What does it mean to 'ask Jesus into your heart'?
Many have taught that a person must "ask Jesus into your heart" to be saved. Is this true?
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Actually, the Bible does not use the wording of asking Jesus into your heart. The closest passage is found in Revelation 3:20 where we read, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me." The problem with using this passage to teach that a person must ask Jesus into his or her heart to be saved is that the original context of this verse discusses a group of people who are already Christians. These Christians at the church of Laodicea were told to leave their lukewarm approach to Jesus and to walk closely with Him.
Certainly those who teach you are to ask Jesus into your heart mean well. What is generally meant by this phrase is that a person needs to experience salvation in Jesus Christ. How does this take place? The Bible teaches that salvation involves believing that Jesus is Lord who rose from the dead (Romans 10:9). We are to believe in Jesus as God's only Son to receive eternal life (John 3:16).
This salvation is by grace through faith, not of works so no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). As John 1:12 teaches, "But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." We become His children by faith.
Believing in Jesus is a simple message, yet is difficult due to our human sinfulness. The Bible teaches all have sinned and fall short of God's glory (Roman 3:23). We deserve death, yet salvation in Christ gives us eternal life (Roman 6:23). This great gift is one all need to hear, need to receive, and need to share (Matthew 28:18-20).
While asking Jesus into your heart is not directly taught in the Bible, it refers to the most important decision a person can ever make—the belief in Jesus as Lord. Our desire should be to both accept this great gift of eternal life as well as to accurately communicate it to others. When we share our faith with others, we can refer to the clear teachings of Scripture regarding how to be saved to better communicate rather than a phrase like "asking Jesus into your heart" that can miscommunicate the message we seek to present.
Salvation is not about asking Jesus into our heart, but giving our heart to Him. He is our Lord and the one whom we are called to serve. He has already come to earth, lived, died, resurrected, and ascended to heaven to show His love for us. He simply asks for us to believe in Him to receive eternal life (John 3:16; Acts 4:12).
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