Many object to the practice of some evangelists who say that if you believe in Jesus, then you will be saved from eternal condemnation. They say that is just fire insurance.
John Piper has a November 8, 2017, post entitled, “Jesus Isn’t Your Insurance Policy” (see here). He writes,
What is this [saving] faith?…It is a receiving of Christ for who he really is: the beautiful, supreme, all-satisfying treasure that he is as our divine substitute and sovereign. It is the receiving of Christ for who he is, not as health insurance or fire insurance.
Antioch Chapel has an online article (here) entitled, “Jesus is not your fire insurance policy.” Taking a Lordship Salvation position, the author says, “The Bible recorded many accounts of what constitute a born again Christian. A born again Christian never treats Jesus as a pass to heaven. Jesus becomes the Lord and not just a fire insurance policy.”
In an online article (click here), Larry Moyer takes the opposite view:
Is it okay for someone to come to Christ because he simply wants “fire insurance”? In short, if a person sincerely believes that there is a hell and sincerely believes only Christ can deliver him from that eternal fire and punishment, then yes. That’s an excellent reason for coming to Christ.
According to some, we should not believe in Christ simply because we wish to avoid eternal condemnation. But others say that is precisely what we should believe in Jesus for.
What did Jesus say (WDJS)? We need wristbands with WDJS on them.
Jesus said that believing in Him is the way to escape eternal condemnation (John 3:16-18). He repeatedly said that the one who believes in Him will not perish, will not hunger or thirst, will not be cast out, will not die (John 3:16; 6:35, 37, 39; 11:26). According to the Lord of Glory, we should believe in Him for everlasting life, which is the same as believing in Him to save us from eternal condemnation.
In the account of the rich man and Lazarus, the Lord implied that a great reason to believe in Him is to avoid being sent to torment in Sheol (Luke 16:19–31).
I personally don’t fully like the expression fire insurance when it comes to the reason we believe in Jesus. Why? Because insurance is something you may or may not actually need. But everlasting life and salvation from eternal condemnation are something everyone absolutely needs. We all have eternal fire in our future until we believe in Jesus. I’d prefer an expression like escape the coming fire guarantee. Wait. That is cumbersome. How about no-fire assurance? That’s a bit better. But you get my point.
I certainly agree with Moyer that believing in Jesus to avoid the lake of fire is a wonderful reason (compare Rev 20:15).
Of course, I agree with Piper that the Lord Jesus is beautiful, glorious, wonderful, amazing, and supreme. That certainly motivates us to believe in Him for the salvation He offers. But He doesn’t give us a transformed life simply by believing in Him. That requires our being exposed to the Word of God over time so that our minds become renewed (Rom 12:1-2; 2 Cor 3:18).
When you evangelize, I hope you are aiming to meet the felt need of the person you are talking to. He needs everlasting life. He needs salvation from eternal condemnation. The Lord Jesus guarantees that with His no-fire assurance.
Before I close, let me mention some reasons why people believe in Jesus which are not saving reasons. Some believe in Him for…
- A good marriage.
- Relief from stress.
- Riches and honor.
- Good health.
- Long life (here and now).
The prosperity gospel promises people things which God has not guaranteed to the believer. None of the above are guaranteed to the believer in Jesus Christ. What is guaranteed is everlasting life which can never be lost, an eternal home in Jesus’ kingdom, no future judgment regarding your eternal destiny, and no eternal condemnation.
No-fire assurance. NFA. I like it. Do you think that will catch on?