As I sat in a Sunday morning service recently, the musicians quit playing so all that was heard were the voices of those gathered. I smiled, basking in the sound of God’s people offering praise to our King. But suddenly I became overwhelmed with sadness. Were these really God’s people? How many of those present thought they were Christians simply because they had prayed a prayer at some point in their lives? How many would leave that place to think little more of Christ until they returned the next week? I wondered how many of those gathered were true disciples of Jesus, seeking to serve others, express His love, and obey His commands every day of their lives. How many were deceived thinking their eternity was set, when in reality the truth was far short of this?
We are a generation who has been brought up with the teaching that reciting the “sinner’s prayer” seals our eternal destiny. Say a few simple words and we are guaranteed to spend eternity with Jesus; never mind that Jesus warned against a false sense of security (Matthew 7:21-23). Forget about the parts of scripture that detail the work we must do to be a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 25:31-46; James 1:27; Luke 18:18-22; Matthew 8:18-22). Skip over the parts of the Bible that uncomfortably tell us that we must forsake everything to follow Him (Luke 9:23). We said a prayer that is not even found in God’s Word, yet we cling to the false promise that this is all it takes to be saved from God’s judgment.
Keith Green once wisely remarked that “this generation of believers is responsible for this generation of souls”. We have shirked our responsibility. We have taken a lazy path. Instead of insisting and teaching that those who would follow Jesus do so in accordance with scripture, we have given them a spiritual “easy button”. We’ve made up a prayer that is far more palatable than discussing our duties and certain persecution. We have blood on our hands, and it’s time we start righting this wrong.
We must start preaching the need for repentance and the requirements of discipleship. No more cheap grace, checklists of do’s and don’ts, and certainly no more teaching a wide path that is far from the narrow road. We don’t need seven easy steps to becoming a Christian. We need one truth; we need Jesus and Him alone. We need to be His disciples, fully in love with Him, and devoted to doing the work that is predicated by that love.
Being a disciple of Jesus is more than saying a simple prayer. It’s a lifetime of love and service. It’s living each day as if there was no tomorrow. Following Jesus means seeing the value He places on every individual and serving them as if we were serving Him. Discipleship is not easy. It is brutally hard. It isn’t for everyone. Your eternity rests not on a prayer but on a consistent resolution to choose Christ over the things of this world; to love Him no matter what; to follow Him even when it would be so much easier not to. Your eternal destiny is dependent on your daily decisions. Examine the things you have been taught. Learn what it truly means to be a follower of Christ. Don’t be deceived.