As Christians we are concerned about the eternal destiny of those we know. We want the assurance that they are going to be with us in heaven someday. All too often I have based this assurance on whether a person has responded to an altar call or prayed the sinner’s prayer. BUT I had the vague sense that this wasn’t enough. What about friends who I had taken to camp services, church or youth activities who had made a public profession at that time but whose lives never showed any fruit? Was I to believe they were truly saved?
In his book Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart, J.D. Greear addresses this issue. The book is written in a personal way as he shares the struggles of faith he had during his adolescence. Even though he prayed the sinners prayer and was baptized during childhood, as he grew older he heard a message that troubled his heart. He wondered if had been sincere enough as a small child. This led him to repeatedly ask Jesus into his heart. For years he doubted his salvation.
As he writes in the book he eventually he came to understand salvation as a posture of the heart, which is repentance and belief.
Repentance is not simply praying a prayer that acknowledges our sinfulness and asks for forgiveness. Nor is it walking an aisle, signing a card, or giving a public testimony. Repentance is not fundamentally a motion of our hands, mouth or feet; it is a motion of the heart in which we abandon our posture of rebellion and adopt one of submission toward Christ. Repentance is evidenced by outward actions, but it does not equal that. Pg 57
In the Bible are certain words attached to the moment of salvation. Most frequently scripture says to believe in your heart. What is this belief? This challenges my own concept of witnessing. Is leading someone in the sinners prayer a cure way to salvation? Maybe more importantly I should ask The Lord to help me speak more fervently about believing from the heart.
This book is not only for advice on leading others to Christ but was thought provoking in my own life. Over the years I am learning just how important the attitude of the heart is to God. I have found the only way to keep my heart bent on Him is to continually ask for His help. I want to believe, I want to always repent, but only with His help by the moving of His Spirit is His work done in my heart.