Monday, December 8, 2008

Has Jesus Ever Accepted You Into His Heart?

John Piper tells the story about the first time he was offered an opportunity to speak at his alma mater, Wheaton College.
“It was my first chance in this big, chandeliered, blue, beautiful chapel. And I stood up and said, 'The chief end of God is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.' And all my friends who were up in the balcony just went, 'Oh no, he blew it on his first chance at his own alma mater to speak to these students, coming back after 20 years, and he misquotes the Westminster Catechism right off the bat and says, 'The chief end of God' instead of 'The chief end of man.' And to their great relief I went on to say, 'I really meant that.'"
Well I really meant what I said in the title of this article too. Has Jesus ever accepted you into His heart? You see we get it backward when we ask people this cliché in its original form, “Have you ever accepted Jesus into your heart?” First of all we do not accept Jesus, as if the Almighty needed a review of His worthiness to be accepted by us. Unfortunately this is often the gospel that has been pitched to the unbeliever. “Give Jesus a 60 day trial. If Jesus doesn't change your life then you can get your money back". No, we can only receive the gift of Jesus Christ, and it may only be obtained on His terms.
Secondly, “accepting Jesus into your heart” implies the idea that Christ has come merely to supplement the sinner’s life. We know this to be false. God did not descend from His throne on high to take on the likeness of sinful flesh and lay it down on a Roman cross to one day compliment an already okay life. Jesus Christ had to brake into human history to save sinners that were otherwise hopeless. Without the purchasing power of Christ’s blood there would be no repentance and no faith given to the sinner. And without the imposition and power of the Holy Spirit, no sinner whose heart is desperately wicked would ever choose Him. Jesus did not conquer death so that He could conform to our lives. He has come so that we may be conformed to His. There is only one reason for God needing you and that's to bring you to the place where, in repentance, you've been pardoned for His glory. And in victory you've been brought to the place of death that He might reign.

Finally, while I understand the sentiment and implied theology behind Jesus being invited into the sinner’s heart, it would perhaps be better to cast off all unbiblical evangelical jargon all together. Let us be so consumed with the heart of the Father that the Gospel of the Kingdom of God would flow uninhibited from our hearts upon the ears of the unbelieving.
Oh God accept me into your Kingdom and let me be conformed to your heart!


Sam said...

Amen! Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved!

Asking Christ into your heart versus believing on the Lord has two different focal points. The former can set a person up to be very inward focused – but faith doesn’t come by looking to ourselves, rather a person must look outside himself to Christ – the Author and Finisher of our faith.

I grew up under the ‘ask Jesus into your heart’, and, ‘say the sinner’s prayer’ evangelism methodology.

Trouble is... I put my faith in the sincerity of my request and the repetition of a prayer – rather than in the finished work of Christ on the cross!

I thank God that he patiently bears with us in our ignorance – otherwise I’d still be praying the sinner’s prayer and hoping that I’d said it sincerely enough this time!

Matt Johnson said...

<< “Give Jesus a 60 day trial. If Jesus doesn't change your life then you can get your money back".>>

I actually heard Rick Warren say something very similar to that on national TV recently. Sad day, when "America's Pastor" resorts to offering the Savior on a risk-free trial basis. The person who isn't willing to forsake all and follow Jesus isn't worthy of Jesus. Those are not my words, but His!

Our God does not need anyone to accept Him, nor doe He require Himself to be accepted by men! He was glorious before the foundation of the world without the acceptance of man, and He will be glorious still.

Amen, brother Josh!

Christine said...

Robe Bell also said something similar in his NOOMA DUST video. Where Peter asked Christ to walk on the water. Bell's explanation was that God wants to have faith in US. Can you imagine the Creator of the Universe wanting to have faith in His Creation? PUHLEASE! Where do these "Pastors" find their theology? In 1st Meism 1:1 ?