There is a fifth problem that usually arises from those who propagate decisional regeneration. This very system often combats any and all teaching of requiring or inspecting Christlikeness and holiness from someone who has made such a decision. Many people have deceived themselves into thinking that they are Christians and have eternal security and yet have no evidence of regeneration ever having taken place.
Salvation is a very precious and priceless gift given to men by God. Salvation is a work of God in the souls of men and not a work of man achieved by man’s desires and decisions. In all fairness, most if not all of those who utilize this man-made system of decisional regeneration will also state that salvation is a work of God and not a work of man. They will be very quickly to state that man’s efforts cannot enter the mix at all. What is the problem?
When a “decision” is made or a prayer is prayed regardless of sincerity, one is depending upon a presentation of a gospel message to “convict” the unconverted of his or her need for Christ. One is then told to “sign on the dotted line” by praying what is commonly called “the Sinner’s Prayer.” After one prays such a prayer, one is pronounced saved. In many cases the response is based upon the pressure and persuasion of the gospel presenter and the desire of the recipient to enjoy the treasures of heaven and as an escape from hell.
Only God work salvation in the soul of man. Only God can open the heart in His timing. When Paul preached the gospel to the women by the riverside in Philippi it was God who opened Lydia’s heart where he worked salvation in her soul. Lydia did not make a decision or pray a prayer. The Philippian jailer after hearing the praise and prayer of Paul and Silas asked, "What must I do to be saved?”
The bible teaches that the way to salvation is very narrow. The bible also teaches that not everyone who says they are a Christian or believer actually are saved. Paul made it clear that when sin seems to be so prevalent in our lives and there is no Christlikeness present we must examine the evidence and reasons that we claim to be Christians and see if the evidence is present. John made it clear that when one says he knows Christ must live as Christ lived.
Here is the greatest part of the deception of decision regeneration – this is where one places their confidence. When one is caused to doubt their salvation or when asked when it was accomplished, one often goes back to a date, a place and moment in time when a prayer was spoken and a decision was made. Many people hang their eternal security on this “act.” The assurance of salvation comes from the knowledge that God Himself through His Holy Spirit based on the sacrificial work of Christ has wrought salvation in one’s soul. How does one know that one knows Christ? How does one “proof” salvation? Where does assurance come from? “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 2:5)
How can we destroy this heresy of decisional regeneration? We need to quit thinking man can make a decision and pray a prayer in order to be saved. We can quit calling a man to an altar or decision and call him to Christ. We can put back some missing components into our gospel preaching.
Why desire salvation in the first place? Is it merely to escape hell and go to heaven? No. Salvation is necessary because man is born with a sinful nature that is absolutely offensive to God. As a result man is born judged and under the condemnation of God. In order to be saved and forgiven man must repent of his sin, his offense to God, and cast himself on the mercy of God. We cannot leave out the awful condition of sin and the need for repentance from that sin in our gospel presentation. A man must know why he is requesting salvation and from what is he being saved.
Men must be told of their horrendous sin. They must feel the weight and the judgment of that sin in order to sincerely see a need of salvation and to desire salvation. God must give that conviction and God must open the heart of such an individual as they cry out for salvation for offending God. One cannot decide they would like to go to heaven for some mansion just over the hillside and pray a mechanical prayer at any time they deem to be right.
To be continued…