When I was in the fifth grade, I accepted Jesus into my heart. By doing this, I didn’t have to change anything about my lifestyle; I just had to make room for God. The people who “saved” me went on with their lives, and I was left to figure out the complexities of becoming born again.
Roughly 13 years after becoming a Christian, I wonder if I easily received God into my life but not His will for my life. The more I read the Bible the more I have doubts about this phrase of accepting Jesus into my heart.
Aren’t we promised to receive a NEW heart? (Ez 36:26)
Shouldn’t WE abide in Christ and not Christ abide in us? (John 15: 1-17)
I thought we’re a new creation in Christ altogether? (2 Cor. 5:17)
We all have a horrible habit of taking pieces out of the Bible and pretending that we have the whole puzzle. While John 3:16 says that all we have to do is believe, the verses around it say stuff too. If we were meant to only focus on one verse, then the book of John would be much, much shorter.
So where did this phrase even come from, is it Biblical? Brent Kercheville, a pastor from Florida, said it best:
“We ought to be concerned and see some red flags when we cannot find in the Bible the very phrases the religious world uses to teach people that they are saved. There must be a problem if I cannot find these things in the scriptures.”
While Kercheville is worried about the Biblical source, I’m more so concerned with the long-term impact this mindset has on the body altogether.
When we obsess about Jesus living in our hearts, we don’t have to change anything about ourselves. We fit Him safely inside our little lives and wait for the blessings to rain down. If we don’t have to sacrifice anything, leave our homes, or really, give up our sinful nature at all, the idea of Christianity will always seem easier. As a result, we continuously deal with the perpetual pattern of sinning and forgiveness because we can’t truly cast down our nets and get busy with God’s work!
Scripture reveals that the more we dwell in Christ, the better we “know” Him and hear his voice (John 10:27). This can only happen if we stay in Christ’s love by repentance, obedience and furthering the Kingdom of God on Earth. What kind of work could the Body accomplish if we weren’t so tied up with fitting Christ into the world we’re not even supposed to be apart of in the first place? It’s like our faith is a Netflix account with our good works stuck on queue.
To Bodly Go…
How about instead of accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior to dwell in our hearts, we should accept Him as our Lord and Surgeon who oversees a new heart transplant?
Or more seriously, maybe we should be asking for a new heart through Christ, and accept the Holy Spirit.
I hate to be that guy making a big deal out of a little phrase, but I’m just wondering if we are shooting new Christians in the foot at the start of their race. What do you guys think?
its an interesting concept… ill check back to see peoples thoughts cos i really dont know!
it’s tempting to get real down and dirty with this topic – but in short, I agree with you. However, I still wouldn’t throw out the notion that all you must do is accept Christ into your heart to be saved. I was surprised when I discovered for myself the truth of this. I just think most people who claim they’ve done this are kidding themselves – it’s obvious when you look at the results of their lifestyles (the guilt, shame, anxiety, nervousness, self-deception – basically fear in general). To accept Christ is to KNOW that all of these obstacles are useless and their prevalence in our lives’ is a direct indication of our misperceptions of what life is all about. Christ consistently taught that faith was the answer, and this is true. The issue at hand is that “faith” has been reduced to a word, a decoration, and it’s true meaning is lost when we are in fear. Faith is the ABSENCE of fear. How can we trust our Lord when we are constantly fearing that we won’t be taken care of?
When you look at our world’s “problems”, they all stem from one source – fear! Whether it’s the insistance of a man-made government (fear of each other), man-made food (fear of scarcity), man-made “medicines” [read:poisons] (fear of salvation – obscured in the more obvious notion that deep down, we don’t believe that we DESERVE a healthy, no side-effect cure like the earth provides, or even that we deserve to be guilt-free, which was more than likely the cause of the dis-ease in the first place…), man-made distractions (fear of the unknown, fear of reality a.k.a. the present), man-made separations [read:racism, sexism, nationalism, colonialism, basically every -ism out there that is intended to separate one group of people from another] (fear of LOVE! what a concept…)
Everywhere I look I see people who believe that without all these institutions that keep things the way they are (cause the universe never changes, right? wrong.), we would be in ANARCHY. I submit to them that there is already a government in place! It’s within every person’s own heart (and I’m not being overly symbolic – it’s a literal phenomenon which has been scientifically recorded and studied – as if our own individual experience of RIGHTEOUSNESS isn’t enough.) We’ve all felt the Supreme Governor guiding us. We just didn’t recognize it because we never could believe that God so loved us that he placed his Kingdom within each man, that each might be Sovereign to himself, and to have no master between the created and Creator (like Obama, for instance. :))
“Neither will they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.”
So to address your specific point, I’ll take something from the Course. You don’t save yourself then ask for salvation. That’s a misunderstanding of the roles.
Love you Kevie!