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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Recommend-a-blog (16)

“Inviting Jesus to come into your life in the past is not proof that you are genuinely saved.”
— John MacArthur

The idea of inviting Jesus into my life or heart is not to be seen anywhere in scripture, and yet it is found everywhere in Christendom. I’ve been hearing it since childhood. The concept is easily caricatured and rarely defended, but still it persists.

As the old hymn goes:
“If you are tired of the load of your sin,
Let Jesus come into your heart;
If you desire a new life to begin,
Let Jesus come into your heart.

Just now, your doubtings give o’er;
Just now, reject Him no more;
Just now, throw open the door;
Let Jesus come into your heart.

If ’tis for purity now that you sigh,
Let Jesus come into your heart;
Fountains for cleansing are flowing nearby,
Let Jesus come into your heart.

If there’s a tempest your voice cannot still,
Let Jesus come into your heart;
If there’s a void this world never can fill,
Let Jesus come into your heart.”
Hey, if you repeat something enough times, it must be true, right?

Well, maybe not. GotQuestions.org is a great place to ask such questions.

I’ve held off on recommending the website for a while because with answers to 451,074 questions about the Bible (and increasing daily), I figured some of their answers have got to be flat-out wrong, or at least lame, ill-considered or incomplete. I mean, Law of Averages, right?

But in what must now be hundreds of visits, I’ve found only one instance where I had scriptural reason to disagree with the authors. (And I’ve forgotten which one it is, which is no help at all, I know. Caveat emptor.)

Part of the reason is that GotQuestions keeps their answers short, scriptural and loaded with references. For instance, in addressing the “Jesus in your heart” situation, they say this:
“The problem with this statement is that it is not expressly biblical. The Bible nowhere mentions Jesus coming into a person’s heart. The wording generates a mental image that can easily lead to wrong impressions. The idea of Jesus entering a person’s heart is nowhere used in any gospel presentation in the Bible. Even the Scripture verse from which the ‘ask Jesus into your heart’ concept is usually taken, Revelation 3:20, does not mention the heart or our asking Jesus to do anything. In context, Revelation 3:20 is speaking about the church fellowshipping with Jesus, not an individual person getting saved.”
Totally saves me reinventing the wheel. But even better, GotQuestions tries for a balanced approach:
“While asking Jesus to come into your heart, i.e., enter your life, is not explicitly biblical, it is also not necessarily anti-biblical, if it is done in the context of a presentation of the biblical gospel. If a person understands sin and its penalty, understands the payment Christ made on the cross, and is ready to trust Jesus alone for salvation, an invitation to ‘ask Jesus into your heart’ is not necessarily wrong. In fact, it could even help a person understand that the Spirit of Christ comes to indwell the soul (see John 14:17). However, it is always best to use the terminology the Bible uses. ‘Ask Jesus into your heart’ does not fully communicate what is actually occurring.”
See? They even distinguish between extra-biblical and anti-biblical.

Best of all, when John MacArthur appeals to a straw man to make a case for a bad interpretation, you can say, “Hey, I already know the answer to that …”

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