The Heresy of Missing Heaven By 18 Inches
By David J. Stewart
September 2010 | Updated October 2017
John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
A popular heretical cliché used by many preachers is that there are 18-inches between the mind and the heart. And so they'll say that for many people it is the difference between Heaven and Hell. We're all guilty of doing it. We hear a cute sounded cliché and then go around repeating it because it sounds good, but when tested against the inspired Word of God, it falls short of being the truth!
Here is an example of what I am saying. This quote is from a popular Gospel tract titled, “Missing Heaven by 18 Inches,” that can be found in most Baptist churches today, which is of the Devil...
The distance between the head and the heart is 18 inches. Unfortunately, a “head” knowledge of Jesus Christ—fully knowing and giving mental assent to the plan of salvation…without a “heart” acceptance that brings the personal relationship that the Bible demands—avails nothing to anyone.
This is heresy! I would agree that just because someone is familiar with the facts of the Gospel is not enough to be saved (Hebrews 4:2, “not being mixed with faith in them that heard it”), but a person “fully knowing and giving mental assent to the plan of salvation” is saved!!! It is ridiculous and unbiblical to say that a sinner who hears and chooses to place their trust in the Gospel of Jesus Christ can still not be saved, unless they also believe it in their heart. That radical idea no where found in the Holy Bible. In the Bible, you either believed or you didn't. The apostle Paul never taught any such junk theology.
Another popular unbiblical cliché is to “invite Christ into one's heart.” The heart is a muscle about twice the size of your fist, which pumps blood 100,000 times each day. A muscle cannot trust Christ, so using such terminology confuses people, thus obscuring the clarity of the Gospel. 2nd Corinthians 4:3, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” Therefore, we should NEVER tell an unsaved person to “invite Jesus into your heart” to be saved. How do you let Jesus come into your heart? That terminology is not even found in the Bible! Some Christians will try to use Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” But it doesn't mention the “heart,” does it? The Bible never says to “open your heart to Jesus,” nor does it say to “allow Christ come into your heart”; but it DOES SAY, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10a). The only requirement to be saved is to believe. The words “believe” and “trust” are used interchangeably in the Bible.
The Bible makes no distinction between the mind and the heart concerning getting saved. There is no distinction between believing with the heart verses only with the mind. They are one in the same. Since the heart is the seat of one's intelligence, it is a part of the mind. Now, it is possible to superficially live the Christian life, doing everything that a good Christian is supposed to do, without ever having been born-again. The churches are filled with religious people who are unsaved. They faithfully attend church, tithe, sing, worship, praise, give, love and do everything that a Christian person does, but they have never submitted to God's righteousness through faith alone in Jesus Christ. Romans 10:3-4, “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.”
As we just read, a lot of people go to church every Sunday (or Saturday for the Seventh-day Adventist cult), who are “IGNORANT” of God's righteousness. They are not saved. They have never been born again. They are living the Christian life without ever having submitting themselves to God's righteousness, which is only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, apart from all human effort. Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” That is how to have eternal life my dear friend.
It is not possible to believe in your mind, but not in your heart. So the whole concept of missing Heaven by 18 inches is unbiblical. Yes, you can live a religious life without being born-again (and that is no doubt what some people mean when they say you can miss Heaven by 18 inches), but the problem is that those religious people are not fully trusting Christ, not that they are believing only in their mind. They may have no faith in Christ at all, like the Pharisees, merely playing church (Matthew 5:20). Or they may have partial faith in Christ plus human effort, like the cult of the Galatians in the New Testament (Galatians 3:1-3; 1:6-9). Lordship Salvation is the false teaching that since God did something for me, I ought to do something for Him, and along with that comes salvation. That is not the Gospel my friend. That is not how you get saved. In true salvation, God does ALL the saving! Our only part in salvation is to completely trust upon what Christ did on the cross to pay for our sins...