One of the problems we have winning the lost in our world is our concept of salvation. It is wrong! When I say that I know that it is provocative but we have concentrated so much on the legal aspects of salvation and so little on the relational aspects of salvation that we often twist our terminology into unbiblical meanings. For instance, we hear people say things like, "He is saved, he's just not living for the Lord!" Well this is to be interpreted "he walked an aisle, raised a hand, prayed a prayer once a while ago to get his rear out of hell but he doesn't love God enough to be a disciple and love God with follow through!" Well of course, who ever lead this friend in a prayer did him a great disservice by asking him if he wanted to go to hell (those who do are very few). And then by decieving him into thinking that getting your butt out of hell is a seperate decision from the one where you live for Christ.
Declaring Jesus as the Lord is not some theological abstract that needs intellectual assent- it is a personal declaration. I fear that many will be surprised at their lost-ness on the judgment day. They will say 'but the pastor said if I repeat that prayer then I was IN!' God help us to be intentional and determined to preach and teach salvation as the beginning of a lifestyle of following Jesus. Where we spend eternity was not nearly as important to the early disciples as whether we live for the new king- Jesus- in our daily lives! He demands right living in my relationships, in my fellowship, in my marriage, in my home, etc. Knowing and loving Jesus- studying his nature and character- changes me out of the relationship with him. That prayer, that walk down the aisle, that raised hand... was the beginning not the end.
Am I glad that I am going to live with Christ forever? SURE! But that is only a small fringe benefit of the Kingdom of God and salvation. To say that salvation is the culmination of a small and ill defined prayer that is devoid of any lifestyle affects- you gotta be kiddin'!