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“I Said the Sinner’s Prayer – So, I’m Good with God. I’m Going to Heaven for Sure.”

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If you go to an evangelical, Protestant church – there is a good chance that the pastor gives an “invitation” at the end of the service for people to “receive Christ.” People who want to make the decision to become believers in Christ go down to the front of the sanctuary and someone leads them in some version of “The Sinner’s Prayer.” It may sound something like this:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Your Name.
Amen. (from the Billy Graham Institute)

There is nothing really wrong with praying a prayer like this. In fact, it can and should be the beginning of a lifetime of following Jesus as LORD. Here is the problem I have found – it seems that some choose to look at this prayer as if this alone is all that is necessary to be a “Christian.” The thought goes like this, “If I say this prayer, I am going to heaven. I don’t have to change how I live, obey God, follow Jesus or alter my life in any way. But now I can call myself a ‘Christian’ because I prayed this prayer and then I can go on living for myself as I always have.”

That philosophy, my precious sisters, is incredibly dangerous. This is NOT at all what it means to be a Christian! Jesus never called anyone to know Him casually or to just recite a prayer and then live for themselves. Jesus called people to “follow Me” – as in – for the rest of their lives and all of eternity. We sometimes gloss over that word, “Lord,” as if it is no big deal. But if Jesus is LORD of my life – it is the biggest deal of all time. I give Him total control over my life from that moment on. Life is no longer about me. It is all about what Jesus wants from now on.

Here are some things that Jesus says about what it means to follow Him and to be His disciple. He gave all that He had and all that He was for us – now we have the honor and privilege of giving all that we have and all that we are for Him. He is worthy of nothing less than everything.

  • Jesus replied, Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.  Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.” John 14:22-24
  • Then Jesus said to his disciples, Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” Matthew 16:24-27
  • “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46
  • Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7:21-23
  • Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” Mark 3:35

 

To “believe” in Jesus means that we not only mentally understand that He is our Savior and Lord – (even the demons acknowledge who Jesus is, after all) – we actually follow Him, obey Him and live out our faith in very tangible ways. When a person belongs to Christ – He radically changes him/her!

  • But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:18-26

If you owed someone several billion dollars in loans and only had 2 pennies to your name, and that person forgave you that debt by paying for it himself, would you then ignore him who paid so much to release you from your massive debt? Of course not! You would be willing to do anything to bless that person and to show your gratitude! That is the same situation here, although each of us owe God more than billions of dollars and we have no way to pay our debt to Him. We have no good in ourselves according to Scripture.  We are in most desperate need of a Savior. When we find this forgiveness and such lavish grace and mercy – we will be willing to do anything Jesus asks of us – no matter what the cost to ourselves. “He who has been forgiven much loves much” (Luke 7:47). I don’t get to exempt myself from certain commands in the Bible and pick and choose which ones I want to obey. It is my great privilege, duty and honor to seek to please God in all that He asks me to do – and He gives me the very power in which to accomplish what He asks!

Works (doing good things) don’t save us. Rather – works are always the result of saving faith.

If my faith does not produce the fruit of God’s Spirit in my life (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control), and it doesn’t produce obedience to God, and I am still living in the power of my sinful self, something is VERY, VERY wrong. If I don’t hate my sin and feel tormented by the thought of grieving my wonderful Lord with my sin, something is terribly wrong.

I cannot say, “I’m a believer, but I’m not living out my faith right now.” And I cannot say, “I’m a believer in Christ, but I am living comfortably in this sin or that sin right now, no big deal.”

That way of thinking doesn’t hold water with God. If I am a believer, I cannot help but live out my faith – I have a new Spirit from God. My old flesh is dead and buried with Christ. All things have become new. I want to obey Jesus. I want to know God more. I want to be in His Word and study and absorb all that I can. I want to apply His Word to my life and be in the center of His will. He has woken me up from being spiritually dead. Now I have a spiritual appetite for Him. I love Him with all my heart. I know the great debt that I owed God and how Jesus paid for all of that evil in my life with His very blood. My motives are that I am so thankful and love God so much, I am willing to do anything He asks me to do. I hate all sin now because God hates all sin. I want Jesus to change my desires to love what He loves and to hate what He hates. I want Him to transform me to be more like Christ. I want His will rather than my own will. Yes, I have to wrestle with things at times and I have much to learn – but learning and growing in Christ is my delight and He is my greatest Treasure in the world! I know that apart from Christ, I have no good thing.

Following Christ is not about legalism – “I need to impress God (or earn my salvation) by following rules.” It is about having a real, living, breathing relationship with the God of the universe through Jesus. Yes, I receive this gift of salvation from my sins freely. Jesus did ALL of the work for me on the cross. I cannot do one thing to please God or be “good” on my own. But although my salvation is free – because Jesus paid the full debt I owed to God for my sin – it also costs me everything. Now, I don’t live for myself. I am dead to this world and my sin (Romans 6). Now, I live for Christ and for His will, His purposes, His plans, His dreams, His glory, His wisdom and I have His power, His resources and His Spirit to carry out the things He has commanded me to do. When someone is my LORD – I obey Him. When He gives me commands, they are not optional.

If I have no desire to obey Jesus, to know Him more, to be more like Him and to please Him, I need to examine whether or not I am His.

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. John 10:27

 

The real question is not “Did I pray a special prayer one time?” The real question is, “Am I following Jesus every day?”

That is what Jesus called us to do – to follow Him all throughout our lives until we reach heaven.

RELATED:

“I Prayed to Receive Christ – But I Was Not a Believer”

78 thoughts on ““I Said the Sinner’s Prayer – So, I’m Good with God. I’m Going to Heaven for Sure.”

  1. Amen, April! This is SO misunderstood in our society. We are told to count the cost before committing our lives to the Lord. {Luke 14} I also think about the parable about the seeds. The only unforgivable sin is the sin of unbelief. “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:18,19

      1. You’re right, Joanita! Thank you for the clarification. The reason I quoted this verse is because many people today think it’s just a prayer needed to be saved but Hebrews consistently reiterates that we must believe until the end and encourages us to stay in the faith. Also, faith without works is dead. We show we believe and have faith by the way we live our lives, wanting to please our Father.

    1. Lori,

      Thank you so much for sharing. Yes, the meaning of being a “Christian” is terribly misunderstood and the cost is great. 🙁 How I pray that God will send a great movement of His Spirit among His people and help us to understand what it means to follow Christ, that we might be genuine followers, filled with His Spirit and fruitful in His kingdom.

  2. Wow. Thank you for this post. I have known this as well for a little bit now and learning more about this as I go on this walk but this is super informational. I shared it with immediate family members. This will be something I print and keep always. Keep this in front to remember. Us humans have a tendency to forget and slip back into old ways. Reading this made me excited. Learning the truth is great and scary at the same time. It it such a blessing. Thank you!!! God bless.

    1. Kat,
      I am so glad this post blessed you. Sometimes we are able to miss the big picture – and I don’t want any of us to miss this!

      I can’t wait to see all that God has in store for your life!

  3. Oh boy this is one of my pet peeves. Call it “Lite Christianity”. Scripture is clear that the Holy Spirit convinces people of sin and directs them to Jesus and the cross. No one should assure someone else of salvation without checking to see if there is evidence of the Holy Spirit operating in the person’s life. By this I mean a careful and sensitive examination to see if there is evidence that the Holy Spirit has worked in this person’s heart to convince them that scripture’s claim that they are unrighteous and without hope is actually the truth, and that they need a Saviour.

    I spent many years believing myself to be a Christian because I was actually bullied into praying the sinner’s prayer. The people who did it were without remorse and expressed no awareness of their presumptuous sin though they judged me heavily for my failure to produce a Christian testimony
    .
    They informed me I was now saved once I had bowed and prayed the sinner’s prayer and became angry and defensive when I questioned the lack of peace or results. They later informed me I was a hypocrite and disobedient and prideful because my life showed no evidence of real change. I constantly struggled with assurance. Well, no wonder! You cannot argue someone into heaven nor intellectually convince them. It is the Spirit that regenerates. God grants repentance, we cannot manufacture it by force or clever use of words.

    I witnessed recently, a pastor manipulate a man into praying for salvation because he’d had a serious health scare. Is he saved? Possibly. But it seemed to me to be more force of the pastor’s personality and because the individual didn’t want to disrespect a minister than because the man was necessarily convicted of his need. The pastor took advantage of his vulnerability to collect a spiritual scalp but did he correctly preach the truth and did he probe carefully for evidence that the man was considering eternity? No, he just bulldozed him into praying and then assured him now he was saved and told him to get a bible. He was satisfied that he had discharged his obligation and it was a one off. He was basically offered heaven without any mention of his need to be cleansed of his sin. This concerns me. To think that its all about us and our ability to be skilled and persuasive is in fact godless idolatry and unbelief; we don’t really believe the Holy Spirit is able to bring conviction if God’s people get together and seek God for souls. Yet many seem not to be the unaware of the difference between God’s methods and man’s and to actually commend themselves when they should be properly grieved for their lack of sensitivity to the things of the Spirit.

    Today’s preaching of the gospel leaves out the sin part and promises heaven without the necessity of repentance. There is a movement called ” Free Grace” that completely misconstrues what is meant in scripture by the freely given grace of God. Free gracers think that repentance equals works and so to tell someone they must repent is to tell them they must earn their salvation and do something before God will forgive them. In fact, God has already forgiven them but they must accept their NEED of forgiveness in order to receive it and that means conviction of sin. We don’t repent to earn salvation but because we have truly received it; it is the evidence of the genuine. Who accepts a life preserver when they believe they can swim just fine without it? Scripture actually says What then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! And Jesus said ” Why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do as I say? Clearly a lifestyle of disobedience and sin is foreign to the true believer and to the faith that many died for and that the reformers knew. Okay enough said, I don’t mean to write you a book but this distortion of truth that is so common today is dangerous and you are quite right April to be concerned – I wholeheartedly agree.

    1. Patricia,
      Thank you so much for sharing your story.

      I have seen many people who are living in blatant sin with no remorse whatsoever say, “Oh, I prayed the Sinner’s Prayer – so – I’m good. I can do what I am doing. God has no problem with my lifestyle (adultery).”

      I am very, very concerned that we have thousands, maybe even much more than thousands, of people who go to church and believe they are “Christians” just because they said a prayer one time – but who do not live for God. What a tragedy!

      I appreciate your story – and hope we will all learn from it – to trust God’s Spirit to draw people to Himself and not to pressure people into decisions that are not really their own. I know we all want everyone to come to Christ. But – we cannot be the Holy Spirit. And, if someone doesn’t understand what they are saying or doing – it is better for them not to move forward – in my view.

      I also really appreciate you talking about the dangers of “Free Grace.” I don’t think I have heard of that movement before.

    2. I appreciate the focus here on faith in what Jesus did on the cross to save us. When I was in elementary school I went to a church service in which the sermon ended with a tear-jerking story, followed by appeal after appeal for people to come forward to receive Christ. My brother and I went to the front with several other people; then we were taken into another room and counselled. All I remember was saying “yes” when someone asked me if I wanted to be saved. I had absolutely no understanding about why I needed a Savior; I just felt sad that Jesus suffered on the cross. Baptism followed, but of course there was no change in my life, because I was not a believer.

      Time passed, and I reached eleventh grade. I was still attending the same church where I was baptized, despite that I lacked any peace that I would ever be in heaven. No wonder. The sermons consisted of very little scripture–just one or two verses at the beginning, and then a long diversion into speaking against alcoholism or other ills of society. There was little from the Word of God, so how could this preaching lead me to real faith? My only faith was based on what I had done years earlier: I HAD GONE FORWARD.

      One day my Sunday School teacher asked our class to close our eyes; then she asked us to raise our hands if we knew that we were saved. I kept my hand to my side, so the teacher asked me to meet her after the Sunday evening service. I did, and it was there that she pressured me into kneeling and praying the sinner’s prayer. I was resistant–even defiant, but I eventually knelt and repeated the prayer that she prayed for my salvation. Mrs. J. joyfully hugged me as pronounced me SAVED, and she urged me to be baptized as soon as possible. I did.

      The only trouble was that I wasn’t really saved! Although I recognized that I was a sinner (after all, I had some inkling that the cheating on tests, the use of Ouija boards, and hypnotizing my friends was not scriptural), I still did not understand that Jesus had actually suffered for my sin on the cross so that I could have eternal life. Every time I expressed doubts about my supposed salvation, my Sunday School teacher told me to focus on what I had done that night when I had prayed the sinner’s prayer. That was the whole problem! Everything was based on what I had done. I was trusting a prayer–NOT the Lord Jesus and the precious blood that He shed in my place. That’s why I continued to doubt.

      After all, how can we be sure that we have said EXACTLY the right words if salvation is based on a prayer? Every time I saw a prayer at the end of a tract, I prayed it in case it contained something vital that I hadn’t said. Like so many people who are spiritually lost, I had reduced salvation to an abracadabra prayer, and expected that to be the magic key to heaven. What an affront to God, who paid for my salvation at such a tremendous price!

      Sadly, I spent the next 33 years looking for peace and assurance and showing no change in my life. Oh, I was no longer into hypnosis and that kind of thing, but I was still the same old me. I really didn’t want to read my Bible, I could still be rude to my husband with no twinge of conscience, I had little desire to meet with believers or hang out with them, and I had no real love for the Lord. All I had was a lingering concern about my standing with God and where I would end up when I died.

      On one of those rare days when I was concerned about my soul, I started randomly flipping through my Bible, looking for something that would give me peace. When I reached the last few verses of Isaiah 52 and continued into Isaiah 53, my attention was suddenly riveted on verses 5 and 6: “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,: the chastisement for our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord hath laid upon HIM the iniquity of us all.”

      I was there in that verse. I now saw that the Lord Jesus had been MY substitute. His back had been beaten, He had been bruised, nailed to a cross, and insulted in MY place, because He had taken my sin upon Himself. Saddest of all, God as the righteous Judge, had to pour out His wrath on His own Son, because Jesus was bearing the load of sin from all generations so that man could escape the hell that he deserves. I now knew a little of what my sin had caused.

      Praise God! Now that I realized that my salvation is all based on HIM, I knew that, from that very moment, I possessed eternal life, as the Bible promises when it says “that ye may KNOW” that ye have eternal life.” When we realize that salvation is all about HIM and what He did, we need not fear the future. Jesus’ resurrection, which was verified by hundreds of people, proves that God fully accepted His substitution for sinners. If He had not been perfect, with unlimited holiness, He could not have died for us. Only God was able to carry that weight of sin and thoroughly atone for it. All that we must do is simply trust that He finished the work that saves us.

      Are you still trying to add to His work by thinking that you must pray a prayer, go forward to an altar call, or shed tears to show that you are sincere? WRONG. All of these things are DO. The Savior already completed all the work that was required. If you are not saved, seek Him with all your heart. Make that the top priority in your life. Then BELIEVE all that He did on your behalf. That is true faith. Easy believism, on the other hand, reduces salvation to a subtle, deadly formula of DO, which will end in “I never knew you” when you stand before God. True faith brings a change in life style, a change in focus; if the Holy Spirit is not guiding you, you probably have good reason to doubt.

      May the Lord lead you to peace, if that is lacking in your life!

      1. Yvonne,

        WOW!

        The beginning of your story just breaks my heart. But how I Praise God that He broke through to you with that passage in Isaiah! WOOHOO!!!!!!!!!!!

        We want so much to make salvation about us doing something. But it is all about what He did for us. Our “doing something” comes later as a result of our joy and gratitude to Christ – but even then – it is all by His power that we do anything. It is always about what He did for us and what He is doing in us now at this moment and what He will do for us.

        Thank you so much for sharing this! I wonder if you might allow me to share it as a post, please, ma’am?

        What a powerful testimony.

        Much love!
        April

        1. Of course you may use my story! (Just please add the missing word that should have said “SHE pronounced me ‘saved’.” I always miss some error. 🙁

          My advice to anyone who is seeking like I did for so many years is to really immerse yourself in the Word of God, as you are doing here. God always speaks to a seeking heart in some way through His Word, as He did for me through Isaiah 53. Others find the truth through other portions of scripture, but it is there that you will subsequently find peace, hope, assurance and joy! God bless you, dear friend in Christ.

          1. Using my first name would be fine, or you can do it anonymously if you think that is better. It’s your call. Since I’m new to the site, I’ll have to learn more about the right place and method for posting or replying to a questio. I’ll browse around when I have more time after Thanksgiving, but I can say that your writing has already been a blessing to me. What I have seen here is scripturally sound, and you are clearly being used by the Lord. Thank you!

  4. I prayed that prayer at age 16, and was baptized a year later. But I cannot say I really meant it the first five years, because after high school, the freedom I found as a university student in the dorms led me to make many decisions one who was following Jesus in her heart probably would not have made. Therefore, I consider myself only a born again Christian since the age of 21. This is when I knew, in my heart, I had to turn my life over to Jesus or it could be short and probably would be much harder. My life has not been easy or perfect, but I know I have had increasing power, when I chose to use it, that has come from a near lifetime now of following Christ’s will for my life.

  5. April,

    My wife frequents your blog and frequently relates the content to me. Thank you so much for all your work and for helping my wife figure out how to love someone as difficult as me (she does a great job!). I very rarely visit the site myself, but I happened to stumble across it today and thought I’d leave a few thoughts.

    I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with the prayer you’ve cited from Billy Graham. As a matter of fact, when I was a child, this is a prayer of confession I was encouraged to make. I think it is certainly a start, but for some of the reasons you’ve mentioned, I think such prayers can provide the wrong impression.

    The primary reason for this is that it leaves “faith” ambiguously defined. To avoid verbosity, the prayer views faith as “believe that,” whereas Scripture’s *primary* definition of faith is “trust in.” James discusses the kind of faith that “believes that” God exists–it doesn’t save (James 2:19). Scripture speaks much differently of faith that “trusts in.”

    For example, in Romans we will notice that when Paul talks about faith, it is often followed by a personal object, (“in Christ,” for example in Romans 3:26). In Romans 4:21 Paul emphasizes that Christian faith is the same faith as Abraham that is/was, “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” And in Philippians 3:9, Paul explains that his righteousness (or confidence that God will accept him) is not found in himself, but, “comes through faith in Christ.” These examples highlight that it is not so much that Paul believes doctrine “X,” “Y,” or “Z” but that Paul’s hope and identity are wrapped up in Christ. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).

    Some may think that this is hair-splitting. And in order to “trust in” someone, don’t you need to “believe that” you should trust them? Of course. It’s not that we can completely divorce these two senses of the word “faith” from one another, but we need to see the distinction in order to see them clearly. To use an image, it would be like having binoculars that haven’t been properly focused. You can see something through the lenses, but it’s not until they are put in the proper relationship with one another that you can see your object (in our case, the meaning of faith) clearly.

    So what is the take-away? Growing up and hearing this prayer left my classmates and I with the impression that *my belief* in the things I was saying was what justified me. We were assured that “if we really meant it” that all who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. It all sounded so biblical, but this subtly moves the object of faith from Christ to my own weak faith. The aftermath is people are always asking if their faith is sincere enough (Have I done enough to really make this profession sincere?) *or* they are secure in their *own* faithfulness (I don’t drink, have pre-marital sex, etc., therefore my profession is legitimate). Both positions undermine biblical faith and can have disastrous consequences.

    True faith trusts and leans in the strength of the Lord. As a matter of fact, he is even greater than our unbelief. That’s why in moments of weakness and disobedience we can cry out in tears, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Biblical faith is not looking at ourselves, whether our strengths or weaknesses, it instead pushes us to look at Christ in all of our frailty. That is why Paul describes the Gospel as being “from faith to faith.”

    As I conclude (sorry for the length!), some people may feel a tension between this description of faith and the fact that Jesus tells us that we are to be obedient. We are to bear fruit. This is absolutely true. Jesus puts it beautifully in John 15:6, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” And how do we abide in Christ–is it through what we do? No it is through faith in what Christ has done for us. When we feel dry and as if there is no fruit, the answer is not to fabricate fruit, but to go the source of our fruit, the vine.

    1. Brandon,

      Amen!!!! Thank you so much for sharing. I love your description. This is very helpful. 🙂 I especially appreciate the importance of trusting what Christ did – not trusting in our faith being “sincere enough” or trusting our own “faithfulness.” Very well stated! I’m also so thankful and humbled that God is using this blog to bless your wife and your marriage.

  6. Sometimes I wonder what you have in mind, exactly, when you write this message again and again. Of course you are absolutely right, there are MANY things in Christian culture that could incite such a thought, and it’s a great message! The verses you quoted throughout this post came to my mind immediately before you cited them.

    May the Lord utterly dominate my life. I think, “Jesus is Lord,” I think of the word “Lord” as just that, a total dominance of absolutely every aspect of my being.

    The core of the problem, I think (as far as Christians tend to be concerned), is an attachment to the perishing world. Things “down here” are just holding us down from heavenly completion until we let go. “The perishable cannot inherit the imperishable” (1 Corinthians 15:50). People are still holding onto the perishable, which breaks hearts because everything in its worldly state is in the process of perishing.

    When I quit going to church and dug into my Bible, that impressed me the most about Jesus’ message as far as something I didn’t feel preached: forsaking the world in our hearts; forsaking that which perishes in favor of the eternal. Negotiating with the world doesn’t work out.

    1. JC,
      What goes through my mind is the steady stream of people who write to me saying, “I am a Christian, but I am not living out my faith right now.” Or “I prayed that prayer, so I’m going to heaven. God understands if I need to have an affair. He is fine with that.” Or, “I am a Christian. I go to church almost every Sunday.” But then their lives are full of hatred, bitterness, idolatry, pride, etc…

      There is a huge disconnect between what we say and think we are sometimes and what we actually are living out in reality. This should not be!

      I am praying God might use this post, and others, to help people wake up while there is still time, and truly live for Christ.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      1. I have had huge problems in my walk with Christ because of my problems understanding the behavior of believers.

        Of course, MY only job is to do what the Lord wills for MY life, not others’ lives, yet it’s so confusing when I try to understand the Lord’s will. Like . . . “okay, is that person a Christian? Does that mean that that action he made was all right with God? I guess that means maybe I should do that too?” When I feel frustrated (and like, feeling like I must be the least favored in God’s sight) and wonder if God has an issue with me, that’s confusing to me.

        I know what you’re talking about when people think “grace” meaning that they don’t have to make an effort living out their faith. I remember an old Lutheran woman (a crowd I’ve known for that kind of attitude) saying “well you gotta have a little fun” in the context of moral laxity. I don’t know if they understand it. The other extreme of it is high-stress righteousness that can’t feel forgiven from the get-go–I struggle with that. 🙁

        I mean, the tax collector beat his breast and said “have mercy on me, a sinner!” And Jesus said he was justified right then and there. That is to say, instantly. I can’t imagine that the tax collector went clear from his prayer of mercy to spiritual maturity in an instant, but the point was, his prayer for mercy was sincere; he understood that he sinned, and hated that he sinned. He knew he owed God a debt. Hebrews talks about developing spiritual discernment, growing to eat solid foods and such and again, I can’t imagine the tax collector arrived at that point in the blink of an eye.

        Our prayer for mercy has to be sincere, and we’re forgiven in an INSTANT, but that means that we genuinely hated our sin, which propels us not only to forsake sin but to pursue righteousness in God’s sight; the “fruits of repentance” indicative of the sincerity of our pleas for mercy and the sureness of our justification.

        1. JC,
          Exactly! It is not the words that are important. If we say the words of a prayer of repentance, but we don’t mean them – our motives are not right, we are not sincere, and God does not honor that prayer.

          The key is we must mean what we are saying and then seek to follow Jesus with all our hearts, allowing Him to change and empower us.

          Saying a prayer without meaning it is totally useless. But if we mean it – THAT is a totally different thing. Our crying out to God in anguish and mourning over our sin and in humility as we stand in awe of His holiness and see our sinfulness and we realize what Jesus has done for us – that is beautiful. God will honor our prayer of repentance and our desire to put our faith and trust in Him and to accept the gift Jesus offers us when we see ourselves as utterly sinful and we come to Him in desperation, knowing that Jesus is the only way to the Father. When we really want God – He knows our motives.

          I think that is key, too. Am I praying this prayer because I just don’t want to go to hell? Or do I genuinely desire to know God? That is a good test of motives.

      2. Once you taste what it is like to have a real relationship with Christ, you do not want to go back to the way you previously lived because it just does not work. I don’t know how I would have made it through this last year without being able to lean on God. The more I have done that, the stronger my faith becomes.

        My faith is really being tested right now and I would love some prayer support. My husband took offense at something I asked last night. He had been drinking. I probably should have realized that and dropped it, but I kept trying to get him to see that it had not been meant in an offensive way. The more I tried to do this, the worse things got. He blew up and said he wants to leave because he deserves better than to put up with me. I promise the question was not disrespectful, nor was the intent behind it…..but he felt it was the start of “me picking a fight” because in the past, asking him who was at his work happy hour would lead to a fight. When I acknowledged that and asked him again to forgive me for how I used to be, he said “I don’t forgive anyone”. When I tried to remind him that things are different now than a year ago…..better than they were, he said “no, they are not. Things are miserable”. I was stunned because things have been so good between us, people in hurting marriages have been asking me what we did to turn things around.

        It is hard to hear that after all God has done to heal our marriage. Things have been pretty good for the last few months. I know that I am a different person than the person he wanted to leave a year ago. It is so disheartening and hurtful and to be honest, I feel like giving up. Maybe that’s exactly what I am supposed to do. Maybe I just need to give up trying so hard and just let God do whatever He needs to in the way He chooses. That’s what this feels like and it is scary. I don’t want my husband to leave, but if God needs to use that to accomplish His will, I need to trust Him. So hard to do because I love my husband so much and I am missing the closeness with him already. Please pray that God will give me strength, peace, wisdom, and discernment. I don’t really know what else to pray. I’ve been praying for God to heal my husband’s heart and help him to forgive me for over a year now. I guess I will keep doing that, but if you can think if something else I need to pray for him, please tell me

        1. NW Girl,

          Oh goodness. 🙁

          If he had been drinking – I am not sure that this conversation could have been very fruitful – and what he said then may not reflect what he feels in general. Probably not a great time to have a deep discussion about anything.

          Can you please remind me if he is a believer?

          Right now, I believe the most important thing for you to do is to focus on being the woman and wife God calls you to be – and to seek to please Him, even if your husband is not pleased. The most important thing is that Jesus finds you faithful to Him.

          I haven’t been in this situation that you are in. Would you be able to remind me if your husband struggles with alcoholism?

          I vote to focus on the good things God has done and to take anything your husband said when he was drinking with a grain of salt.

          I pray that God might draw your husband to Himself by the power of His Spirit and that He might help you to be very sensitive to His nudging and promptings and to His voice. I don’t know that your husband will actually leave because of something he said when he was drinking. But my prayer is that you can hold him loosely and cling to Christ.

          I pray for God’s wisdom, joy, peace, strength, power, love and direction for you. And I pray you can be still and trust in God as you are waiting to see how things go.

          If your husband were to leave, God will never leave you or forsake you. You can’t really control what he does. But, God is able to use all things for your ultimate good and His glory. And, he may have just been talking that way because he wasn’t really himself. He may not really intend to leave.

          I vote to focus more on how your husband acts when he is sober and what he says during those times.

          I pray that God will give you the power to be full of His Spirit and joy and peace today, and that He might help you see ways you can bless your husband and how to give him space if he needs it right now. I pray for healing in the marriage, and most of all, for God to draw your husband to Himself.

          Much love to you!!!!! And a BIG HUG!

          1. Thank you! Big hugs to you as well. He is not a believer, though he was as a teen. I don’t know if he is an alcoholic. He told me last night that he and his coworkers drink at their desk every day because of stress. I don’t know if that is alcoholism, but it isn’t healthy.

            This issue of forgiveness is a huge one for him. He hasn’t spoken to either parent for years because he won’t forgive them for being “terrible patents” and “stupid”. He has so much hurt trapped inside

          2. NW Girl,

            Don’t give up! My husband has also said many strange things, NOT when drinking but when stressed or upset. His parents were also very difficult and what is important they always escalated conflict between themselves. I am Catholic and I find if I take holy communion daily that keeps these nasty things to a minimum. I understand your desire to give up trying and ‘leave things to God’ and can’t tell you if that is the right thing to do. My approach is Communion and while it means getting up before 6 every day even if my husband keeps me up late (he likes to pick fights at 11 pm when Im exhausted, actually I think its the devil who gives him this bright idea, because Ive told him repeatedly I need to sleep so as not to be sick). I have three kids, I find that we have fewer and fewer conflicts over the years, so that I think God has blessed me in this difficult situation. Unfortunately we need to keep ourselves constantly aware, full of Christ, accepting the consequences. Sometimes when I see the nastiness my eldest daughter needs to deal with in school, the lying, competition, the ambivalent teachers, I see that my lot is not so bad!!! How can I teach her not to play tit for tat if she doesnt see me willing to take some ire?
            Your husband needs a way to deal with stress at work. Pray for a better job for him or a way for him to just trust (Christ), that if he gets fired thats OK. He needs to be set free.
            Much love and best wishes in Christ!

      3. April,

        I have a question about people who are Christian but have those sins. Like you did those first 14 years of marriage. Are you saying you were saved / Christian then or not?

        Like me I am working on things in my heart (unforgivness, sinning when angry, an occasional curse word that slips out, trusting Jesus fully etc) but when I do these things I am totally convicted I repent and sometimes cry I get up try to change etc but some sins are harder for me then others. I am a work in progress. So are y’all saying I’m not a Christian?

        And if so who is really a Christian.

        Or ate you saying people who live in sin totally un convicted ate not Christians. ?

        This is not an attack on anyone. I am just confused by some of the comments here.
        Thanks in advance

        1. Shy,

          If someone says she is a Christian, but is comfortable living in sin – there is a big problem.

          For me – I believe that I was a believer. But my heart was very hardened due to years of sin. I had grieved the Holy Spirit and I was not being filled with God’s power. I believe I had broken fellowship with God. I was far from God and in rebellion. Not good.

          It can be pretty impossible for us to know for sure who is a believer and who is not. But if someone is a believer, there will be the fruit of God in that person’s life. A lack of godly fruit means that we need to examine ourselves to see what is going on. Am I a believer? Or am I submitting to the Lordship of Christ fully? That is where I was tripped up terribly. I was not submitting to God as Lord, but trusting self.

          We are all works in progress. No one will be perfect until we are in heaven. But sin should grieve our hearts deeply.

          When a person is living in sin continually – it may be that they don’t know God, or it may be that their consciences have been seared and scarred (I think that was the case with me). I am glad I didn’t have to stand before God before 6 years ago – because I am not sure what God would have said to me. I’m so thankful He convicted me of my sin and woke me up.

          If you see that you don’t have godly fruit in your life – then it is time to ask God to expose the sin and lies and to lay down everything in your life for Him to have control. This is a process. It takes time sometimes. That’s ok.

          This relationship with Christ is totally between you and God. Seek Him. Ask Him to show you – are you a false convert, or do you just have a heart hardened by sin. Either way, the prescription is the same. Turn from the sin and trust God. Allow Him to be in charge. Desire Him above all else. Desire to please and obey Him. Ask His Spirit to have free reign and to change anything He wants to in your life.

          I am excited about what God is doing in your heart and life! I know He is at work. Yes, you have a lot of scars and wounds and mess to sort through – like we all do. But He is more than capable of making something so beautiful from your life, my precious sister!

          1. 🙂 thank you so much for your quick response .I must have a harden heart.due to God using you and your post some scales have fallen, and each day I see a new sin. Like unforgivness. Oh my were my eyes opened. Now I’m trying work through the steps to forgive everyone. I would hate for God to not forgive me.

            My therapist gave me something called a 7 step thought sheet. This makes me really think about what my thought triggers are. how to cast down negative thoughts and really weigh the thoughts against truth. It’s really helped me. I don’t want to be a false believer. I am working on truly trusting GOD. I need to do this but I want to do it Just the same. He is worthy.

            Can you make a post about how to handle situations at work.
            How to handle old friends who are not Christians but are God friends.
            How to handle family when they attacks you even tho they are Christians.
            People who teach your children the wrong ways. When you have children with someone who is not a Christian but you share custody. And they teach your child sin.
            How to handle children who are disrespectful. Etc

          2. Shy,

            I remember the first six weeks or so after God opened my eyes to my mountain of sin. It wasn’t just a two by four, it was a whole forest! Every day, God would show me more snd more sin, pride, self-righteousness, idolatry, unbelief, disrespect against all kinds of people in my life, unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness…

            I felt like I needed a super sized dump truck every day to haul off all of my confessed sins. I just kept writing them down and repenting of them as God showed me each one. I had a lot of work to do to apologize to all the people I had hurt, disrespected and tried to control. It wasn’t just my husband. It was our extended family and some friends and coworkers and church members, too. It was very humbling to repent to all of these people. But it was definitely a very necessary step. I had to eat big helpings of “humble pie” every day. And, I still have to eat it sometimes!!

            Sometimes I wished I could just learn everything all at once, but life doesn’t usually work that way. There is usually only so much you can absorb at one time. So, my suggestion is… Go slowly. Do this carefully and very deliberately. Don’t try to rush this process because you will miss things that need to be uncovered and repented of if you try to rush.

            I can’t necessarily write a post for every woman’s specific situations, but, more than my advice, what you need is God’s Spirit and His biblical principles. I have written about many of these principles that would apply in some of these situations, and, of course, God’s Word has lots to say about how to treat others, how to love those who hate us (Romans 12:9-21) and how to follow Christ.

            You can search my home page for:
            – don’t Expect Outside Support
            – control and boundaries
            – people pleasing
            – playing the martyr
            – guilt manipulation
            – extended family
            – controlling mother
            – choosing girlfriends wisely

            Maybe some of those will help.

            When my children are disrespectful, my goal is to gently call them on their direspect and ask them to speak again with respect. I don’t tolerate disrespect from my children toward me, my husband, or anyone else. With older children, you can show them verses in the Bible about respect and honoring those in authority.

            If your daughter is a teenager, you might read Spiritual Authority at the top of my home page with her. Tell her where you have messed up. Repent to her. Tell her you want to learn to respect God, yourself, those in spiritual authority and others. And that you want to set a godly example for her and want God to change you. Apologize for mistreating her and any sin you have committed against her. Show her in the Bible where something is a sin if her dad is teaching her to sin and ask her to make decisions that please and honor God.

            I am praying for you to allow God’s Spirit to work full force in your life and to give you the wisdom, healing and direction you need!!!

            Much love!
            April

  7. Once we here the True Gospel of Jesus Christ and we believe than we also have to act on that belief which is spoken about in acts. Acts 2:38 says repent and be baptized in the name of jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. A lot of people of who I speak too don’t believe in baptism. It is important that we as believers follow what Jesus has commanded us to do. And baptism is one of them. What are your thoughts on this April?:)

    1. Tiffany,

      I believe that baptism is an act of obedience that a new believer will want to follow through with once he/she has received Christ. It is a public declaration that we identify with Christ, that our old sinful self died and was buried with Him and that we are living for Christ as Lord from this moment on.

      I don’t believe that baptism saves people – but rather, that it is a way for us to show the world what Jesus has done for us and for us to proclaim our faith. If it is possible for a believer to be baptized, I believe it is a great blessing to obey the Lord in this, and every, command.

      1. Hi April what I think about the “sinners prayer” is that it is no where in the scripture. As Christians we are to obey the word of God. As it written if we love Him we must keep his commandments. As far as the scripture in Romans 10;9-10, this is not a prayer for salvation. This chapter must be read in its context. The book of Romans where written to believers not those who were lost. Just like revelation 3:20 is not written to unbelievers but was written to the church of ladioceia the lukewarm church. We must read the scriptures in its context. And baptism does save you according to the scripture 1 Peter 3:21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us † (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:..this is a commandment of the Lord. The thing that concerns me is that there are many in the church today who is still under bondage of sin because they refuse to take the bible(kjv) and read it for themselves. But rather listen to a preacher who is speaking things falsely and leading many astray. The body of Christ is in trouble due to the many deceptions of false leaders. If we really take the word of God and search the scripture from genesis to revelation we will see who God really is…I’m not going to speak about the false doctrines in the church but we are in the last days and we must get serious about our walk with,Jesus Christ. I used to believe in the sinners prayer and really thought I was a Christian. But in reality was being disobedient to the word of God. We have forgotten about the heavier matters in the scripture which is really important. Baptism is required by scripture once we hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We know then that the Holy Spirit is in our life when we start yielding more to the word of God and become pilgrims in this world. Meaning being set apart from the world. It’s time that we work on our own salvation with fear and trembling and Get into the scripture. We must really start obeying God’s commandments. I say,this in love because Jesus is coming for a spotless church. If we really want to be submissive wives we must first start being submissive to our first Lord which Is Jesus Christ….Amen…

        1. Not to be rude but why do you pray to Jesus . In church must talk about Jesus not God . I thought worshiping someone else is a sin

          ( I just would like to know )
          Thank you

          An how did you ge motivated to read the bible 😞I have tried get 20 page in an stop sigh

          1. Jenny,

            Jesus is God in the flesh – we may pray to either God or Jesus. 🙂

            What do you believe about God and about how to have a relationship with Him?

            Much love!
            April

          2. Thank you for answering my question.
            I believe God made us an that Adam an eve sin Jesus came to save us.

            Fortunately I’m on the fake Christians went church since I was born till 2012 since my pastor pasted away never went back
            But I never had a relationship. I tried reading the bible I went to Sunday school it just did not click 😞 . Everyone talks about how God or Jesus talk to them I never heard him I guess I don’t pray right I don’t know what I’m doing . I want to better understand. I’m going back to church this Sunday which is hard I’m very shy person . Since 2012 I just listen to Christian station an on Sunday’s listen to Jesus Christ show . I know my heart has been harden with sin mostly my idol is love
            I would like to change
            Sorry I think I’m rambling

            I tried to read my study bible I’m 28 an still read the teen bible an still have trouble with it an I only know one prayer now I laid me down to sleep which is pretty sad

            I want a realtionship but I don’t know how . An all my family are Christians so I don’t understand what’s wrong with me

  8. Daughter,

    My prayer for you is that you will just focus on being with Jesus, being in His Word and longing to please Him. As you allow His Spirit to flood your soul full blast- He will produce the fruit. It is all His power, not yours.

    Much love to you!

  9. Thinking of J.C.’s comment on how confusing the behaviour of those who say they are Christians but have a habit of acting very unchristian, so that he/she is left wondering if the person is a believer. I have struggled with this too and it can be hard to know if the person is a weak believer who needs some help or if they are a false convert. Part of the problem is that today’s church doesn’t always see scripture as being above their own sensibilities. Scripture says that we should confront our brother or sister if they are in sin and if they listen, great, we have won our brother. But if they will not listen, then we take a witness and speak of it again. If they sill will not listen, then we take it before the elders. If they still will not listen, then it goes before the church, and if they will not repent after all this, they are to be put out of the church and regarded as an unbeliever. Call it spiritual intervention. Paul did not seem to equate mercy and grace with the toleration of sin and hypocrisy; he quite rightly understood that sin has an undermining and destroying effect and must be removed immediately. If this were obeyed today as it should be, there would be a lot less confusion over who is a Christian and who is not, and a clear difference between church and world. There are churches that do practice it; done right it has a wonderful effect on the church in the long run though the process of confrontation can be painful..

    1. Patricia,

      We are suffering because we don’t practice proper church discipline today. It is not a gift to anyone to allow them to continue on in sin and not say anything. It isn’t fun to give a godly rebuke – but it is life-giving for those who will receive it.

      Thanks so much for sharing!

      1. Discipline, aka, discipleship. We are to make disciples of all the Nations. In order to do this, we need to disciple our brothers and sisters as much as we evangelize to the lost.

    2. I’ve written about this in a way that’s helped myself a lot–the notable absence of judges appointed in churches.

      It’s all part of the same thing, the two-step concept of justice and mercy. You can’t genuinely ask forgiveness until you understand the presence of justice and that you owe a debt.

      One of the worst things Christian culture does today is pervert the message of forgiveness not only between us and God, but also between us and each other. Like you say, look at the lack of church discipline: I shouldn’t be hearing believers jump on me with a lecture about forgiveness when I say a particular person sinned against me; I ought to be able to say “they didn’t listen to my rebuke, I need you to come alongside me when I rebuke him again.” And then I should be able to take the matter before the church.

      The forgiveness of the heart says “I’m owed a debt but I’ll never be repaid” and be at peace with it. The debt is still very real and understood to the one needing to forgive, but then, we decide to “take the hit” in our hearts.

      Perhaps it’s all under the umbrella of sin not being a big deal to Christian culture in some respects. But if sin isn’t a big deal, the mercy isn’t either.

      1. JC,
        This is so good!
        Yes, we are truly wronged when others sin against us. We cannot act like sin is no big deal. And I love what you said – if sin is not a big deal, then mercy isn’t either. Wow.

        This is so important for us to understand, sin is a very big deal. And God’s grace and mercy are sn even bigger deal.

        Thank you so much, my brother!

  10. “That philosophy, my precious sisters, is incredibly dangerous. This is NOT at all what it means to be a Christian! ”

    Amen!

    I was just thinking about this. I even posted something on Donal Graeme’s site after reading this.

    Real Gospel is, “Once you’ve accepted Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior, you get a Free Gift! A cross. Welcome to the Army, slave!”

    That sounds rough, but it’s true: we are soldiers in the Lord’s army. We are His bondservants. We bear a cross. That’s our purpose, as Christians.

  11. What I got from this is that God wants my heart, not my actions & words. After I give Him my heart He will then change my actions & words to bring Him glory. After reading this post I started reading my bible & had an unusual experience. Right after I started reading I had the thought to read out loud, I didnt really think it over I just started reading it out loud & I started having an unusual buzzing sensation in my ears but I kept on. Im not really sure how to explain it but it was like everything I read was ringing in my ears but it was crystal clear, the tv was on but turned down low & my daughter was next to me reading a childrens book but that was all drown out by my voice & the words I read. Do you have an idea what that could possibly mean?

    1. NC,
      Yes! God wants your heart! Your motives matter very much to Him. Yes, He wants you to do the right thing outwardly, but He wants the outward behavior and words to be fueled by right motives internally.

      I haven’t had an experience just like what you are describing, but, it seems to me that God’s Spirit is at work in your heart and life.
      I am so glad you want to hear Him!

  12. After some time thinking & searching I havent really found answers to the above but its brought me to some other things. I think i havent been properly confessing my sins to God. In my prayers I just said “Lord forgive me for my sins” but I never stated what the sins were, im skimping here trying to fastforward to the forgiveness without getting my hands dirty. I think this is whats holding me back from the relationship I truely desire to have with God. I have been digging into stuff about baptism of the Holy Spirit & everything thats instructed in this area is almost an exact mirror of the things your instructing in order for us to become peaceful godly wives, im compelled to ask you, are you ultimately instructing us in becoming baptised in the Holy Spirit & a peaceful wife is the byproduct of that? Have you personally been baptised in the Holy Spirit? The Lord has my mind is reeling right now.

    1. NC,
      I am glad you are seeking to specifically confess sin. That is awesome!

      Different people have different definitions of “baptism by the Holy Spirit.” Some think it must involve something dramatic like the day of Pentecost and speaking in different unknown languages. Some think it means a very big emotional experience. I don’t believe it necessarily has to be either of those things, but rather, a willingness on our part to invite God’s Spirit into our lives and to have full control.

      God’s Spirit absolutely convicted me of my sin and began to speak to me about all the things from which I needed to repent. He has a way of speaking to my soul that is different from anything else, but my experience is that His voice is soft and gentle, He often asks me to do things that are totally against my intuition and human wisdom and if I am rushing ahead or not being still to listen, I can easily miss His voice.

  13. I have to say first and foremost how thankful I am to have stumbled across this blog so many years ago. The Lord has used it in a mighty way in my marriage and I so grateful and will continue to point wives to it when they are struggling.

    I wanted to briefly comment on your post because it is a subject that is so dear to my heart. I agree with you 100% that many times it appears that certain believers are somewhat abusing grace. It seems as if their lives are not reflecting a life that is led by the spirit of God and often we can question did they ever really accept Christ.

    But that is where I think there becomes a fine line that we need not cross. There is a difference between being saved and sanctification. The day we accept Christ into our lives as our Savior, and only God can be the judge of that moment, we are transferred from the dominion of darkness into the kingdom of His dear son (Colossians 1:13), and sealed with the Holy Spirit Ephesians 1:13 and 2 Corinthians 1:22 for eternity. That moment of Salvation and Redemption and becoming a new creature in Christ, white as snow, happened because of our faith and the blood of Jesus at the Cross. That is why at the cross Christ said, it is finished! There is no longer any atonement for sin. For those who believe, their sins are paid and life eternal is theirs, John 3:16.

    Once we are saved, yes we are to grow in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior and we are to become more and more Christlike till He brings us home. We are to work out our salvation but our salvation is done.

    Being in the church for so long now and serving in so many different ministries, I have come to see many different people, with different pasts, working out their salvation. Many of them, I must admit, I have wondered is Christ really in them only to be checked by God many times over and over again, that my sin of pride and self righteousness was beginning to show and I was even bordering the line of contempt from my brothers and sisters.

    I wonder what I would have thought of the apostle Peter if I had met him the day the rooster crowed 3 times.

    When I hear this subject come up I also think of Paul, when he says in Romans, “the things I want to do I don’t do”Romans 7:15-20…in that passage you can hear his battle of not living the life he knew he should be living, so even Paul battled with not doing what he knew he should do and the things he DIDNT want to do those things he kept doing. He even later says in one of his epistles that he is the greatest of ALL sinners.

    But what was his answer to his battle…The Lord Jesus Christ. Which is the answer to all of us and to all our sin and shortcomings big and small. Because as Jesus said even if you think your keeping all the commandments, just the fact that you might be at odds or in unforgiveness towards someone that is equal to murder. So not one of us, even those of us who are bearing much fruit are earning our salvation, that was done at the cross.

    I also think about the thief at the cross, if sanctification is what is needed to enter heaven then there would have been no way for that thief to enter, yet we know that Christ assured him that he would be with Him in heaven.

    So yes, I agree with you, that our salvation and grace is not to be abused ( another great passage in Romans) and that now that we are in Christ what more the reason to give up our flesh and sinful ways and to walk in the Spirit of God and to grow spiritually from babies to adults 1 Corinthians 3) that we would experience every gift that He wants to give us in this lifetime and that we would know Him more and more.

    May our lives truly reflect the light that is in us!!

    1. Geri,
      I love this!!!

      Sometimes, I wish I could write posts that were about 6000 words, because it is so hard to fit everything in to one post. Thank you for this very important point!

      We are made right with God the day we receive Christ sincerely. That is “justification” when Jesus puts into our bankrupt account, all of His righteousness and holiness and perfection.
      We become more and more like Jesus as God works in us through the process of “sanctification” which is a life long process.
      We will be perfect and totally sinless when we experience “glorification” in heaven.

      The purpose of this post, from my perspective, was to try to help us look at our own spiritual condition with the help of God’s Spirit. I do not intend for us to judge whether others are “truly saved” or not. We can look at the fruitin people’s lives, but, we are prone toward wrong judgment and zgod condemns a judgmental, self-righteous attitude that looks down on others in contempt. Our primary job is to ask God to help us see ourselves as she sees us.

      There can be times when a brother or sister needs a life-giving rebuke from a godly believer, but, that is something only to be undertaken with the proper mindset and sensitivity to God’s Soirit and adherence to God’s Word. An inappropriate or unloving or ungodly “rebuke” can cause severe damage and even repel someone from God.

      I love your heart for Christ. Thank you so very much for sharing these precious truths!

        1. April,
          It was so good to read your reply and I agree sister, I wish you could write 6000 ,word posts because you really have been given a gift from God.

          Thank you for the opportunity you give to share on your posts, and for all that you added in your reply to me.

          May God continue to strengthen and bless you in all that you do in His name.

          Geri

          1. Geri,
            Sometimes, I do wish I could put much more in a post – because I hate leaving out important points. Your points were very, very important and I appreciate you bringing them up so much.

            Much love to you, my precious sister!

  14. Thank you for this post. I agree 100 percent…we attended a church years ago where we went door to door on a regular basis. I was “trained” to ask the question, “are you a 100 percent sure if you died today you would go to heaven”. This isn’t a bad question, but who wouldn’t want to escape hell and go to heaven when they die. We often led people in the sinners prayer and would claim at the end of the evening that several people had come to know the Lord. I was uncomfortable with this, but didn’t know why at the time. I wondered where were all these saved individuals. Our church should be full, yet no one who had “trusted” Christ in the past year were attending. This was years ago, and since then I have come to understand that salvation involves repentance / a change of mind. I don’t lead people in prayer anymore, I just share the wonderful truth of the gospel and let them make that decision on their own. I do have a question though, that I would love your opinion. We have a foster child in the home that we have been talking with about the Lord. She is a claimed lesbian and is beginning to see the truths of the gospel, but doesn’t think that she will be able to change and not sure that she even wants to. She was abused greatly and has a great fear of men. I told her that God wants you to come as you are and in time he will heal your heart and help you to live according to His word. She continues to say, I don’t know if I could ever follow the Lord, because I don’t know if I can ever change. It is so hard to know the right approach in this situation. I know we need to be willing to give up known sin that is offensive to God, but I also understand that sometimes those sins are hard to give up and it takes time after we come to know Christ. We need a Savior that is why he came. Do I encourage her not to worry about those things right now, but to come to Christ as you are, trust Him and in time He will guide you to truth? What are your thoughts?

    1. Savedbygrace,

      That question is not wrong, in and of itself. And praying a sinner’s prayer is not wrong – but – it must be accompanied by a true desire to turn away from sin and turn fully to Christ. It must be prayed with complete sincerity. Just saying the words is not the important thing. Meaning the words and backing that up with a complete change of heart is the important thing.

      God can change your foster daughter’s desires and her heart. She cannot change herself. No wonder she feels the way she does if she is so afraid of men. 🙁 How heartbreaking!

      I pray for sensitivity to God’s Spirit for you and your husband as you help this precious young woman wrestle through her concerns. God can absolutely heal her. It will probably take time. She cannot clean herself up on her own. But if she is willing to allow God to change her and heal her, He can.

      Praying for God to open her eyes to Himself and to His Word and to draw her to Himself by His Spirit’s power. Praying for wisdom for you and your husband!

      Much love!
      April

  15. this is so good April. I’m wondering if you have advice for a wife who is trying to live this way with a husband who makes it very hard? ex: (doesnt listen to godly things on the radio, watches innapropriate things on the television, thinks dirty jokes are funny, sometimes uses crude language, asks me to watch R rated movies with him) These are things i prefer not to do that i used to do and they take me to a bad place and i feel sort of dumb asking him to stop, because i dont want him to think i am all self righteous… He is a christian and loves the Lord but doesnt feel a need to stop these sort of things in his life :/

    1. Chosendaughter,
      I actually do have some posts on stuff like this!

      If you search my home page for “tv”, I think that you will find them.

      But, here is something I would suggest prayerfully considering:

      “Honey, I LOVE to be with you and do things together. Is there another movie we could watch, please? I have trouble if I watch rated R movies.”

      Or

      “I wonder if we could please watch a PG movie or PG-13 movie instead? You can pick which one. Thanks!”

      You can ask for what you want and need – usually once, and respectfully. And then wait to see what he does. He may need some time to think about it.

      You don’t have to tell him that HE can’t or shouldn’t watch those movies. But you can say that they are problematic for YOU.

      I also have a Youtube video about this. Some of the comments are very helpful. My channel is “April Cassidy.”

      Much love!
      April

  16. Chosendaughter, that sounds just like my husband. He thought I was crazy when I started preaching at him about how the things he watches & listens to can open doors for the enemy, he always said what he listens to is a sin but I listen to country music & thats ok right, God pointed my finger back at me. 1 day after finding Aprils blog I decided not to bring it up. I started monitoring what I listen to, & I really dont ever watch tv. I have an after market radio in my car, about a yr after it was installed it started shutting off randomly, i assumed bad wiring. Recently after choosing to listen to only christain music, it doesnt shut off anymore. Every time my husband gets in my car & puts his music preference on, it shuts off every 5 min or so. I honestly dont think its bad wiring anymore but Gods tryin to get our attention. My husband just got a new phone & told me all his music got erased while tryin to send it to the new 1 & he is not gonna bother downloading any more. Small victories when we just let go!

    1. NC,
      Woohoo! I am so glad you listened to God and began to focus on what you were listening to and stopped trying to preach at your husband. And WOW! That is one interesting radio you have. Sounds like you are getting the message. Ha!

  17. Hello,
    I have some concerns I need to talk to about. Tonight my husband forgot about me at work… He was supposed to pick me up at 5, and his work ended at 430 and we share a car. I walked to the store that was still open next door. When it was 5:50 and he was still not there or answering my calls I called my neighbor and she came to pick me up, finally at 6oclock he called and said I am leaving the school now (he coaches 7th grade basketball) I said were you not going to call me and tell me you couldn’t pick me up?!!!?? He said in a harsh tone, hey hey calm down we will talk when I get home I can already tell this is not going in a good direction.
    when he got home I was in tears and he said “I am sorry I would never intentionally forget about you but I didn’t have my phone and I wasn’t near a clock and all the parents were bombarding me asking me questions about the kids and when I finally got to my phone I didn’t realize what time it was” I was breaking down in tears (partially because I was so upset and partially bc for the last hour I wasn’t sure if he was dead in a car accident or what? I was sure he would never forget about me or not call me to tell me he would be late) As I was crying he came over and gave me a hug and then I went into the other room because I said I needed a second, I was really angry at him and did not want to yell or sin in my anger. He then came over to give me like 7 kisses but I wasn’t kissing back good enough he said he was laughing and saying sorry sorry babe, but I wasn’t really saying anything I was just sitting there. He went into the other room and said “pouting never got anyone anywhere” I still never said anything. Then I took him to his meeting and we were quiet the whole time. I could tell his trying to make things right was over, he only ever tries for a second and if I don’t respond how he likes he stops.

    Well I already feel my husband is so irresponsible and forgets everything but I never tell him this, but the fact that he forgot about me really really upset and hurt me. I still did not say anything or sin or yell at him but I know he thinks I was pouting because I wasn’t saying anything? And now I feel I have to say sorry for pouting to get him back to normal but how does he always turn it into something I need to say sorry for! anyways, I just feel like I always put him first, I always make sure he is ontime places or picked up always, or has what he needs, I always always put him first before EVERYTHING, and I feel like he does not do the same for me. He would rather have me wait than tell parents hold on I need to check the time for my wife. I can truly say I would absolutely never ever do this to him because he is always on my mind and im always trying to do whats best for him in situations like getting picked up or droped off or always having what he needs.

    Is it okay for me to talk to him about this? Can I tell him I feel this way about him not putting me first or do I just need to drop it? I have been crying since this happened because I am just so flustered by the whole situation

    1. Learningwife,

      I can certainly understand why you were upset.

      Do you believe him about why he didn’t remember? (Can you please remind me if he has any condition like ADD?)

      It sounds like he did try to apologize to you and make amends.

      Are you able to extend grace to him? Are you ready at this point to forgive him and be merciful and move on?

      I think he really knows that he messed up big time. I personally don’t see a lot of value in hammering him over the head with it any more at this point.

      What do you think you need him to do in order for you to forgive him? Is it possible that he truly didn’t realize what time it was and made an honest mistake?

      Will punishing him more make things better?

      How could you extend grace, mercy and forgiveness to him in a meaningful way today?

      Much love!

  18. Hi April!
    Sorry i am just now getting back to you, its been a long week! i read your response though and was going to reply but then my husband came home and wanted to talk and i was able to extend Grace bc of your encouragement! He wanted to talk about forgiveness, and how as husband and wife, forgiveness is so important. He is right. Reading my comment back i see how i upset i must have been! I sound so mean lol but yes i believe him, i even said i never thought u would forget and not call me! He said let me remind you why you think that because its never happened, that is so true, i need to be quick to listen slow to anger, the important thing Is that he was safe and so was i!

    Thank you april, how are you feeling? Praying for you as well!
    🙂

    1. Learning wife,
      That sounds like a beautiful, God-honoring, marriage-strengthening resolution! Woohoo! Thank you so much for sharing. 🙂

      I am feeling much, much better, thank you so much for asking.

  19. Hi April.
    Your blog has really helped me grasping more of the concept of being a biblical wife which Im really thankful for.

    I would like to add that a huge problem is that a lot of christians don’t even know what the word sin means! This is really sad. If you ask them they will not be able to define it. So how are people going to be able not to sin if they dont know what it is?
    Sin is the transgression of the law of God.

    Matthew 5:17
    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

    Unfortunately a lot of christians tend to believe that we can transgress it, because the law of God was given to His people in the Old Testament.
    They often argue that this is because we are no longer “under the law” (which is more accurately to be understood as “not under the consequences of the law). With this logic though, we could now steal, murder, commit adultery, etc. etc.

    Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? 2 May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?

    So, again, sin is the transgression of the law of God.

    In summary:

    Mar 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
    Mar 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

    One cannot love God if you are living in willfull sin. The same goes with your neighbour. We cant simply define “sin” and “love” with our own human terms and then believe that we are following the bible by quoting Mark 12:30-31. One has to know what the definition of sin is, so one can be able to love.

    Look here what Jesus answeres the man:
    Mar 10:17 And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?
    Mar 10:18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
    Mar 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
    Mar 10:20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth.
    Mar 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.

    I hope this can help people out there!
    Without this understanding (the understanding of what sin means) it’s really confusing to read scriptures, let alone to follow them!

    MUCH LOVE!!!

    1. the loved sinner,

      Thank you for this. 🙂

      We are not under the Mosaic Law at this point, because we are under a new covenant of Grace through the blood of Jesus. So we are no longer under the dietary and sacrificial laws and the cleansing rituals described in the Old Testament. But we are under the commandment to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength – and to love others. There are still some laws in the Old Testament that apply now because they are about loving God and loving people. Love does no harm to its neighbor.

      A great definition of sin is “to miss the mark” – it is an archery term that means it falls short of the target or the bulls eye. It is a lack of total perfection. If the arrow misses the target by a millimeter, that is a sin. If it misses the target by a mile, that is a sin. Yes, we do need to understand what sin is in God’s eyes and we do need to understand how to properly read and apply the Old and the New Testaments. That is very important!

      Much love!
      April

    2. That always seems to be a strange point of confusion.

      There were old laws that were meant to symbolize in a fleshly sense what Jesus and His Holy Spirit later fulfilled. Animal sacrifices symbolized (and prepared God’s people for) the coming sacrifice of Christ. Circumcision symbolized the agreement to fulfill laws exercised in the flesh so that transgression would increase.

      But most of all, the Old Covenant existed to show that fulfillment of the law of the flesh could not suffice, and needed the New covenant of the Spirit.

      By God’s Holy Spirit, afforded us by the sacrifice of Christ, we are able to fulfill the law: “whoever loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law.” Christ didn’t abolish the Law, but made it possible to fulfill for the first time.

      I love the discussion. 🙂 Wonderful reply PW.

      1. JC,

        That was a beautiful explanation, my brother! Thank you!

        I also love how circumcision is a picture of what God wants to do with our hearts as believers in Christ. It foreshadows the spiritual condition of a Christian – whose heart is circumcised as we die to self and allow God to cut out all that is dishonoring to Him and our hearts are fully yielded to Him.

My grandmother is on hospice and won't be with us much longer (11-30-16). I will get to comments when I am able to but I need to be with family right now. Thanks for understanding.

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