So . . .

You Prayed a Prayer


. . . and you prayed it because someone guaranteed you

that you would go to heaven if you did.


. . . and, after all, you do believe in Jesus.


. . . and if that’s all it takes, why not?


But. . .

. . . absolutely nothing about your life has changed since

you prayed.


. . . you are still the same kind of person you were before you prayed.


. . . and, the truth is, your life is no different from your non-Christian neighbor’s.


So . . . 


. . . are you really sure you’re going to heaven, after all?


Because . . .

. . . the scariest thing Jesus ever said was this:


“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.   Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:21-23).


In other words, a lot of people just like you will come before Jesus on Judgment Day thinking they’re okay because they not only “believed” in Jesus, but also called Jesus Lord, prayed a prayer, or even did miracles in Jesus’ name.  However, they find out too late that because they never did what God really wanted, they’re going to the wrong place.


How could that be?


It’s because a lot of people who pray a prayer and believe in Jesus don’t understand that the kind of belief in Jesus that saves includes a crucial attitude adjustment called repentance.


The first time Jesus addressed crowds in His ministry, He used the word repent along with believe to describe what people need to do to be included in His Kingdom:


“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).


And when Jesus met with His disciples the first time after His resurrection, He said repentance was essential for the forgiveness of sins:


“Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).


And in the very first Christian sermon, when Peter told his listeners what they needed to do to be saved from judgment, he said:


“Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).


So what is repentance?


It is literally changing your mind when you believe in, trust in or rely on Jesus and His death as payment for their sins and His resurrection as the guarantee of their eternal life.


When you truly trusts i Jesus alone, you change your mind.  You transfers trust from yourself or your good works or anything else that think might save you to Jesus alone.


And when that happens, you turns from you sin and the death that it brings, to Jesus and the life that He gives.


The kind of belief that will save you is never just an agreement with the facts about Jesus.  We’re told “the demons also believe, and shudder” (James 2:19b).  It is always a change of mind in which you put your trust in Jesus alone -- for the forgiveness of your sins, the gift of eternal life, and the direction (not perfection) that He gives for your life right here and now.    


Because what you really believe always determines what you do.


So . . .


You prayed a prayer.


But nothing has changed -- least of all you.


Now, what do you do?


Well, you certainly don’t want to just pray a prayer again.


Why not . . .


Do what Jesus said to do, the first time He addressed the crowds and met the disciples after His resurrection?


Why not . . .


Sincerely change your mind and respond gratefully to the incredible sacrifice Jesus made when he suffered to pay for your sins on the cross?


Why not . . .


Really change your mind about how you’re living, deciding to live for Jesus rather

than for yourself?


Why not . . .

Actually begin to show your faith by how you live?


Because . . .


“By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments” (I John 2:3, emphasis the author’s).


“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).


“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (II Corinthians 5:17).



How to Show You Have Repentant, Saving, Faith


1.  Begin to spend time regularly reading your Bible (I Peter 2:2).


2. Begin praying that God will, by His Spirit, enable you to surrender to His will and begin obeying His will and Word (Ephesians 5:18).


3. Become part of a loving fellowship of believers who not only teach the Bible but also seek to live Christ-like lives (Hebrews 10:24-25).


4.  Get baptized as a reflection of your repentance (Acts 2:38).