Don’t Ask Jesus Into Your Heart!

When you ask most people at most churches what they did to get saved, they’ll give you a completely unbiblical answer.  You’ll often hear:

  1. I asked Jesus into my heart.
  2. I accepted Jesus.
  3. I prayed the sinner’s prayer.

None of those are in the Bible.

We all know what those things mean, but they aren’t proper explanations of how to get saved.  We have a huge problem with people who think they’re Christians but are going to end up in hell.  We have atheists who sweetly asked Jesus into their hearts when they were six years old.  We have men who went down to the altar to pray the sinner’s prayer, but love pornography.

Being born-again is as radical as being born the first time.  Kids who are born-again don’t grow up to be atheists.  Born-again people don’t love lust.

The Bible says that in order to be saved, we must repent (turn away from sin), and put our faith in Jesus.  So, I say that we start using the proper biblical terms:  repentance and faith.

Jesus said:  

  • “But unless you repent, you too will all perish, (Luke 13:5).”
  • “The time has come, he said. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15).

Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38).

Paul said, “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.” (Acts 20:21).

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22 Responses to Don’t Ask Jesus Into Your Heart!

  1. How do you deal with this verse?

    “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

    Romans 10:9

  2. Ha Tikvah says:

    Its what I often maintain – that mainstream Protestantism has often complicated what should be a very simple Gospel message. I also noted that none of those things were in scripture, and that in certain places Paul only exhorted people to believe and that was it – nothing more, although sometimes he then stated they had to believe and be baptised, but I often wondered how he persuaded people to believe and how just believing could be enough, when we’ve always been taught that repentance is the key. I wonder if this could perhaps be one of those cultural things whereby Jews and even Gentiles of that era knew that repentance went hand in hand with acceptance of the belief in the Messiah, but hard to consider it. Good post!

  3. billphillips says:

    Thanks for your comment.

    I think that “Lord” is a word that means more than just God and Creator of the universe; I think it means boss or king. When you say that “Jesus is Lord,” it means that you’re making him the “boss” of your life. In my mind, that may even be a stronger statement than repentance, or at least its equivalent.

    If you don’t go for that explanation, you just have to be sure not to leave out the dozens of other verses in the New Testament that include repentance as a requirement for salvation.

    John 3:16 says if we believe in Jesus, we’ll be saved. Why did Jesus leave out any mention of repentance here, when it’s so clear from everything else he said that we need to repent? Possibly because Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, who was an expert in the law. I think that he may have already repented, like many Jews, and Jesus was telling him to believe that Jesus is the messiah.

    The demons believe in Jesus, and tremble (James 2:19), but they obviously haven’t repented. I doubt that God would save the demons if they did repent, but it’s clear that it takes more than just a head-knowledge to be saved.

  4. sprocket23 says:

    Great points, Bill, glad I found your blog. I think people get very confused about what faith is. Folks think that faith is just mental assent, yet James tells us that even the demons believe. The bible is clear that faith is more than just agreeing, it’s making a change. Repenting, confessing, obeying the bible, being baptized in obedience. Of course, none of those things will save you in and of themselves, but done in belief in the work of Jesus on the cross by grace we can be saved.
    Keep preaching, brother!

  5. skubalon says:

    TT,

    This verse is a great one, but if we look at one verse only then we don’t see the whole picture. If you read Romans as a whole you see the whole picture. You can’t just snatch up a verse and say, “this is what I will stand on.” You have to look at scripture as a whole.

    More often than not if you have an instance where Peter, Paul or whoever does not go through each step it has from my study been understood that the group they were speaking to already had that understanding.

    EX: Peter in Acts 2 doesn’t need to say, “Believe, repent and be baptized.” He knew they already believed b/c the verse says, “They were cut to the heart and asked what they needed to do to be saved.” Why state it again?

    Now that being said I will tell you I think there are those who push their own agenda. There are those who will say baptism upfront as if it saves alone. I am a firm believer that if you don’t have it all together then what do you have?

    Don’t believe: Then water is just a bath and repentance is empty.
    No repentance: Then you have not dealt with your sin which seperates you. Many believe (Demons in Hell-James 2) but there is more.
    No Baptism: You miss out on the blessing that God brings with the burial and being raised to new life in Christ.

    TT, I am a easy going guy so take it as you will just in casual conversation.

  6. skubalon says:

    S23,

    You bum! My post is waiting moderation so you beat me to the punch of what I said.

  7. This is evangelical heresy.
    No one has ever been saved by praying a prayer.
    No one has ever been saved by walking an aisle.
    No one has ever been saved by raising their hand.
    Belief does not get you into heaven.
    The death of Jesus is the only thing that ever got anyone into heaven.
    The death of Jesus received by faith gets you into heaven.

  8. Kullervo says:

    So… being born again means you don’t sin anymore?

  9. billphillips says:

    Kullervo,

    I certainly still sin, along with every other human. What it means is that you hate your sin.

    Probably the most common sin among men is lust. If you’re not born again, you can dwell on your lust, and you can enjoy it. Once you’re born again, you’re still tempted by it, and you still do it on occasion, but God is helping you to do it less and less as the years go on, and you hate it.

    I think there’s also a big difference between sins that can happen in a moment, (lust, lying, cussing, etc.) and something like having an affair. To have an affair, you have to get a girl to like you, find a place, and hide it from your family. It’s not something that can happen in a moment of weakness.

    There are people who disagree with how much bad stuff a person can do, and still be a Christian. Whether someone is born again is not about how holy they are, it’s about which direction they’re headed.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  10. john says:

    Interesting,
    I think that you have some good points about how we should live our lives. However, I am quite interested in this concept of ‘born again’ Christian. It is scripturally supported that to be born again is symbolic of baptism, so is a born again Christian a baptized Christian? Because according to the symbolism of baptism then it would follow that every baptized Christian is born again in Christ. Furthermore, I think that it is faulty to say that by being a born-again Christian you don’t dwell on lust or any of the other aliments that effect mortals. This is because to dwell is a psychological state, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that ‘born again’ people don’t dwell.
    Moreover, It is interesting to point out that mainstream Christianity teaches that men should be appalled at sin, and God is helping all those who help themselves in having faith in him, not just ‘born again’ Christians.
    I think a good analogy to explain this idea that you have presented is:
    I cooked some eggs, and when I was finished I put them in the fridge. After five hours had passed, I was hungry. I went to my kitchen and opened the fridge and reheated the eggs in the microwave oven. The eggs tasted the same, looked the same, and are the same. From this analogy I conclude (from the vague comments ) that to be born again is to receive a initial conversion (cooked) and then fall (fridge) then be reheated? Thus, ‘born-again’ Christians are just merely reheated Christians.
    Please explain if that is wrong.
    Best,
    John

  11. billphillips says:

    John,

    We’re all born once from our mothers. At that point, we’re spiritually dead. We’re born enemies with God. No one has to teach a kid how to lie, steal, or disobey his parents. Our rebellious state towards God comes naturally.

    When we repent, and put our faith in Jesus, Jesus called that being born again. We are born spiritually at this point. We are raised from spiritual death to spiritual life.

    We’re going to be saved from hell, by Jesus payment, and God gives us a “down payment” on what He’s going to do. That is He gives us the Holy Spirit to comfort us, guide us, etc. Getting the Holy Spirit is called baptism by fire.

    We’re commanded to be baptized with water, as an outward demonstration of our new-found submission to God. We do this out of gratitude for being saved. We don’t get baptized to be saved. Before a pastor baptizes someone, they should do their best to make sure that the person is actually born again/saved. Of course there is no way to tell for certain if someone else is saved, but he can at least make sure they understand the gospel.

    I guess your egg analogy would be better like this. If all of the humans are eggs, we’re all smashed and thrown into a compost pile, and mixed up and rotting. The egg “repents and puts its faith in Jesus” and God miraculously puts the egg back together, and takes care of it for eternity. The egg was born once from the hen, and born again when God saves it.

    I hope that helps. Of course your best bet is to read the Bible for yourself. Jesus talks about being born again in John 3.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  12. billphillips says:

    John,

    Also, born again means the same thing as being a Christian. You’re not a Christian until you’re born again. I know that’s not the dictionary definition for Christian, but it’s the Biblical definition. In America, 3/4 of people claim to be Christians, because they like Christmas, or they were born Christians or whatever. Repenting and putting your faith in Jesus makes you a Christian. It makes you born again. It makes you saved. It makes Jesus your personal Savior or whatever lingo you like to use.

    Bill

  13. john says:

    Dear Bill,
    I guess I am confused. You claim to be a born-again Christian. I believe in Christ, I have confessed to him my sins, and I am putting my faith in him -so am I a born again Christian? (I don’t consider my self as one, but rather, as a disciple of Christ)
    This definition seems to play some linguistic games. The bible speaks both of faith, repentance and being born again baptism. Is it possible for a person to not be baptized and be a born again Christian?
    John

  14. billphillips says:

    John,

    When you repent and put your faith in Jesus, you’re born again. It doesn’t have anything to do with water baptism. The difference between repenting and confessing is that when you repent, you’re both confessing and committing to not sinning anymore. We’re supposed to confess our sins continually as Christians, but we only repent once.

    I know born again is a term that is associated with abortion clinic bombers or whatever. People often don’t want to associate themselves with being born again because the definition has been distorted.

    Jesus said “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3). “Unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:5).

    Water baptism is something we do after we’re saved/born again/become a disciple. Ephesians 2:8,9 says “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” So if anyone tries to include baptism as a requirement for salvation, they’re trusting in their own works, and not in Jesus’ sacrifice.

    If you’ve repented and put your faith in Jesus, you’re born again.

    Bill

  15. john says:

    bill,
    thank you, that was intresting. I still am quite confused. But thank you for the insight full convesation.
    John

  16. Rich says:

    This maybe way late – But here’s my two cents.

    If anything the comments go to show how confusing the language we christians use can be. Sometimes you need the secret decoder ring to figure out what we’re trying to say. Blasted…where did I leave that thing?

    The term “Born again” can be pretty confusing, Nicodemus had his own struggles with that one. He’s probably still scratching his head trying to figure out how his adult body can climb back in his mothers womb.

    I think “Born Again” was just an illustration or metaphor Jesus was trying to use to get Nicodemus to understand what being a Christian (aka – Entering the Kingdom of God) was all about. Nicodemus was born a Jew, in his mind he was in the Kingdom of God. But Jesus said, hold on buddy that passport doesn’t work here. Being a citizen in the Kingdom of God has nothing to do with your race, nationality or creed. Later on we learn that believing in Jesus is what offers us a new life (citizenship in his Kingdom). Being born again to me means, I had a life before I met Jesus. After meeting Jesus I have a new life. I hope I have nut muddied the waters any further.

    Bill – I enjoyed the post and the blog. Thanks for stopping by mine and giving me a chance to find you.

  17. Bill says:

    Hey Rich,

    Thanks for commenting. That makes sense.

    Bill

  18. Jim says:

    I saw a bumper sticker that said: “I was born okay the first time”.

    While that may sound brusk to some I think it sums up what many Christians feel today that they don’t need someone else’s doctrine to feel comfortable with who they are.

    What is most problematic for me is the enmity that a select group of Christians have for every other movement.

    Thx

  19. billphillips says:

    Jim,

    You really shouldn’t care what I think, just like I don’t care what you think. However, if you’re saying you agree with the bumper sticker, you were born spiritually dead the first time. You are an enemy with God (Colossians 1:21), and His wrath abides on you (John 3:36) until you are born again. Jesus said, “Unless you are born again you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” (John 3:3).

    It doesn’t matter what I think. You need to figure out what Jesus meant by being born again, and conform to His idea of being born again, or you have His promise that you’re going to hell.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  20. Brianna says:

    I agree with the points Bill is making. The Bible is very clear on being born-again. I do, however, care what you think and I hope you search the scripture carefully. Nothing is more important. You are loved and you were bought for a price.

    Brianna

  21. Brianna says:

    But a person can repent and believe IN Jesus through a prayer.

  22. billphillips says:

    Brianna,

    Thanks for your comments. I agree that when someone’s heart breaks over their sin, they’ll start praying. However, my point was that praying the prayer doesn’t save them, as I’ve heard some people say.

    To really get nitpicky, I would say that by the time you’ve decided to start praying that prayer, you’ve already repented and put your faith in Jesus, and you’re already saved. But, I think that person will definitely start praying at that point.

    Thanks,
    Bill

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