? Or do you care more about the things of this world? Is the only time you feel bad about sin is when you have to suffer the consequences?

If it is the former, I would encourage you to dig into the gospels again. Learn what it is that Christ did for you because He loves you. Gain assurance by preaching the gospel to yourself daily. But if it is the latter, then you need to repent of your sins and trust in Christ now. You need to get saved for the first time. What happened before may have only been an experimental attempt, but one where, like so many others, you never truly repented and trusted in the Savior. If that is so, then examine your life, understand that your sins are an offense to God deserving of judgment. Yet know that His Son died to pay the price that you deserved. Turn away from those sins and trust in the Savior today.

(Note: this article is also published on my personal blog at fernleycrossguy.wordpress.com)

16 thoughts on “What Do You Do When You Ask Jesus Into Your Heart But He Doesn’t Stick Around?

  1. Frank says:

    This is an excellent piece. Thanks for writing it. It is always encouraging to see or hear the truth proclaimed boldly without compromise. I hope many people end up reading this.

  2. Ray says:

    Ditto Frank’s comment, this is not an issue that is to be underestimated or brushed aside, modern evangelicalism has failed miserably when it comes to the commission that should be its purpose, to preach the gospel and make disciples. You can’t put lipstick on a pig and call it a supermodel , and yet this is the approach that is all too often taken. The offence is sin, clear and simple, and yet evangelists and pastors have come up with a thousand different ways to avoid the offence. This is one I heard a month ago from a baptist pastor

    ‘ Let us continue to pray for people to be convicted of their need of a relationship with Jesus”

  3. This is from a recent article in the Christian Post { http://www.christianpost.com/news/sinners-prayer-can-lead-to-salvation-say-southern-baptist-traditionalists-77131/ } –
    “Among delegates who argued in support of the sinner’s prayer was Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn. He said he believes that every one of the 256 kids who were individually counseled and led in the prayer at Vacation Bible School over the past few weeks has been saved.
    “Many of them were not ready and we said you’re not ready. I don’t believe you try to pick unripened fruit,” Gaines told SBC Talk following the resolution vote. “But I am telling you that there is a particular, puncticular moment that you cross over from being lost and you’re saved.”
    He added, “I believe what we’re dealing with is the whole idea of how you get saved: It’s soteriology. I believe the biblical pattern is you hear the Gospel, you repent of your sins, you believe in the Lord Jesus and you call upon his name and at that split-second, that nano-second you’re saved and forevermore you belong to Jesus.”

    Here we see assurance of salvation based on counseling and being led in prayer with no emphasis on fleeing sin, being obedient to the word of the Lord and striving for holiness. How is this any different than all other false religions?
    I am not speaking of doing these things to be saved, I am speaking of doing these as evidence God has indeed regenerated you. Again, where is the teaching on regeneration? You must be born again, regardless of any decision sinners make, prayers that are simply repeated because one is told to do so, or invitations; if God has not graciously re-birthed a sinner all their efforts are in vain.
    Referring back to the snippet from the article, Gaines states salvation is a ‘biblical pattern’ one follows {like the ‘Roman Road’}, notice the ‘yous’ in his statement; ‘you’ hear the Gospel, ‘you’ repent, ‘you’ believe in the Lord, ‘you’ call upon His name…Now, look at Ezekiel 36:26-27, ” I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.” The ‘I’s’ have it! There seems to be a conflict here, man vs. God.

    We must get back to the doctrines of grace, the cry of the reformation. We are seeing the devastating results of man’s attempt at saving sinners, it abhors God and leaves sinners in their sins.

    Good post brother
    Lyn

  4. D.M. says:

    Great article; I myself for a long time didn’t understand that iwasn’t about ME (praying a prayer, walking an aisle, etc.,) it’s ALL about Christ…TRUTH finally broke through my spiritual darkness…

  5. Chris Hohnholz says:

    TCAPWN4 – if a person is truly born again, the fact that they are a new creation will be evident by their fruit. They won’t start living like a Christian merely because they have been informed they are a new man, but because they have been made new by the Holy Spirit. Additionally, the passage you cite applies to those who are in fact Christians, it does not refer to “backsliders”. Christians certainly do sin, and our works which were motivated for ourselves will burn up on that day. But the difference here is that a false convert will have no good works that would remain because they were never truly born again to begin with.

  6. michael says:

    The Apostle Paul, the great blameless adherent to the Law of Righteousness, said he came to know his heart was sinful after the Law came alive in him, not before, only after.

    Is it going to be any different today?

    Jesus said it was for our advantage that He would die and be raised from the dead. He said if He died like you plant a kernel of wheat He would send the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.

    Sin, because they don’t believe. Apparently those who don’t believe are those who have not experienced that coming alive experience Paul wrote about?

    Righteousness, because He goes back to the Father.

    Judgment, because the god of this world is judged.

    With that framework in mind one wonders what does happen when you close your eyes, bow your head and repeat the sinner’s prayer asking Jesus into your heart; especially when the Apostle reiterated that there is none righteous, no not one!

    It kinda shoots this life of works righteousness in the head, don’t it?

    Rom 7:9 I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died.
    Rom 7:10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me.
    Rom 7:11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me.
    ………….
    Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
    Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–
    Eph 2:6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
    Eph 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
    Eph 2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

    ———–

    Oh yeah, one more thing. In the Law that the Levitical Priesthood practiced the High Priests were to “atone” for the sins of the children of Israel, once a year. The sacrifice was the atonement for the “prior” year’s sins. Year after coming year, once a year, an atonement for the prior year’s sins was made.

    And then comes alone Jesus!

    Think about that if you hold to “once” saved, always saved; and in light of what we read there in Ephesians 2:7: Eph 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

    The Apostle’s language “points” to experiences that are “coming”, as in the coming ages God might show the immeasurable riches of His kindness by Grace! Hmmmmm? As long as I am in this flesh I am in need of His Grace because this flesh is never righteous. I will always need daily bread (Grace) in this life. The “Righteous” shall live by Faith!

    I also would point out this similar idea of “looking” to the “coming” age from 1 Corinthians 15 and these verses:

    1Co 15:42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.
    1Co 15:43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
    1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

    Jesus said we must be born again. The Apostle Peter reiterated that in his Epistle when he had written by the hand of Silvanus this:

    1Pe 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
    1Pe 1:4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
    1Pe 1:5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    Also, the Apostle Paul gives us an understanding of the nature of this Living Hope this way when he had written by the hands of Tertius, this:

    Rom 8:23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.
    Rom 8:24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?
    Rom 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

  7. LInda says:

    Great article that exposes the masses of false conversions.. Satan just loves easy prayers as if they are some magical formula that automatically saves people and they can still keep their sins..

    I grew up all my life in Church and I knew I was a sinner, the prayer to pray, heaven and hell and about Jesus…
    No one at my church taught asking Jesus into your heart.. I grew up in a Presbyterian Church for the most part.

    There were many times I asked God to forgive me and come in my life and save me–but nothing ever happened…

    Noooo it wasn’t until December of 1997 that I was drawn to the word of God to find out what God had to say about a particular situation. It wasn’t until I had some sense of fear that even drew me to his word to even care what GOD thought. It wasn’t until I read God’s word and realized that I could not live up to what God commanded
    When a week passed after reading the bible and I was weighing my whole life,, GOD reached down to me that day. That’s the difference right there. All those years I reached up to God and never once could I reach him, never once could I change. But when GOD reached down to me and offered me his Son, I KNEW beyond a shadow of a doubt how REAL GOD is and that Salvation is from the LORD!. He changed my heart that day.. I did pray the sinners prayer but the difference was I was for the first time in my life WILLING to follow Jesus wherever he goes and I MEANT it. I never meant any kind of commitment all those 100’s of times I prayed before.. This was a light bulb going off and a complete opposite change in direction..

    People can pray all they want, but if GOD does not by his grace and mercy grant his favor and extols it to you from above– you can forget being truly saved. Jesus even said -“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” -John 3:8

    The shock of horrors above all horror will be the countless number of people who thought they were saved simply because they were taught to pray and ask Jesus into their hearts…. NO Jesus said REPENT!

  8. When I realized a new heart, a righteoud heart given to me by Jesus and really did not realize this though i had victories, I REALLY knew I could do all things in Jesus in a no dopubt form.

    Correction: “When I realized a new heart, a righteoud heart given to me by Jesus and really did not realize this though i had victories, I REALLY knew I could do all things in Jesus in a no doubt form.”

  9. Interestingly enough, Jesus speaks of those who believe they are saved and then try to do works in His Name. Matthew 7. So is it believing on Jesus for Salvation and not really working it out that condemns a man, or is it believing you have been saved and then making a mockery of His Name by your self-righteous actions that condemns?

    Thoughts, anyone?

  10. Ray says:

    Quote Michael
    Oh yeah, one more thing. In the Law that the Levitical Priesthood practiced the High Priests were to “atone” for the sins of the children of Israel, once a year. The sacrifice was the atonement for the “prior” year’s sins. Year after coming year, once a year, an atonement for the prior year’s sins was made.

    And then comes alone Jesus!

    Think about that if you hold to “once” saved, always saved; and in light of what we read there in Ephesians 2:7: Eph 2:7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    end Quote

    And along comes Christ , but in a far more perfect way than the types and shadows that prefigured his coming. And yes , I do believe in the preservation of the saints , but not because of anything I could possibly do , but only because of what Christ has achieved.

    Hebrews 10:11-14
    And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices which can never take away sins.
    12 But this man , after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God
    13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
    14 For by one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.

    Hebrews 10:17-18
    And their sins and iniquities I will remember no more.
    Now where remission of these is , there is no more offering for sin.

    Christ has done much more than cleanse us from our past sin , he has forgiven us of all our sin, and yes , that which we are yet to commit.

  11. michael says:

    Ray,

    I intentionally used the word “alone” and not “along”.

    The purpose was as you cite from Hebrews, making the stand alone office He holds as the High Priest of a better priesthood, of this priesthood, we, too, are made partakers of by Election.

    Also, without God’s participation I would not be able to come into that “life” the Apostle Paul makes reference too at Romans 5:17.

    For me, it is passive, reigning in this “life”. With Christ however, it is very active!

    I hope we are not speaking past one another?

    I concur with your comments.

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