The matter of whether asking Jesus into your heart saves is, therefore, a very good question. It is a question which we must answer from the Scriptures, the Word of God itself, rather than from our own preferences, experiences or even the hallowed teachings of various beloved evangelists, which should guide our answer to such a crucial question.
First, we might ponder for a moment how this phraseology became so popular in Bible-believing, evangelical Christianity, if it is not Biblical.
The answer, I believe, is a bit shocking, and revealing. It is merely, apparently, a teaching of men—a tradition which has been accepted as right or orthodox because of the respect in which those who use this phraseology are held. As I mentioned, they are among some our most respected and successful evangelists and teachers in the evangelical, Bible-believing world.
However, it is sad to say, that we have, as our American evangelical sub-culture, likely become involved in some of the very practices which Jesus Himself decried. I believe we have substituted the teachings and traditions of men for the clear teaching of the Word of God, just as the Pharisees and scribes had in Mark 13 and elsewhere.
Before we pursue just exactly what the Bible has to say about how a person is saved, I want to answer the question which I posed at the outset of this post, for those of you who are becoming impatient. My answer to the question, “Can asking Jesus into your heart save?” is, it depends.
Most of the time, if it is an honest expression of faith in the true Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the God-man and His ability to save us apart from our own works, through grace alone, and repentance is also involved, then the answer is yes, such an expression of faith can and does save. However, if the person uttering the prayer has no understanding of who Jesus really is; if He does not understand that Jesus can and will save Him apart from His works; if there is no understanding that repentance—turning from sin to Christ—is involved, and if the Gospel that Christ died for our sins and rose again has not been preached, then there is a very good chance that the prayer asking Jesus into your life does not save, but rather gives the person a false assurance of salvation.
It’s a point of Biblical discernment—a point which I will support, from the Word of God, in my next post—Can Inviting Jesus into Your Heart Save? Part 3.