Book Review: Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart by J.D. Greear
Review of Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to know for sure you are saved
by J.D. Greear
A recommended resource for "You Are... a series in Christian Basics"
Review by Mark Dobratz
For as long as I’ve attended churches, I’ve heard people who consider themselves believers in Christ voice concerns about the assurance of their salvation. How can anyone really know they are saved and, even more, how can they feel confident of it every day? Maybe the most amazing thing I’ve noticed over the years is that these people have ranged from brand new Christians to men and women who have worshipped in churches for decades. What is it about the idea of salvation that is so pervasive and elusive? Why do so many struggle with fear and doubt, often feeling like they have to hide it from people all around them who seem so sure?
In his short but powerful book Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, J.D. Greear addresses these questions, using biblical truth to dispel wrong notions of the gospel and salvation that have troubled generations of believers, leaving them without the peace of feeling right with God and the ability to stand strong in Christ.
Even though Greear is now the pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, he at one time struggled with these questions more intensely and for longer than most. The result is a message that comes from the heart, filled with obvious empathy and compassion; this book is not a stinging slap of rebuke, but rather a warm and gentle hug of the gospel truths he discovered. His style is easy, his voice is both strong and comforting, and his ordinary-world illustrations bring remarkable focus to concepts that have been blurred by long years of cultural confusion and misunderstanding.
There are three things that I especially appreciate about this book. The first is that it sheds brilliant light on foundational Christian terms whose understanding we tend to take for granted. How many of us find ourselves hearing or using words like “belief” or “repentance” but couldn’t explain to someone—even ourselves—what they mean from a gospel perspective? This book will help any reader become more firmly rooted in a true biblical understanding of terms like “belief” and “faith” and, in line with this series, “repentance” and “justification.”
The second thing I appreciate about this book is that the gospel understanding Greear carefully builds really does lead to assurance! If this is something you are personally struggling with, regardless of whether it’s been weeks or decades, please read this book! I believe you will see salvation in a new light—or from a new posture, as Greear puts it—that will dispel your doubts and fears for good. If, however, you are not one of those who wrestle with the assurance of your salvation, let me assure you of this: there will be people in your life, and people you will meet, who will be struggling with the assurance of their salvation. Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart is a book that will prepare you to help them in a meaningful, lasting and life-changing way, so please, read this book!
Finally, I appreciate that Greear doesn’t just leave us sitting happily in a state of saved contentment. He points us forward: Now that we know we are saved, what does it mean? How does it change our lives? This is woven into every chapter, and to me, this is the beauty of the gospel: Realizing what our salvation truly is and truly means allows God’s Spirit to work in our hearts and our lives like never before.