Rev. Mark H. Creech
Have you really given your heart to God?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+
By Rev. Mark H. Creech
June 11, 2019



Many years ago, the late Dr. Billy Graham was on an airplane. He was sitting behind a drunken man who was flirting with the flight attendants, using profanity and making a fool of himself. When someone pointed out to him that Billy Graham was seated directly behind him, the man got up, turned around, stuck out his hand, and said: "Put her there, Dr. Graham. I'm so glad to meet you. I'm one of your converts."

As a minister, I've had similar experiences. Recently, however, I had something happen that was just the opposite.

I pulled my car up to an old country store to get some gasoline on my way to work in Raleigh. This man, who was at the same pump as me, warmly and enthusiastically greeted me. He asked how I was doing these days. It was obvious that he knew me, but I didn't recognize him.

Then, with excitement in his voice, he started talking (almost non-stop) about all the marvelous things God was doing in his life. His face was radiant with joy. He told me that he never knew life could be so good. I still didn't recognize him. He wasn't anyone that I knew, I thought. But there was something about his voice that sounded familiar. As I continued to listen intensely to his story – a story about him coming to himself – turning away from his former life while also turning to God – it came to me. This was Gregg.

Gregg was someone I had introduced to Christ many years ago. At that time, he had been deep into drugs and alcohol. His life was a wreck. He made a profession of faith, was baptized and joined the church where I was the pastor during those days. Sadly, sometime after that, his marriage fell apart, and Gregg got tripped up and started looking for solace in the wrong places. He suffered serious addiction issues for several years. He was almost killed in a terrible automobile accident. He would also end up in prison for a while. He was in a very dark place for a long time. That was the Gregg I knew.

But the person talking to me today was not the same man. Gregg had really met Christ, fully surrendered his life to him, and experienced victory over his addictions. Someone has since told me that he has gone back to the church and attends regularly.

Nowadays, Gregg looks robust and healthy and has a countenance I can't explain outside of experiencing something totally life-changing. He's a new man inside, and it's showing on the outside. I could tell just by our short conversation that he had a completely different outlook on life, and it was demonstrated in his life's choices.

The Scriptures say, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Cor. 5:17).

In his book, "Peace with God," Dr. Graham clarified the difference between someone who professes the faith and someone who actually possesses the faith. "There is a vast difference between intellectual belief and the total conversion that saves the soul," wrote Dr. Graham.

Seventeenth-century writers Francois Fenelon and Jeanne Guyon said it this way, "O when the heart is gained, how easily is all the rest corrected! This is why God, above all things, requires the heart."

Have you truly given your heart to God? Have you turned away from your sins and turned to Christ for forgiveness? Salvation isn't just applying for fire insurance from hell. That's what some people do when they pray a certain little prayer, get baptized, and join the church. They think they are covered. It's not that any of these things are bad; it's just that there is so much more to it.

Genuine salvation of the soul recognizes that before God, you are a wretched sinner who desperately needs to be transformed by the power of Christ. If you want heaven without opening your life to God for change, if you want heaven without conversion, if you want heaven while hanging onto your sins, you'll never enter the kingdom of God.

This is not to say that people are saved by their good works. Nevertheless, if you genuinely come to Christ in repentance and experience the grace of God through faith, good works will follow. You will be changed and never be the same again. You will leave the way of darkness and characteristically walk in the light. It will show on your face. People will hear it in the way you talk. It will be seen in your whole life's direction. You will be different. Maybe it won't be so evident all at once, but it will surely surface that you are brand new.

Have you indeed given your heart to God? Does it show? Has the power of Christ to save from sin been revealed in you?

If not, perhaps it's prudent to reassess your profession of faith and do what Gregg did: really give your heart to God.

© Rev. Mark H. Creech

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

Click to enlarge

Rev. Mark H. Creech

Rev. Mark H. Creech is Executive Director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, Inc. He was a pastor for twenty years before taking this position, having served five different Southern Baptist churches in North Carolina and one Independent Baptist in upstate New York.

Rev. Creech is a prolific speaker and writer, and has served as a radio commentator for Christians In Action, a daily program featuring Rev. Creech's commentary on social issues from a Christian worldview.

In addition to RenewAmerica.com, his weekly editorials are featured on the Christian Action League website and Agape Press, a national Christian newswire.

Subscribe

Receive future articles by Rev. Mark H. Creech: Click here

More by this author

September 24, 2022
Revelation Chapter 4: The Rapture question


September 17, 2022
Revelation Chapter 3: The church that was neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm


September 11, 2022
Revelation Chapter 3: The church that was frail, but was fabulous


September 4, 2022
Disappointing: The National Association of Evangelicals urges evangelicals to help remedy climate change


September 2, 2022
Revelation Chapter 3: The church said to be ‘alive,’ but was ‘dead’


August 27, 2022
Revelation Chapter 2: The Church with many good works, but tolerated Jezebel


August 19, 2022
Revelation Chapter 2: The church that couldn’t be demolished from without, but was devastated from within


August 13, 2022
Revelation Chapter 2: The Church that was crushed and beaten, but had a fragrant testimony


August 6, 2022
Revelation Chapter 2: The church that stood for what is right, but needed love


July 30, 2022
Revelation Chapter 1: ‘The one who is, who was, and who is coming’


More articles

 

Stephen Stone
A Prayer for America

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
Flashback: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Jerry Newcombe
Is the church in America dying?

Joan Swirsky
The ONLY Issue in the 2022 Election is Voter Fraud

Cliff Kincaid
How to lose winnable elections

Pete Riehm
An American Gestapo?

Bonnie Chernin
Joe Biden: The great American unifier

Steve A. Stone
Contemplations of Tucker Carson and the Nordstream attack

Tom DeWeese
Think your vote doesn’t count?? Here’s why it does, and why it will be the most important one you’ve ever cast

Linda Kimball
The West’s greatest threat: doctrines of demons and the modern pagan and pantheist antithesis of the word of God

Matt C. Abbott
The post-‘Roe’ cultural backlash

Tom DeWeese
The ideal Communist American city

Michael Bresciani
Prophecy and the 2022 midterm elections

Steve A. Stone
Women’s rights demonstrations in Iran? I’m not buying it
  More columns

Cartoons


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons

RSS feeds

News:
Columns:

Columnists

Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites