Do You REALLY Believe What You Said?

One of the fundamental problems with the seeker sensitive/emergent church movement (and the Osteen/Warren user friendly church model) is the removal of the burden of the cross of Christ.

When you’re convinced that you can “become a better you” by simply “adjusting” your lifestyle, or subscribing to “7 habits”, then you are on a slippery theological slope. Add to the confusion the route by which you accepted Christ “as your personal Savior” (a/k/a “the sinners prayer”, in most churches), then we can see why many who claim the Name of the Lord live as though they’ve never heard the Gospel proclaimed.

Take a look at the way Joel Osteen evangelizes the Gospel message:

I don’t know what Osteen said prior to that prayer, I’d be hard pressed to believe that he gave a sound expository on salvation through Jesus Christ or the Doctrines of Grace (based on his lightweight approach to “preaching” history).

The fact of the matter is that most people say the sinners prayer in order to obtain “fire insurance” – a “get out (or stay out) of hell free card” that will ensure that they spend eternity with the Father. Sadly, many never learn of the process of regeneration.

In his book “Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs”, J.I. Packer states that “regeneration” is:

a transition from spiritual death to spiritual life, and conscious, intentional, active faith in Christ is its immediate fruit, not its immediate cause.

If you come to God through Christ after having acknowledged that (1) you are a sinner and deserving of eternal damnation apart from Him (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23), (2) the sinless Christ (1 Peter 2:22) paid your sin-debt in full (2 Corinthians 5:21) as a demonstration of God’s love for you (Romans 5:8), and (3)you sincerely believe in your heart about the death, burial, Resurrection, and reign of Christ (Romans 10:9), then you are saved.

The fruit of your salvation (or as the Apostle Peter called it a “living hope” in 1 Peter 1:3) is a “regenerated” life – as referenced by J.I. Packer in the quote above. In other words, if you “prayed the sinners prayer” yet you still live the “unrepentant sinner’s life”, then one must ask if you really believe what you said in the first place.

If you truly understand that your salvation was paid for by the precious Blood of the Savior, then you’ll not only accept His free gift (after you acknowledge your sin and repent – or “turn away” from those things that displease Him), then you’ll do everything you can to stay on that “narrow path”.

Many claim to be “former Christians” – people who have purposely turned away from the faith because of their bad experiences with pulpit pimps, cults, and false gospels. I thinks it’s fair to question if they really understood the burden they were taking on when they accepted Christ and His cross in the first place:

As my brother Independent Conservative put it:

Some claim they used to be a Christian. Fact is, they used to THINK they were Christians and later only proved they never were. Christians endure till the end, because real Christians are drawn and kept by God.

The bottom line is this – when we evangelize to the unsaved, we must be sure not to lull them into “saying the sinners prayer” as a way to protect them from eternal hellfire.

We must help them understand their state without Christ, their potential eternal punishment, and the full weight of the cross that they must carry as His disciple.

If they really understand and believe their Living Hope, then they will contend for the TRUE faith and defend it against any and all false teachers (Jude 1:2-4)

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