Invite Jesus Into Your Heart?
Ask many a professing Christian how they got saved, and you frequently hear these words, “When I was a young child I invited Jesus into my heart!” In fact, so did I! Yet, is this the correct way to be saved? Are there any potential problems with this methodology? It is with such things as this, that we ought to take extreme care! Why? This has to do with where we will spend eternity! So let us put this one under the microscope!
We read thus, in the Word of God, “The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed [the gospel].” (Acts 17:10-12)
First of all then, we will find that this instruction of inviting Jesus into one’s heart, is absent from the Scriptures. This, in and of itself, should already be of concern!
As a Child
I believe it was in the year 1974 that this idea was popularized. Children’s ministry was being held and they were perplexed as to how to have these children understand how to be saved. So they came up with the concept of “inviting Jesus into your heart.”
So today, many parents and Sunday School teachers and such, are telling the children to invite Jesus into their heart and they’ll be saved! I myself was told by the Sunday School to invite Jesus into my heart if I wanted to go to Heaven. So I did.
What’s the Big Deal?
So, what is the big deal about inviting Jesus into your heart? For one, we are told in the Scriptures that one must hear and believe the gospel in order to be saved. Where then, I ask, is the gospel in this? It is absent! Now, some may say, “Yeah, but we first explain the gospel, and then those that want to be saved invite Jesus into their hearts.” That sounds nice, but have the children understood the gospel and placed their faith in Christ to save them? Or, are they now trusting in the fact that they said these few words?
You see, back in the garden of Eden, the first two people of God’s creation, rebelled against God, and they therefore became estranged from God because of their sin. Therefore, now, we are all estranged from God and need to be reconciled back to Him! That is why God promised Adam & Eve a Deliver, a Saviour, one who would save them from their sins so they could be put back in a right relationship with God! Finally, upon entering the New Testament, we hear these words of the long-awaited announcement, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) This, of course, was a reference to the Lord Jesus Christ who die as a lamb offered on the altar of the cross to pay our sin-debts!
We see then, that this is One, Jesus Christ, in whom we are called upon to believe – to cry out to Him to save us! For He is the Saviour, the one who died upon the awful cross to pay our sin-debts that we might once again stand in right relationship with God! Therefore, we read, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only [begotten] Son, that whoever believes in him [as their Saviour] should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) This is why we read, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) That is, whoever calls on the name of the Lord as their Saviour, will be saved!
Yet, when we merely say that “inviting Jesus into your heart” saves you, we then have people who think they are Christians, but are not. Such was the case with myself. I thought that at that moment I was saved and therefore tried to act and behave like a Christian, and others expected me to act like one as well! No wonder so many become disillusioned with Christianity and walk away from it all, for they have never been born again to begin with!
The Scriptural Approach
The biblical manner, would be to present a clear gospel message, and then permit the Holy Spirit to apply the Word of God to the people. Then, upon hearing the gospel message, it will be left up to them as to whether they will believe this message and be saved, or not. Therefore, “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) Again, “In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-14) We see here the clear order, first we have the hearing of the gospel, and then we have the believing of the gospel message in respect of the Son of God!
Yes, we would all like to pour over a stack of invitation cards and say so and so many were saved at so and so meeting! Yet, this is a false and scary method to undertake! We must permit the individual person the freedom to come to their own conclusion, and then testify of their accord, as to what they have come to understand and believe! How wondrous it is, when we see the “scales” fall from people’s eyes and hear them tell of all that Christ has done for them in order to save them!
The Gospel in a “Nutshell”
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 lays out the gospel simply. We read, “The gospel… that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,  that he was buried,  that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”
To lay things out very basically:
- God is holy.
- We are not holy, but sinners.
- Therefore we are estranged/separated from God.
- The penalty for sin is death (separation from God physically, separation relationship wise, and separation eternally).
- Our works/deeds cannot do anything to mend this relationship that requires death as a penalty for our sin.
- Therefore God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be your and my Saviour!
- God placed your and my sins on Christ and He took the penalty of death for them all.
- By Christ’s death we are reconciled to God. That is, put into a right relationship with Him.
- On the third day Christ arose to be our living Saviour!
- We are called upon to place our confidence in Christ alone to save us.
- Upon believing this gospel message, we are saved and sealed till the day of redemption! We become possessors of eternal life!
Question: Have you believed the gospel message for yourself? For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”! (Romans 10:13)
Victor J Reimer
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*Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version (ESV), copyrighted © 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved.