Is it possible for you or me to profess to be a Christian and yet not know Christ?
When I first saw this question, I felt a lump develop in my throat. With tears developing in my eyes, my heart began breaking at the reality that not only is it possible, it’s actually probable. The greatest deception in the church today is that if you ask Jesus to come into your heart, you will be saved from your sin. In almost every evangelical church in America today, you may hear a pastor say something along these lines for his invitation:
Dear Jesus, I know I’m a sinner, and I know that Jesus died on a cross for my sins. I ask you to come into my heart and to save me from my sins. Amen.
The modern-day invitation says, “Just ask Jesus into your heart. Invite Jesus into your life. Repeat a prayer after me, and you will be saved.”
Jesus’ invitation says,”If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)
The modern-day invitation requires very little while Jesus’ invitation comes at a great cost. Look at Jesus’ invitation a little closer: deny yourself (in other words, you must give up all rights to be in control of your life and allow Christ ALONE to be the leader and authority in your life), take up his cross (The cross was a tool of torture and shame in the 1st century. This means that following Jesus will cost you something, if not everything, including your life), and follow me (Following Jesus means counting the costs. It means removing comfort. It means potential danger. It means very few will choose to do it (see Luke 14:25-33; Luke 9:57-62; Matthew 7:13-14).
Did you know that NOWHERE in Scripture is anyone ever told to “ask Jesus into their heart” or to “invite Christ into their life”? We’ve replaced challenging words from Christ with popular phrases. “We’ve taken the lifeblood out of Christianity and put Kool-Aid in its place so that it tastes better to the crowds, and the consequences are catastrophic.” (David Platt) People all around the world think they are saved from their sins when biblically, they are not.
Matthew 7:21-23 says,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”
Which invitation will you respond to?
My prayer is that you will take some time after reading this and ask yourself, “Am I following the Jesus of the Bible or am I following Jesus that I’ve made up in my mind that is ok with the way I live my life?” There is too much at stake to brush this question off; your eternity depends on it. Today could be the day you REALLY start following Jesus! We will be praying for you as you begin this journey!