Wrong Salvation Instructions

Here is something I read on Facebook.

Wrong Salvation Instructions

by Ingrid Bosch Seman


Wrong Salvation Instructions

This is a short excerpt from Are You a Rotten Fish? that describes a number of the incorrect Gospel RESPONSES that have produced untold false converts.

Accept Jesus

Were you told to “accept” Jesus? Here’s the glitch with that well worn phrase: Jesus does not need our acceptance, we need His (Romans 15:7). The great news is, He will accept us—if we obey His command to repent and trust Him.

A. W. Tozer had this to say:
Hell-deserving sinners are coming in droves to “accept” Christ for what they can get out of Him; and though one now and again may drop a tear as proof of his sincerity, it is hard to escape the conclusion that most of them are stooping to patronize the Lord of glory much as a young couple might fawn on a rich old uncle in order to be mentioned in his will later on.

Imagine pulling up to a private country club and announcing, “I have accepted you. I will be teeing off in twenty minutes.” Security would be called and they will tee off on you. Instead, we must submit our application, and those in authority must accept us! The same thing is true with God. We submit our “application” of repentance and faith, and He accepts us.

Make Jesus your Lord and Savior

This Christian cliché is used regularly, and it is deceptively wrong. Jesus isn’t in heaven biting His nails longing for someone to make Him Lord. He is the Lord, seated on His throne, and He commands everyone everywhere to repent. Jesus doesn’t need to be made Lord and Savior; He already is, and we need to surrender to Him in repentance and faith.

Make a decision for Jesus

Do we need to make a decision in order to be saved? Yes, we need to decide that we are wretched sinners and Jesus is an amazing Savior; but that is as far as our decision goes. A decision does not save us; Jesus saves us when we repent and trust Him.

If your legs were caught in a bear trap, would you decide to call 911? Yes, but if you don’t call them, they won’t rescue you. The same thing is true with Jesus. Mere mental ascent does not save anyone. We must call out to the Lord in faith, and He rescues us.

Say “Yes” to Jesus

If you merely say “yes” to a police officer that commands you to stop, you are in big trouble with the Law. Ditto with Jesus. Judgment Day is coming, and God’s terms of peace are repentance and faith, not paying mere lip service.

Try Jesus

Pastor Rick Warren famously told Fox News cohost Alan Colmes to give Jesus a sixty-day trial. “See if He’ll change your life. I dare you to try trusting Jesus for sixty days. Or your money guaranteed back.”

Jesus is not a used car hoping someone will take Him for a test drive. Jesus Christ is the Sovereign King who commands us to humbly bow before Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit (Psalm 34:8).

Commit to Jesus

This sounds like a great response to the Gospel, but it too is very wrong. We are not commanded to commit to Jesus, we are commanded to repent and trust Him, and then He commits to us! That is a far more secure relationship. You can lose your grip on Jesus, but He will never let go of you (John 10:28).

If the police tells a lawbreaker to surrender, but the criminal says, “I commit to you,” that crook is in hot water. The authority doesn’t want the law-breaker to commit; the law wants the lawbreaker to submit. So does Jesus.

The Sinner’s Prayer

Untold numbers of people have been led in a “sinner’s prayer,” only to backslide, then say the sinner’s prayer again, wash, rinse, repeat. There is a reason that this response has generated so many rotten (and possibly angry) fish.

Imagine your spouse commits adultery and you discover the misdeed. Your infidel returns to you with a complete stranger standing directly behind your sinful spouse.

The stranger whispers into your spouse’s ear, “Dear spouse.”

Your spouse repeats his words, “Dear spouse.”

The stranger whispers again, “I am really, really sorry.”

Your spouse parrots, “I am really, really sorry.”

Stranger, “Please come into my heart.”

Spouse, “Please come into my heart.”

Stranger, “And this time, I really, really mean it.”

Spouse, “And this time, I really, really mean it.”

How would you feel? Probably the exact same way God feels when someone is led in a “sinner’s prayer.” You want to hear your spouse’s heartfelt expression of genuine sorrow and commitment to not stray again. God wants the same from sinners.

This is not to say that nobody who has uttered a sinner’s prayer has ever been saved, but this is to say that God doesn’t want someone to act like a ventriloquist’s dummy in order to go to heaven. The Lord isn’t seeking an articulate speech, He seeks a broken heart and contrite spirit that can barely mutter, “I am Yours, save me.”

Just believe

Yes, we are commanded to believe, but the type of faith we must exercise is a repentant faith. Puritan Thomas Watson said, “The two great graces essential to a saint in this life are faith and repentance. These are the two wings by which He flies to heaven.”

Ask Jesus into your heart

Scores of people have asked Jesus into their hearts, but He leaves so they ask Him back in, and this cycle repeats itself countless times until the person is too exhausted to ask Jesus back into their heart.

Upon conversion, Jesus does come and dwell in the human heart (Ephesians 3:17), but the trillion-dollar question is, “How does He get in there?” The biblical answer is, “Repentance and faith” (Mark 1:15).

When Jesus takes up residence through repentance and faith, He will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13: 5). God finishes what He starts (Philippians 1: 6). When you repent and trust Jesus Christ, He will be your Savior and God forever (Romans 8: 29-39). Jesus doesn’t abandon ship…or hearts.

A God-shaped hole in your heart

Because we are made by God to know Him and enjoy Him forever, we do not function rightly until we find our satisfaction in our Maker. When we live for pleasures other than God, we are like airplanes trying to find our purpose in swimming.

While Jesus most certainly makes us happy, if a person comes to the Savior seeking happiness, he comes for the wrong reason. This is akin to a college student who returns home on Christmas vacation only because his mom does his laundry. How would a mother respond to a son who says, “I’m home to have my whites whitened, but I am not here because I love you”?

God is not a Cosmic Heart Filler; He is a glorious Savior. To instruct people to “ask Jesus into your heart to fill a God-shaped hole” is like a surgeon telling someone to take a multi-vitamin after a person’s heart stops.

People don’t need to fill their hearts; they need a heart transplant.

People don’t need Jesus to warm their hearts; they need Jesus to rule their hearts.

People don’t need Jesus to affect their hearts; they need Jesus to reign over their hearts.

Contentment is a result of the gospel, but it is not the gospel itself. If you asked Jesus into your heart seeking contentment, perhaps that is the reason you are a false convert; you came seeking the Gift, but not the Giver.

Turn or burn

While it is true we must turn or we will burn, that is not the correct response to the good news that Jesus died for sinners. Sinners should not turn to Jesus simply because they are scared of hell; they should repent and trust Jesus because God has been so kind to save them from hell. Do you see the difference?

Yes, we should be afraid of hell, but God doesn’t merely want fear-filled conformists; God wants tear-filled converts. It is the kindness of God that should lead a sinner to repentance (Romans 2:4).

Posted on July 26, 2019, in Facebook, salvation and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Excellent post, my friend! I was once one of those that followed a sinners prayer over and over again. I was fully convenced that I needed to believe in myself enough to make my prayer effective. God was merciful to me, sending someone who proclaimed the truth of the Law and the Gospel revealing my desperate need for a savior and my utter inability to save myself. Thank you for this article, brother!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This is tremendous truth, and a lot that I had not considered before. I am re-blogging.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wow! Fantastic article!


  4. Reblogged this on Logos Speaks.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for this. Later today I am preaching on this very thing. I have more notes now.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Wow. This is so deep and eye opening. I’m going to do some serious self examination later on in my devotions. This is serious. Blessings!

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a punch, or two, or twenty! Wow! This is truth at its core. Praise God!🙌🏽

    Liked by 1 person

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