Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: The Teen Edition

by J. D. Greear

Other authorsJason Gaston (Author)
Ebook, 2018

Status

Available

Call number

234

Publication

B&H Kids (2018), 135 pages

Description

"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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member superfastreader
This book offers a terrific exegesis of the Reformed view of justification and as such is a great tool for the uncertain believer who needs a deeper theological grounding in the faith.
LibraryThing member RonStarcher
“If there were a Guinness Book of World Records record for ‘amount of times having asked Jesus into your heart,’ I’m pretty sure I would hold it. By the time I reached the age of eighteen I had probably ‘asked Jesus into my heart’ five thousand times…” So begins Stop Asking Jesus
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into Your Heart by J.D. Greear. I can certainly identify with this statement. As a young college student, I was perplexed by an evangelist who came to the church I attended and preached repeatedly that one’s assurance of salvation was based upon his recollection of the time that he asked Jesus into his heart as Savior. If any of us could not remember, we were encouraged by this evangelist to rush to the front of the church when the altar call began, ask Jesus into our hearts, and then record the date in the front of our Bibles. If doubts should ever again arise, we were to turn to the recorded date and the doubts would quickly disappear. If, in fact, we were actually saved to begin with, the activity would not hurt anything. No harm, no foul – and the evangelist would get to add us to his growing number of decisions for which was responsible. I suspect that many people raised in fundamentalist churches can testify to similar experiences.
Greear reminds us that this kind of thinking moves the basis of assurance from what Christ accomplished for us to some accomplishment on our part. Scripture teaches us that the basis of our salvation is firmly fixed on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross. He describes salvation as “a posture of repentance and faith toward the finished work of Christ in which you transfer the weight of your hopes of heaven off your own righteousness and onto the finished work of Jesus Christ.” This “present posture” of repentance and faith is “better proof [of a point in time decision] that a past memory.”
Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart is a great resource for those who may have been exposed to irresponsible teaching in the name of evangelistic zeal. It is also a helpful reminder for those who struggle with the idea of an eternal salvation (aka eternal security) in the very real context of those who appear to fall away. At less than 125 pages, it is a quick, but profitable read.
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LibraryThing member laholmes
The title will make sure you pick this up and glance at it, but the biblical thoughtful approach that Greear takes to the topic will keep you reading until the end, marking it up and making notes as you go. This is a popular topic in a particular brand of evangelicalism, the one that practices
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altar calls, revivals, and personal testimonies.

Greear is biblically thorough, and not afraid to tackle the tough topics and passages associated with salvation, conversion, and falling away. As a pastor I appreciate his candor and easy going approach to a heavy theological topic.

His approach is clear from the begginning " Salvation s 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 your life"

I will buy copies of this for those struggling with their salvation, and recommend it to all.
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LibraryThing member BBMcIntosh
Those who have not been raised in the author's tradition (not all churches give altar calls or encourage members to be re-baptized when they have a crisis of faith) may be puzzled by the title. Nevertheless, this book contains a good explanation of assurance from a Reformed Baptist point of view.
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The chapters on belief and repentance - explaining what is really involved -- were, in my opinion, the best in the whole book. Unfortunately, the editors and proofreaders missed some blemishes in the text: typographical and grammatical errors, including missing words, and awkward phrasing in some places. All in all, though, I would recommend this book, esp.to pastors, who want to encourage their church members along the road of faith.
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LibraryThing member KenNichols
Greear is very careful with this sensitive subject. The book is pastoral and theological. He speaks from his own struggles with assurance and how he came to apply the Bible's teachings to his own heart.
Pastorally speaking, I would love for every member of my church to read and discuss this book,
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along with other Christians. There are so many distortions of eternal security that we have lost the flavor of holiness.

Conclusion: I highly recommend this book.
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LibraryThing member joalby1
Received this book through a Advanced Reader program.
The name pretty much sold me on it. I'm one of those Christ-followers who is forever annoyed by what has become Christian lingo or Christian speak (i.e. Ask Jesus Into Your Heart, How's Your Heart, God has a plan for you). It's lost its power
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and meaning.
I enjoyed that this book broke it down in such a way that lets people know that it's MORE than asking Jesus into your heart, that's being saved, but to maintain salvation and build your relationship with Christ and deepend your bonds with your faith what next. What do you do after you allow Jesus into your heart? People focus on the former and reject to acknowledge that action is needed in the latter.
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LibraryThing member nirrad
I really enjoyed this book, had a lot of great info, and answers to questions that I struggle with. I recommend this book, even my Pastor quoted from this book during his sermon.
LibraryThing member David_Norman
In Stop Asking Jesus into your Heart, J.D. Greear is less concerned with critiquing the oft-used method of walking someone through the sinner’s prayer as he is with ensuring that believers are not resting on that prayer, that moment, that ritual as the basis of their assurance and security in
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Christ. This is an intensely personal subject to Greear who announces at the very onset, “If there were a Guinness Book of World Records record for ‘amount of times having asked Jesus into your heart,’ I’m pretty sure I would hold it,” before relaying his own story of wrestling with assurance of salvation (1).

Does the doctrine of perseverance or eternal security imply that as long as someone prays a prayer and perhaps gets baptized, they can anything they want after that moment assured that they’re, “good with God?” Greear argues instead that, “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 your life” (5). This is the thesis of Greear’s work who spends the rest of the book unpacking this idea.

In Stop Asking Jesus into your Heart, J.D. Greear has presented evangelicalism with a very accessible resource for pastors to put into the hands of their congregants who may be wrestling with assurance. Using his 15 years of pastoral experience, Greear will challenge them to look to Christ, rather than any action on their part for assurance. He will call them to place the weight of their security upon Christ, and submit to His Lordship.

In short, he challenges the reader to stop doing in hopes of ensuring his own salvation, but rather to recognize the finished work of Christ and live in the reality of that truth, for that is the basis of our assurance. If we are relying on Jesus, and living submitted to Him, we can stop asking Jesus into our hearts – he has already taken residence there.
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LibraryThing member atdCross
This book is an attempt to help Christains gain an assurance of their salvation. basically, the way someone knows they are saved is if they have "evidences" of Christ-bearing fruit. He comes from the Calvinistic "once saved, always saved" (p.5) perspective" (which, in itself, is problematic).

From
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my perspective, Greears answer is unsatisfying. That is not to say one cannot have an assurance of salvation, however, it depends on what kind of assurance is being discussed, that is: assurance of future salvation? or, assurance of present salvation. It seems Greear means the former. As such, his reasoning is circular. Two very brief examples of what I mean:

1. Greear states, "The mark, however, of someone who is saved is that they maintain their confession of faith until the end of their lives." If that is the case, how is one presently assured that they in fact will "maintain their confession of faith" until they die? He does not seem to ask and/or answer that question.

2. Greear states that the "Bible tells us [what] are the evidences that we really have believed" (p.12), and then dileneates those purported evidences in chaper 7. Unfortunately, he gives no advice on answering the question of how do we know our, for example, love for God is genuine; nor does he provide an answer to the questions of how to know one is not self-deceived or his faith is not temporary.

The primary issue I have with the book is Greear's faulty exegetical method (not that he really offers any in the book) regarding the warining passages (ch.6) and Rom 7 (pgs.60-67).

Regarding the warning passages, he seems to assume that the writers of the epistles took into consideration that they were writing to a mixed multitude. The opening of Paul's letters indicate otherwise, e.g. Rom 1:7.

Regarding Rom 7, he interprets it as describing the apostle Pauls' life as a believer who "fell often" into sin.

(a) He seems to suggests a misinterpretation respecting the design of Rom 7, where he states that "sometimes" we do not "delight in God". First, Rom 7 does not show that, if it does depict Paul's life, he "sometimes" sins but that he sins all the time (vs.14-15). One who is at every turn falling into sin, cannot genuinely be delighting in God. He may have a desire for God but such a desires are deceptive feelings (something he seems not to take into account anywhere in the book; he seems to assume a desire for God is always genuine).

(b) Greear's assertion that the apostle "often fell" or the suggestion by implication that he did so a hundred times (p.63) flatly contradicts Paul's own divinely-inspired testimony of his own life. One who "often fell" into sin should never claim to be and could be an example of the Christ-life for others to emulate (e.g. 1 Cor 11:1). He fails to deal with those scriptures that declares the apostle Paul as things like being righteous, blameless, or having a clear conscience before God and men.

(c) I can agree when Greear states that the Christian life can be a "struggle" with sin. However, it is one thing to struggle and be defeated on a consistent basis so that you consistently fall into sin, which is what what Rom 7 depicts. It is another thing to struggle and consistently overcome sin, which the Bible clearly infers is the case with the apostle Paul and what Rom 8 depicts is to be the Christian life.

Although very few, there are some commendable things Greear said (e.g. p.60, God "didn't give us a list of things to deny; He said we must deny ourselves"). Neverthless, overall, he does not adequately grapple with the issue of assurance, misuses the Biblical data to support his view, provides only circular answers, and gives no rationale for obtaining and having assurance of salvation. It is not a book, contrary to the advice presented in the foreword, I would pass along to someone struggling in the area of doubt and assurance of their salvation.

I think that the rationally thoughtful mind, will find that Greear's book just confuses the issue even more.
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LibraryThing member exinanition
I found this book to be interesting in its presentation of the doctrine of the "Perseverance of the Believers." The chapters are short but they cover what the title of each chapter proposes and do so in a succint, however clear and distinct, manner. The author does not start with the assumption
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that salvation is secure and simply build on that idea, rather, he starts from the viewpoint of God as found in scripture concerning whether or not God even wants us to know we have assurance of salvation which cannot be lost. He tells of his own search for this assurance and the many years he struggled with this very concept in his own life. I believe he presents the information in a logical and orderly fashion and I believe he covers the subject quite well. I do not agree 100% with all of his ideas, however, I do not disagree with his overall and with his final analysis of the subject. The book is an easy read and I recommend it to anyone who is struggling with whether or not his/her salvation is permanently secure. Greear (the author) definitely and successfully makes the case for the "Perseverance of the believer."
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LibraryThing member NQTBradyBunch
In a nutshell, this is quite a wonderful little book. And it IS little, both in size and font--I don't quite need reading glasses yet, but the print size would be a strain for most folks with more "experienced" eyes.
Content, though, is immense. I cannot get over how each chapter intuitively digs
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into the deepest doubts, uncovers them, and explains them to the point that "you're either a believer, or you're not." Drawing from the author's own experience and doubting his own salvation, he knows the way that Satan can twist and turn something into a wedge between the joy of living in reassurance. The book is written in a way that will help the believer who wonders, and will also show those to "think" they believe (they've confessed it with their mouth) what true repentance and acceptance means, all in easy-to-understand but not dumbed-down language. Probably not the ticket for "seekers," as it assumes one already has professed (whether genuine or otherwise) to be a believer.
A true gem, and one that has me turning back to previously-read portions and unpacking them further.
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LibraryThing member amyblue
This book was an excellent overview of the gospel message and really had somthing for long-time believers and new Christians. I don't know that I would recommend it for seekers, as it isn't really a defense of the faith, more an investigation of the meaning of salvation.
LibraryThing member brandymcdonald
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The cover and title were intriguing and the book did not disappoint. Greear's approach to the problem of assurance is handled well. He lays out his argument in a clear and systematic way. I do think that this book is too complicated for new Christians and could be
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confusing for those seeking Christ.
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LibraryThing member davemac
The book is short - but to really benefit from it one should plan on reading it slowly and "chewing" on it piece by piece. For the most part, it is a thoughtful presentation of the Gospel. It is refreshing to read a book by an author who lets the Bible speak without reducing what it says to
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cliches. If anything, it could be a little shorter., because the longer he tried to explain himself the more he seemed just to repeat himself. The personal anecdotes at first were quite good but tended to get tedious. The fact is, if you want to doubt your salvation in the end you will be able to do it. Explanations only go so far. The only part of the book I really didn't care for - the reason I give it 4 instead of 5 stars - was appendix A on Baptism. In rejecting Infant Baptism he ends up falling into the very trap he tries to save us from - replacing "invite Jesus in" with "be baptized again, just in case." Perhaps the problem is the fact that he considers our names to be written in the Lamb's Book of Life when we believe, rather than "from the foundation of the world (Rev 17:8 and Eph 1:4). Take out Appendix 1 and I give it 5 stars.
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LibraryThing member kurtabeard
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart is an accessible narrative that at first glance sounds controversial yet avoids most of it through simple framework of the narrative structure.
LibraryThing member ChrisSlavens
An easy-to-read explanation of the "eternal security" doctrine, which holds that Christians cannot lose their salvation, but I don't feel that the opposing view was adequately addressed. Is a Christian saved from only the penalty for sin, or from sin itself? How can a Christian have free will, yet
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be unable to choose to turn away from God? And if Christians cannot lose salvation, why do they continue to be tempted? Readers searching for answers to these difficult questions, which have divided theologians for centuries, will probably be unsatisfied.
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LibraryThing member Sougent
This is a relatively short, easy to read book that covers a very important subject, what does it mean to be saved and how you can know for sure that you are. It covers the basics of salvation, repentance and the indicators of them in your life that should give you confidence in your salvation.

The
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modern world and all the distractions that it holds, makes it easier to doubt and sometimes I think we ought to doubt when we seem to care more about worldly things than we do Godly things. This book effectively addresses these doubts and helps with understanding just what it means to be "saved".

If you are a Christian that has any doubts about your salvation, I would recommend this book.

This book would also make an excellent book for a small group bible study.
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LibraryThing member joshbush
J.D. Greear is focused on answering a single question in this book. How can I know that I am saved? Over 121 pages, Greear leads the reader to the answer for himself, or herself, through the experience of his own struggle and how he answered the question through the words of the bible.

J.D. isn't
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going to tell you you're saved, nor is he going to tell you that you aren't. Beginning with an understanding of salvation as "a posture of repentance toward and faith in [Christ's] finished work," readers are given the scriptural foundation to make the determination themselves, and be confident of that determination.

I'll be using this book as the lead-in study to some time spent using his other title, Gospel, in my home group bible study. These two titles easily compliment one another and set a good foundation for addressing the "Am I doing this right?" type of question that so often plagues our attempts at living like a Christian.
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LibraryThing member ftaylor
I found myself resonating with the author on more than one occasion, and not in an academic way, but in a emotional way. Any person who has grown up in the church and in Christian circles will find this book to be a great reminder and powerful encouragement.
LibraryThing member Beukeboom
The title may lead some to think this a book guiding people to reject Jesus but what it actually is is a very nice, albeit short, book concerning what the Bible teaches about salvation and assurance. It seems the motivation for the book was the author's repeated actions of accepting Christ whenever
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he wasn't sure that the prior action was legit. Greear explains how we are assured of our salvation. It is quite a good instructional book on the topic and I recommend it.
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LibraryThing member moses917
At first the author provides a gentle but theological critique of the methodology of getting people saved through the use of “The Sinner’s Prayer’. He shares his own experience recounting the multiple times he asked Jesus into his heart and getting baptized a number of times also.new book
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“Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart” we have author J.D. Grear, who is the Lead Pastor at the Summit Church of Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, provides for the reader a look at assurance of salvation.

Which leads to his premise which is “assurance is not found in remembering a prayer that you prayed, however but by continuing in the posture of repentance and faith that you began at your conversion.” In turn Grear explores and explains what the bible says is true belief, faith and repentance. He explains how everyone’s conversion experience is many times quite different but the truths of faith and repentance are the same. He further show how the “sinner’s prayer” is not some sort of magic incantation that saves. Our assurance is only in the finished work of Christ. Grear writes:

The Bible depicts the moment of salvation differently. Instead of asking Jesus for a “certificate” of salvation, you start believing what God’s Word says about His Lordship and His completed work at the cross. You understand that you have lived in rebellion against the rule of God and have no hope of escaping God’s wrath on your own. You “kneel” in submission to His claim on your life, and rest your hope of heaven upon Him. Picture this as hopping up into His arms, submitting to go wherever He takes you, and trusting in Him to carry into heaven.

Grear writing from a moderate Calvinist perspective assures readers they cannot lose their salvation as he goes through texts of Scripture showing three primary bases for assurance which are; a present posture of faith and repentance; perseverance in the faith; and evidences of eternal life in our heart—a love for God and a love for others. He states these three combine to provide us with a great sense of assurance that we belong to God.

I found this book delightful to read and a great resource. It would be quite helpful both to Christians concerned with if they are saved or not or the unsaved who have been propped up with false assurance that they are. It is a quick and easy read written with biblical truth and sprinkled with good humor.
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LibraryThing member clatworthy
Absolutely stellar book!!! J.D. does a great job of unpacking repentance and faith in Christ.
LibraryThing member pa5t0rd
This is a small book that does a good job of provoking some questions in each of us about repentance, salvation and faith.
LibraryThing member Capt.Geech
An excellent read for any Christian. This book touches on issues that all Christians will understand.
LibraryThing member RobSumrall
Has the "sinner's prayer" created more confusion among modern evangelicals than it's worth? I would agree with J.D. Greear - Yes, it has! Greear writes, "I want to be clear that what saves the sinner is a posture of repentance and faith toward Christ, that and that alone. Any 'sinner's prayer' is
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only good insofar as it expresses that posture."

Misunderstanding the sinner's prayer as some magical formula of words that appeases the wrath of God has led tons of people down a confusing spiritual path. In Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, J. D. Greear offers up a short book packed with Scripture and theological insight that can help people who have fallen into the pit of confusion over the state of their salvation. While this book is short, weighing in at only 121 pages of content, it is weighty.

While there are many strengths to this book, let me briefly highlight three that were particularly meaningful to me.

First, Greear does an amazing job of articulating the importance of a posture of repentance verses the sinner's prayer. People can recite a prayer that does not reflect a heart of repentance. In so far as a sinner's prayer does not reflect a posture of repentance, it is worthless. Greear helps the reader understand the importance of examining one's present posture of repentance over searching their memories for some historical event tied to a prayer that may have been hollow.

Second, Greear ties assurance of salvation to the theological idea of salvation by faith alone. He does so in the meat of the book and in a short appendix. As long as we see our righteous standing before God rooted in the finished work of Christ, we will be able to understand that our own merit neither commended us towards God or now condemns us before God. Instead, we stand in the finished work of Christ, clothed in his righteousness!

Third, Greear refuses to dodge the difficult verses. While a book of this length cannot deal exhaustively with the verses frequently used to argue against eternal security, he does at least engage the major verses that are cited. In chapter six, "If 'once saved always saved,' why does the Bible seem to war us to often about losing our salvation?" he tackles the topic. Greear argues that saving faith always endures to the end. I find his argument to be extremely helpful.

If you or a loved one has ever wrestled over the issue of assurance of salvation, Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart is a must read!

Ten Key Quotations

"You can 'ask Jesus into your heart' without repenting and believing and you can repent and believe without articulating a request for Jesus to come into your heart" (8).

"Ultimately, my concern is not on what words or actions we might use to express our faith in Christ but that we don't substitute those words or actions for repentance and faith. 'Praying the sinner's prayer' has become something like a Protestant ritual we have people go through to gain entry into heaven" (9).

"Salvation comes not because you prayed a prayer correctly, but because you have leaned the hope of your soul on the finished work of Christ. Shorthand phrases for the gospel can serve a good purpose, insofar as everyone knows exactly what they mean. But in light of the fact that so many in country seem assured of a salvation they give no evidence of having because of a prayer they prayed, and so many others are unable to find assurance no matter how often they prayer that prayer, I believe it is time to put the shorthand aside and preach simply salvation by repentance toward God and faith in the finished work of Christ" (11-12).

"When you're not assured of God's love for you, your motivations for obedience will become corrupted. You'll do good works in the hopes that God will approve of you because of them. This is not really love for God; it's self-preservation" (17).

"Better, though, would be to look at where you are currently resting. If you are right now resting in His arms, knowing when you began to rest is less important than that you are doing it now. your present posture is more important than a past memory. Conversion is not completing a ritual, it is commencing a relationship. The assurance of ritual is based on accurate words and memory. The assurance of relationship is based on a present posture of repentance and belief" (42-43).

"'But wait,' you say, 'don't I have to ask Jesus for salvation? What if I assume the posture but don't say the prayer?' Again, the posture of repentance and faith are in themselves a cry for salvation. He hears the cry of your posture even if you don't voice the prayer. nowhere does the Bible say we have to voice a prayer to be saved. The posture of repentance and belief saves" (45).

"Praying a prayer to ask Jesus into you heart, even if it's followed by a flurry of emotion and religious fervor, is no proof that you are saved. Enduring in that faith to the end is" (82).

"The full doctrine of "eternal security" is that once we are saved, we will always be save, and that those who are saved will persevere in their faith to the end" (86-87).

"Saving faith proves itself no only by persevering to the end, but by certain inexorable changes it makes in the heart. The presence of these new affections helps assure us that God's grace has gone to work within us" (96).

"And here is the good news: in the unlikely chance that your lack of spiritual progress really was the result of not being born again, the moment you rest in the gospel you will be. in other words, if what you think is 'renewed' faith in the gospel turns out to be 'first' faith, you will still be saved in the end" (107).
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Original publication date

2013-02-01
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