“If there were a Guiness Book of World Records record for ‘amount of times having asked Jesus into your heart,’ I’m pretty sure I would hold it” (Greear 1). This is a direct quote from J.D. Greear’s book entitled, Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart / How to Know for Sure You are Saved. J.D. Greear is the lead pastor of The Summit Church, a multi-site congregation in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina. This scholarship has been read and endorsed by Matt Chandler, James MacDonald, Joshua Harris, David Platt, Ed Stetzer, Paige Patterson, and others. This power-packed little book is less than 130 pages long, but filled with so much spot-on frankness concerning security in salvation that I feel compelled to share this with others.
Perhaps the reason this book speaks to me so clearly is because like Greear, I have prayed the sinner’s prayer at least 1000 times, and what I have discovered is that I am not alone. For a long time, I didn’t tell anyone that as a young person, I prayed for salvation almost every night in fear and doubt. I always thought my doubting stemmed from coming to Christ at such a young age and not really having a deep-dark “sin list” from which to repent. Nor was there a visible difference in me like there was for the 54 year old redeemed drug-addict.
What I have found is that the more I encounter people and talk with them about their walk with the Lord, the more I realize many struggle with these same questions: “Did I really understand what I was doing the first time?” “If I’m saved, why do I continue to struggle in so many areas?” “If I die tonight with unconfessed sin in my life and Jesus returns, what if I’m left behind?” “Why do I feel compelled to pray that same prayer EVERY TIME we have a revival and the evangelist leads the whole congregation in unison?” “What if I wasn’t sincere enough?” “What if this…” “What if that…” Greear addresses this as “the damnable doctrine of doubt” and states that “every religious message except for the gospel uses doubt and uncertainty to compel obedience” (22). He goes on to explain the difference in the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s desire that we obey because we want to obey, not out of fear of punishment. And “the only way to develop real love for God is to have fear removed” (22).
One would think a book so small could be read in a short afternoon; however, this work has taken me much longer simply because of earmarking pages, annotating chapters, referencing scripture, re-reading paragraphs simply because they speak a balm to my soul, and working through the supplemental study-guide questions which are available as a free download (jdgreear.com #sinnersprayer). I plan on contacting a few personal friends who have struggled with this issue for far too long, but I also plan on keeping this book on my shelf for continued reference material. My goal in recommending this book through my blogsite is a desire to help others who may be living in turmoil over where they stand in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Hopefully, after reading Greear’s work those who have doubted in the past can once and for all drive a stake in the ground, draw a line in the sand, step across and walk in confidence and ultimate peace. No. More. Doubting.
I hope to meet this author face to face one day and simply say, “Thank you for being willing to say publicly what so many of us have feared to even whisper to ourselves.”
Greear, J.D., Stop Asking Jesus in Your Heart / How to Know for Sure You are Saved. Nashville, Tennessee: B&H Publishing, 2013. Print.