"Lord Jesus, Come Into My Heart"
Nothing is more important to anyone than Christ's being in his heart. Therefore nothing is more important to anyone than his understanding what the New Testament teaches on how one can have Jesus to dwell in his heart.
On Mount Calvary
Many Television Evangelists
Many television evangelists tell lost people something like this. "Bow your head right where you are and repeat after me. Say, 'Lord Jesus I know I am a sinner. I believe you died on Calvary for my sins. I repent of all my sins, and I am sorry for the sins I have committed. Please, Lord forgive me and come into my heart.'"
Then these evangelists will say something like this. "Now that you have prayed; Jesus has forgiven you; you are saved; and Jesus has come into your heart." My love for people compels me to say this is an awful deception, because there is absolutely no evidence in the Bible that this is the way for those not Christians to be forgiven and become Christians and have Jesus to come into their hearts. I am grieved and my heart aches because so many are deceived by this teaching on television and in other ways.
Those who teach and practice such on television or anywhere else, may be completely sincere, and those who are deceived by such teaching and practice may be absolutely sincere. However, this does not mean they are right.
Feeling And Faith
One's feelings come as a result of what he believes. If he believes truth which generates feelings in his heart, his feelings are not proof that he has believed truth. Truth is not truth because people believe it. Truth is truth because it is true, or because it is so. And it is true, or it is so, whether anyone believes it, or does not believe it. If one believes error thinking it is true, his feelings will be just the same as if what he believed were really true.
Some Who Prayed
Jesus said a publican prayed, "God be merciful to me a sinner," and that this publican was saved or justified (Luke 18:13-14). However, this publican was a child of God under the old covenant, or law of Moses. That covenant was abolished when Jesus died on the cross (Ephesians 2; Colossians 2; John 1:17). Therefore, the case of this publican is not an example of how one became a Christian, and how Jesus comes into the heart of one who is not a child of God, or not a Christian.
Saul of Tarsus prayed after Jesus appeared to him on Damascus Road (Acts 9:10-16). But this case does not prove that an alien sinner (as Saul was at that time) was saved from his sins by the Lord Jesus Christ, by his praying. Instead this case is proof that an alien sinner is not saved by praying, because the Lord Jesus told Saul on Damascus Road, "Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do" (Acts 20:6).
When Saul got into Damascus and was lodged in the house of Judas on Straight Street (Acts 9:11) the Lord instructed a disciple in Damascus named Ananias to go to Saul to tell him what he had to do. Did Ananias tell Saul to repeat after him and say, "Lord Jesus, I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins. Please forgive me, and come into my heart"? No, indeed! Instead Ananias told Saul "And now why tarriest thou? arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16).
What Ananias told Saul of Tarsus to do shows us clearly how one can call on the name of the Lord. This obviously means that when one is baptized he calls on, or relies on the name, or the authority of Jesus Christ, and he reaches the saving power of the blood of Jesus because he is baptized into Christ (Romans 6:3) where he reaches the washing, or cleansing power of the blood of Jesus (Ephesians 1:7).
All TV evangelists, who have not done so, should do what Saul of Tarsus did in order to have his sins washed away in the blood of Christ, and then they should tell all those out of Christ who are penitent believers what Ananias told Saul, instead of having them to repeat after them a prayer like that in the second paragraph of this column!
Christ Does Come In
When one does what Saul of Tarsus did, Christ does come into his heart. Christ dwells in the hearts of Christians by faith (Ephesians 3:17). If you study the New Testament you realize that this has to mean that the evidence that Christ dwells in one's heart is not his feelings, but his faith. This faith comes by hearing God's Word (Romans 10:17).
God's Word teaches that Christians are in Christ, and Christ is in them (Colossians 1:2, 27). So, the only evidence that this is true is the fact that God's Word says it.
A Christian feels good when he believes he is in Christ, and Christ is in him, but the evidence that he is in Christ and Christ is in him is not that he feels good, but the evidence is that God's Word says he is in Christ and Christ is in him!
We do not have to understand, or rationalize how Christ can dwell in our hearts in order for him to dwell in our hearts. Neither do we have to rationalize how we can dwell in Christ in order to dwell in him. We cannot rationalize one of these any better than we can rationalize the other, but we can believe both, because God's Word says both. We accept both by faith. All we have to go by on these great concepts is what God said about them!