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Saturday, February 2, 2013

"Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart" (J D Greear)

TITLE: Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved
AUTHOR: J. D. Greear
PUBLISHER: Brentwood, TN: B&H Publishing, 2013, (130 pages).

Are you really sure you are saved? What if you think you are saved but not feel that you have been save? Will you ever lose your salvation? What is wrong with asking Jesus into our heart? What if you have said the sinner's prayer before but do not feel assured of your salvation? Will multiple baptisms give you more assurance? These questions and many more are discussed with frank honesty and wit. One of the most common struggles among believers is whether they will lose their salvation. The author personally describes his own lack of assurance that leads him to go through four baptisms, sitting on the giant question mark of saved vs unsaved, praying the sinner's prayer at almost every denomination he goes to. Out of his search for answers comes this book that takes a fresh look at "Once saved always saved," faith and doubt, evidence of salvation, repentance, belief, and matters pertaining to the biblical understanding of salvation. It is the layman's introduction to soteriology, a theology term to describe the study of salvation. JD Greear proposes to do three things. Firstly, he describes the importance of assurance and that it is God's will we have it. Secondly, he looks at salvation not on the basis of our beliefs, our works, or our faith, but on the firm assurance of Christ's death and resurrection. Thirdly, he takes a close look at belief, repentance, and other matters closely linked to salvation.

Greear takes pains to point out that assurance is God's will and God wants us to be assured of salvation. Only when disciples are fully assured can they begin a path of radical living for God. There is a difference between true assurance and mere religion. True assurance changes hearts. Mere religion at best changes behaviour. Going back to the letters of John, Greear points out the certainty of eternal life and the working out of this assurance in our daily life. Key to understanding salvation is to understand what it means to have Jesus as our Advocate. It is not Jesus advocating for our innocence or our goodness that will save us. It is Jesus advocating on the basis of Christ's righteousness and Christ's goodness. It is a free gift, and belief is to fully receive and fully live. True faith leads to obedience in love and good works. Faith is not a ceremonial utterance of a few phrases that we call the sinner's prayer. Faith is about a celebration of God's Word that we call the Promise of God. For anyone struggling with assurance of faith, it is good to remember that "present posture is better proof than a past memory."

Greear then moves on to look at repentance, arguing that faith and repentance, are both to be asserted together. Repentance must be totally on God's grace. It is not "never falling" but always ready to repent every time we rise or fall. Next, Greear touches on a very tricky subject: "Once saved always saved" vs "Will I lose my salvation." He points out that the threats of losing salvation is to be understood as a general warning rather than an individual application. It is a constant reminder to all about our new identity in Christ. True faith will be enduring right to the very end. The trouble with "once saved always saved" is not that it is wrong, but it is incomplete. On backsliding, Greear consistently points to focus on the present desire for faith in God rather than the past disobedience. Finally, we learn about the evidence of salvation through the presence of Christ in our lives, a love for God, a love for others, our hatred for sin, and our regenerated selves in Christ. Our feelings alone do not determine whether we are saved or not. It is Christ's work.

My Thoughts

This book despite its provocative title, has a very important message to share. It covers a lot of basic questions pertaining to assurance of salvation, backsliding, faith and doubts, and many questions that baffle young believers and can also stump older believers. What is most important is the need to remember that it is based on Christ's work rather than our mental or emotional beliefs that is the prime determinant of salvation. Can we really know for sure that we are saved? That is a tough question to answer because we are all on different phases of understanding and spiritual postures. Rather than the question, "How do I know I am saved?" the better questions will be:
  • Do I believe in the present that Jesus is my Lord and Saviour?
  • Am I living a life that reflects this belief?
  • Am I repenting from sin?
  • Am I loving God and loving others?
  • How am I demonstrating that I am someone desiring after Jesus?
Greear shares out of his own struggles with assurance matters. In doing so, he has highlighted the partial truths that many Christians believe, that leads to constant asking of Jesus into our lives, and scaring ourselves all the time about losing our salvation. That's the reason for the provocative book title. Readers are challenged to move beyond these questions that hinder more than help, and to re-align our focus back on Christ, the work of Christ, and how faith in Christ leads us to passionate living for Christ in love and good works. If you are constantly asking yourself questions on assurance and salvation matters, this book is a must read.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me free by B and H Publishing without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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