About Jesus Steve Sweetman
The old hymn entitled
ďJust As I AmĒ ends with the words ďI comeĒ.
For me these words were so real as a child. Our
church seemed to sing all seven verses of this song every Sunday as an
invitation for salvation. I
usually responded to this invitation to appease my so-called feelings of
guilt. I now know that guilt
is not a feeling but a position in which we stand before God.
We are either guilty or not guilty in the eyes of God our Supreme
Judge, whether we feel guilty or not.
I came and I came and I
came again. I came so many
times to the front of the sanctuary to get saved that I could have
easily worn my own personal path in the carpet.
Getting saved every other Sunday made me feel good for a while
but for one reason or another the feeling soon dissipated.
Within a day or so I wondered where my salvation went and I felt
as lost as ever. I now know that salvation has little to do with feelings and has
everything to do with simply trusting Jesus with my life.
I think the emotional
appeal with the quiet soothing music playing along with the persuasive
words of a pastor can produce an emotional response in a heart. Itís
the Biblical truth that says that what you sow you reap.
If you sow to the emotion, youíll reap an emotional response.
This emotion kept driving me to the altar.
What really made me sure
of my salvation was a 5 second unemotional prayer to Jesus when I was
all alone in my bedroom in Feb. 1970.
Iíve had absolutely no doubts since then.
Itís ironic that I spent so many emotional times in church and
this 5 second prayer did more than all those times put together.
Itís quite possible
that the Holy Spiritís call on a life might get lost in all the extra
trappings of our appeal. Thereís
got to be more than an emotional appeal to bring someone to Jesus.
Iím not against altar calls.
I just think that the one doing the calling should be the Holy
Spirit, and we shouldnít do anything to hinder His work.
I might even be able to
successfully argue that an altar is more Old Testament thinking than New
Testament thinking, but I wonít do that here.
What Iím talking about
is an over emphasis on emotion. I donít want to discount emotion
because I know Jesus can and does cause emotional reactions in us.
Thatís a given. We
are emotional people, but the emotional reaction isnít salvation.
Itís only one result of salvation and doesnít always manifest
itself the same way with everyone. Because
I experienced some emotion at the front of a church building doesnít
necessarily mean I got saved.
The altar call is meant
to be a public display of our commitment to Jesus, and so it is to a