I whole-heartedly realize that this post may really cause some people who read it to get upset and that you may not agree with it. I understand it might shake things up a little bit, but I WILL NOT apologize for it in advance.I am not afraid of that! And IF it does shake you up or you don't like it, please do not stop reading posts here just because you don't agree with it (or one or two things I say)! TEST what I am telling you against the Word of God----and seek HIM about it all---just before Him---you and Him--because that is all that is going to matter in the end anyways. More than anything, by this post I am explaining reasons behind why God saved me the way that He did. I sort of said this already, but I feel a need to say it again more clearly.
I want everyone to know as I have said before that, yes, I grew up in a home where my parents were believers (Followers of Jesus Christ) but I did not really understand what that meant until about five weeks ago. I am a new creation-the old has gone-and the glorious new has come. I grew up never sure that I belonged to God, in turmoil and constant desperation that played itself out through many various ways in my life. Because of that desperation and the lack of assurance I was trying to earn my way for salvation without knowing that I was doing so. I "prayed the prayer" a gazillion times without any real heart change done in my heart by the Holy Spirit towards my sin, and without ever REALLY TRUSTING Him,l because I was so caught up in "CONJURING UP THE MOMENT" IN MY OWN STRENGTH to know somehow that it had really happened to give myself assurance. I could not "Get saved" by "praying a prayer" because ultimately I was trusting in "the prayer" and my own strength to conjure up "the moment" rather than Christ alone. WHAT I AM SAYING IS TOTALLY THE HONEST TRUTH!! God had to get me to the place where I would STOP TRYING TO CONJURE UP THE MOMENT OF SALVATION FOR MYSELF BY MY OWN EFFORTS, AND WHEN HE DID THAT, I WAS FINALLY TRULY SAVED!!!!! I believe THAT is why God had to save me as He did, without me even knowing the day or the time that it happened,--it is a mystery to me---BUT I KNOW IT HAPPENED--and have a rough idea of when it may have happened, BUT ONLY HE KNOWS ALL OF THAT!!!!
My next thoughts are this-----and I say them in love and carefully with all due respect. IT is WONDERFUL and we SHOULD SHARE THE TRUE GOSPEL our children. BUT I think sometimes we may need to be a little more careful HOW we do that. (and I don't have kids, so maybe I shouldn't talk, BUT I WAS A CHILD ONCE.) It is every parent's desire that their child would come to know Christ at a young age--WE WANT THAT FOR THEM (and I think this goes for Sunday School classrooms and teachers as well.) WE WANT THAT FOR THEM MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE WORLD. But we should remember that we are but channels to be used of the Lord, so that a seed is planted in a child's heart and life--that GOD WILL BRING TO GROWTH in His time and way. WE cannot RUSH GOD'S WORK IN THEIR LIVES!!!
What I am REALLY TRYING TO SAY IS THIS. do children get saved at young ages of five and seven and six?? Yes! I BELIEVE MANY DO. But there are others OTHERS who are like I was--where they understand in part, "pray a prayer", as we so often say, and may not really "get it" yet. THEREFORE we should not assume that just because a child "prayed to receive Christ" that they are are Christian. And if we are worried about that fact, we should PRAY for that child and ask God to bring them to understanding in His time and His way.
In American culture, especially, it seems like the gospel has been really watered down in some senses, and we really need to think about that, because while it IS a simple message, watering it down is NOT GOOD!!!. (I am NOT the first person on the planet to be saying these things!) Some of our tracts even say, "If you prayed the prayer, you are saved." SALVATION IS NOT PRAYING A PRAYER OR TRUSTING IN THE FACT THAT "YOU PRAYED THE PRAYER ONE TIME-----OR A GAZILLION TIMES LIKE ME!!!! But as I said, it doesn't mean that God doesn't use the prayer as a way that many truly express their trust in Christ. SALVATION IS TRUSTING CHRIST AND CHRIST ALONE---the point where God works in you so that you abandon all self-effort to earn it (salvation) and give up!!!!
My next point is this---WE DO NOT TELL PEOPLE THEY ARE SAVED!! GOD TELLS PEOPLE THEY ARE SAVED!!!! HE GIVES THEM ASSURANCE--WE CANNOT DO THAT NO MATTER HOW MUCH WE TRY!!!! Romans 8:13-17 says, "for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!" The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him."
So the bottom line is this, and I say this with the fullness of Christ's love compelling me and with tears in my eyes) WHAT about YOU, dear friend? What about YOU?
Go ahead and answer these few questions before God--Just you and Him in the privacy of your heart and be honest with the answer--one by one individually, we all come to a place where we have to do this.
Are you trusting In Jesus Christ alone for your salvation--his death being the all-sufficient one-time payment on the cross for your sins??
And if you aren't really trusting in Christ alone, and you know truthfully inside that you are NOT DOING SO, like I did, despite the appearance of being a "Christian" for years, may I lovingly ask you this tenderly?
What are YOU REALLY trusting in? Be Honest with God. WHAT are YOU trusting in REALLY, DEEP DOWN, beloved friend
Be Honest with God. IT IS OK TO DO THAT---HE ALREADY KNOWS YOUR TRUE ANSWER AND NOT ONE OF US CAN HIDE ANYTHING From HIM!!
Are you trusting in your own "good" deeds or efforts or "works" to save you? It won't work because our righteousness is as filthy rags before Him compared to His holiness and absolute perfection.Isaiah 64:6 says, "All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
Last question-Is THERE EVEN THE SLIGHTEST POSSIBILITY that you are trusting in either of these two things rather than Christ and what He did on your behalf??
1) Are you possibly trusting in a time when "you prayed a prayer" and trusting in THE PRAYER RATHER THAN CHRIST JESUS ALONE?
2) Are you trusting in the fact that someone somewhere (or maybe several people along the way) have told you you are saved for assurance of your salvation and belief that you are saved, RATHER THAN GETTING THAT ASSURANCE FROM THE SPIRIT OF GOD HIMSELF AS THE ROMANS 8 passage I quoted states? NO ONE ELSE CAN GIVE YOU THAT ASSURANCE BUT GOD HIMSELF!!!! I KNOW, beloved friend, I HAVE been there!!!
I say what I mean on this blog and I am not afraid to do that..and I WILL NEVER take this post down, no matter how much "flack," so to speak, I get about it! We need to hear this, everyone! It IS TIME to wake up. I love you with Christ's love and that is why I tell you this---even if it is really hard to hear. If you have questions, e-mail me---I'd love to talk to you.