Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Back in the Fall of 1998 when my Youngest was an infant and my Oldest was 5 years old, I remember teaching my Oldest ‘to the best of my ability at the time’ about Salvation in our car while leaving the Grocery Store parking lot. The conversation was about going to Heaven one day with Jesus, about Jesus loving us so much that He died on the Cross for us, and about how we need to ‘ask Him into our hearts’ for Salvation. At some point, I asked my Oldest if she would like to ‘ask Jesus into her heart,’ and she said a resounding, “Yes!” After having her recite a prayer ‘asking Jesus into her heart,’ I then told her that her name was now written in the Lamb’s Book of Life in Heaven! She was so happy to hear that, and it was a ‘special smiling moment’ for the both of us as I looked back at her in the rearview mirror as we drove home.
Fast forward to when our Oldest left home at age 18 to join the ‘not so silent majority’ onto the Broad Road to Destruction… *record scratch*… whoa, wait a minute, what just happened? Was it the ‘wholesale rejection’ of our parental authority, the ‘MK Ultra Mind Control’ from the countless hours of Nefarious Disney Cartoons, the ‘infiltration of witchcraft’ through the Harry Potter Movies and Books, the ‘Satanic Secular’ Rap and Rock Music, the ‘Godless Indoctrination’ from attending Public Schools, the teaching of the ‘Theory of Evolution,’ or the ‘influence’ of her ungodly friends? Was it this, that, or the other, or was it ‘all of it combined’? What exactly was it?!
Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”
Fact is, when one is Truly Born Again, they are a New Creature, old things are passed away, they are now Indwelt by the Holy Spirit, and are thereby Sealed unto the Day of Redemption! Therefore, if one becomes Born Again, they will not turn their back and walk away from God because it is God who keeps them from falling, and it is God who does a work in them to make them blameless and presentable in His Sight! When this ‘Profound Transformation’ happens, one will not listen to the ‘Lies of the Enemy of our Souls,’ who is none other than Satan, to go and do his bidding! Moreover, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
What could have been the problem, then? Could it have been in the ‘false sense’ of Salvation by the ‘asking of Jesus into your heart’ message? On the one hand, it is a fact that many churches’ use this message’ as the means of obtaining Salvation. In and of itself, it does not seem to be a wrong thing to do, but when ‘we study God’s Word for ourselves,’ we will find that nowhere in the Bible did any of the Disciples’ preach this message,’ nor does it state anywhere else in the scriptures to ‘ask Jesus into our hearts’ for Salvation!
Guess what? Salvation is not received by reciting a prayer, it is not by walking down an aisle, it is not by joining a church, it is not by tithing or doing good works, it is not by feeding the homeless, and this is a biggie… it is not by getting baptized either!
I had a young Deaf Friend that had cancer, and before having major surgery to get multiple tumors removed, she wanted to quickly find someone to baptize her to give her’ assurance that she would go to Heaven’ if she died on the operating table. At that point, I tried explaining to her that Salvation is not through Baptism but by ‘Saving Faith’ in what Jesus did for us on the Cross, but she still did not seem fully convinced.
James 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”
One can say they Believe (head knowledge or mental consent) in Father God and the Lord Jesus Christ all day long, but if they do not have a ‘True Saving-Faith Belief,’ then their supposed faith is meaningless. Just like the verse that states how even the Demons believe and tremble, but we all know that they are not Saved.
There was also an acquaintance we had, whom we called ‘Pinocchio’ because of his ‘tall tales,’ who told us one time that he ‘supposedly Baptized’ a dying man on the side of the road with a bottle of water to Save him. Again, whether this was true or not, whether he was trying to impress us or not, the bottom line is that Salvation is not through Baptism.
Got Questions: “Is baptism necessary for salvation?”
Answer: The belief that baptism is necessary for salvation is also known as “baptismal regeneration.” It is our contention that baptism is an important step of obedience for a Christian, but we adamantly reject baptism as being required for salvation. We strongly believe that each and every Christian should be water baptized by immersion. Baptism illustrates a believer’s identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Romans 6:3-4 declares, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” The action of being immersed in the water illustrates dying and being buried with Christ. The action of coming out of the water pictures Christ’s resurrection.
Requiring anything in addition to faith in Jesus Christ for salvation is a works-based salvation. To add anything to the gospel is to say that Jesus’ death on the cross was not sufficient to purchase our salvation. To say that baptism is necessary for salvation is to say we must add our own good works and obedience to Christ’s death in order to make it sufficient for salvation. Jesus’ death alone paid for our sins (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus’ payment for our sins is appropriated to our “account” by faith alone (John 3:16; Acts 16:31; Ephesians 2:8-9). Therefore, baptism is an important step of obedience after salvation but cannot be a requirement for salvation.
Yes, there are some verses that seem to indicate baptism as a requirement for salvation. However, since the Bible so clearly tells us that salvation is received by faith alone (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5), there must be a different interpretation of those verses. Scripture does not contradict Scripture. In Bible times, a person who converted from one religion to another was often baptized to identify conversion. Baptism was the means of making a decision public. Those who refused to be baptized were saying they did not truly believe. So, in the minds of the apostles and early disciples, the idea of an un-baptized believer was unheard of. When a person claimed to believe in Christ, yet was ashamed to proclaim his faith in public, it indicated that he did not have true faith.
If baptism is necessary for salvation, why would Paul have said, “I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius” (1 Corinthians 1:14)? Why would he have said, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” (1 Corinthians 1:17)? Granted, in this passage, Paul is arguing against the divisions that plagued the Corinthian church. However, how could Paul possibly say, “I am thankful that I did not baptize…” or “For Christ did not send me to baptize…” if baptism were necessary for salvation? If baptism is necessary for salvation, Paul would literally be saying, “I am thankful that you were not saved…” and “For Christ did not send me to save…” That would be an unbelievably ridiculous statement for Paul to make. Further, when Paul gives a detailed outline of what he considers the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-8), why does he neglect to mention baptism? If baptism is a requirement for salvation, how could any presentation of the gospel lack a mention of baptism?
Baptism is not necessary for salvation. Baptism does not save from sin but from a bad conscience. In 1 Peter 3:21, Peter clearly taught that baptism was not a ceremonial act of physical purification but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. Baptism is the symbol of what has already occurred in the heart and life of one who has trusted Christ as Savior (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12). Baptism is an important step of obedience that every Christian should take. Baptism cannot be a requirement for salvation. To make it such is an attack on the sufficiency of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. – Source
Yes, one should get Baptized after becoming Saved, but Baptism in and of itself is not the means to our Salvation. Baptism is the ‘outward act of obedience’ which is evidenced by an inward transformation, regeneration, and change.
Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”
The Biblical Message of Salvation is by Believing in Jesus, in what He did for us on the Cross, in His Death, Burial, and Resurrection! Believing that Jesus Christ’s Blood washes away and atones for all of our sins! Believing and Trusting in Jesus Christ’s Imputed Righteousness to Save us and to Reconcile us to God the Father!
This Believing is not just ‘head knowledge or mental consent’ but a True Saving-Faith Belief to the point that it changes a person from the inside out, and they are no longer the ‘Same Old Sinner’ they used to be! If only I could go back in time and explain all of this until our girls really understood…
KJV Thomas Nelson Study Bible Notes:
Romans 4:20 “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.” (There are six New Testament expressions that trace the decline of faith in an individual. Before a person is saved, he may have: (1) “vain faith” or belief in the wrong doctrine (1Cor. 15:14-17); or (2) “dead faith,” or belief in orthodox doctrine without personal belief in Christ (James 2:19-20). After a person is saved, he can experience the following varieties of faith: (1) a kind of unbelief – experienced by believers who fail to accept the whole work of Christ (Mark 16:11-14); (2) “little faith”- a mixture of faith and unbelief (Mark 7:26); (3) “weak faith”- referring to belief expressed as mere legalism (Rom. 14:1); or (4) “strong faith” – faith that is rooted in the promises of God (v. 20).
Illustration: As Christians mature, they should grow in faith. This was the experience of Abraham. Early in his pilgrimage with God, he could not trust God to protect him in Egypt. This was weak faith (Gen. 12:10-20). He was later able to trust God, in sacrificing his son Isaac. This was strong faith (Heb. 11:17-19). Application: The Christian life is a continual growing adventure in faith.) – end source
Recently, we visited our Local Tax Lady, who has done our taxes for the past decade or so, and who has basically become our friend by now. When we see each other, we usually share stories about our kids (mine are in their mid-20s, and hers are in their late teens and early 20s). It was encouraging to hear how her son went from having a brooding, angry, hostile demeanor (feeling that he was being ‘demonically attacked’ inside and out) for a number of months and years until this past summer of 2020, when he finally became ‘Radically Saved’ through seeing the change that happened in his Stepfather when he became a Christian as well!
Our Tax Lady Friend ‘relished’ about how wonderful it was to see such a change in her son’s whole demeanor! She said, “And I mean on his face, in the way he talked, in the way he acted, in his smile; I mean, just everything about him practically ‘glowed’ from the change of God inside of him! Smiling, I told her that I was so happy to hear this about her son and that it gives me hope to continue to pray for this kind of ‘Radical Salvation’ for our girls as well!
Got Questions: “Is it biblical to ask Jesus into your heart?”
Answer: “Do you want to be saved? Then just ask Jesus to come into your heart.” While this statement is not anti-biblical, neither is it expressly biblical. The wording generates a mental image that can easily lead to wrong impressions, especially among children, who tend to take things literally. Plus, the exhortation to “ask Jesus into your heart”—if that’s the whole message—leaves out some important things such as repentance and faith. The Bible does mention the fact that, in some sense, Jesus resides in our hearts: Paul prayed “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:17). But Paul is writing to believers who had already received Christ. The parallel prayer in verse 16 is that God “may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.”
There is no evangelistic appeal in the context of Ephesians 3. Paul is not telling the Ephesians to “ask Jesus into their hearts”; he is simply elevating their awareness that Jesus is present within them through the Holy Spirit.
The verse from which the “ask Jesus into your heart” concept is usually taken is Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Notice, however, that the verse does not mention the heart at all. Neither does the individual ask Jesus to do anything; rather, Jesus asks us to do something. In context, Jesus is speaking to the church of Laodicea, who was in desperate need of repentance (verse 19). The Laodiceans had effectively excluded Jesus from their fellowship, and the Lord was seeking to restore that fellowship. The passage does not deal with a person calling on the Lord for salvation.
The idea of Jesus “coming into your heart” is nowhere used in any preaching in the Bible. The gospel is the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sin (1 Corinthians 15:3–4). Gospel presentations in the Bible exhort a proper response to that message: believe (John 3:16; Acts 16:31), receive (John 1:12), and repent (Acts 3:19). We are to change our minds about our sin and about who Christ is, believe Jesus died and rose again, and receive the gift of eternal life by faith. None of the apostles ever told someone to “ask Jesus into your heart.”
Often, the exhortation to “ask Jesus to come into your heart” is used as a simple way to say, “Ask Jesus to enter your life” or “Allow the Lord to take control.” If this is done in the context of presenting the whole gospel, then there’s no harm done. But before a person is invited to “ask Jesus into your heart,” he or she should understand sin and its penalty, the payment Christ made on the cross, and the reality of Christ’s resurrection. In fact, referring to salvation as Jesus’ “coming into your heart” might even help a person understand that the Spirit of Christ comes to indwell the soul (see John 14:17). Still, it is always best to use the terminology the Bible uses. “Ask Jesus into your heart” does not fully communicate what is actually occurring at salvation.
When sharing the gospel, we should be careful what we say and how we say it. Even the word believe can be misleading if it is presented as mere intellectual assent (agreeing that certain facts are true) instead of as trust (relying on those true facts). Judas Iscariot believed certain facts about Jesus, but he never trusted Jesus for salvation. Salvation is not about believing a list of facts. Salvation is not about asking Jesus to come into your heart. Salvation is about trusting in Jesus as your Savior, receiving the forgiveness He offers by grace through faith. Salvation is about being made new through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). – Source
For those who have been or are praying for our Prodigals, my humble request is to pray for their ‘Radical Salvation’ before it is too late, and not for our girls only, but for all Prodigals as well!
Thank you, and God bless you in advance! I would love nothing more than to be able to write an ‘updated article’ stating that this had finally happened!
May God’s Will be done, In Jesus Christ’s Name, Amen!
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Until next time… Maranatha!
JESUS = THE WAY, THE TRUTH, & THE LIFE!
Jesus Will Come!
Candy Austin is an Ambassador for Christ/Freelance ASL Interpreter/Writer, just passing through on this Narrow Path with her Beloved Husband and Best Friend Doug, along with their 2 fur baby cats Harley (12) and Dallas (9). (Instagram: kingdomofheavenisathand21)