A Ritual or a Relationship?

by Jim on 24 May 2015

I mentioned this book on Twitter and Facebook the other day. I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I thought I’d give you a taste. I’m sure a lot of believers can relate to this:

Here is how many Christians think of “getting saved”: they realize they’re a sinner and they need Jesus to save them. So they approach Him and ask Him to come into their heart. Of course He says, “yes,” at which time He forgives their sins, writes their names in the Lamb’s Book of Life, gives them a “certificate” of salvation (a carbon copy of which is placed in their Bible), and commences a party in heaven in their honor. If they begin to doubt later whether or not they are really “saved,” they replay in their minds that moment of conversion, assuring themselves of their sincerity and reminding themselves of the feelings they had after it.

Works great. At least until your memory fails you. Or if you start to wonder if you did it right. Or if you have deceived yourself into thinking something happened that really didn’t. And what if you begin to ask, as I did, Did I really feel sorry enough for my sin? Did my life change enough after I asked Him into my heart? Did I understand enough about Jesus, or my sin, or grace, when I prayed? Were there areas of rebellion I was unaware of?

Uh-oh. Better ask Him to come into your life again. So back you go to Jesus, asking for another “certificate.” You feel better for a while. But you’ll probably have to do it a few more times throughout your life to be sure. The only time you think you can be absolutely assured you did it right is when you are standing face-to-face with Jesus in heaven.

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 you into heaven.

If at some point in the future you begin to doubt whether or not you really have put faith in Jesus, do you look backwards to try and remember that moment when you first hopped up into His arms? I suppose you could. 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.

From Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved by J. D. Greer

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Tweets 4 – 15 May 2015

by Jim on 16 May 2015

  • He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy… Titus 3:5 ow.ly/KfpoG (4 May 2015)
  • A few remarkable pictures of Mexico’s every-day history from National Geographic: ow.ly/MtMLU (5 May 2015)
  • How a Brilliant Intelligence Officer Used ‘Monopoly’ to Free WWII POWs ow.ly/KE1Fh (6 May 2015)
  • A remarkable use for a 3D Printer – allowing a blind mother to “see” her unborn son. Don’t miss the video. ow.ly/MHaSy (9 May 2015)
  • Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. ~Philemon 3~ (11 May 2015)
  • We just got a Christmas letter! It took only five months to get to Mexico City from Canada! 😃 (11 May 2015)
  • Great deal – get “The Next Story: Faith, Friends, Family, and the Digital World” – newly updated and expanded! ow.ly/MQSug (12 May 2015)
  • Thoughts to ponder: 10 Pointers for “Untrained” Preachers ow.ly/KUYBz
  • @TinaMarieBarham is taking our new family photo – what do you think? [image] (13 May 2015)
  • The other day I was feeling unproductive. Then I realized I was doing three things at once. Perhaps a little too much multitasking? (14 May 2015)
  • We played Smash Monster Rampage, another print & play game. Fun once we got it together! ow.ly/MYtsu (15 May 2015)
  • Still reading this, but so far so good- and less than $1 for Kindle/computer today: Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart ow.ly/MZHWF (15 May 2015)

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So that we’re not “taken captive”…

9 May 2015 Devotional and Bible

I haven’t been stopping by here enough – so here I am, stopping by! Yesterday and today have been filled with a lot of practical things. Needed paperwork, answering emails, and preparing for future ministry. For example, I’ve been preparing for tomorrow’s Sunday School class. I’ve been meditating on the value of getting a laser-focus […]

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Tweets 18-29 April 2015

2 May 2015 Twitter

Ok, so I haven’t been posting a lot lately. Too busy, I guess! 😉 Today: Planning trip to north Mexico City, planning trip to Puebla, planning retreat north of Mexico City–lots coming up in the next month! (18 April 2015) To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory […]

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