MESSAGE FOR THOSE WHO HAVE MADE A DECISION OR ACCEPTED CHRIST
And for those who are professing Christians yet living a lifestyle guided and controlled by "self."
I want to be very frank, not because what you read is the truth, but because of how seriously deceived you may be. Regardless of what decision you have made or what prayer you have prayed, if your lifestyle reflects one of sin, disregard for holy living, and a lack of spiritual maturing it is quite possible that you will never enter the kingdom of God. Listen to John the Apostle as he writes, "...by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked." (I John 2:4-6, ESV)
It may come as a major surprise and shock to you that neither "making a decision for Christ" nor "accepting Christ" are even biblical terms or concepts. First of all, you must come to fully understand that salvation is a complete work of God and not a "work" or "decision" by man. One cannot will himself, decide himself, or make himself a Christian. Again John the apostle makes this clear when he wrote, "But to all who did receive him who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13, ESV)
Jesus Christ make is very clear that new birth, or really birth from above, or spiritual birth is essential to enter the kingdom of God, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) Regeneration or salvation is a work of God not a work of man. Salvation is not something a man can do but it is something that God does. Salvation is a new birth by the Holy Spirit that God works in us. It is not an act that is performed by us.
The church has always been under assault from various errors concerning salvation and redemption. The nineteenth century the church battled the false teaching of baptismal regeneration. Baptismal regeneration teaches the salvation is extended by being baptized.
Today's error (heresy) is decisional regeneration. This heresy has infiltrated the church and is just as damnable and deceptive. Decisional regeneration in a nutshell is where someone shares a few "gospel" verses with someone, and then this unconverted individual is asked to pray a prescribed prayer and make a decision for Christ. Then this individual is pronounced "saved" and told never to doubt it. Many so called evangelistic campaigns and services promote this method shamelessly and prolifically. The end result is this person is supposed to have been made a Christian by making a decision for Christ.
There are many variations and versions to this scenario but the end result is that they end in a mechanical element requiring one to make a decision and prayer a prayer. Many people today trust their eternal outcome on this system. Many people fill our churches today who believe they are eternally secure by such a method. Yet, their lives remain unchanged, they remain loving and living in their own sin and they show no evidence of ever having been born again. When they doubt their "salvation" or are called into question concerning their lifestyle they are told to "never doubt their decision" for Christ has to make good on it.
There are a number of problems with this so called system of decision regeneration. First, one can make a profession and pray a prayer without ever having his or her confidence in themselves ever broken. Second, one can make a profession and pray a prayer and never be regenerated at all. Third, it leads to strife and difficulty in local churches as a number of un-regenerated people try to "live together" and operate spiritual principles without ever having the indwelling Holy Spirit present at all. A fourth and disastrous problem is that these individuals never experience the radical change in nature necessary to be admitted into the kingdom of heaven.
To be continued in Part III