When I was a kid growing up with 2 brothers, we would get into fights all the time. Sometimes, my mother or father would send us to our rooms and tell us that we could not come out until we decided to say sorry to one another. So, in an effort to be released quickly we would tell them that we were ready to "say sorry" so that we could go on playing. Of course we really were not sorry, we were sorry that we got caught; we were sorry that we were stuck in our rooms; but we were not sorry that we had hit/slapped/bit/scratched/punched/called names. We simply said, "I'm sorry" so that we could get out of the punishment.
Similarly, millions of people around the world have asked Jesus into their hearts and asked God to forgive their sin and they have been told that in doing so, their sin is forgiven. "Just tell God that you're sorry and you can go to heaven" they say, but it's just not true. I can remember once attending a massive evangelistic even in Houston, directed by Luis Palau. It was a day of concerts, games, food and fun and it ended with a 30 minute message by Luis Palau himself. At the end of his message, he quoted Revelation 3:20 "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and dine with him and he with me." He then explained that Jesus was knocking at the door of everyone's hearts and was asking to come in and if people would just let Jesus into their hearts that they would be saved. This was followed by an invitation for everyone to "repeat after me" and "receive Jesus into your heart." Of course, this is all an elaborate hoax. There is no such thing as asking Jesus into your heart.
What people don't realize is that in Revelation 3:20, Jesus is talking to Christians. Jesus is telling Christians that he desires to be close to them and to eat with them and they need to repent of their materialistic ways and return to him. The command is to "Those whom I love" and to those whom "I reprove and discipline." We know that this can only mean Christians since God only disciplines Christians. (Hebrews 12:5-8)
Millions of people have asked Jesus into their heart and have never actually been saved. Are you one of those individuals who have been hoping that asking Jesus into your heart would help you somehow? You're in great danger!
Knowing that the Bible is historically accurate, we now have to look in on what the Bible teaches. The Bible teaches that this Universe and all that is in it came into being because God made it. It teaches that humanity was the best and highest of all his creation having been created in His image. It teaches that our human race was plunged into sin and ruin because of Adam's rebellion against God. It teaches that, you and I are now at enmity with God, we hate him and refuse to believe his words. It teaches that in God's justice (God must uphold perfect justice since he is perfect in every way) he must punish us for all our sins and hatred towards him. It teaches that he sent Jesus to pay the demands of justice himself on our behalf. "He who knew no sin became sin so that we might become innocent before God." The Bible teaches that God will put an end to this world one day and bring everyone before him in judgment. He will remake the world, a world free from sin and it's affects (sickness, death, sinful men, heartache, depression, hatred, and the like) Thus, if you have received pardon from Jesus you will be glorified with him and live with him in a new world like the one that he originally created (before sin ruined everything). But, if you go to your grave hating him and refusing to listen to him then you will be cast into the lake of fire which was prepared for Satan and his demonic ranks.
Now, these are some pretty significant claims. Some pretty far out claims right? But here's the question you have to ask and answer. Are they true? Are these claims true? And the place to start is with the resurrection of Jesus. If the resurrection holds up as historically true (which it does) then we can safely assume that Jesus is the ultimate teacher on all things spiritual. He can be trusted. So when Jesus says that 2+2=4 we should listen and believe. When Jesus says that all those who believe His gospel will be saved, and all those who do not believe will be damned, then we should listen.
Therefore, I encourage you to begin by humility. Consider you own sinfulness. If you can begin there, believing that your sins are significant and deserving of the wrath of God, then you will not be far from the Kingdom of God. But if you cannot humble yourself and see your sinfulness in truth, then you will never seek to have peace with God and you will be in trouble.
Jesus himself said, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God."
So, if you believe that asking Jesus into your heart will secure forgiveness for your sin, you are sorely mistaken. But, if you believe the gospel, in spirit and in truth then you will be saved. So when you say that you believe in Jesus, is it simply because you want to get out of trouble, or is it because you hate all sin and want to be free from sin and leave it behind? To believe the first will damn you, to live out the second will save you. Turn to Jesus and be saved.