Can a person be assured of his or her salvation?
Pastor J. D. Greear tackles that question is in his great book, Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart.
- Salvation is not a prayer you pray in a one-time ceremony and then move on from; salvation is a posture of repentance and faith that you begin in a moment and maintain for the rest of you life (5).
- You’ll never give up your life in radical obedience until you are radically assured of His radical commitment to you (17).
- If you base your assurance on what you do or how well you do it, you’ll never find assurance (38).
- Your present posture is more important than a past memory (42).
- Salvation was obtained by simply resting on the two “facts” God had promised about Jesus: He was crucified as the payment for our sins; He was resurrected as proof that God accepted His sacrifice as payment (46).
- Repentance means recognizing that Jesus is Lord; you have no more say in the matter (56).
- Saving faith always endures to the end (79).
- In fact, the presence of the struggle itself can be affirmation that God’s Spirit is at work within you (103).
- Knowing that you know that you know Jesus, and that Jesus knows you, will lead to more peace and joy than you dreamed possible (112).
- Baptism is post conversion because it symbolizes a public choice to follow Jesus (114).
“If there were a Guinness Book of World Records entry for ‘amount of times having prayed the sinner’s prayer,’ I’m pretty sure I’d be a top contender,” says pastor and author J. D. Greear. He struggled for many years to gain an assurance of salvation and eventually learned he was not alone. “Lack of assurance” is epidemic among evangelical Christians.
In Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, J. D. shows that faulty ways of presenting the gospel are a leading source of the confusion. Our presentations may not be heretical, but they are sometimes misleading. The idea of “asking Jesus into your heart” or “giving your life to Jesus” often gives false assurance to those who are not saved—and keeps those who genuinely are saved from fully embracing that reality.
Greear unpacks the doctrine of assurance, showing that salvation is a posture we take to the promise of God in Christ, a posture that begins at a certain point and is maintained for the rest of our lives. He also answers the tough questions about assurance: What exactly is faith? What is repentance? Why are there so many warnings that seem to imply we can lose our salvation?
Such issues are handled with respect to the theological rigors they require, but Greear never loses his pastoral sensitivity or a communication technique that makes this message teachable to a wide audience from teens to adults.