“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 present- ing 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.
I liked this book because Greear is blunt and straight to the point. What I found most impactful and helpful from this book was his clear and concise definitions of what is belief and repentance. I also gained a lot of reassurance from this book since I too had questions such as “how do I know if I am saved?” At the end of the day, all these questions and definitions can be answered at the cross of Jesus Christ and scripture.
One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “look back two thousand years to what Christ accomplished on Calvary. And I rest upon what He finished there.”
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J. D. Greear’s Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart was a pretty entertaining read, but more importantly, it’s rich in truths concerning salvation, assurance, and repentance. Salvation is a posture of repentance and faith toward Christ’s work: in other words, His righteousness, death on the cross, and resurrection, Being saved doesn’t mean we never fail to maintain this posture. In fact, failure is inevitable, but the true believer turns back to this posture of repentance and faith every time he/she fails.
Repentance, furthermore, is not a request for exoneration and is not evidenced by mere emotion (because though feelings aren’t gross, they sure can be fickle). Instead, repentance is a spirit-generated change of mind and heart about sin, and it means getting up again to follow Jesus even when backsliding happens.
Finally, the very last lines of this book reminded me that salvation isn’t through works, meaning no one is ever good enough! So when I’m lost in feelings of inadequacy, I can take comfort in Jesus–His perfect life, His righteousness, His more-than-enough-ness.
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