One of the most important messages the church needs to hear
As a very young Christian I became a counselor for several Billy Graham movies during the 70s. They were quite popular and effective. Graham trained volunteers who would be available after the movie to counsel audience members who wished to follow Christ. We also gave them some simple but thorough written materials to take home. Each well thought out program began with the simple gospel message of personal sin, Jesus’ salvation and finally a public confession.
For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Romans 10:10
We were instructed to ask the person to repeat the words of a standard confession in a few brief phrases after we did.
I had two little girls, one 10, the other about 12. They listened respectfully. Then the younger of the two told how much she loved Jesus, and all her experiences in Bible school and church. How happy she was! I was floored. I hardly expected that. The other girl was silent most of the time, but listened and behaved.
Public words spoken aloud
I began to read the confession in the book out loud, first for the younger, because I knew she already knew Christ and her example would motivate her friend. I would say a short phrase; she would repeat it. She did it perfectly. Then I turned to the second girl.
Here is how her “confession” sounded. “I believe in brurb…gh….thh……” She could not say the phrase. So I started again “I believe in blubbd…thgns…..psssnnsr….” So I stopped.
I recalled a scripture from 1 John which was not in my prepared materials. No man can say except by the Holy Spirit that Jesus is Lord.
I John 4:22-23 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God;
So I stopped and asked her to repeat after me: “Jesus is God come in the flesh.”
She couldn’t do it. I tried it again. Again she could not say it. Keep in mind that out of the mouth comes not just words and air, but also the spirit. This girl was unable to say the confession. Consequently I gave her the materials but in no way confirmed that she was “saved” because clearly she was not. Inside the Spirit of God would not allow those words to come out.
Do not tell people they are saved when they are not
We do a disservice to people when we endorse their “salvation” so easily. The New Testament church believers were required to submit to a year or two of review, cleansing and teaching. This was all the more important because Christians were being slaughtered by the Roman authorities, and in other parts of the Mediterranean as well. To allow into the fellowship the wrong person could mean your death or imprisonment..
How many people are blissfully living life, fully believing they are saved when their heart is not right?
If you enjoy our articles here, please join the discussion by subscribing, and following us on Twitter @ImmaculateAssum and at Immaculate Assumptions on Facebook. Additional background material on the author and her writings can be found at AMAZON where you may purchase her e-book, Immaculate Assumptions: All You Heard about the Bible that Isn’t True.