When I was saved, it was such a dramatic, life-changing event. God truly opened my eyes to not only his glorious gospel, but also to all the lost souls in need of the same conversion. So I sought out all the teaching I could find to help me share the gospel with others. As I eagerly began to lead people through the sinner’s prayer, (as I had been taught) it quickly became obvious that they were not experiencing the same life changing salvation that I had had.
Not only did most of our converts not come to Church or get baptized as a testimony of their faith in Christ; but they also did not become new creatures. Instead, they continued to live in their sin and rebellion against God, still blind and in the dark. Something was terribly wrong.
The answer, I found was not in a new method, but in the truth of God’s word if we’re willing to hear it. Matthew 11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Sadly, we as Bible-believing Christians have put our own traditions and teachings of men above the word of God when it comes to Evangelism. No longer do we look to the law of God as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. No longer do we preach the fear of the Lord and genuine repentance of sin, but merely accept to Jesus. We invite the proud and rebellious, who have no desire to be reconciled to God or to turn from their sin, to simply ask Jesus into their hearts, and then we seal them with a prayer (rather than the Holy Spirit), assure them of salvation and leave them two-fold more children of hell than they were before.
We may be able to fool others with our false converts, but God knows the truth, and will judge our works. We should be ashamed of such gross negligence, especially when it comes to children- quite often someone else’s children.
Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!
I’d like to share my testimony to help illustrate some of the stumbling blocks that I had in coming to salvation:
As a child, growing up in the Catholic Church, I believed in Jesus. I believed that he was the sinless son of God who died for our sins, was buried, rose again the third day and was seated at the right hand of the Father. I even believed that he would come again someday to judge the world. I was not however, saved.
Why not? Because although I believed and trusted in Christ, I also trusted in my works to pay for the sins that I was unwilling to repent of. I was so deceived by sin, false religion and my own self-righteousness that I did not even really believe that I was separated from God. The truth was, I didn't really need a Savior, because I didn't really think I was that bad. I thought I was doing alright on my own.
"When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance" (Mark 2:17).
As a young adult, I learned that you must be born again. It was around that time that I was led through a sinner's prayer by a well-meaning Christian. I was told that as long as I really meant that prayer that I was saved. Well, I certainly did mean that prayer- just as much as I meant the Hail Mary's and Our Father's I prayed regularly. I was not however, saved.
It wasn't until well into my adult life, that I finally became convicted by the Holy Spirit of God for my sins. I knew then that I was not alright on my own. I honestly feared that if Christ came back and found me where I was in my life, that I was in big trouble.
At that point I knew I needed to do something to repair my standing with God, but what? My husband and I began visiting Churches, looking for the answer. We finally settled on a Fundamental, Independent Baptist Church, where we found that answer. By then, I was well aware of my sin and inability to free myself from it. I knew that I deserved God's punishment and quickly learned that there was nothing I could do to pay for my sins on my own because they just kept piling up. It was then that I heard the truth of the gospel that Jesus Christ paid it all, that he did for me what I could not do for myself.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
That precious verse was the final piece of the puzzle for me. That was what I needed to understand in order to truly believe in Christ alone as my Savior. For me, repentance included not only turning from sin, but also turning from dead works and false beliefs. Trusting in Christ without repentance toward God is not really trusting in Christ at all.
Salvation is indeed simple once we truly understand our lost condition as sinners condemned by a holy and just God. The essential difficulty in coming to salvation is not in merely accepting Jesus or even believing the facts of what he has done. It is in believing that we truly need a Savior.
I pray that Why Are We Losing the Kids? will be a blessing and a message of truth to those who are willing to hear it.