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Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved

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 “If there were a Guinness Book of World Records entry for ‘amount of times having prayed the sinner’s prayer,’ I’m pretty sure I’d be a top contender,” says pastor and author J. D. Greear. He struggled for many years to gain an assurance of salvation and eventually learned he was not alone. “Lack of assurance” is epidemic among evangelical Christians.

In Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, J. D. shows that faulty ways of presenting the gospel are a leading source of the confusion. Our presentations may not be heretical, but they are sometimes misleading. The idea of “asking Jesus into your heart” or “giving your life to Jesus” often gives false assurance to those who are not saved—and keeps those who genuinely are saved from fully embracing that reality.

Greear unpacks the doctrine of assurance, showing that salvation is a posture we take to the promise of God in Christ, a posture that begins at a certain point and is maintained for the rest of our lives. He also answers the tough questions about assurance: What exactly is faith? What is repentance? Why are there so many warnings that seem to imply we can lose our salvation?

Such issues are handled with respect to the theological rigors they require, but Greear never loses his pastoral sensitivity or a communication technique that makes this message teachable to a wide audience from teens to adults.

144 pages, Hardcover

First published January 31, 2013

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About the author

J.D. Greear

62 books181 followers
J.D. Greear, Ph.D., did his degree work in Christian and Islamic theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC. He is Lead Pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, NC. The Summit’s vision is to plant 1,000 churches in by the year 2040. Currently, they have planted 11 and have several church planting teams stationed around the world.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 308 reviews
Profile Image for Nick.
689 reviews89 followers
May 26, 2015
I'm really not sure what I think of this book. First of all, I must say that I really like Greear as a writer. He has a gift. He is writing to people (and I bet there are many) who struggle to feel assured of their salvation in Christ, but he also writes to people who believe that they are set for life because they said some words and were baptized. Greear strives to sort out how you can know that you are in Christ; however, I am still, somewhat, confused by some of his arguments. He would seem to come down hard on a person who was not fully committed to Christ as Lord but then say that we all still struggle with indwelling sin (even wanting to submit to Christ as Lord).

I like that he balances God's calling and our need to respond to that call. I think some of the problems this book stem from the fact that he pulls heavily from Luther while not maintaining Luther's sacramental theology. Baptism is even relegated to the appendix!

It has many helpful explanations of biblical concepts and lots of great illustrations. I think a lot of what he has to say is true, but I have reservations about "once saved, always save" and how he sees obedience and assurance fitting together. 3 stars for now...I may reread at some point and sort it all out. Well worth reading and wrestling through for yourself.
Profile Image for Michael.
1,207 reviews112 followers
June 26, 2018
This book was recommended to me by one of my close friends. It is a really good book that dismisses the myths about losing Salvation, Lordship and how to be secured in your beliefs. I am glad that I read it, although a lot of it was rehearsed from previous books I read with similar content. This is the good news that needs to be preached in churches and not all this legalism and tradition.

I know I am saved because Jesus lives forever in me, I am confident in the day of Judgement because as He is, so am I in this present world.

Truly this is the Gospel, all others are a counterfeit.
Profile Image for Mark Jr..
Author 6 books291 followers
May 1, 2013
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart  is pretty standard conservative evangelical Reformed Baptist material covering aspects of soteriology related to assurance. But it's well and searchingly presented, so this is a great book to hand to a young Christian. It's short and punchy, with appropriate contemporary (not worldly) feel. It also hews close to Scripture, quoting it directly, carefully, and frequently.

Greear seems to be speaking to his own Southern Baptist audience, particularly to those many who believe that they got their ticket to heaven when they came down an aisle and recited the sinner's prayer. It's not only Southern Baptists who think this way, however, so the book will help people across the face of American evangelicalism. He has both circles in mind when he writes,
A perversion of the doctrine of eternal security has become common in evangelical circles. This perversion presents salvation as a contract "signed" with God that God can never get out of, no matter what you do. Once you've signed the contract and prayed the prayer, you've got God trapped. (87)

I was particularly interested in the repentance chapter because I think I have a significant number of people listening to me preach every Sunday who have exactly the problem Greear (lovingly) attacks. They think they're okay with God because they did something religious a while back. I did glean some helpful illustrations and rhetorical strategies for communicating biblical truth on repentance. Here's one paragraph I recorded:
Repentance is not the absence of struggle; is the absence of settled defiance…. Repentance ushers us into a life of greater struggle, not out of one. While I've heard of some people who were immediately released from certain sinful desires, like alcoholism, anger, or same-sex attraction when they received Christ, as a pastor of 15 years I can say that this is not the normal experience of new believers. Christians, like the apostle Paul, continued to struggle with sin, often unsuccessfully, for the rest of their lives. The struggle is proof of their new nature. They fall often, but when they do, they always get up looking His direction. (64–66)

I found this to be sound and helpful counsel:
God gives both warnings and assurances because both are necessary for Christian growth. Both solidify us in the faith that saves. ¶ If you want to teach the Bible well, emphasize both, and in the same proportions the Bible emphasizes them. Trust that the Holy Spirit will use both for the purposes he intended. (92)

Among the very few little exegetical flubs I could possibly snipe at, there is just one that probably should be mentioned, the etymological definition Greear gives of repentance, calling it a "change of mind." But this phrase in English does not, I think, capture what "repentance" is. That phrase—"change of mind"—is often used to mean precisely what Greear warns against, mere intellectual assent that doesn't lodge in and fill the heart. People don't "change their minds" about the divinity of Jesus as often as they change them about ice cream flavors while in the drive-through line at McDonald's. But this is a minor point, because Greear's explanation seemed to me to be dead-on even if his definition wasn't.

He ends the book with two quick appendices. The first offers helpful advice on whether or not you should be rebaptized. The second very briefly argues against the (mainly, but not only, Catholic) idea that grace is infused into the believer to produce works which will justify him.

Greear in this book uses well his God-given gifts of communication. He draws helpfully and humbly from his own struggle with doubt. His work reminds me of Mark Dever's: simple but solid Bible truth for a Baptist/evangelical audience that should probably know this stuff already.
Profile Image for Aeromama.
72 reviews
December 26, 2022
Read the first two thirds only.

Entertaining: 2/10
Transformational: 3/10

Greear wants to help people see that they are either saved or not saved.

The best way to do that is to look to God directly by prayer and the scriptures. To help others ascertain their salvation, crack the door open and invite people to have their bones and marrow divided. God can handle our doubts and troubles, and we can bear those burdens for one another. So don't hand someone this book. Instead, draw them in with the beauty and glory of Life In Christ.

But the author doesn't do that. Instead, he skips a stone across topics like atonement and assurance, without expositorily handling the scriptures. Just a verse here or a passage there. Why should you trust another man's word over God's? You shouldn't. Don't.

If you're not certain that you are saved, let's talk. I'll take you through scriptures or find someone who can help you face to face. I'll ask you hard questions. We can dive the depths and beauty of what life in Christ is like. Together.

A better treatment that unveils the beauty of salvation is Finally Alive by John Piper. Guess what? You can download that for free here:

Profile Image for Josh Miller.
283 reviews22 followers
April 27, 2020
Absolutely enjoyed this book! Having grown up with a similar background as the author helped me resonate with the premise set forth. The title is provocative for certain (so many of us have used the phrase 'Have you asked Jesus into your heart') to many that grew up in Bible-believing, Bible-preaching soul winning homes. However, Greear's goal is not to get his readers to stop using that phrase as much as it is to get his readers to look at what they are placing their faith in. A prayer prayed or a "posture of faith & repentance" toward God?

Greear begins with a chapter entitled "Baptized Four Times." In it, he gives personal testimony of having prayed the sinner's prayer again and again and again early in life because of doubt about his salvation. He recounts, with humor, being baptized four different times. He gives this statement - "You can 'ask Jesus into your heart' without repenting and believing, and you can repent and believe without articulating a request for Jesus to come into your heart."

He finishes the chapter by clarifying two things he is "not saying" at the outset: 1) I'm not saying 'Asking Jesus into your heart is heretical, and 2) I'm not saying we should hesitate pressing for a decision when we present the gospel.

Hence, we know that Greear is not trying to undermine decades of presenting the gospel to sinners far and wide. However, I do believe he shifts the focus when it comes to presenting the gospel and in matters of assurance.

There are several things I really like about this book. First, it is rather short. Fewer and fewer people read today. Because of that, shorter books are easier to get a majority of people to read. Second, the author addresses salient points when it comes to salvation: What is Belief? What is Repentance? Once Saved, Always Saved; Evidence You Have Believed; and When You Continue to Doubt.

Sprinkled throughout the book are solid illustrations that buttress the truth presented. I really liked the illustration regarding Fact, Faith, & Feelings on page 108. That illustration alone was worth reading the entire book.

You might not agree with everything posited in this book, but it will definitely get you to think about these very important doctrines of the faith. I highly recommend it.

Profile Image for Ezra.
61 reviews
July 2, 2016
This book is a helping hand, a sturdy staff for a wobbly path.

Greear, in a wonderfully easy to read and friendly tone, walks the reader through the sometimes hard to define elements of christian living such as faith, belief and repentance, using many illustrations and examples to do so. It was so enjoyable I almost immediately want to read it once more.

A fantastic little read, would recommend to just about anyone.
Profile Image for Kris.
1,229 reviews167 followers
March 26, 2018
Someone needs to re-write this book from the perspective of Lutheran sacramental theology. That's what Greear is missing. He tries so hard to get there, and doesn't make it, because his focus is not on the sacraments. He talks about assurance of salvation without talking about the means of grace.

Greear writes accurate things, and I agree with many of his points. In many places he's not wrong, he's just incomplete. For instance, here is a good quote:
"Now, when I doubt whether or not I'm saved... I don't look back to the prayer I prayed with my parents when I was five, or to my rededication to Christ at sixteen. I don't even look back to the experience reading Luther's commentary. I look back two thousand years to what Christ accomplished on Calvary. And I rest upon what He finished there."

Yet elsewhere, I completely disagree with him:
"So, like repentance and faith, perseverance and assurance of salvation are two sides of the same coin. One can never be possessed apart from the other. So, if you want to know for sure that you are saved, maintain your posture of repentance toward God and faith in Christ. Persevering in the faith is how we make our calling and election sure."

But this is just putting the onus back on us again. You can't say that part of the assurance of salvation is us persevering, us trying harder to keep our faith. Of course one can possess "perseverance" apart from salvation. There are church-going people sitting in pews and outwardly "persevering" toward God every Sunday, while still believing their own works grant salvation.

I disagree with Greear especially on his "once saved, always saved" explanations. This belief inevitably leads toward many problems -- one of which Greear brings up himself: the question of whether someone struggling is a genuine believer who is backsliding, or a superficial believer who was never truly converted. But he never answers this question! He says yes, that's tough, but try harder! In the end, Greear has caused his reader to continue to worry, and merely shifted the problem from "Have I repented enough to get faith?" to "Have I persevered enough in my faith to stay saved?"

How can one know that he is saved? Simple: baptism and communion, through which God gives a Christian faith. Faith is God-given. God's Word in your ears, water over your head, and food down your stomach are all assurances of salvation. Humans are very corporeal beings, yet Greear spends no time talking about the spiritual vs. physical realms, and how that is intertwined with the means of grace.

In his review, Nick points out that Greear fails to adhere to Luther's sacramental theology. See here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
May 15, 2021
Amazing book. As someone who has wrestled with assurance for the last 6 months, this book reminded me that salvation is found ONLY in the finished work of Christ. An encouragement to fix my eyes on Jesus and His perfect righteousness, to keep maintaining an ongoing expression of repentance and faith, to keep running the race with endurance. Love this book. Highly recommend for the doubting believer and for the falsely assured.
Profile Image for Michael Boling.
423 reviews28 followers
July 9, 2013
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart – The title alone is catchy and aptly describes the focus of pastor and author J. D. Greear. While some may take the title of this book to mean Greear is encouraging the reader to not worry about salvation or that churches should stop offering altar calls, nothing could be further from the truth. This book is focused on the oft misunderstood and misapplied doctrine of assurance, something far too many in the church today are struggling to understand, thus the reason for people either living in fear of not being saved or the repeated trips down to the altar just to be sure they really meant it this time.

Greear readily admits succumbing to the belief that just perhaps he was not saved resulting in his own repeated trips to the altar and to the baptismal tank. Rooted in his own experience, Greear discusses in honest detail the many reasons why people carry around with them various degrees of uncertainly when it comes to their eternal destination. For many, their understanding of assurance of salvation has been impacted by those who reject the idea of “Once Saved Always Saved” based on those who have taken that concept as a license to sin because after all, their ticket to heaven has been punched. Greear rightly addresses that approach noting “far from killing our motivation for obedience or spiritual growth, assurance fuels it. Only confidence in God’s commitment to you will inspire confidence in your commitment to Him. Only joy in what you know you possess in Him will enable you to leave everything else behind. Only knowing the love of God for you produces love for God in you.”

Using that idea as a jumping off point, Greear spends the majority of this book searching the Scriptures to elaborate on what assurance actually looks like specifically focusing on the related concepts of belief and repentance. Understanding what belief and repentance looks like, is absolutely key to having a holistic approach to assurance and it is these discussion points where Greear’s effort really shines. Many have reduced belief to the ceremony if you will of getting saved, that particular event that for many is the receiving of their ticket to heaven with no resultant change in behavior or desire to pursue holiness. Greear rightly notes “Biblical belief is the assumption of a new posture toward the Lordship of Christ and His finished work on the cross.” This of course begs the question as to how one can know if they have the right posture which again leads many to wonder whether they are truly saved or not. Greear aptly states in response to this issue “It is the relationship to Christ that saves you, not the prayer that signified the beginning of that relationship.” So worrying about what point you can look back to as the start of that joyous adoption into the family of God as his bride is something to avoid. Those who acknowledge Christ as Lord of their life with the requisite fruit being revealed in their life can have confidence they truly believe.

Moreover, understanding what repentance consists of is the other side of the same coin. Greear wonderfully outlines first what repentance is not as a comparison point to later point out what true repentance actually looks like. Repentance is not solely an emotional event where you shed a few tears for being bad while having no desire to place your entire life under the Lordship of Christ. Furthermore, simply praying a prayer is not evidence of repentance as often that can just be the repetition of words or a perceived formula one must participate in to get saved. So what does true repentance look like? Greear avers “belief in the gospel is not demonstrated by never falling but by what you do when you fall…When those who believe the gospel fall, they renew their posture of repentance, re-embrace the gift-righteousness of Christ, thank God for the promise of their victory, and get back up.” This is an excellent explication of repentance for it focuses the individual not on their ability to obtain or maintain perfection, but rather on the finished word of Christ and the process of sanctification in their life.

Greear’s chapter on the truthfulness of “Once Saved, Always Saved” is also very timely. As noted earlier in this review, this is a concept that many reject simply because many abuse it. But as Greear notes, just because something is abused does not mean it is not true. The believer can have full assurance of their salvation, not because Calvin said so or some other theological system says so but more importantly, because Scripture declares it to be so. Greear carefully and methodically outlines the instances in Scripture where God clearly notes that all He calls will come to Him and in no wise be cast out. This provides or should provide the believer not just a sense of assurance, but a desire to serve the One who has, through His offer of grace, declared He will never leave us nor forsake us.

Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart is a valuable exploration of what belief, repentance and assurance is all about from a sound scriptural approach. For those who are struggling with knowing whether they are saved or not, this is a book that will answer those nagging questions. For those who have assurance of salvation, this is also an important book to read given the many people one will come in contact with that have questions about salvation or who have heard errant views about the doctrine of assurance. Additionally, this book properly places salvation in the area of being more than a specific event. Following Christ is not just a prayer or answering an altar call, it is a lifestyle, one that involves total devotion to the One who offered His Son on our behalf to atone for our sins. Assurance of salvation is something that should generate love and adoration in the life of the believer for the God who loves and treasures His children. Greear’s book is a tremendous tool and addition to other excellent works on this subject.
Profile Image for Jason Crosby.
8 reviews1 follower
January 1, 2014
"Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart" is J.D. Greear's attempt (and a good one at that) to let believers and unbelievers know exactly where they stand with God (12). He attempts to demonstrate to the follower of Jesus Christ how they can base their assurance on a promise God gave once for all in Christ and not on the fleeting memory of a prayer they once prayed (12).

To do this, Greear uses 8 chapters and 121 pages to make a case for the church to make a case for clarity as it relates to presenting the gospel and to answer questions such as Does God even want us to have assurance? What is belief? What is repentance? And what about the possibility of losing your salvation?

There were several statements in this book that I appreciated. Here are a few of them:

1) Evangelical shorthand for the gospel is to "ask Jesus into your heart," or "accept Jesus as Lord and Savior," or "give your heart to Jesus." These phrases may not be wrong in themselves, but the Bible never tells us, specifically, to seek salvation in those ways. The biblical summation of a saving response toward Christ is "repentance" and "belief" in the gospel (7).

2) Greear explains that salvation comes not because you prayed a prayer correctly, but because you have leaned the hopes of your soul on the finished work of Christ (11).

3) It is extremely difficult to risk it all for something when you're not convinced the something you are risking it all for actually exists...there are points you can never pass spiritually until you are confident that jesus will support the full weight of your soul. There are sacrifices you'll never make and commands you'll never obey unless you are convinced of their eternal value...You'll never have the courage to embrace the cross until you have the confidence that you own the resurrection. You will never have the strength to say "no" to sin until you realize the unconditional "yes" that God has given you in Christ...Furthermore, when you're not assured of God's love for you, your motivations for obedience will become corrupted. You'll do good works in the hopes that God will approve of you because of them...Apart from that assurance, you can fear God like a slave master, but you'll never love him like a father. That's what true obedience is--beyond merely adhering to a set of regulations; it is doing so because you deeply and truly love the One commanding you. Religion commands us to change our behavior, but it cannot change our hearts (14-17).

4) If we think that we have spiritual life in ourselves--that we are worthy of God's acceptance, or that we can be good enough to earn God's approval if we just try a little harder, or that God knows we are doing our best and will accept our good intentions--we reject God's testimony about the indispensability of Jesus and call Him a liar...Most people will admit they make mistakes and are not perfect but far fewer will go on from there to admit their "mistakes" make them unworthy of eternal life and worthy of utter condemnation. We want to believe that our mistakes are not that bad, that deep down we are still pretty good people...Believing the testimony means admitting that you are "unworthy" of any honor before God (28-29).

5) You didn't start to sin because you hung around the wrong crowd; you were the wrong crowd. You hung around those you were comfortable with. You chose sin because you liked it better than God. No one taught you to sin; it came naturally (29).

6) If you base your assurance on what you do or how well you do it, you'll never find assurance. You'll always be wondering if you're doing enough. If your assurance is based on what Christ has done, however, you can rest in His performance. Your salvation is as secure as His finished work (38).

7) Conversion is not completing a ritual, it is commencing a relationship. The assurance of ritual is based on accurate words and memory. The assurance of relationship is based on a present posture of repentance and belief...Salvation is a posture of repentance and faith toward the finished work of Christ in which you transfer the weight of your hopes of heaven off of your own righteousness and onto the finished work of Jesus Christ (42-43).

8) Apart from repentance there can be no reconciliation to God. Repentance is not subsequent to believe; it is part of belief. It is belief in action--choices that flow out of conviction. Repentance literally means a change of mind about Jesus. Repentance is not merely changing your actions; it is changing your actions because you have changed your attitude about Jesus' authority and glory (55).

9) When you have been born again, you begin to avoid sin not just because you fear punishment, but because it keeps you from God. You begin to seek God because you love God; you begin to do righteousness because you crave righteousness. Your spiritual tastes have changed (97).

In the end, I recommend this book to three groups of people:

1) The first group consists of people who claim to be Christian but wonder whether or not they're truly saved. This group wonders if they've sinned too many times to go to heaven so they are constantly getting "saved" over and over again.

2) The second group consists of people who know the exact date they prayed a prayer, took part in baptism, or walked in aisle, but nothing in their life changed since that moment. They base their assurance of salvation on a moment in time and believe they are eternally secure even though they live their life exactly the same way they did before their "salvation." They have a false assurance.

3) The third group is the person who has yet to place their faith in Christ and wonders what a clear gospel presentation is or what salvation is according to the Bible.
Profile Image for Joe Cassada.
79 reviews3 followers
March 22, 2013
As the Goodreads rating system indicates, this book was truly "amazing." From a pastoral perspective, it has everything a book needs to make it something I would zealously recommend to Christians: it tackles controversial Biblical passages without side-stepping interpretive hang-ups, it answers nagging questions directly without political hemming and hawing, it fully addresses difficult theological topics without using language of the advanced seminarian, it offers exegetically derived definitions of important doctrines without burying the reader in long explanations, it exposes the major flaw in contemporary evangelism without using condemning language, and it provides something vital to the Christian's life: the means to assurance of salvation. Actually, it's probably easier to understand than this review.

J. D. Greear, with a theologian's precision and a pastor's touch, discusses repentance and belief in a way that puts these vital topics on the bottom shelf where everybody can reach.

Greear also shows he knows how to write for this ADHD culture of ours. This book is only 128 pages long, including end notes, which makes it a more attractive read to a society that doesn't.
Profile Image for Allison.
497 reviews35 followers
May 28, 2019
/ for school.

i read this for a thesis paper i wrote for my theology class, and i loved it. it's so powerful and convicting, clear and thoroughly supported with scripture. highly recommend to everyone.
May 22, 2015

Excellent book I recommend it to anyone for an uplifting of faith we need to stay in his word daily
Profile Image for Alexis Neal.
463 reviews56 followers
September 1, 2016
Well-written and theologically sound, but riddled with typographical mistakes--but nothing another pass by a decent editor couldn't fix.
Profile Image for Josh Quesenberry.
27 reviews1 follower
September 18, 2020
This book really helped me, as I often battle with assurance of salvation. It seems as though JD had a similar upbringing and similar experience with faith as me, which allowed me to understand his points with more coherence. It’s a fairly short and easy read.
Profile Image for Mathew.
Author 7 books32 followers
February 4, 2013
J. D.’s personal testimony drew me immediately to Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart. He recounts asking Jesus into his hearts thousands of time and getting baptized multiple times. If you’ve read my testimony you know I was baptized as an infant in the Roman Catholic Church, baptized again around four years old, baptized again in junior high, and then again at the end of high school. Throughout my childhood until college I struggled deeply with my own salvation. I was particularly susceptible to the manipulation present in many of the messages preached at summer camp by evangelists. Many of these were filled with guilt and condemnation instead of grace and hope. The gospel was sadly absent.

I would sin, weep, and repent and then do well. I would then sin, weep, and repent and then do well. My life followed the pattern of Israel in Judges. I spent many nights up late night searching in Romans seeking God asking him why I couldn’t overcome my sin.

It wasn’t until God brought a handful of people into my life that loved the gospel and explained it in all its beauty and power that I discovered I was accepted by God and the same Spirit which changed my heart would empower me to live a life pleasing unto God (p. 18). J. D. went through a similar struggle and I believe with him that many Christians are experiecning this same cycle of sin, praying a prayer, baptism, ad infinitum.

Throughout this book J. D.’s exposition and application is balanced and straightforward. He doesn’t cover the gospel. He unleashes it. He mines down to the roots of the mountain to find the source of our confusion. For example, J. D. explains how belief and repentance are connected:
The biblical summation of a saving response toward Christ is “repentance” and “belief” in the gospel (p. 7).
Repentance and faith are heart postures you take toward the finished work work of Christ. You might express the beginning of that posture in a prayer. The sinner’s prayer is not a magic incantation or a recipe you follow to get a salvation cake. The real stuff--the stuff that matters--is the posture of repentance and faith behind the worlds you speak. The prayer is good only insofar as it verbalizes the posture (p. 8)
J. D. makes the connection between belief and repentance unmistakable. “Repentance is belief in action. . . . Biblical belief is the assumption of a new posture toward the Lordship of Christ and His finished work on the cross” (p. 40). Repenting is the shoes to belief’s feet.

The strength of this book is the focus on Christ and his finished work (“base your assurance on a promise God gave once for all in Christ” p. 12; see also pp. 11, 16-17, 27, 31, 32, 40, 118). Weaved throughout the entire message of hope and assurance in Christ is the foundation of Christ’s finished work. It’s this foundation which provides assurance because God’s faithful to his promises in Christ. I wish someone had shared this book with me in middle school or junior high. It may have saved me years of doubts and confusion. It certainly would’ve driven me to the foot of the cross. This is a book you can share with believers at any level. As someone who reads a lot I found meat in the promises of God in Christ and yet there was an approachability that the newest of believers could grasp. You won’t find a better value book for new believers on this topic.
Profile Image for Blake.
17 reviews
July 22, 2019
Bottom Line Up Front: This was never going to get more than three stars because its central aim (becoming assured that you are saved and removing doubt of apostasy) is not met. I would say it cannot be met, because a big part of the book is devoted to reminding you that if you fall away, you were never saved to begin with.

Greear is an interesting fellow. He's the president of my former denomination, the SBC, and his theological beliefs and ecclesiological convictions match my own to a large degree. On the other hand, he speaks with a level of confidence and passion that hits my ear as trying too hard over genuine conviction. I once read an interview with him where he said Heaven of for people "would give up ten thousand worlds to be with [God]." I hate this language, because... I don't have a world. Not a single world do I have to give, so I don't know what kind of sense he's even trying to make with that statement. Honestly, that's similar to the vibe I get from him wanting to write a whole book on "knowing you're saved".

The book does offer a good explanation of what being saved and being a Christian entails. You have to believe that God did a work through Jesus of covering over your sins and reconciling you to God, and you have to live your life as if that idea is true and the most important thing in the world. Unfortunately, Greear expands on this by warning against a shallow repentance in a way that can't help but become clunky. You have to want to love and serve God. But you still sin. Is that a strikeout? No, but you have to wish you stopped sinning. But maybe sometimes you don't really want to act Christian. But do you at least want to want to act Christian? Well, then you can know you're saved. Forgive me if that doesn't give me a perfect and lasting peace.

Greear tells the story of a guy who prays to receive Jesus, brings friends to church, donates lots of money, serves as an elder, and still goes to Hell when he dies. Because, like the rich young ruler, he loved money, and there were always exceptions and limitations on how much or how well he served Jesus. Wait, isn't that just sin, just my fallen nature? Because I must admit there are often limits on how well I serve Jesus too. This passage made me fear for my salvation. And that fear wasn't abated a hundred pages later.

I'd recommend this book to people who want to think about soteriology, especially new Christians. But the book wants to let Christians be surethey are saved, and it fails to do that. Read, and think, and pray, and repent, but in the end, hope. For some of us at least, that's as good as it's going to get.
Profile Image for Aaron Downs.
46 reviews9 followers
September 14, 2014
J.D. Greear tackles the fears and questions of those who doubt their salvation in Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart. He explains his own battles with doubt, as well as those of many believers with whom he has interacted, and offers direction and guidance to help work through the doubt that plagues so many believers.

He begins by constructing a foundational layer of theology that points to God’s desire for us to know Him, and to know that we know Him. Although doubt is not an abnormal experience for believers, God does not desire for us to live in a perpetual state of doubt. But Greear really gets down to the heart of the matter by explaining the gospel. At first his explanation may seem unhelpful to those truly battling with doubt, but his explanation clearly builds a link between assurance of salvation and faith in Jesus Christ. He clearly emphasizes that the object of our faith must be Christ alone, and that doubting salvation because we don’t remember exactly the prayer we said (and other similar reasons) stem precisely from the fact that we have shifted our faith for salvation from Christ to our own selves.

Greear continues to provide explanations for warning passages, especially the warning passages in Hebrews. These explanations are not the most helpful (perhaps consulting a good commentary would be more profitable); however he does give greater scope in thinking to those consumed with warning passages by offering up passages that confirm our security in Christ.

Throughout the book he explains and/or corrects phrases that are at the very least unhelpful, such as phrases like “asking Jesus into your heart.” His explanations are especially helpful for those who have grown up in Christian environments and have heard phrases (some of which are entirely biblical and should never be disregarded) over and over to the point of deafness and misunderstanding.

This book is short, clear, and extremely helpful. I wish that this book had been written years ago, and that I had read it sooner. Whether you are doubting your own salvation or you wish to help those who are, this book is an indispensable resource.
20 reviews
July 14, 2021
This is an excellent treatment of the doctrine of assurance! I really appreciate the careful exegesis of relevant passages coupled with the benefit of a lifetime of pastoring and learning from experience how confused this issue is in many Christian's lives.

Greear does an excellent job of identifying saving faith and true Christianity with a posture of the heart that keeps believing and repenting. Faith and repentance is an ongoing reality in the Christian life.

I also appreciated the autobiographical look at how this use to be a confusing issue in JD's life! And I think many could identify with going forward, walking the aisle many times and the pull to want to keep getting "saved" instead of continuing a life of believing in Jesus and repenting of sin. How many people have been taught we get saved when we come forward? JD helps you get clear on this issue and provides a Biblically balanced way forward!

Great stuff! Well documented and well applied to a huge need in the church.
357 reviews3 followers
March 8, 2013
Wow! Talk about a title that grabs you! Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, How to Know for Sure you are Saved made me instantly want to read this based on title alone. Brilliant! How many times have we asked ourselves this very question: am I really saved? For me it’s too many to count so I was anxious to delve into this and find the answers!

Greear takes us along his own spiritual journey and reveals the moments in his life where he felt he was “saved” beyond a shadow of a doubt, until, the doubt crept in. It’s one of those things you feel complete assurance of in the moment but then the moment passes by and the doubt and fear creep in.

Like Greear, I had multiple moments of salvation in my life and two baptisms under my belt. What did it all mean? Was I really lost and saved again? Did one moment mean more than another? For me, reading a book based on someone’s personal experience is so much more reliable and believable than just reading a theologian’s thoughts on the subject with no personal references.

Greear addresses all of the specific questions we asks ourselves in that moment and squashes the doubt with Biblical references to the most frequently asked questions with regards to Salvation. This book would help someone who wasn’t saved and had a lot of questions as well as people like me that are already saved, but have lingering doubts when we read certain verses. Is it possible to lose your salvation? Or are you really once saved, always saved?

I love that Greear tackled all of these questions and more with his book, leaving no room for doubt. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart will answer any question you may have on salvation and give you peace on the subject.
125 reviews1 follower
October 10, 2013
With a title like this, you'd think controversy would surround this book.

Greear has written a book that every Evangelical Christian ought to read. It's based on the many times he "went to the altar" and "prayed the prayer" to ask Jesus into his heart. As an evangelical, this is one of the most important moments of life. But is it biblical?

What about the fear that comes with guilt? What about when you sin after you've asked Jesus into your heart? Does that sin mean you are going to hell? Were you truly a Christian if you sinned after that moment?

Greear does a fantastic job outlining what the Bible clearly states a person needs to do in order to be "saved". (You'll have to read the book to find out...) His own experience growing up was a great resonance with my own and I've even been dealing with the questions this book answers from other Christians.

This book tackles the big questions like, how can you be sure of your salvation?, can a person lose their salvation?, What is faith? What is Repentance? Is eternal life truly only by grace and not works? What does it mean to pray the sinner's prayer? These are all covered quickly but solidly.

There are two appendices after the main body: one deals with baptism and when/if a person should be baptized. The second deals with justification and our sense of salvation assurance. Both are fantastic to keep you digging into your Bible and talking it over with your group of friends.

This is a small hardback book that would be a terrific gift for anyone who has asked, "What must I do to be saved?"

This book was provided, at no cost, for review by B&H Books.
Profile Image for Cigno.
82 reviews3 followers
December 29, 2016
There are many puzzling aspects of so-called "Christianity," or what is commonly referred to as "evangelicals" in the U.S. For any serious seeker of what the Bible teaches there is a stark disconnect between what is found within the pages of the Bible and what is seen in the behavior and described in the beliefs of "evangelicals."

Greear does a superb job explaining from a Biblical standpoint the true meaning of sayings that have become nothing more than trite in the Christian world, things such as "once saved, always saved," "perseverance of the saints." Furthermore he describes the dangers and misunderstandings of the so-called "sinner's prayer" and what implications it has on the life of a true believer.

The author touches on some Calvanist views but does so respectfully and always refers back to Scripture. So often, those of a reformed viewpoint come across condescending and disrespectful, Greear writes in a loving and caring tone.

This book is a wonderful read for anyone who struggles with doubt, incongruency of what is said to be Christianity in the West, or doctrines surrounding salvation.
Additionally, I think this book would be beneficial for anyone opposed to Christianity based on what they see in so-called "evangelicals" because it explains some aspects of what it means to actually be a follower of Jesus Christ.
Profile Image for Todd Benkert.
15 reviews6 followers
August 24, 2019
Don't be misled by the provocative (unfortunate?) title, this book is not about the mechanics of conversion or contemporary evangelism methods. It has nothing to do with "Calvinism" nor is it a critique of modern church practice. This is a book about assurance. Namely, it's a book that argues that our assurance of salvation is not rooted in a past event, sincerity, or our ability to live up to the Christian ideal. Our assurance of salvation is based on our present, continuing posture of repentance and faith. Based on his own experience of "receiving" Christ and even being baptized multiple times yet never being sure of his salvation, Greear share how he finally came to realize the truth of the gospel and our response to it. Assurance comes when we rest on the finished work of the cross for our standing. Greear argues that we CAN be sure that we are saved and that a proper view of the gospel both leads us to that assurance and is the proper motivation and power to live for Christ.

Greear's writing style is inviting and his argument is easy to follow. He writes from his own experience with a first hand understanding of the doubts that many believers have about whether or not they are truly saved. I would give this to anyone who had questions about assurance of salvation.
Profile Image for Rose.
Author 1 book13 followers
May 6, 2013
I received this audiobook courtesy of Christian Audio for the purpose of writing a review.

Narrator Thoughts - Tom Parks does the perfect job of reading this book in the matter-of-fact way that it is written. His clear and simple way of speaking provided the perfect framework for this book. It was a perfect choice.

Book Thoughts - As someone who has doubted they have saving faith, I really enjoyed this book. Greear spells out the truth so clearly that I found my faith refreshed and my soul encouraged. It's all about resting on the finished work of God, not what we do. "Salvation isn't about completing a ritual, it's about consummating
a relationship with God." - J. D. Greear. He also explored each scripture that some pastors use to threaten people with losing their salvation. He looked at them in the light of all of what Jesus taught and God's nature. It put my mind at ease about some things that I had heard preached.

If you would like to learn how to get your own copy of Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, stop by ChristianAudio or Amazon to get one.
Profile Image for Ben Ellis.
10 reviews
April 14, 2017
Anyone who has listened to JD Greear preach will immediately recognize the style of delivery in this book. The style is relate-able, the information is great, and if you come from a particular denominational background (Southern Baptist) you can almost certainly relate to the content. Greear does a good job of walking the reader through the doctrine of "eternal security" without it sounding like a theology lecture. Rather the tone of the book really helps readers understand the reality that trusting in Christ is a life long trust and we rest comfortably in the relationship that we have with God through the work of Jesus.

This is a great book for anyone who has ever struggled with the question "Am I really saved?" Greear addresses both answers to the question, and gives the reader a meaningful way forward regardless of how they answer the question.

Overall, it is a great book for anyone to read.
Profile Image for David Steele.
Author 5 books166 followers
February 14, 2013
Here is what I really appreciate about J.D. Greear's approach - and I offer this as the highest of compliments. While he writes in a popular style (some might even consider his style somewhat akin to a hipster pastor meets theologian), I hear the great heroes of the faith cheering him on. I see the nodding head of Jonathan Edwards. I see the approval of John Bunyan. I see the grin of John Calvin. And I see the God-centered resolve of Luther. These are the kinds of theologians that fuel the fire for Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart. This is the kind of book that needs to be passed out like candy in youth groups. This is the kind of book that needs to be read by new believers. My prayer is that Greear's book will sell like wildfire. May God use this little book to fuel the Reformation fire that has been set ablaze by the Reformers and the English Puritans!
Profile Image for Joalby Phoenix.
46 reviews32 followers
March 1, 2013
Received this book through a Advanced Reader program.
The name pretty much sold me on it. I'm one of those Christ-followers who is forever annoyed by what has become Christian lingo or Christian speak (i.e. Ask Jesus Into Your Heart, How's Your Heart, God has a plan for you). It's lost its power and meaning.
I enjoyed that this book broke it down in such a way that lets people know that it's MORE than asking Jesus into your heart, that's being saved, but to maintain salvation and build your relationship with Christ and deepend your bonds with your faith what next. What do you do after you allow Jesus into your heart? People focus on the former and reject to acknowledge that action is needed in the latter.
Profile Image for Lis Candelier.
8 reviews
August 23, 2013
I picked up this book in an effort to dispel what's known as the "sinner's prayer." Instead, the providence of God allowed me to get to the chapter of repentance during a difficult time in my life where I was having trouble forgiving someone who hurt me. I not only doubted their walk with The Lord, but my own. This book said so many crucial points about resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. It reminded me that stumbling in sin does not equate to not being saved. My heart was stirred and my soul found rest. I am so glad I read this book even if when I started it was for a pretty unloving reason.
Profile Image for NinaB.
449 reviews26 followers
August 1, 2017
My husband and I read this with our girls and loved it. The witty author writes with authority because he bases his points on Scripture. His illustrations are relatable even to our teens. It provoked many introspective questions from them that my husband and I were glad to address. The author explains assurance of salvation simply, clearly and to the point. I recommend this to anyone, esp those who grew up in the church and struggle to define their "aha" moment of salvation, or are confused what having assurance of salvation is supposed to look like.
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