If one who lives in the midst of Christendom goes up to the house of God, the house of the true God, with the true conception of God in his knowledge, and prays, but prays in a false spirit; and one who lives in an idolatrous community prays with the entire passion of the infinite, although his eyes rest upon the image of an idol: where is there most truth? The one prays in truth to God though he worships an idol; the other prays falsely to the true God, and hence worships in fact an idol…
Søren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript (1846)
I would probably agree with Kierkegaard to a point, I really would. He was a strong proponent of relationship. He argued that being or becoming a Christian involved a passionate, lifelong commitment to being in relationship with God.
But I believe a confession needs to be made. You must confess that Jesus is Lord in order to be saved. I truly believe He died for you. There has to be an admission there, and it has to be real.
There are people, who go to big conferences, and while they are there, someone hits on something in a message that really touches them. It hits them hard because of the difficult time they’re having, or the emotional high they’re experiencing. And then someone says, “Do you want to believe in Jesus? Do you want to be saved? Come forward!” So they go forward. They say the prayers. And they’re saved!
Or maybe someone just goes through a really emotional time, and they meet a Christian who says something that touches them. They make the confession, that Jesus is Lord. They’re saved!
But for some people, this isn’t enough. Some of these people go home from being saved, and they find that nothing changes for them. Their struggles continue. They’ve come from a time of high emotion, and they’ve said the words. But they only said them because it was the right thing to do at the time. They don’t go on to live out their newly found salvation in the lifestyle of Jesus.
If you want to really understand Jesus in your life, you have to live in the mentality of discipleship. You won’t understand it if you don’t live it. You won’t understand it if you just say some words. Mere words don’t substitute for infinite passion. They can’t substitute for a relationship with your creator and savior. It has to be heartfelt.
And so in that sense, I would agree with Kierkegaard. But I would want to explore this with him a little bit. Think of the man or woman who lives life as Jesus’ disciple, in passionate relationship with Him, but they don’t know it’s Him. Would God look at that man or woman on the Day of Resurrection and say, “They loved me, they believed in me”? I don’t think so. I think in this sense, Kierkegaard got it wrong.
The Bible says you must make a confession with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9). Good people aren’t saved in the absence of this confession. They may do good things, but the key to salvation is the acknowledgment and confession of who Jesus is.
But I also believe a lot of people say “Jesus is Lord” and they don’t mean it. It needs to be a heart commitment, not just a verbal acknowledgement. In the wake of salvation, you’ll see a lifestyle change. Saved by the spirit you will live by the spirit. (Romans 8:13)
Salvation is not just words. If you’ve been saved but you feel unfulfilled, just try a little discipleship mentality.
See you soon!