Decisions, Decisions…

One of the most common questions I hear – from both kids and adults – is how you get “saved”. Is it a special prayer? Is it changing the way you live your life? Or is it something else entirely?

Quite honestly, it doesn’t matter what I think. It doesn’t even matter what you may think. God’s Word is the source of truth. So let’s start there.

ROMANS 10:9If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Through careful study of Scripture we find that God’s spirit needs to be present “in your mouth and in your heart” (Romans 10:8) for you to be saved. You cannot have one or the other. Both are critical.

It doesn’t take a theologian to understand that words can simply be words. They can be empty, hollow, and meaningless. I can say whatever I want, but it doesn’t always mean it’s true. If you don’t believe me, try telling your son or daughter to apologize for something they did wrong! They may not mean it on the first try, but eventually they may learn the weight of their actions, thus filling their words with meaning.

Likewise, it is not enough simply to believe and have faith (Matthew 7:21-23; James 2:26). God never meant for anyone to be a “closet Christian”. If our confidence is found in the truth of who God is and what He has done for us, our faith will be characterized by boldness.

God never meant for anyone to be a “closet Christian”.

ROMANS 1:16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.

The word gospel literally means “good news”. In fact, it’s even more than that. It’s the best news!

COLOSSIANS 1:21-23Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

This year, we’ve had over 150 kids give their lives to Christ. We’ve long past the point in which we shattered our old record. However, 150 single decisions are not the end of the story. It doesn’t end like a Disney story with a , “and they lived happily ever after.” The story is just beginning.

The process of becoming holy and acceptable before God is just that – a process! That’s why our vision statement at The Grove is not “Changed by God to reach all people.” (It’s actually “Being changed by God to reach all people.”) Instead, we understand that pursuing God is a lifelong journey. There’s no point where you realized you’ve “arrived”. I’m not preaching from the finish line. I’m still running the race just like you are!

I’m not preaching from the finish line. I’m still running the race.

When someone prays to accept God into their life, it marks the beginning of the discipleship process. Jesus chose His final words very carefully when he said in Matthew 28:19, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” He didn’t say to rack up decisions and move on to the next lost person. Rather, we are to come alongside new believers, and guide them through their pursuit of knowing and serving God. This is what discipleship is all about!

God is writing a story in your life, just as He is in mine. Taking the first step and accepting Him into your heart is just the beginning of that story. What God is doing in your heart should make it impossible to shut up about how He is moving in and through you. Knowing God is the beginning, making Him known is the goal.