Next time you're at a funeral or a visitation, go up to the corpse and start asking it questions. Ask it to make a "decision" for Christ. And then await an answer. See what happens.
You know, the "ask Jesus into your heart" "make a decision to follow Christ" "pray the Believer's Prayer and you'll be saved" load of BS that makes salvation as much a "work" as all the nonsense emanating from the Roman pope's mouth.
I know this topic has been beaten around much more deeply and eloquently than what I could possibly do. But on Sunday one of our pastors began a study of Paul's epistle to the Ephesians. Chapter one completely destroys the "decision theology" of pop Christianity.
In fact, the first eleven words of the letter destroys decision theology:
"Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,..."
How can anybody miss this? Paul became an apostle by the will of God, not a decision he had made. He then weaves a thread of jaw-dropping theological insight that would destroy any remnants of decision theology if Satan himself were not alive to this day.
-Verse 4: "For he chose us..." The decision was His not ours.
-Verse 5: "he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—" God made it so before the Earth existed. Reason- it was His pleasure to do so, he wanted to do so.
- Verse 6: "to the praise of his glorious grace..." His grace, in other words His unmerited favor, not our decision to follow Him.
- Verse 7: "we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins..." We are redeemed by something of real value, not something we have done.
- Verse 11: "In him we were also chosen..." Again, the question, what exactly did we contribute to all of this? If you answer 'nothing', you're beginning to get the picture.
- Verse 13: "you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation...." Again, what did you do to contribute to your salvation? Nothing. All you did was hear the gospel by the will of God. You did nothing. And it was God's good pleasure and will to do so.
I love the repetiveness of scripture. Because humans are so weak, stubborn and so often, quite frankly, stupid, God has spelled it out again and again and again. How is it then this is missed by so many?
Salvation has been accomplished, and could be accomplished, only in the person and work of the Christ, true God and true man. You can do nothing. Salvation is a done deal, done once for all. There is nothing one can do now to save himself, and there is nothing one can do now that wasn't already paid for and forgiven by God. It is finished, accomplished, done for all eternity.
Scripture calls us dead in our transgressions. Dead men cannot make themselves alive. Dead men cannot choose Christ because dead men cannot make decisions. To make something dead come alive requires a miracle, an act of God.
So, why is it that so many Lutherans want to believe and become like Protestants? We should be who we are, true catholics (as opposed to Roman Catholics). I cannot fathom why anyone would want to turn their Lutheran church into a two-bit like-every-other Protestant church by embracing their beliefs and practices. It makes one want to scream and cry simultaneously.
As my pastor so eloquently said, Lutheranism is really nothing but Paul-ine theology. Such as that found in Ephesians. That's it, in a nutshell. We'd not only be sinful...we'd be nuts not to embrace this stuff.