Wrong Responses To The Gospel
Before we look at the wrong responses to Gospel, let us call your attention to the only right response to the Gospel. One is saved by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone based on His finished work alone. In light of Christ’s death for our sins and bodily resurrection, the issue in salvation is not do, but done. The basis is not our walk, but Christ’s finished work. The means is not works but simply faith.
Let us not garble the Gospel, nor muddle the means to everlasting life by confusing the condition of salvation through telling people such erroneous conditions or wrong responses such as…
- “asking Jesus into your heart”… as He comes when you believe the Gospel, not by asking Him in. (John 1:12; Galatians 4:6)
- “giving your life to Christ”… as He does not want your “dead-in-trespasses and sins” life, but wants to give you a new life in Christ. (John 10:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
- “making a commitment to Christ”… as salvation is not assured by your promise/pledge to Christ but on God’s promise/pledge to you. (1 John 2:25, 5:13)
- “turning over the controls of your life to Christ”… as Romans 12:1 is an exhortation to believers (“brethren”), not to unbelievers.
- “believing plus baptism”… as a believer’s baptism is to be done as a public testimony of one’s faith and identification with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as a result of being saved ¾ not as a means to salvation,(1 Corinthians 1:17; Acts 8:36-38, 18:8)
- “believing and keeping the Ten Commandments”… as God never designed the Ten Commandments to be a way of salvation, but to show us our sin and need of the Saviour. (Romans 3:20, 3:28; Gal. 2:16, 21, 3:10, 3:24-26)
- “submitting to Christ’s mastery / lordship in your life”… as James 4:7-10 is clearly a passage for believers (1:2, 1:16, 1:19, 2:1, 3:1, 3:10, 3:12, 4:1, 4:11), not for unbelievers. And while there is no debate that Christ is Lord, the issue in salvation is… “BELIEVE on the LORD JESUS CHRIST and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31)
- “repenting of or confessing your sins”… as 1 John 1:9 is a condition for believers to have “fellowship” with God (1 John 1:3, 6, 7) as a child of God (1 John 2:1), not a means to be born again for the unsaved (John 1:12-13). And while one must see he is a sinner before a holy God in order to see his need of a Saviour, the solution is not confessing ones sins to God. Instead, it is believing that Christ made full payment for your sins upon the cross (1 John 2:2, 4:9-10). Otherwise, how many sins must you repent of, how often, in what areas, and how perfectly in order to know you are saved? Confusing, isn’t it? One must repent (change their mind) about trusting Jesus Christ versus something else.
- “praying the sinner’s prayer”… which is found nowhere in the Bible. Where do you find anyone in Scripture leading someone else in prayer to be saved? Nowhere!
- “coming forward”… as the issue is not getting out of your seat, but coming to Christ by faith in Him alone. (John 6:35-40)
Now I can almost hear someone screaming out, “But isn’t this all simply a matter of semantics?” My reply to that objection is “yes” and “no” depending on what you mean. Yes, it is a matter of semantics if you mean that word meanings and definitions are very important. On the other hand, this is not a matter of semantics if you mean that “trusting in Jesus Christ alone” and one of these inaccurate, misleading statements are really saying the same thing.
When the Holy Spirit directed the writers of Scripture to record in perfect accuracy the inerrant Word of God, He knew the difference between “pisteuo” (believe) and “aiteo” (ask), or “homologeo” (confess) or “hupotasso” (submit) or “didomi ” (give). Over a hundred plus times in the New Testament, the Holy Spirit decided that “pisteou” (believe) would be the word used to describe the one and only condition of salvation.
Dear friend, if “pisteuo” (believe) was good enough for the Holy Spirit, is it not good enough for you? I exhort you. Do not let your pride (“I’ve taught that cliché in the past”) or your emotions (“I’ve prayed this with my kids”) or your religious traditions (“our church has always said that”) get in the way of truth and biblical accuracy on the most important issue that anyone must address. I appeal to you to do away with these “sacred cows” of modern evangelicalism, and let us return to the authoritative Word of God to embrace what the Lord says about our eternal salvation.
And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” ~ Acts 16:30-31