Being saved for selfish reasons

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by tinytim, May 15, 2007.

  1. tinytim

    tinytim
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    I have been thinking a lot about 20th century evangelism...
    Starting with Billy Sunday, to Billy Graham, to Evangelism Explosion, to Hyles style, now to Way of the Master...

    All of these have one thing in common.... selfishness.

    Is it truly salvation if the only reason someone gets saved is to miss Hell, ?
    I know we miss Hell after we are saved, but if that is the only reason someone prayed the right prayer, are they saved? After all, they were only thinking about themselves? They were being selfish and not wanting to go to Hell.

    IOWS, if a preacher stands up front and says, "If you don't want to go to Hell, come forward, and I will lead you in a sinner's prayer, and you will be saved." If a person comes forward, are they saved?

    I don't see anywhere in the scriptures where Jesus used this tactic to get people to follow him... He simply said come, follow me, and then told them they would be persecuted.

    Don't get me wrong, I know we avoid Hell when we are saved, but if we have to be scared to follow Christ, are we really following him? Or are we thinking about ourselves, and trying to get out of punishment.

    If the only reason a person tells God he is sorry is to avoid punishment is he really saved?

    Doesn't the person need a desire to have a relationship with Jesus, instead of just getting something out of the deal?

    Or am I way off base?
    Before modern evangelism came on the scene, how did they evangelize, say, in the 1700's? 1400's?
     
  2. AAA

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    #2 AAA, May 15, 2007
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  3. nwstevens

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    Tiny, I don't normally post on this site. I mainly come here to read what others have to say so I can learn from more educated people then myself. On this topic though I wanted to weigh in a little as it has been on my mind as well. I teach our churchs youth group and I am constantly worried that I might give the wrong impression of salvation. I don't want to over complicate it but I don't want to make it out to be easy believism either, you know say these words and poof your a christian. As far as what your question is. I think that using the reality of hell is a valid motive for salvation. Jesus about hell and how to avoid it one passage that comes to mind is the last part of mark 9. Paul pointed out the reality of hell being what we earn because of sin in romans 6:23, he also then went on to say that instead of getting what we deserve we could receive a gift instead. I am sure that many responded to that proposal. I believe that salvation occurs when a person is sorry for their sins and wants forgiveness. the desire to have a relationship with christ is an ongoing process after that by growing in grace and dying daily to sin. What God is looking for for salvation is repentance. whether it is the threat of hell that prompts repentance or the promise of heaven or whatever there has to be repentance. without that there is no salvation no matter what the words are that are spoken or what a person is seeking to gain. these are just my thoughts feel free to ignore.
     
  4. bapmom

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    you know I don't believe in just saying meaningless words either, Brother Tinytim....but I have to say, that in essence I believe our salvation always starts in our own selfishness. I mean, we love Jesus because He first loved us....

    Most people do not get saved because they feel all sorts of love for Jesus Christ already. That love grows because of salvation. I believe that those who turn to Christ out of fear of hell are just as saved as anyone else.....mostly because I think that is what really brought most of us to Christ.

    If we were not afraid of going to Hell, would we study so diligently to get salvational doctrine correct?

    Our desire to be with God, and to be closer to Christ grows through our new nature....it is a result of salvation.

    jmho
     
  5. J. Jump

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    If someone believes that Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, died and shed His blood on their behalf a sinner, what does it matter the reason that brought them to that point?
     
  6. tinytim

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    I hear what you are saying, but what I am afraid of is the following case scenario that I have seen so many times....

    The preacher preaches on Hell, then gives an altar call, and says that if you come forward he will lead you in a prayer that will keep you out of Hell...
    Now if the only reason that person came forward was to miss Hell.. and really doesn't care about how to miss it.. just said the prayer... are they saved...

    You know.. if they came forward to miss Hell, and then put their faith in the prayer they prayed...

    I know we must preach Hell.. but I also believe we must preach Christ crucified too... they need to know what they are accepting.. If they just repeated the words without meaning them they are on their way to Hell and don't realize it.

    And if you ask them if they are saved, they can point to the day they said the "sinner's prayer"
    Then if true conviction comes along, they are taught that it is Satan trying to cast doubt on their salvation.

    To Go to Hell believing you are going to Heaven your whole life would be the most terrible thing.

    I think we really need to be careful what we preach..
    WE need to preach Christ and him Crucified, and let the Holy Spirit do the convicting...
     
  7. tinytim

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    It doesn't matter.. as long as they believe in Christ, and not the prayer they prayed...
    As long as the trust is in Christ... fine...

    But I am afraid many Christians have their faith in the one time they knelt and prayed and didn't even know what they prayed, because they wanted to miss Hell soo bad...

    They were being selfish.
     
  8. standingfirminChrist

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    As pointed out previously, Paul preached an eternal separation from God (death) first. Before one can get saved, one must first realize they are lost and that the path they are on is leading to destruction.

    Then, once they know they are on the wrong path, they can be shown the right way... through Jesus Christ.
     
  9. J. Jump

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    Well Tim the problem is that there are a vast majority of pastors/SS teachers/Bible study teachers that themselves don't know what the Gospel of grace truly means and they are merely repeating what they have been taught growing up or in seminary, etc.

    What we should be doing is making sure that folks know what the true message of the Gospel of grace through faith is all about. We have to teach people that they don't have to pray or anything else other than believe. I don't have say anything I just have to believe what was done by Him on my behalf a sinner.

    Instead of trying to get people to say a prayer we need to have more one on ones with folks and ask questions to get an understanding of what they know and what they don't know and then teach them the Truth and then ask them if the believe the Truth.

    But it's no wonder there are so many issues within Christendom regarding eternal salvation. The simple message of the Gospel of grace through faith apart from works has been terribly distorted today :(
     
  10. tinytim

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    and that is what i am beginning to see.
     
  11. tinytim

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    absolutely agree..

    Show them Jesus, not a prayer
     
  12. J. Jump

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    Well you are a step ahead of a great many Tim. Most people just want to stick their head in the sand :tear: .
     
  13. nwstevens

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    I completely agree. As I said earlier this is my biggest fear in dealing with the youth in our church. While I do not believe that salvation is complicated. I feel that to often the emphasis is placed on the prayer itself, not repentance, not faith or belief. I believe that alot of times our churches altar calls are designed to boost numbers and try to show we are growing. I see nothing wrong with coming to the Lord based on a fear of Hell. However to be true salvation there has to be belief and repentance not just a desire to stay out of hell, For the record I think that altar calls that are generic and in the style that you portrayed in this case scenario are responsible for a lot of people struggling with this issue for many years and in the worst case scenario ending up in hell because of misguided trust in something other than Jesus. You are right we must be careful what wepreach and how we present it.
     
  14. pinoybaptist

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    Thank you, tinytim.

    I think, having been once in the Arminian side, that there are two types of people who come forward during the altar call.

    Those who are truly God's own, and those who are not.

    Those who are truly God's own have already been in conviction about their state prior to hearing the preacher's voice, except they did not know what to do about it. They just have no idea at all that they are indeed God's children.

    These have already been regenerated. Ripe. Ready for gospel preaching and gospel instruction. They have Godly sorrow in their hearts.

    Usually these are those who stay and grow in church. Those who remain faithful. Some of them will not, but that is not to say they are not children of the Heavenly King. One day in the final harvest, they also will be harvested by the King's angels.

    And then there are those who came for selfish motivations.

    Fear, as you pointed out. Or to satisfy someone who's been prodding them, perhaps the one who brought them to church as their "visitor". There are even those who "come forward" because of their girlfriends, or boyfriends, their sweethearts, if you will.

    These will sooner or later be gone from the fellowship of the saints once the fear settles down.
     
  15. Allan

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    The truth is that God uses sermons of Hell,damnation, and sin to show them they are sin and that they are indeed seperated from Him, tell them to repent, and obey.

    Jesus did the same thing. Jesus taught more on the subject of hell and sin in all its aspects than anything else. And He did this to seek and save that which was lost (Israel and shadowed toward us)

    Don't get me wrong though, prayer is by product of God's dealing and working. Rom 10:13, and that repentance is done toward God, how? In prayful contrition and humble heart. Yet we DO need to de-emphasize the prayer as the means of salvation and place it in proper context of the conduit through which we call out to God our saviour.

    Where I think we mess up is a couple of things:
    1. We give the impression (at times) that if you "wan't out of hell" (but we don't speak with them to know the intent of the heart but instead we say "pray") The intent should be I need mercy for I am a sinner and DESERVE Hell.

    2. We don't disciple with the feverency of the cults. We just say - if you want come and get, like it is some kind of option to be discipled.

    3. A pet peeve of mine is that MANY churches do not allow God to FULLY deal with a person under conviction. I don't send them over to someone and say "get'um saved". I tell that person to go to alter and allow God to deal with their sin and to beg for mercy if He be so gracious to extend it. (and He is :) ) But the person is usually pampered or told it's alright, we were all in those situation, or .... we try to pasify the working of the holy Spirit and in effect are not helping but hindering the Work of the Holy Spirit. We are taking their attention from God and His dealing with them to what WE think aught to be done. God forbid!!

    We need to preach on Sin, His Righteousness, and His Judgment to come (Hell) or else how shall they who are blind see the state of hopeless and helplessness they truly are in. (all of these encompass of course Him Crusified)

    I like the the D.L. Moody stated once:
    One day a drunk came up to Moody on the street and said "Hey, Mr Moody. I'm one of your converts." And Moody looking at the drunk said "Yes, you may be one of my converts but you most definately are not one of Christs" (or something to that effect).

    We need to preach a changed life BECAUSE OF Christ due to the salvation of the repentent sinner calling out for mercy.


    Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
    And Godly sorrow brings forth repentance
    And how will they know unless we tell them the full counsil of God?
     
    #15 Allan, May 16, 2007
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  16. Allan

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    I never ask a person when they prayed a prayer for the sake of verifying salvation, though I do ask and if they tell me "they prayer to recieve Christ at such and such a date/day/ or age. I ALWAYS ask "So tell me, has your life been completely changed from that day forward. Can you say with absolute certainty that your life is/was no longer the same anymore. That you craved Christ, His Word, fellowship with the Church, AND... a hatred of sin. That you were no longer the same you at the end of that prayer, than you were when you started that prayer. - I am cramming here but I do give this (changed life - life-style) speacial and specific emphasis. We are a new creation, old things are passed away...

    I preach this way. If you are having doubts about your salvation or are arguing with yourself about your eternal security. Don't think it is Satan trying to cast doubt. That is exactly what he DOESN'T wany. WHy? Cause you will look to Christ to be saved, that's why. He WANTS you thinking all is well but it is the Holy Spirit with who you are arguing for He and He alone knows the truth of whether or not you are truly sealed in Christ by Him or not.

    I agree. But scripture does say "...Many shall come to Me in that day saying Lord, Lord have we not done...in Your name (authority)..." and Christ will declare unto them depart from me you lawless one (worker of iniquity) for I never knew you.

    We are in an age were everyone (in America) is saved and knows Christ, but it isn't about who knows Christ but who is known of Him.
     
    #16 Allan, May 16, 2007
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  17. Surfer Joe

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    Hey tinytim. I don't think it's selfish but if it is, I don't think it's wrong. Jesus warned us over and over again to flee the wrath to come, etc. We're saved by faith and not by how much we love God or whether or not our faith derives from being selfish or selfless. I think it's perfectly normal for people to be thinking about themselves when coming to salvation. It takes time for love to grow.
     
  18. bapmom

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    Now I see what you meant, Tinytim.........

    the problem is more in the presentation from the preacher rather than in the heart of the person who comes forward.

    just to answer a bit about someone who might be doubting, I know we go through the plan of salvation again if someone comes forward to express doubts. We have no problem with someone coming to get "assurance", and we'll try to explain it in a clearer manner again, rather than claiming their doubting is from Satan.

    but still, I think that fear is part of the root of what drives us to Christ in the first place to ask for salvation. We are asking to be saved.....we use the word "saved" because there's something that we fear that we need to be saved from.

    But if a preacher falls down on the job, and approaches the fearful lost person as if there is a magical prayer that will keep them from the fire, then the preacher has muddied the waters.
     
  19. convicted1

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    I have heard different people state that a scared religion/sermon isn't any good. If I hadn't been scared at the thought of dying lost, I probably wouldn't have started going to church. With the Fear of God, is the beginning of wisdom.
     
  20. Tom Butler

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    Allan, your entire post is spot on. But you did push one of my buttons, about coming to the altar. We don't have altars in New Testament churches, but many times I heard preachers urge listeners to come to it. I know it's symbolic, but it's also, in my opinion, a gimmick some preachers use to get people down the aisle. Seems to me that anything that can be done down front can be done anywhere.

    Otherwise, good post.
     

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