How To Ask Jesus Into Your Heart

How to accept Jesus into your heart

WHEN AND HOW DO YOU ACCEPT JESUS INTO YOUR HEART? So, what is the process of accepting Jesus into your heart? What exactly does this mean? Please join us every Sunday for Sunday Bible Study Basics, where we will share weekly Bible study techniques to assist you in growing in your faith. It is as simple as accepting Jesus’s method of living, loving, and directing our lives when we ask him to enter our hearts. We believe that when Jesus came to earth, he was God manifested in human form. At the same time, he is one hundred percent God and one hundred percent man.

A new heart has been given to me.

As Christians, we are encouraged to follow in their footsteps.

And it is our trust in Jesus that allows us to be saved by his grace.

  1. Our salvation does not come from our good actions or from doing anything exceptional; rather, it is a free gift from God, given to us simply because He cares so much about us.
  2. We gain salvation and eternal life as a result of our actions.
  3. In the name of Jesus, I believe that you are God’s Son and the Savior of the world.
  4. I think that it is because of your sacrifice that I have become a new person.
  5. Today, I make the decision to follow you as Lord of my life for the rest of my days.
  6. What are the next stages in this process?
  7. We should be pleased with ourselves!
  8. You will evolve as a result of your experiences in life together.
  9. For those who don’t already have a Bible, you may either purchase one at a shop or order one online, or you can download the YouVersion Bible app.
  10. As a result, set aside 10-15 minutes every day for prayer and reading.

Take a look the next time your church is hosting a baptism service. It’s a biblically mandated action. Essentially, it is the external representation of an inside choice. In short, that’s what it means to receive Jesus into your heart, and that’s what you should do next when you have done so.

Is it biblical to ask Jesus into your heart?

QuestionAnswer “Would you like to be saved?” Then all you have to do is beg Jesus to enter your heart.” While this remark is not explicitly anti-biblical, it is also not explicitly biblical either. As a result of the phrase, a mental image is created that can easily lead to incorrect perceptions, especially among children, who have a tendency to take things literally. Furthermore, the invitation to “ask Jesus into your heart”—if that is the entirety of the message—omits other critical elements such as repentance and faith.

  1. Paul, on the other hand, is writing to Christians who have already accepted Christ as their Savior.
  2. In the framework of Ephesians 3, there is no evangelistic appeal to be made.
  3. The scripture from which the notion of “asking Jesus into your heart” is commonly derived is Revelation 3:20, which says, “Here I am!
  4. In the event that someone hears my voice and answers the door, I will come in and dine with them, and they will eat with me.” Take note, however, that the heart is not mentioned at all in the text.
  5. In this setting, Jesus is preaching to the church of Laodicea, which was in severe need of repentance at the time of Jesus’ appearance (verse 19).
  6. The verse makes no mention of a person pleading with the Lord to save him or herself.
  7. This is the gospel, which is the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection in order to forgive us of our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3–4).
  8. We must alter our views about our sin and about who Christ is, believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead, and accept the gift of everlasting life through trust in Jesus.

A person must first comprehend sin and its cost, as well as the payment made by Christ on the cross and the truth of Christ’s resurrection before being urged to “ask Jesus into your heart.” In fact, referring to salvation as Jesus’ “coming into your heart” may even assist a person in understanding that the Spirit of Christ comes to indwell the soul throughout the regeneration process (see John 14:17).

  1. Nonetheless, it is always preferable to employ the vocabulary found in the Bible.
  2. We should be cautious about what we say and how we say it while sharing the gospel with others.
  3. Judas Iscariot believed basic facts about Jesus, but he never put his faith in Jesus as a source of eternal salvation.
  4. It is not necessary to beg Jesus to come into your heart in order to be saved.

Making a fresh start through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit is what salvation is all about (Titus 3:5). Questions regarding Salvation (return to top of page) Is it permissible to invite Jesus into your heart according to Scripture?

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How to Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Eternal Life

“Jesus stated.” “Look! I approach the front door and knock. You may count on me to come in and enjoy a dinner with you as friends if you hear my voice and answer the door.” Revelation 3:20 New International Version If you’re reading this, it means he’s waiting for YOU to bring HIM into YOUR life. He will not impose Himself on you in any way. You must invite Him into your life by opening the door of your heart. Take a look at the image on the left. Take note of the fact that the door does not have a door handle on the exterior.

No, Jesus did not suffer and die on the cross in order for us to have religion!

Jesus gave His life in order for you to establish a personal connection with Him!

Are you ready?

When it comes to determining whether or not you’ve been saved, this is what you must do if you genuinely desire to be born again, receive the Holy Spirit, and obtain a one-way, non-stop ticket toHeaven after your death, or that you will not be left behind at the Rapture, which can occur at any time.

Answer these questions:

  • Is it your belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins once and for all? Consider if you think that Jesus died on the cross, was resurrected from the dead, and is now sitting at the right hand of the Father. Are you remorseful for your misdeeds and repentant of them? Are you going to put an end to your sins? Do you want Jesus to forgive you of your sins once and for all? If you answered yes, Will you give Him your entire life, and only Him, as your Savior? What makes you decide to follow Jesus alone, rather than a church, Mary, or the Saints

If you said YES! to all of these, then you are ready to ask Him to come into your heart and home. Afterwards, proceed to the next section heading. You should study some more articles on this page and pray to God to reveal the reality of the Gospel to you if you don’t already know what it is. You must, however, pray to God to open your eyes, mind, and heart to the truth, and you will eventually come across it.

Prayer to Ask Jesus into Your Heart

“Dear Lord Jesus, I am well aware that I am a sinner. I believe You died as a sacrifice for my sins. Please accept my apologies. In this moment, I repent of my misdeeds and open the door to you into the depths of my heart and my life. I confess You as my personal Lord and Savior. I thank You for everything. I give you complete control of my life, and I promise to follow you exclusively for the rest of my days. Thank You, Jesus, for rescuing me from certain death. “In the name of Jesus, Amen.”

Next Steps in Your New Walk with Jesus…

  1. Begin reading the Bible on a regular basis to come to know God better. For those who don’t already have one, I recommend theYouVersion,, and theYouVersion. Over the Wordapp — both are free and feature a plethora of excellent Bible lessons
  2. Through the Internet
  3. Pray at least once a day. Talk to God about it. Invoke the guidance of the Holy Spirit every day
  4. Find and join a Bible-believing church — preferably one that is not affiliated with a particular denomination — and get baptized

What Bible Version Should I Get?

Here are three study Bibles that I think you’ll enjoy. ( is an affiliate.) “You must now continue to follow Christ Jesus, just as you did when you accepted him as your Lord. Allow him to become the foundation of your life, and allow your roots to grow down into him. Then your confidence in the truth you were taught will become stronger, and you will be overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7 (New Living Translation)

Welcome to the family!

After all, what is Sunday School if the instructor doesn’t address the question, “Have you invited Jesus into your heart?” ‘This is standard religious rhetoric,’ said a large portion of the population. It is possible that we have heard it so many times that we no longer recognize what it means.

Numerous sayings that appear in Christian societies are based on specific Bible texts or teachings, and they are often humorous in nature. Is “asking Jesus into your heart” even scriptural, on the other hand?

Is This Phrase in the Bible?

In the Bible, there is no such statement as “ask Jesus into your heart.” We also don’t come across any verses that explicitly refer to it, which is in contrast to certain conceptions (such as the theory of the Trinity). Perhaps the closest we can approach is this phrase from Revelation 3:20, which reads, “Here I am! I approach the front door and knock. In the event that someone hears my voice and answers the door, I will come in and dine with them, and they will eat with me.” First and foremost, it should be noted that this text says nothing about the heart.

Second, we should consider the context in which the verse is written.

This verse does not appear to be discussing salvation at all, given that it is addressed directly to the congregation in question.

While praying for them, Paul addresses it to the congregation as a plea for them to grow in their relationship with Him.

What Does the Phrase Mean?

Generally speaking, when people speak of “asking Jesus into our hearts,” they are referring to the process of becoming a Christian. This does not imply that the expression is unbiblical or anti-biblical just because these phrases are not used in the Scriptures. Instead, it draws attention to several important aspects of the process of coming to Christ. With the concept of “inviting Jesus into our hearts,” we are implying that He should occupy the center stage in our lives. The phrase “close to our hearts” refers to something that is significant or meaningful to us.

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While this concept of the Holy Spirit indwelling is technically valid, it is sometimes mistranslated by others, particularly for children, as Jesus coming to live in our hearts.

What Are Other Phrases We Can Use?

It is not possible to explain the entirety of the gospel or what it means to surrender to Christ as Lord and Savior using the phrase “asking Jesus into our hearts” on its own. Consider the fact that it doesn’t say anything about surrendering to Christ’s Lordship, repentance, or the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, for example. As a result, we frequently hear different terms used to refer to someone who has accepted Christ as their Savior. “Accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior” is a statement that is frequently used in place of “asking Jesus into your heart.” There are two meanings to this phrase.

Second, acknowledging Him as Savior demonstrates our recognition of our own sin and the need for salvation (Romans 3:23-24).

These are useful in reminding us that we are going away from a life of sin and toward a life of service to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved,” says the Bible’s author in Romans 10:9, “you will be saved.” Other verses to consider include John 3:16, Acts 2:37-38, and John 1:12 (among others).

Is it Wrong to Use This Phrase?

It is neither immoral or detrimental to use the expression “asking Jesus into our hearts” on its own terms. When a single term or notion is utilized without describing what it means, confusion might result, and problems can occur. Asking Jesus into our hearts must be expressed in terms of making Him the focal point of our life — that which is closest to our hearts — in order to be understood. We must declare our recognition of Him as Lord – He, not our own passions and wants, is now in command, and not our own.

  • (Matthew 4:17;Acts 3:19).
  • In the end, it is not our exact words that have the most impact.
  • Photograph courtesy of Unsplash/arhmi Alyssa Roat attended Taylor University, where she majored in literature, theology, and the Bible.
  • Literary Agency, as the PR manager for Mountain Brook Ink, and as a freelance editor for Sherpa Editing Services, among other positions.
  • More information about her may be found here, as well as on social media at @alyssawrote.

Getting John 1:12 Right: Should You Invite Jesus Into Your Heart?

Is it beneficial to criticize the evangelistic methods of individuals or organizations? For starters, there aren’t nearly enough people who are urging others to join them in following Christ. Should I make any attempt to sabotage anyone’s efforts in any manner, even for the small number of people who would listen to me? I’m hoping against hope that I won’t. I’d rather believe that I’m making a positive contribution to our evangelism. And it is in desperate need of improvement. No one can deny that the apparent outcomes of the approach of evangelistic appeal based on the scripture in question (John 1:12, as well as Rev.

  1. According to my estimation, practically all of the evangelistic successes coming out of the United States, and even the rest of the globe, are founded on an approach that derives from a problematic interpretation of John 1:12, which I shall discuss more.
  2. My acquaintances in this ministry can speak to the genuineness of these workers, as well as their readiness to take risks for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  3. And there is no way that pastors who have preached this specific viewpoint could be wrong.
  4. As a result, I’ll proceed with caution.
  5. Because I have made extensive use of John 1:12 in the past with what I believe to be an erroneous understanding of it, I believe I am entitled to talk freely about how I view it today.
  6. The fact that you said that has an eerie quality to it.
  7. One of the reasons for rejecting this approach was due to the observation that a large number of my converts who came through the incorrect application of John 1:12 looked to be fake converts in the early days.
  8. I hope you understand what I mean when I say that I “miss” this scripture as a mainstay evangelistic tool as much as you do.

As soon as I began to see the poem in a different light, I realized that I had lost my primary conceptual weapon. It took some time for me to figure out how I was going to respond to the gospel from that point forward.

A Look at the Verse in Context

I haven’t told you about the notion that many people incorrectly infer from this passage. It is when I have quoted the poem in its context that I will make my decision (1:11-13). He was present in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world was unaware of His presence. And when He arrived to His own, those who were His own did not welcome Him as their own. Those who welcomed Him, on the other hand, were given the right to become God’s children, including those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of flesh, nor of the will of man, but of the will of God.

Specifically, it has to do with the usage of the term “accept,” which is considered to signify that an unconverted individual is to “ask Jesus into his heart” as the gospel’s invitation.

It is this phrase (“If any man opens the door.”, an appeal to wayward professed Christians who must open their hearts to more authentic relationship with Christ) that has molded modern Western evangelism (and beyond), resulting in our evangelism looking very different from that of the apostles.

What then is this verse, with its surrounding context, actually saying?

1. First and foremost, it asserts that the entire world, and Jews in particular, were blind to Jesus’ presence. They were completely baffled as to who He was. They were unaware of His existence, despite the fact that He created them all. They were completely unable to comprehend who Christ was on their own own. The people around Him did not “receive” or “welcome,” nor did they “accept,” nor did they “fully acknowledge.” A full-blown teaching of depravity as a trait of every individual is not stated here, but it is inferred because of the universality of their rejection of Christ, with the exception of the particular case John will address later in the chapter.

  1. It is those who are receiving Him who are blessed.
  2. As a result, even in the face of widespread rejection, there are others who accept Him.
  3. A simple comparison between the word “receive” in verse 11 and the word “receive” in verse 12 will reveal that this phrase cannot possible bear the connotation of “inviting Christ in,” as is usually understood in Western evangelism.
  4. Three-fold, it teaches that the reception of Jesus must be qualified in some way further.
  5. There are two possible interpretations of this.
  6. Alternatively, John may be implying that faith is required in order to receive Christ.
  7. We understand that faith is more than simply accepting Christ as He truly is, or as He truly is in the present moment.

But there’s more to it than that.

Those who believe (which begins with their reception of Him) have the right to be adopted as sons and daughters of God.

Fourth, the child of God has an experience that goes beyond (and, I believe, even before) his confidence in God.

As a matter of fact, the fact that these people are his sons has nothing to do with their lineage, human decision, or the will of those acting on his behalf.

Salvation, no matter how much we would like to believe differently, cannot be credited to man in any manner, not even in his believing, but is first and foremost a work of God on our behalf.

(i.e., those who believe in His name and were born.

If we do not say this, we will have to conclude that John is teaching that it is at the very least consistent with a man’s religious beliefs.

However, given John’s assertion that “human decision” could not have brought about the birth required to be a kid, it appears that placing it before the exercise of the will in believing is the correct way to interpret the chronology.

Where Does This Leave Us?

Modern evangelism nearly never accepts verses 11 and 13 of the scripture, and as a result, it repeatedly and incorrectly employs verse 12. Because it does not recognize verse 11, it is unable to accurately grasp the word “receive,” which results in a slew of difficulties. For the same reason that modern evangelism fails to consider verse 13, we find less than enough reliance on the Lord and an acknowledgement of God as the creator of redemption. That may help to explain why there is so much pride in evangelism, at least in part.

I used to claim that I would never talk to people about believing in Christ because it is difficult to explain because of the several layers of meaning involved, but that I would only use the concept of “inviting Christ into one’s life.” That is something that even a youngster can understand.

With the exception of Revelation 3:20, which is similarly misconstrued, there appears to be no place in the Bible that promotes the concept of “inviting Christ into the heart.” The concept of faith in Christ is articulated more than 500 times in the New Testament, yet there is no reference of “inviting Christ in.” In the evangelical book of John, the word “believe” and its many variations are mentioned ninety-eight times.

  • We acknowledge that the concept of faith is frequently spoken in the context of the Christian’s walk, but we also recognize that faith is frequently mentioned in the context of one’s acceptance into God’s family.
  • Salvation is reduced to a one-time event rather than a lifetime commitment.
  • The only way a man may be rescued is by faith.
  • You’ll have to look through the pamphlets that promote the concept of “inviting Christ into your life” to locate a prayer like this.
  • When the Bible speaks of calling on the name of the Lord, it might refer to anything as simple as invoking Christ’s name in order to be accepted by God—a reasonable interpretation.
  • It is, without a doubt, just auxiliary at best.
  • The apostles Paul and Peter did not conclude their sermons with the words, “repeat this prayer after me.” People, on the other hand, listened and believed, with the majority of them surviving their gospel message.
  • Because “I did not invite Jesus into my heart,” some people who have doubts about their salvation have asserted that they are certainly not authentic Christians.

They would fare much better if they investigated the faith in which they claim to believe. They might do better by seeking for signs of life within the soul; and perhaps even better than that by turning their gaze away from themselves and onto Christ first, then determining when they first believed.

Here is what we should do:

1. We should abandon the notion of “inviting Christ into one’s life” for all time. Even if two texts may be taken to imply that this is a possibility, the sheer number of other scriptures that state unequivocally that believing in Christ is the gospel invitation should lead us to reject the notion in practically every instance, regardless of the interpretation. I understand that Christ is in the believer, but I also understand that the believer is in Christ. Although the second notion is addressed more frequently in the New Testament than the first, we do not have people pray to be accepted into Christ.

  • We are referring to a belief that requires repentance (turning away from and back to) as well as a belief that has an impact on our lives from that point on.
  • We should refrain from using the “praying the prayer” strategy in our petition.
  • It is not the case.
  • I grant that God is a personal being who must be sought out and talked to.
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“Do so, and you will live!” In this case, “believe” refers to much more than simply acknowledging Christ; rather, it refers to commitment to Christ and his words, promises, and future hope, as well as trust in what He has done for sinners through His life, death, resurrection, ascension, and intercession that could not be done by any human, a transfer of trust that affects our lives and behavior forever.

  • 3.
  • However, “belief” is continuously portrayed as the essence of our answer throughout the New Testament.
  • I’m not going to mention any scriptures here, but there is nothing more straightforward to locate in the New Testament.
  • Alternatively, go through the book of Acts with this in mind.
  • Always keep in mind that the pamphlets will offer you verse after verse about believing in something, and then, at the conclusion of the presentation, they will make a beeline for John 1:12 and Revelation 3:20, which will be incorrectly interpreted.
  • Don’t fall into the same old cycle anymore.
  • In addition, we should spend a lot more time preaching about the horrors of sin and the work of Christ on the cross for sinners.
  • When we are brutally honest with someone about their sin and clear about the fact that the only solution is found in Christ, His death, and resurrection, we have effectively proclaimed the gospel to that person.
  • By taking a formulaic approach to the gospel rather than a content-filled proclamation, we will really be working against the Spirit’s intent.

You will know someone is saved not by whether or not they “pray the prayer,” but by whether or not they repent and trust in Christ, as evidenced by their genuine commitment to following Him. “Do you believe what you’re hearing?”

If We Continue

If we continue in the existing pattern of evangelism, we will continue to witness the outcomes that such a pattern inevitably brings with it. Thus, we will witness individuals who really pray a little prayer but who do not truly believe in Jesus Christ on a fundamental level. Even if we follow the Bible to the letter, we will always have some amount of fallout, for even Jesus, as well as Paul and the other apostles, had their share of false converts to contend with. This explains why the phrase “Do not be fooled” appears so frequently in the New Testament.

  1. We will continue to have a considerably greater number of tares than wheat in our fields.
  2. I’m ashamed by my clumsy attempt to convey what I’m attempting to assist us in understanding.
  3. For starters, I’m urging a purer kind of evangelism, one that is guided by the Bible rather than convenience, history, or pragmatism.
  4. Even if the numbers are fewer, it stands to reason that solid technique will result in a greater number of real converts.

In Jim Elliff’s case, the neologism “neologism” refers to the absence of a formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formalized formal 2008 is the year of the pig.

Does the Bible say to ask Jesus into your heart?

The expression “asking Jesus into your heart” is one that is frequently used in the Christian community, particularly in children’s Sunday school, yet it is not found in the Bible itself. A single one of the apostles never mentioned the phrase “accepting Jesus into your heart” when referring to salvation. This oversimplification and, at worst, utter misrepresentation of the gospel of redemption is a serious problem. Small toddlers, on the other hand, are prone to misinterpretation since they take everything so literally.

Where did “ask Jesus into your heart” come from?

Requesting Jesus into your heart is commonly associated with Revelation 3:20, in which Jesus declares, “Here I am! Come and see!” I approach the front door and knock. In the event that someone hears my voice and answers the door, I will come in and dine with them, and they will eat with me.” However, if you look closely, you will discover that this text says nothing about the heart. To add the fact that it is not about pleading with Jesus to do something, but rather it is Jesus who is pleading with us to do something.

This church’s members, known as lukewarm Christians, had grown complacent in their faith, and Jesus was coaching them on how to reform.

This means that the verse in Revelation 3:20 does not truly have anything to do with someone initially calling on Jesus to accept the gift of eternal life.

Is ittruethat Jesus enters our hearts upon receiving salvation?

Absolutely! According to Jesus’ promise, the Holy Spirit “dwells with you and will be in you” as a support system for your faith (John 14:17). As the verse Romans 8:9 tells us, “Alternatively, you are not in the flesh but rather in the Spirit, supposing that the Spirit of God resides within you. No one can claim to be a member of Christ unless they have the Spirit of Christ in their lives.” In Ephesians 3:17, the apostle Paul prayed, “that Christ may live in your hearts by faith.” However, having the Spirit of God in your heart is only a byproduct of salvation, and it is not the entire process.

And, as a result of Jesus’ death, God grants us remission of sins if we believe in him (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

When it comes to repentance, it is all about altering the way we think about sin, coming to grasp who Christ is, and seeing how His narrative is intertwined with ours.

Should we stop saying “ask Jesus into your heart”?

A simpler version of “ask Jesus into your heart” is “ask Jesus to enter your life” or “let Jesus to take control of your life,” respectively. If you use the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” as part of a larger, more comprehensive exposition of the gospel of salvation, then yes, it is perfectly OK to use the phrase. We don’t want to oversimplify or mislead people about what salvation is all about, therefore we’ll avoid doing so. Someone who has never heard that term before (or who has never had it explained to them) is not likely to comprehend what it is trying to convey.

Draw attention to the way in which we are transformed into new creations through Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) and God’s gift of grace alone—not because we earned it or earned the right to receive it (Ephesians 2:8).

May God give you insight as you share your faith with those you care about (James 1:5).


  • What is the identity of Jesus Christ? What is the significance of Jesus’ resurrection? What exactly is repentance? What exactly is salvation?

While the phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” is a shortened version of the phrases “ask Jesus to enter your life” and “let Jesus to take control of your life,” it is not found in the Bible as a formal command. The use of a more extensive explanation is recommended since we don’t want to oversimplify or mislead people about what salvation is all about. Those unfamiliar with the phrase will have difficulty understanding what it means in this context.

When reduced to its most basic form, the Gospel message is as follows: believe (John 3:16; Acts 16:31), receive (John 1:12), and repent (Acts 3:19). Also, make sure you grasp what those phrases represent in order to be prepared when the time comes to share your beliefs with others.

Writer/Editor: Catiana N.K.

Cat is the web producer and editor for She has a background in journalism. She enjoys listening to audiobooks, cooking for the people she cares about, and illuminating a place with Christmas lights. Catiana likes spending time with her two teenage children, five socially awkward cats, and her incredible friend-family when she is not writing, cooking, or sketching.

Asking Jesus into one’s heart – Wikipedia

To ask Jesus into one’s heart is a description of personal conversion that is commonly used in evangelicalism. It is frequently considered to be a component of the sinner’s prayer. According to Paul Chitwood, the term “did not appear easily before the turn of the twentieth century,” but it had “become the standard manner of expressing conversion by the mid-part of the twentieth century” by the mid-part of the century. The statement does not appear elsewhere in the Bible, and it has been widely condemned for its use.

Larry Moyer, who listed this as one of the things that God never stated.

The term, according to Moyer, “frequently communicates the sense that one is saved by reciting a prayer rather than trusting in Christ.” When it comes to asking Jesus into one’s heart, J.

Greear argues in his bookStop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved that it is not the same thing as believing the gospel.

From a Calvinist point of view, asking Jesus into one’s heart is a “popular misperception of the gospel,” according to Michael Horton, who argues that “it is the objective act of Christ done outside of ourselves” that “makes the gospel genuinely Good News.” In his subsequent argument, Horton claims that “salvation by accepting Jesus into your heart often presupposes that the Good News is only something that God delivers, but the hearer is then instructed to do something – however tiny – in order to truly make this salvation effective.”


Note from the editor: This article first appeared on It has been reposted here with the author’s permission. To receive Jesus into your heart, all you have to do is ask. This is something I’m sure you’ve heard before. It’s a classic evangelistic phrase, and it immediately brings to mind the following Facebook advertisements: Learning to play the guitar doesn’t have to be difficult any more! With my new approach, you can learn to play excellent solos in as little as 15 minutes! Learn how I made a million dollars each month working only 10 hours per week in this article!

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Alternatively, for my personal favorite, have a look at this gem that appeared on my newsfeed the other day: Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.

The decision to follow Christ does not have any precondition in my opinion, as if one had to meet certain requirements before taking out a mortgage or a car loan. However, I believe there are a couple of highly troubling aspects to this overused cliché.

Jesus doesn’t live in your heart

The Lord Jesus Christ still possesses a human body, and that body has risen into the heavens as King to be seated “at the right hand of God.” Even though the Father is not human and does not have a physical body, at the very least it implies that Jesus is still alive and breathing, rather than establishing a camp in your pulmonary valve as some have speculated. This isn’t some bizarre spin-off series of the Magic School Bus in which he shrinks himself to the size of your arteries to get into your veins.

  • In his own words, Jesus promised that he would be “with us always,” but he stated this in conjunction with a statement announcing that the Father will send the Holy Spirit to fill us and act through us.
  • It’s unlikely that anyone in their right mind believes any of the caricatures I’ve shown above are accurate.
  • However, when we use such language, it is easy to lose sight of one of the most important, radical, startling, and absolutely unprecedented beliefs of the Christian faith: that God became human and continues to be human in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.
  • Already, there is a person present in God’s throne chamber, and he served as the “new Adam” who opened the way for the rest of us to enter.

Jesus didn’t ask us to ask him into our hearts

A number of instances exist in which Jesus himself called people to follow him as disciples, and he never used the Sinner’s Prayer or the “just ask me into your heart” lingo in doing so. His words included phrases like as “follow me,” “take up your cross,” and “leave everything behind.” I don’t think I need to explain how significant the difference between these two on-ramps into a life of discipleship is. I believe you understand. We should be ashamed of ourselves for reducing “salvation” (another thing Jesus described in a completely different way than we do) to nothing more than a simple request.

I’m not arguing that we should try to earn God’s forgiveness and acceptance by our actions.

While the offer/call to pledge my allegiance to God’s Kingdom is compelling, the statement “just ask Jesus into your heart and get your sins forgiven” makes me feel like I’m talking to a Cutco knife salesman or a guy in a trench coat trying to sell me a knockoff Rolodex.

What does it even mean anyway?

As a result of using language as ambiguous as “ask Jesus into your heart,” we end up having to play a lot of catch-up after the bait and switch has been pulled. It doesn’t seem fair to me to sell someone a thing and then only subsequently explain what they’ve purchased from you. While this is true, it does not imply that we must spell out the entire story of the Bible, all of Christ’s teachings, and the full theology of the Kingdom of God before someone may come to faith in Jesus as their Savior and Lord (although, incidentally, the early church did exactly that by requiring at least two years of attendance and learning before allowing people to be baptized).

  • There has to be some kind of happy medium in this situation.
  • However, as is often the case, I believe it is vital to critically analyze the language we are using since our language impacts our sense of reality in many ways.
  • Corey Farr is a professional basketball player.
  • Now he lives and works in Lebanon, a small nation close to war-torn Syria, where he oversees a residential facility and primary school for Syrian and Lebanese orphans, as well as children who are at danger of being orphaned or abandoned.
  • He also hosts a podcast called “A Christian Reads the Tao te Ching,” which is available on iTunes.

“Ask Jesus into Your Heart”: A History of the Sinner’s Prayer

With the current controversy over whether President Donald Trump prayed for salvation with prosperity gospel preacher Paula White, it is a good moment to review the history of the “sinner’s prayer,” which originated in the Middle Ages. When concluding a sermon, many evangelical pastors invite non-Christians to “askJesus into their hearts,” or to recite a form of what some refer to as the “sinner’s prayer,” which is a request for forgiveness. In contrast, some evangelicals, such as Baptist pastor David Platt (head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s International Mission Board), have in recent years condemned the sinner’s prayer as being unbiblical and superstitious.

  1. Platt’s words sparked a dispute during the 2012 Southern Baptist Convention gathering in New Orleans, which was sparked by his remarks.
  2. The phrase “ask Jesus into your heart” does not appear in the Bible, however there are comparable words (e.g., “ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord,” Col.
  3. So, from whence did this prayer originate?
  4. For example, the renowned Puritan devotional writer John Flavel spoke of individuals who had heard the gospel but who would “accept Christ into their hearts,” despite the fact that they had heard it.
  5. In his sermons, Thomas Boston, a Scottish Calvinist minister, encouraged Christians to take “Christ into their souls” by partaking in communion.
  6. As a result, the word became an effective tool for communicating to proselytes the importance of making a personal decision to follow Christ.
  7. And it is possible that it is through children’s ministries and vacation Bible schools that the most questionable “decisions” for Christ are made the most frequently.
  8. Platt is definitely accurate that if all someone understands is that they are “asking Jesus into their heart” in order to get to paradise, this is a fairly pitiful — and perhaps hazardous — distillation of the gospel message.
  9. Naturally, Christians should never make the gospel more difficult than it absolutely must be, but we also do not want it to become banal in its presentation either.
  10. It captures the sense of seriousness that comes with an earnest response to the gospel: “A Sinner’s Prayer.” God of my salvation, please hear my prayer and assist me in believing:I would just get near to you in order to obtain thy benefits.

An excellent start to a thoughtful “sinner’s prayer,” in my opinion. On Patheos, I have a collection of posts from my Anxious Bench blog. Platt’s “What I Really Think About the Sinner’s Prayer,” published in Christianity Today, is highly recommended.

Is it Biblical to Ask Jesus Into Your Heart?

When it comes to presenting the gospel, the Southern Baptist blogosphere has exploded in debate about whether it is appropriate to use language such as “asking Jesus into your heart,” “accepting Christ,” or tactics such as the “sinner’s prayer” when doing so. This topic, like many others on the internet, has tended to produce more heat than light, and I have the impression that fine people on all sides of this issue are talking past one another. Is this true? About the course of several months, this debate over methodology and terminology has been boiling beneath the surface.

  1. It should come as no surprise that some pastors are condemning the tactics and terminology that were popular in the previous generation of believers.
  2. In response to this criticism, others have cited biblical and historical precedents for the use of such terminology as evidence.
  3. The concept of “receiving Christ” may be found throughout the New Testament.
  4. To provide an example, PastorSteve Gaines’s response to Dr.
  5. An International Point of View When I was a student in Romania, I had my first encounter with idioms like “ask Jesus into your heart.” It was then that I began to question the validity of such phrases.
  6. According to them, it was just another evidence of the American inclination to dilute the essence of genuine remorse, and they advised against the use of such expressions unless they were thoroughly explained.
  7. They were right to be concerned.
  8. My knowledge of the pastors who expressed worry about this terminology was that they were not Calvinistic in any way.
  9. At the very least, the fact that many Christians in other areas of the globe feel uncomfortable with this phrase should cause us to pause for thought.

Finally, the debate about “the sinner’s prayer” and “asking Jesus into your heart” isn’t actually about the legality of such procedures or the scriptural grounds for employing phrases like “having a personal connection with Christ” or “receiving Jesus.” Every one of these approaches and concepts, in my opinion, may be utilized to excellent effect if they are properly understood and articulated.

The true challenge comes down to gaining our confidence in these tactics and words in the first place.

Specifically, it’s the type of false confidence that ignores a Christian’s fruitfulness (despite the fact that Jesus instructed us to do so) and seeks to persuade tares to believe they are wheat.

The importance of the moment of conversion was stressed to me while I was growing up in independent Baptist settings.

So come on down and have it taken care of right now!” Baptisms in large numbers were beneficial for the evangelist’s public image, and hundreds of youths being re-baptized made the church feel good (“Look what God is doing in our young people!”).

I couldn’t put my finger on all of the reasons why this was incorrect, but I was certain that something wasn’t quite right.

Real-Time Conversion This discussion regarding our evangelizing strategies and vocabulary is critical at this point.

We are more likely to express worry about the correctness of evangelical language to my young pastor friends than we are to express joy at the zealousness with which evangelistic outreach is carried out.

Please don’t think that individuals who criticize superficial evangelism are necessarily condemning you or your ministry, especially if you’re a pastor in your golden years.

Once again, the issue is one of misplaced confidence.

We should all be quaking in our boots at the prospect.


All we have to do now is make certain that our terminology and phrases are well defined so that the character of authentic repentance and saving faith can be expressed clearly, assertively, and graciously.

Vice president of research and resource development of the North American Mission Board, Trevin Waxis also holds the position of visiting professor at Wheaton College.

He has also written for the Washington Post, Religion News Service, World, and Christianity Today, which named him one of 33 millennials who are molding the next generation of evangelical leaders.

Author of several publications, including The Multi-Directional Leader, Rethink Your Self, This Is Our Time, Eschatological Discipleship, and Gospel Centered Teaching, he is well-known in the Christian community.

His wife Corina and he are the parents of three children. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and you can sign up to get his essays by email.

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