Friday, November 21, 2014

Ask Jesus into your Heart? 14 Reasons not to, part 2 of 3

Do the lost need to ask Jesus into their hearts in order to be saved?  Last Friday we saw five reasons why the answer is "no"!  Here are reasons #6-10.

6.) Asking Jesus to come into your heart confuses the means of salvation with a result of salvation.

            When a lost sinner, enabled by God’s grace, repents and trusts in the Savior, he is spiritually united to Christ, what Scripture calls being “in Christ” (Eph 1:3). He passess from death to life (Jn 5:24), from being unrighteous to being justified or declared righteous (1 Cor 6:9; Rom 3:24), from being without peace to having peace with God (Is 57:21; Rom 5:1), from having no access to God to having direct access to Him through Christ (Rom 5:2; 1 Tim 2:5), from having no hope to having a sure hope (Eph 2:12; Heb 6:19), from being a child of the devil to being a child of God (Jn 8:44; 1:12), from being without Christ to having Christ live in him (2 Cor 13:5; Gal 2:20), from being without the Holy Spirit to being indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:9), and so on.  He now has “all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph 1:3).  One of the blessings of being united to Christ is that He does indeed make the believer His dwelling place (Col 1:27; Rom 8:10), but that does not mean that a person is saved by asking Christ to come in, any more than one is saved by asking to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit or asking to have all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.  No, the lost must trust in Christ and His saving work on the cross alone, and when they entrust themselves to Him, they receive every good thing on account of their union with Him, whether justification, a sure hope, adoption into the family of God, the indwelling presence of Christ, direct access to the Father, or any of the other glorious blessings possesed by the people of God.

7.) Asking Jesus into your heart can bring false assurance to a lost person and prevent a saved person from having true assurance.

            Since the Bible never promises salvation to a lost sinner if he asks Jesus into his heart, those who perform this human work and think that they are saved because they did it are almost surely just as lost as they were before.  There are literally millions of people who have asked Jesus into their hearts instead of coming to the Lord Jesus in repentant faith.  They were, perhaps, told that asking Christ to come in would guarantee them a happy life, peace, or perhaps financial success and a good marriage.  If none of these things come to pass, they become bitter towards the Lord Jesus and His people, disillusioned with the Bible, and inoculated against the true gospel by the spiritual counterfeit they adopted.  When someone comes to them and tries to show them that, Biblically speaking, they never were saved and they need to submit to Christ as Lord and rely on Him as Savior from sin, they say, “I tried Jesus already and it didn’t work.”  Others ask Jesus into their hearts over and over again, hoping that the prayer will finally stick and they will finally have freedom from sin’s control.  Others rely on the assurance given to them by the convert-maker who told them to ask Him to come in and conclude that they must be saved, although they are just as much in bondage to sin as they were before, because of the supposed Biblical promise that all who ask Christ to come in will go to heaven.  These often remain deluded until the day they die and “in hell . . . lift up [their] eyes, being in torments,” hearing in horror from Christ, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Lu 16:23; Mt 7:23).  Many such people never even come to church, although the book of Acts records that those truly born again not only attended church and submitted to baptism but even stood for Christ despite life-threatening persecution and showed incredible sacrificial love for their fellow believers (Ac 2:41-47).  Others ask Jesus to come in, attend church for a while, and then drop out because they have no root of spiritual life within them from true conversion (Mr 4:6, 17).  Others come to church out of habit, but their carnality, divisiveness, and lack of true spirituality causes their pastors and fellow church members untold heartache.  Others ask Jesus into their hearts as little children and keep coming to church because their Christian parents enforce godly habits in their home.  They outwardly imitate true Christians and perhaps even go to Bible college and end up in the ministry, where they teach others to ask Jesus into their hearts just like they did—but having never themselves personally trusted in the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross, they are just as lost as were the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah.[1]  Such people may be very sincere, but God warns:  “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov 14:12).
            Finally, some people understand the gospel and truly repent and trust in Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross despite being told to ask Jesus into their heart.  Many of these true Christians lack assurance of salvation because they wonder if they were sincere enough when they prayed or if they said the right words.  They constantly think back to the time they asked Christ into their hearts and wonder if they did it the right way.  They can get no assurance of salvation because neither salvation nor assurance of salvation can come from something that is foreign to Scripture.  No one has ever been saved or received Biblical assurance of salvation by asking Christ into his heart.

8.) Telling children to ask Jesus into their hearts is confusing and hinders them from understand the gospel.

            Children do not think the same way that adults do (1 Cor 13:11).  They think very literally and concretely.  If they are told to ask Jesus into their hearts, they are likely to think that the Lord Jesus in His human body somehow comes to be inside of the organ that pumps their blood.  Many adults who are told to ask Jesus into their hearts have no idea what they are doing and what the ritual is supposed to mean;  how much the more are children confused by this non-biblical terminology?  How many children have been led to think about their circulatory system and the beating of a heart muscle, and hindered or prevented from looking away from themselves to rely on the completed work of Christ on the cross, by being told to ask Christ into their hearts?  It is true that a skilful teacher can manipulate many children into doing almost anything, including asking Jesus to come into their hearts.  However, the fact that children can repeat some words does not mean that they understand the redeeming cross of Christ and trusted in the Lord Jesus as their own Substitute, Savior and Master.  There is not one gospel for adults—repentant faith in Christ for salvation—and a different one for children, asking Jesus to come into their hearts.  A child who has not been convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit and enabled to understand and trust in the crucified Redeemer’s Person and work is not ready to be saved, although he may be ready and willing to ask Jesus into his heart so that he can please a convert-maker or so that he can, as he supposes, become ready for heaven by saying a prayer.
            Furthermore, since a sinner must understand the gospel before he can believe or trust in Christ (Eph 1:13), a child who is led to ask Jesus into his heart, but does not understand the true gospel, does not become a Christian if some time later he intellectually assents to the truth that salvation is by repentant faith alone, not by prayer.  One cannot first be born again and then, some months or years later, believe on Christ.  A child who asks Jesus into his heart is fearfully likely to always think, “I’m saved because I did what my godly leaders or parents told me:  I asked Jesus into my heart.”  He may go on to later understand the necessity of trusting in Christ, but unless he rejects his false profession and realizes that he is yet a hell-bound sinner who must come to the Lord Jesus for forgiveness, he will be eternally damned (Lu 5:31-32).  Neither children nor adults grow into salvation—they must repent and believe the gospel after first
understanding Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross.

9.) The Bible gives us many examples of people who were saved without asking Jesus into their hearts.

            The Old Testament records the father of the faithful, Abraham, being saved when he “he believed in the LORD; and [the Lord] counted it to him for righteousness” (Gen 15:6; cf. Rom 4:1-5; Gal 3:6).  King David wrote:  “Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him” (Ps 2:12).  The prophet Isaiah proclaimed salvation for those who believed in the coming Messiah, the virgin-born Immanuel, and warned, “If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established” (Is 7:9-14; 28:16).  Nobody in the Old Testament ever asked the Messiah to come into his heart, promised blessing to those who performed this work, or warned of judgment on those who do not.  In the New Testament, the Lord Jesus repeatedly told people who had believed in Him, but who had never even thought of asking Him to come into their hearts, “Thy faith hath saved thee” (Lu 7:50; 18:42).  While Christ was preaching “many believed on him” (Jn 8:30; 10:42) and were saved without asking Him into their hearts.  In the book of Acts, the Apostles preached that “whosoever believeth in [Christ] shall receive remission of sins” (Ac 10:43; 16:31), and while they were preaching people would believe and be indwelt by the Holy Spirit without ever asking Jesus into their hearts (Ac 10:44-48).  The Bible records the Apostle Paul’s conversion (Ac 9) and the Apostle’s giving his salvation testimony twice (Ac 22, 26), but never gives the slightest hint that Paul asked Jesus to come into his heart.  There are no examples in Scripture of people who were born again when they asked Jesus into their heart, and many examples of people who were saved but never did any such thing.

10.) Revelation 3:20 is not about the lost asking Jesus to come into their hearts.

            The only text in the Bible that is frequently used[2] to persuade people to ask Jesus into their hearts is Revelation 3:20:  “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”  Supposedly this verse proves that Jesus Christ is knocking at the “heart’s door” of the unsaved, waiting to come in if He is asked.  If a lost person asks Jesus to come into his heart, then Christ comes into him and he is saved.  However, the fact is that the verse has nothing whatsoever to do with asking Jesus into one’s heart.  The words “ask,” “Jesus,” and “heart” are not in the text at all.  The verse actually portrays Christ standing outside the backslidden church being addressed in the passage (3:14) and calling on the members of the church to repent and return to being zealous for Him (3:19).  The “door” in 3:20 is not the “heart’s door” of a lost person but the door of entry into the church.  Furthermore, the Lord does not say that He will come “into” a heart or anything else in the text;  “in” and “to” are different words in the English text.  Christ is not promising to penetrate “into” the heart of a lost person in Revelation 3:20, but to “come in” to “sup with” or have fellowship with the members of a church that would deal with their sin.  The verse employs the Greek verb “come in” followed by the preposition “to,” a different and following word; the word “into” is not found in the Greek text, just as it does not appear in the English.  The Greek construction employed in the passage[3] is always used in the New Testament of entering a building to stand before someone, not penetration into a person’s heart.  Consequently, Revelation 3:20 is a promise that Christ will spiritually come in to stand before and have fellowship with church members who turn back to Him.  It is by no means a promise that He will penetrate inside the heart of a lost person who asks Christ to come into him.

These 14 reasons are a portion of a larger study which will not be reproduced on this blog at this time.  The larger study can be accessed here.

[1]           See, for example, the testimony “The Other Jesus:  Justification by Faith vs. Asking Jesus into one’s Heart,” by Ovid Need (  The author is a Baptist pastor who was lost because he asked Jesus into his heart instead of trusting in the Redeemer’s blood.  He finally understood the gospel and was born again after years as an unconverted preacher, during which time he lead hundreds and hundreds of others to ask Jesus into their hearts.
[2]           For example, the pamphlet “The Four Spiritual Laws,” distributed by Campus Crusade, never mentions hell and promises people a “wonderful . . . life” on earth (contrary to Jn 16:33) if they say the “sinner’s prayer.”  It concludes by quoting Revelation 3:20, contains a printed prayer for people to recite, and then declares:  “Did you receive Christ into your life by sincerely praying the suggested prayer?  According to His promise in Revelation 3:20, where is Christ right now in relation to you?  Christ said that He would come into your life.  Would He mislead you? . . . Christ is in your life . . . from the very moment you invite Him in.”  This pamphlet had, by 2003, been distributed to over 2.5 billion people and translated into over 200 languages (Congressional Record, V. 149, Pt. 15, July 28, 2003-September 5, 2003, 20379).  It has now been given to billions more people, likely making it the most widely distributed religious booklet in history.  Similarly, Campus Crusade’s JESUS film has been watched by over six billion people.  In its summary of what the organization views as the gospel at the end of the film, hell is likewise omitted, but Revelation 3:20 is quoted, followed by a “sinner’s prayer” to repeat for salvation.
[3]           Eiserchomai + pros.  Besides Revelation 3:20, the construction appears in Mr 6:25; 15:43; Lu 1:28; Ac 10:3; 11:3; 17:2; 28:8.


Gary said...

1. The Bible is not inerrant. It contains many, many errors, contradictions, and deliberate alterations and additions by the scribes who copied it. The originals are lost, therefore we have no idea what "God" originally" said. Yes, its true---Christians can give "harmonizations" for every alleged error and contradiction, but so can the Muslims for errors in the Koran, and Mormons for errors in the Book of Mormon. One can harmonize anything if you allow for the supernatural.

2. How do we know that the New Testament is the Word of God? Did Jesus leave us a list of inspired books? Did the Apostles? Paul? The answer is, no. The books of the New Testament were added to the canon over several hundred years. Second Peter was not officially accepted into the canon until almost the FIFTH century! So why do all Christians accept every book of the New Testament as the word of God and reject every non-canonical "gospel"? Answer: the ancient (catholic) Church voted these books into your Bible. Period.

There is nowhere in the OT or the NT where God gives men the authority to determine what is and what is not his Word. If Second Peter was really God's Word, the entire Church should have known so in the first century.

3. Who wrote the Gospels? We have NO idea! The belief that they were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John is based on hearsay and assumptions---catholic tradition. Protestants denounce most of the traditions of the Catholic Church but have retained two of the most blatant, evidence-lacking traditions which have no basis in historical fact or in the Bible: the canon of the NT and the authorship of the Gospels.

The only shred of evidence that Christians use to support the traditional authorship of the Gospels is one brief statement by a guy named Papias in 130 AD that someone told him that John Mark had written a gospel. That's it! Papias did not even identify this "gospel". Yet in 180 AD, Irenaeus, a bishop in FRANCE, declares to the world that the apostles Matthew and John and the associates of Peter and Paul---Mark and Luke---wrote the Gospels. But Irenaeus gives ZERO evidence for his assignment of authorship to these four books. It is well known to historians that it was a common practice at that time for anonymously written books to be ascribed to famous people to give them more authority. For all we know, this is what Irenaeus did in the case of the Gospels.

The foundation of the Christian Faith is the bodily resurrection of Jesus. If the story of the Resurrection comes from four anonymous books, three of which borrow heavily from the first, often word for word, how do we know that the unheard of, fantastically supernatural story of the re-animation of a first century dead man, actually happened??

Maybe the first book written, "Mark", was written for the same purpose that most books were written in that time period---for the benefit of one wealthy benefactor, and maybe it was written simply as an historical novel, like Homer's Iliad; not meant to be 100% factual in every detail, but a mix of true historical events as a background, with a real messiah pretender in Palestine, Jesus, but with myth and fiction added to embellish the story and help sell the book! We just do not know for what purpose these books were written!

I slowly came to realize that there is zero verifiable evidence for the Resurrection, and, the Bible is not a reliable document. After four months of desperate attempts to save my faith, I came to the sad conclusion that my faith was based on an ancient superstition; a superstition not based on lies, but based on the sincere but false beliefs of uneducated, superstitious, first century peasants.

You can pray to ask Jesus into your heart 10,000 times, but if there is no evidence for his Resurrection, then odds are that he is dead. And if he is dead, he can't hear your prayers. Sad, but the truth.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I don't get what you're trying to do here. You're putting a lot into talking about something you have decided you don't believe. Are you wanting to believe? Is that it? Or are you not satisfied except to take as many people as you can with you?

An irony here is that when you read the Bible, you see plenty of people like you in it as a sort of prophecy of your type of person. You can see yourself in the Bible as this person you say you've become.

For me personally, I need proof to believe something and there is a lot of proof for believing the Bible, far more than I, or anyone else, need. I could start giving you every evidence, thousands upon thousands, just piled up to something like has never been seen in a court case for all history, and you would scorched earth, just try to take every individual point away, not because there isn't proof, but because of your will. You won't want to believe. You suppress the truth in unrighteousness.

There is an explanation for what we see here. It isn't an accident. That is an impossible view that you are left with.

I've been to atheist websites too, and I don't find them satisfying, and that is with myself attempting to believe them. I haven't seen anything that isn't very bad. And that is the nature of what I read with you too.

The Bible is the most reliable ancient document by gigantic leaps, leaving everything else behind, but there is the quality of the book itself. Thirty percent of it is prophecy. It tells the actual story. There is a reason why it is 2015 and people still recognize Jesus as they do.

As Thomas has said, there are numbers of great books that devastate these "arguments" by atheists, but you've got to want to read them, instead of waiting for a book in the comment section in the blog. The Bible itself really is good enough for me. It satisfies me every day, but if you are going to say that you have done the work necessary, you've got to read the tremendous work done against what you are saying.

KJB1611 said...

Dear Pastor Brandenburg,

What Gary is doing now as an atheist is what he was doing as a Lutheran on our blog here. He is ignoring most of what is said to him and cutting and pasting into comment sections on our blog what he has written on his own blog. He is mostly cutting and pasting in stuff that is not even related to the posts he is cutting and pasting into the comment sections of. If he ever responds to all the questions we asked him here:

I will be surprised, though I hope I will be surprised.

Gary said...

Why do I keep talking about Christianity if I no longer believe it to be true? Some would say I have a screw loose, and they might be right.

But I ask you this: If an ex-Mormon went onto the websites of other Mormons in an attempt to expose Mormonism for the false tale and superstition that it is, would you as a Christian be critical of this ex-Mormon? I doubt it. I would bet that you would be cheering him on. And the same with an ex-Muslim, ex-Hindu, etc..

Up until one year ago, Christianity was a huge part of my life. I then discovered that its foundational belief, the bodily resurrection of Jesus, has zero evidence to support it. The entire Christian belief system is built on the assumption that the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses and the testimony of one Jewish rabbi that his "heavenly vision" really had occurred in real life and not in a vision as he himself clearly said. Visions are not reality.

When an ex-Mormon goes onto the website of a well-trained Mormon blogger, the blogger will always be able to give reasonable retorts to every accusation against Mormonism. Why? The Mormon Church has had 200 years to come up with "harmonizations". Christianity has had 2,000 years of monks sitting around monasteries with nothing better to do than come up with harmonizations for Bible passages that are so obviously contradictory that any fifth grader can point them out.

Christianity is an ancient superstition, friends. It is a house of cards. Once you realize that the Gospels were anonymous books of literature; for all we know they could well have been historical fictions written for the sole purpose of selling books, and, that just because one devout man has a vision and converts to a new religion that is not enough evidence to believe that a first century dead man walked out of his grave, ate a broiled fish lunch with his friends, and then levitated into outer space.

It is a silly tale, friends. Someone has spun a clever tale to make you believe that the "Emperor's clothing" is real. Open your eyes. The Emperor is naked. Christianity is a tall tale; a superstition; just like Hinduism, Mormonism, and Islam. It belongs in the grave yard of false superstitions right along with Zeus and Jupiter.

Gary said...

It never fails. Whenever I get into a debate with a Christian regarding the Bible, they refer me to some other book to understand why the Bible is true. So let me get this right: I need to read some man's book to understand what the Creator of the World is saying to me??

I don't buy it.

Dear Christian:

Let's imagine that you are in a discussion with a Mormon regarding the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and the Mormon tells you this: "If you really want to understand the truths of the Book of Mormon you need to read books X, Y, and Z, written by highly educated Mormon scholars." What would be your response? I would bet that you would say something like this:

"I don't need to read anyone's book to know that the Book of Mormon is nothing more than a superstitious tall tale."

And I have the same response for you, dear Christian friend. I don't need to read some Christian apologist's book to see for myself all the errors, contradictions, scientific inaccuracies, and supernatural tall tales in the Bible. The Bible is an ancient book full of the silly superstitions of ancient, scientifically-ignorant people. Nope. I don't need to read some man's book to know it is false.

KJB1611 said...

The responses to Gary are here:

All I will say here is that, while you might just dismiss with a condescending sneer what a Mormon, etc. might have to say, as people who are not True Believers in Atheism like you, I would ask him to give me his best argument for the Book of Mormon and then I would deal with it. It would be easy to do, since the Bible is so radically superior to the Book of Mormon. I would also make myself aware of the best case that can be made for the various false religions that are common around me so that I could be the most effective in dealing with them. Regrettably, as evidenced in your comments on the other post you hijacked here at What is Truth, you don't think it is necessary to even read the case made by people who are far smarter than you and who can defend Christianity in an intellectually honest way.

Also, while as a True Believer in Atheism you might think it is good to hijack posts that are totally unrelated to the comments you cut and paste in from your blog all over the place, people who do not share your blind faith just might think there are better ways to preach the atheist gospel than rude hijackings of posts with unrelated comments.

KJB1611 said...

One great irony here is that Gary is telling people "You can pray to ask Jesus into your heart 10,000 times" but it won't do any good. He thinks he is arguing against us, when the post he has hijacked is actually warning people against asking Jesus into their heart, telling them to repent and believe the gospel instead. Not only is he reversing the content of the post he is hijacking, but he has specifically been told that we are against asking Jesus into one's heart multiple times, but he hasn't even bothered to pay attention to the comments addressed specifically to him. His zeal for his new and blind atheist faith has perhaps left him a little blind.