Personal Reflection from the Reading
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart; How to know for sure you are saved. by J.D. Greear is a wonderful book for those that are working through having assurance of salvation. Greear knows the struggles that many face when they question their salvation from first hand experience and he shares his own struggles from the very first chapter of the book. I am sure that many who read this book will be comforted by his testimony as a Pastor who has struggled with his faith. Because Greear has this personal experience, he is able to explain with great confidence how a person can have confidence to stand firm on what Jesus has done for them.
Although I have not really dealt with this personally, I can see from a pastor’s point of view how this book is incredibly helpful in ministry. The book is chock-full of helpful illustrations and explanations that will help others to understand what it means to abide in Christ as Christians are commanded to do. (John 15:5) For this point alone, I would encourage anyone to read this book and be encouraged through the words of Pastor Greear as he explains what the Lord has done.
I am in no way affiliated with J.D.Greear or his publishing company. These are my views and my views alone on his writing. If the writer or publishing co. has an issue with this blog, notify me and I will remove it.
(Reading Outline Below)
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart; How to know for sure you are saved. J.D. Greear
- Baptized Four Times
- J.D.’s struggle with his own salvation
- The false assumption of eternal security
- The assumptions made from the cliché “asking Jesus into my heart”
- What he is NOT saying; Asking Jesus into your heart is heretical, We should not press for a decision when witnessing
- Does God Even Want Us to Have Assurance
- God wants us to have security of salvation through his love (your spiritual life will never really take off until you have assurance of your salvation)
- We are to have reckless obedience – You will never be able to say no to sin until you understand the “yes” you have been given through Christ
- We are God’s Children, Spouse, & Friend
- The Damnable Doctrine of Doubt; God is not simply interested in your obedience, He is interested in your desire & How can we find assurance of salvation? Trust in his testimony of eternal life, Trust in His work within us.
- Jesus In My Place
- John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” > 2 types of people mentioned; Those who believe and those who don’t. No middle ground.
- We must admit that we are sinners before God and we cannot receive salvation by our own worth or merits
- Jesus is the high priest who became for us what we deserve while we receive from him what we do not deserve
- What Is Belief?
- Real belief entails belief in action.
- Biblical belief is a new posture towards God. Just because we prayed a prayer does not mean that we assumed the new posture.
- Reducing Salvation to Ceremony – Doubt will always arise if you look to a ceremony for your salvation. You must look to Jesus who is the author and perfector of our faith. Comfort can also be found in our current posture toward God. Are we in a state of repentance and belief?
- Present Posture Is Better Proof than a Past Memory – If you are seated right now (repenting and believing), there was a point in time in which you sat down (repented and believed for salvation). You may not remember the specific time but your actions reveal that you did.
- Salvation was obtained by simply resting on two “facts” God had promised about Jesus; He was crucified as the payment for sins, He was resurrected as proof that God accepted His sacrifice as payment.
- Do not try to find assurance in a prayer you prayed in the past. Find assurance in what Jesus did in the past. It is the relationship to Christ, which saves, not the prayer that signified the beginning of that relationship.
- Leading Children to Jesus; do not urge them to make a decision for Christ. Urge them to take a submissive posture to Christ as Lord. Do not seek a specific answer to a question.
- Salvation is Impossible Unless You Believe Salvation is By Faith Alone – If your salvation relies on what you can or should do, there will never be enough done to be satisfied.
- Faith that looks anywhere else but Christ will not find assurance but incessant doubt.
- What Is Repentance?
- When we come to Jesus, nothing can be off limits. We cannot come with preconditions or limitations. To possess eternal life, we must be willing to let everything else go. We do not approach Jesus to negotiate eternal life; we approach him in total surrender.
- C.S. Lewis “We don’t come to him as bad people trying to become good people; we come as rebels to lay down our arms.”
- We can place nothing else before Jesus. We must be so committed to Him that by comparison even our most intimate relationships look like hate.
- What Repentance is not; Simply praying a sinners prayer, Feeling sorry about our sins, Confession of sins, Getting religious, Partial surrender, or Perfection.
- What repentance Is; Repentance is acknowledging that Jesus is Lord of everything as a matter of who He is. Whatever your disagreement with Jesus, He is right and you are wrong. This does not mean that there is no struggle in repentance. When those who believe the gospel fall, they renew their posture of repentance, re-embrace the gift-righteousness of Christ, thank God for the promise of victory, and get back up. Those who do not believe the gospel wallow in their failure. They soar with pride when they are doing well; but plunge into despair when they falter. Faith is not the absence of doubt; it is continuing to follow Jesus in the midst of doubt. Repentance ushers us into a life of greater struggle, not out of one. The struggle is proof of a new nature. Repentance is not just stopping sin; but following Jesus.
- Changes in desire – Many people feel the pull of God on their hearts and resist it, and Jesus places the blame for that squarely upon their shoulders.
- If “Once Saved, Always Saved,” Why Does the Bible Seem to Warn Us So Often about Losing Our Salvation?
- Salvation is not a one time decision but conditional upon our continued obedience. By persevering through tribulations, they enter the Kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
- Warnings ought to be taken at face value; however, if we fall away, we will not be saved in the end. But since those who are truly saved can never lose it, we must conclude that a failure to heed the warnings demonstrates that we never possessed true saving faith to begin with. These warnings help us not to take God’s grace for granted. A true believer will never be lost, but a true believer will never stop following Jesus.
- The Bible never tells us to analyze the wickedness of our or anyone’s hearts or to speculate about God’s electing providence. It simply commands us to repent. “If you hear God’s voice,” the writer of Hebrews says, “obey today.”
- The Real Doctrine of Eternal Security – Wayne Grudem “The perseverance of the saints means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again.
- Making Our Calling and Election Sure; We are commanded to labor and to strive to keep ourselves in the faith. The best proof that we are saved in the past is our posture in the present. Thus, our perseverance in holy living is not the basis of our salvation, but it is a source of our assurance.
- The Evidence You Have Believed
- The Proof of His Presence – Saving faith proves itself by inexorable changes it makes in the heart. The new, living heart is characterized by a love for God. When you have been born again, you begin to avoid sin not just because you fear punishment, but because it keeps you from God. You begin to seek God because you love God; you begin to do righteous because you crave righteousness. Your spiritual tastes have changed. Once God has given you an appetite for Him, you won’t need to be forced to seek Him. You couldn’t be stopped from seeking him. Your obedience is less about duty and more about delight.
- A Love For Others – Particularly believers. If we are not a generous spirit we likely have never been saved, or so lost touch with it we can hardly be said to understand it any longer. Those people who have experienced the gospel show it by becoming like the gospel.
- “But I still love sin!” – The presence of the struggle itself can be affirmation that God’s Spirit is at work within you. Often the strongest evidence of my growth is grace is my growth in the knowledge of my need for grace.
- It takes a village to identify regeneration – God gave us the local church to see ourselves accurately
- When You Continue to Doubt
- In that moment of doubt, keep believing the Gospel
- Diagnosis is Not the same as Prescription; The Bible never states that anyone will be immune from doubt, spiritual apathy, and severe temptation. Perhaps God allows his saints to struggle that way so that their faith will remain in his grace and not their righteousness. See your struggle with sin as God’s invitation to rest humbly in the gospel