The state of West Virginia requires you to have a special license to operate a motorcycle. When I was young you simply needed a standard driver’s license. About 25 years ago they began requiring you to take a class and pass a test to be able to legally operate a motorcycle. When they began requiring the extra testing, they said that if you were already riding a motorcycle that you would not have to take the test, but had this one chance to pay $5 extra and have the motorcycle license. I did that even though I didn’t own a motorcycle at the time. And I haven’t owned one since. But I keep paying the $1 a year extra on my driver’s license to keep my motorcycle license. I still figure one day I may need it.
Some people look at a salvation prayer that way. I said a prayer once asking Jesus into my heart and the pastor told me I was saved. (Paul Washer says, “Pastors don’t tell people they’re saved, God tells them they’re saved.”) People then mistakenly think that they have their “license” to get into heaven and they may need it one day. The truth is that it doesn’t matter that you said a prayer one day. I would wager that more people say hollow salvation prayers in our society than say true prayers of repentance asking for and receiving God’s forgiveness through Jesus.
Some people don’t ever remember saying a salvation prayer. All they know is that they love Jesus with their whole heart, read the Bible, talk to Him every day, and have followed Him their entire lives, being obedient to His Word and His call and have been led by the Holy Spirit. Others have attended church their whole lives, and even been church leaders, and still don’t truly know Jesus nor have ever experienced the Holy Spirit. Too many church people hold the worthless “involved church member” card, thinking it will do them some good when they die. (Hey, at least their family can say “they served on multiple committees at the church” in their obituary.)
I know the Bible tells us that some of us will be shocked when Jesus says, “Depart from me” when we thought He was going to say, “Well done” (or at least, OK – you said a prayer? Then you’re in.) Are you a follower – a disciple, or do you have a false security? My job is not to decide who is in what category. My job is to examine my life and my relationship with Jesus to see which category I’m in. I invite you to do the same.