Many of my friends say “I am a Christian and I’m going to heaven.” I ask, “How do you know?” The answer is usually something along the lines that they said a prayer, somewhere, with sincerity, asking God into their heart. The reality is that many Americans believe something similar, and yet we all recognize that very few people live the Christian life.
The Bible does not state that if one says a prayer, with sincerity, they become saved. The Bible says that we must have faith in Jesus, repent and become born again.
And a lot of people are going to hell because they believe that a prayer, at some point in their life was all that was needed for salvation. Yet Jesus warned us about ‘false conversions.’ When Paul address the Corinthians, he did not ask them if they said a prayer sincerely in their past. That’s simply not in the Bible. He said, “Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!” (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Now, please don’t misunderstand, I’m not implying a salvation by works. However, “Faith without works is dead.” When you truly become born again, your desires change. As a result, your life changes. If you are not living a life that better reflects Christ, you should be concern that your ‘faith’ is a ‘dead faith.’ Do you pray and seek God’s face? Do you look to love others? Do you share your faith with them? Have you shared your faith with your family? Jesus said that you must love Him more than your family.
A pastor once said, “There are countless numbers of youth who have their hopes of going to heaven set on a prayer that they said when they were 5 or 6 years old. Is this biblical? Absolutely not. First off, our hope must be set on Christ today and not on a profession of faith from the past. If the profession of faith you made years ago was truly true then it will still be holding strong today. (Jeremiah 32:40, 1 John 2:19). Titus 1:16 says many profess to know God but deny Him by their works. You see it is not a matter of a verbal confession of faith that saves us. Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ As you can see here there are many people who profess to know the Lord but will find out on judgment day that they never knew Him. Let me ask you that question, do you know God? John 17:3 says that eternal life is to know the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.”
The speaker goes on to point out that the sad reality is that many churches in the world have turned from allowing the true gospel to save souls and have created methods that only give people a false hope. In the depth of their consciences, many believe that their hope of heaven is a prayer they said in the past and not the life that is being lived out now. The Bible teaches that we must have a life relying on Christ alone and not in our works or religious acts. There are many people who are extremely religious that are extremely lost and there are many who are totally immoral and want to believe they are saved.
As the bible says, examine yourself. Being a Christian isn’t about being a republican, knowing what’s right and wrong, saying a prayer or even believing in God (Satan believes in God!) It is about having a faith in Jesus Christ that leads to repentance, and that repentance will lead to a life that bears fruit of the spirit by the Spirit of Christ. As the Bible says, you must be born again. If your faith is in Him, He will lead you to make the way. Again, don’t put the cart before the horse. There are many who appear righteous, yet are not saved because they do these ‘righteous’ deeds out of the flesh for any number of reasons. A Christian does good deeds out of a heart of love and faith in Jesus Christ as lead by the Holy Spirit.
I hope this helps some of you. Please let me know if I can pray with you, read God’s Word together, or just chat.
By His Grace,
For those of you with Youtube video, this one sums it up (if you can deal with the ‘edgy’ host 🙂