Why do we “ask Jesus into our heart”?
I was recently asked this question by a friend in relation to the Concept Church evangelism video. He also brought up the popular book “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart”. I went and bought the book and this is my response.
Things are often said over time and gain the appearance of being empty ritual. A new generation comes along, hears it and brings it into question. We are seeing this today in regards to the sinners prayer and salvation. Why have we in the past been told to “ask Jesus into our hearts”?
There are a couple of passages that speak to this in the New Testament, namely Romans 10:9-10 and Revelation 3:20*. Let’s look at these:
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. – Romans 10:9-10
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. – Revelation 3:20
A critic of using this language will often say that the Bible never explicitly states that Jesus will enter into your heart. However, the Bible never uses the word “Trinity” either and this is a central doctrine of Christianity. The point is that just because the Bible doesn’t explicitly say something doesn’t mean it isn’t true. The truth is there you just have to know what you are looking for.
In regards to Christ entering one’s heart this term is synonymous with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (part of the Triune Godhead) which seals the believer to the day of redemption.
You have to look back at the first Passover to understand the significance of the symbolism.
The door represents your heart and the lamb’s blood over the door post represents the blood of The Lamb (Jesus Christ) covering your heart. Because of this the angel of death passes-over. But there is more than just covering, the Holy Spirit indwells you after the moment of true salvation.
Here are some key points to remember:
- Blood over the doorpost at Passover represents the blood of Christ over the “doorpost” of the believer’s heart.
- Jesus is the Passover Lamb.
- God (Holy Spirit) indwells the believer.
- This indwelling prevents demonic possession of the believer.
- The indwelling of the Holy Spirit seals the believer and their redemption.
God does enter the believer’s being and the heart is used to describe the center of man, what steers the course of action, decisions and ultimately the soul. God has the ability to harden or soften the heart.
Why the “door” symbolism at Passover and why the door terminology in the Bible? It is because a human can be possessed: either by God or a demonic spirit.
This is the spiritual importance of asking Christ into your heart. This is not methodological but spiritual. You become possessed by the Spirit (Holy Spirit) rather than spirits (demons). Not all non-believers are possessed by demons but someone without the Holy Spirit is subject to the possibility of possession.
We will see more demonic possession in the last days and it is increasing even now.
Through salvation we become sons and daughters of God and heirs to the Kingdom. This shows us that we are adopted into God’s family. Also the terminology of being “born again” shows us a transformation and step in new life that can not be reversed. As a child does not enter the mother’s womb, so a new believer can not pass back into death once they have been reborn.
This is where our assurance of salvation rests.
Not in works, not in a prayer but in the Holy Spirit sealing our hearts and as a result giving us a spiritual transformation that has eternal ramifications.
The Bible says our hearts are deceitful but also that we are given a heart of flesh and not stone when we place our faith and trust in Jesus for salvation. This is where the battle of the flesh and Spirit will take place for the rest of your mortal life. A believer in Christ is not in their glorified state (perfect) we are continually being sanctified. Sanctification occurs through the process of our fallen state conflicting with the perfect Holy Spirit within us. This process leads us to giving the Lord our whole heart and not just pieces of it.
The Holy Spirit leads you in the process.
We have to remember that the salvation experience is a supernatural process. God calls the person and the chosen person responds. This response is repentance. Repentance is not a work but obedience to the voice of God and His commands.
Most importantly there is no true repentance in deed or action until the Holy Spirit is dwelling the believer. Anything before this point is simply behavior modification and deceiving.
So yes, you do need Jesus in your heart…. or the Holy Spirit if you want to get technical. And no, we won’t stop asking people to receive Jesus Christ.
If anything we need to stress the importance of asking Christ into our heart because that is where the battle is waged for our soul.
We also have to remember that God created the salvation experience to be simple enough for a child and those that are uneducated. Sometimes (especially in America) our education and theological knowledge can become more of a liability than an asset.
Last, salvation is a financial transaction. The believer has been bought and paid for by the blood of Christ. After purchase Christ takes possession (of the heart) of those who are His. Possession (either by God or demons) represents ownership of the being. This is why a believer can not be possessed by demonic spirits… because they are sealed by the Holy Spirit, bought and purchased by the blood of Christ.
Some may pray a prayer and walk an aisle without being genuine but it isn’t my place to speculate and it is not my position to judge their motives. It is not yours either. Rather, God has called us to preach the Gospel and make disciples.
If we are making disciples this becomes a mute point anyway because through education people understand what they are doing.
If you have never truly placed your faith and trust in Jesus then I invite you to right now. Click here for a site that will help lead you through the process. If you do, message me and our team will help answer any questions you have. We will also help you find a church to join and grow in.
*Note: Revelation 3:20 was not taken out of context. Although initially written to the Church of Laodicea these rebukes are to the Church in general and have application today. The point is that whether a person says “the sinners prayer” or calls on Jesus in another manner doesn’t matter, true belief in Jesus saves. God does indwell the believer so this wording in “the sinners prayer” is not unfounded or unbiblical.