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Salvation: More than a prayer

My reason for writing this article is because of my recent visits to other Christian sites. It brought great concern and a prompting to share some extremely important biblical facts regarding salvation. For those of you who have read my testimony, you will have a better understanding of why I am concerned about those who claim that a simple prayer will save our souls for eternity. Although I do believe that one can pray to the Lord with all sincerity and be forgiven of their past sins... I also think it is critical to understand that one moment of faith does not guarantee our souls to be saved for eternity. Also, prayer alone, the “sinners prayer” to be precise, is not a ticket to heaven as many claim. Many of you, because of modern teachings, will hear some things that you have not heard before in this article. Please take the time to search out the scriptures that I share with you with an open heart. People’s souls (YOUR souls) are dependent on knowing the truth about salvation. Also, I understand that when you have believed something for a very long time as truth, how difficult it can be to change that belief. I plead with you to let the Word of God be your standard and that your beliefs be based on that and not what you were taught by man. I have learned that people can take scriptures and teach on them and make them seem to say something that they aren’t really saying at all. I also have learned that scripture needs to be read as a whole and just because we do not understand a scripture or because it does not line up with our belief system, surely doesn’t mean we throw it away! Too many scriptures have been tossed out because they don’t line up with what we already believe... sisters it is crucial that we allow the Bible to define our beliefs... not allow our beliefs to define the Bible. I speak from experience on this, I have had to change what I previously believed on many things because I was taught wrongly. I blindly followed as I accepted the interpretations of certain scriptures and also the explanations of others. Please ladies, learn from my mistakes!! Learn to discern! Do not be tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine.

 

During my visits to other sites, I came across many “How to be saved” pages. Oh how distressing to see the same old deception again and again. Salvation is such a serious topic and there really isn’t any room for mistakes or misinformation. After all, it deals with our eternal destiny... where we will dwell forever and ever.

So let’s take a look at a sample of the typical salvation message displayed on just about every women’s Christian site I came across and compare it to the Word of God as a whole....

Here is an example....

Are you ready to accept the gift of eternal life and accept Jesus into your life? Then please talk to God through the sinners prayer... “Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and I believe you died and rose from the dead to purchase a place in heaven for me. Jesus, come into my life, forgive my sins, and save me. I place my trust in you for my salvation and I accept your free gift of eternal life. “ If you have just prayed this prayer, you have just entered into the family of God. You are now a Christian. Congratulations!

They usually begin by asking if you are ready to accept Jesus into your life....

Are you ready to accept the gift of eternal life and accept Jesus into your life?

Now the problem with this is that we do not receive eternal salvation by merely accepting the Lord into our life! The Lord does not tell us to merely accept Him and then it‘s a done deal (see Matt. 10:37-39; Luke 9:23-26; 14:26-35). I suppose it goes right along with the entire deceptive contemporary salvation message... it only gives a minute portion of the true gospel message. Accepting the Lord’s death to be saved is just the beginning of our Christianity. It is the very onset of our salvation, not the completion (Matt. 10:22; Hebrews 3:5-6; Hebrews 3:12-14). The implication that accepting Him securely reserves us a place in heaven is a severely grievous error!

This mere acceptance also seems to imply that all we have to do is tack or add Jesus onto our life. We accept Him, we become a Christian, and we go right on living our life as we had previously. The truth is, Jesus must become our life and not just be a part of it. A Christian has surrendered their entire life to the LORD Jesus Christ (Matt. 16:24-25; Rom. 12:1). He has become Lord of every area of their life. We must acknowledge Him as Lord and place Him on the throne in our very own lives. What does that mean? To become Lord of our life? It means that we give Him complete and total control over every area of our life. If we do not allow Him to be in complete control, then WE are in control and He is not Lord over our life. We are! I pray you see the extreme importance of this grievous error of merely accepting the Lord Jesus for our salvation.

1. It deceives us into believing that we can simply accept Jesus as our Savior and we are saved for ever.

2. It deceives us into believing that we can just tack Jesus onto our life.

 

They also ask if you are ready to accept the gift of eternal life which implies eternal salvation...

The scriptures teach that eternal salvation is only for those who have proven themselves faithful and obedient to the Lord Jesus (Rom. 2:5-9; 2Thess. 1:3-5; 1Pet. 1:3-9). It is not something we simply “accept.” It is something we receive when we have faithfully obeyed and followed the Lord Jesus Christ to the end of our lives (Matt. 10:22; Heb. 3:12-14). God is looking to and fro searching the earth for those who are faithful. If we do not obey Jesus here while on this earth, what makes us think that we will obey Him in eternity? If we do not worship Him wholeheartedly here on earth, do you really believe we will worship Him in eternity? If we are not faithful to Him here and now, why would we be faithful to Him in heaven? The truth is we won’t. Jesus knows this. This is why we need to be faithful here on this earth. We must prove ourselves worthy of His kingdom. Do you know of anyone who would let someone rule over their kingdom who has not proven their faithfulness? Someone who has not obeyed - possibly only when they felt like it? Of course not!! The Lord is no different---- Only those who are faithful and obedient here on earth will be worthy to enter the kingdom of God (Heb. 5:9).

 

Next, they tell us to confess we are sinners...

“Then please talk to God through the sinners prayer... “Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner...”

Now, truly I believe that we are all sinners. As a matter of fact I know that we are because the scriptures teach that we are. But there is a dilemma with this statement... It does not touch on the core of the problem. It is not personal. This statement is simply a generalization of all mankind being sinners. It is just a mental acknowledgment that as people we are not perfect. This is not sufficient. We need to recognize our own personal sins that WE have committed against the Lord. We must acknowledge the individual sins that we have committed and this will lead us to feeling intense sorrow and grief for committing them from deep inside our inner being. This will help lead us to repentance (2Cor. 7:8-10).

This leads us to the next serious problem with these prayers. They almost all omit one critical ingredient that leads to salvation. Repentance (Acts 2:37-38). No one can be saved with out it. Repent means “to turn from.” To make a complete turn in another direction. So, repentance truly means to turn away from our sins. Acknowledging our sins is the first step to repentance but then we must turn from them. The very first words that the Lord Jesus spoke when He began His ministry was “Repent! For the kingdom of God is at hand” (Mark 1:13-15) Please know and understand that no man can be saved with out repentance. Many people are being deceived into thinking they are saved (on their way to heaven) when they have never forsaken their old sinful life and never surrendered their life to the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no salvation without repentance. If we have continued on the same path as before, then there has been no repentance. No repentance, no salvation. Be warned sisters, if your life has not changed after you claim salvation, there is reason to be concerned. The Lord says all things will become new... new is new! New is not the same. (2Cor. 5:17)

Then they’ll usually go on and tell you to say, “and I believe you died and rose from the dead to purchase a place in heaven for me.”

Now, there is certainly nothing wrong with believing that Christ has died for us and was risen from the tomb. However, I must emphasize that merely believing mentally in the existence and work of God does not make one a Christian. The scriptures teach that even the devil and demons believe that there is one God. (James 2:19) We do know that Satan and his angels will not be entering the Kingdom of God. We must understand what “believe” means. I can tell you it is not just an acknowledgment of what Christ has done for us. The Bible tells us over and over again that we must believe in Jesus, so we must understand exactly what that means biblically. The definition of believe means ‘to trust, to have faith in.’ So we need to have trust in God and put our faith in him to be saved. But what does that look like? Jesus tells us that to believe in Him means that we must obey Him. (Matt. 7:21-27; Luke 6:46; Heb. 5:9) We are to do what He tells us to do. If I am trusting in God and believe what He says in His word, then I will DO as He says because I believe Him. My belief is shown in what I do.! Please understand... we are saved by faith (believing) and faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). Meaning, if there are no works (or no obedience) then there is NO FAITH and we cannot be saved without faith! I believe this is where the misunderstanding comes in for many. What we need to understand is that our faith will produce works. Faith and works cannot be separated. They go hand in hand. Works without faith is dead and faith without works is dead. If we say we have faith then we WILL have works. We will obey the Lord by striving to do all that He commanded and God’s Holy Spirit will enable us to succeed.

 

After you have prayed the prayer... they then congratulate you for making the decision to become a Christian. How grievous! To even think that a few words that take less than a moment will secure our souls forever!! Please do not be deceived!! You will not enter the Kingdom of God on a few words that you spoke one time in your life! Praying this prayer is not a quick simple fix... Jesus says to us that we must deny ourselves, forsake all, and take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23-26; 14:33). These are things that we must do daily until the day we die. We are to walk and live by faith and endure until the very end (Matt. 10.22).

A final point that I would like to make is that nowhere in the New Testament does it tell us that we need to say a prayer to be saved, nor are there any examples of this occurring in the book of Acts or any of the gospel accounts. However, the Scriptures do tell us that there is something we should do when we are looking to God to be saved. In 1 Peter 3:21 the Bible teaches that our answer or response to God because of a changed conscience should be water baptism. This is also what we see being used throughout the book of Acts (Acts 2:37-38; 19:1-5; 22:16). Now, I am not saying that the physical element called water saves us. We are saved because of our faith as stated earlier. Somewhere along the line though, water baptism was replaced with the sinner’s prayer. So, in addition to giving us a false message about salvation, the sinners prayer is also not even the method that God ordained for us to receive salvation. It’s simply an easier response to a much softer message. Please, Ladies, do not be deceived ... simply saying a prayer will not save your souls.

Here is the true gospel message that leads many souls to the Kingdom of God for eternity...

A person seeking salvation must repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ...

Repent... meaning acknowledging and turning from the sins that they have personally committed in their own lives. They must surrender their entire life to Jesus and forsake their old ways. (EVERYTHING!)

Believe... meaning obeying the Lord in all that He commanded us to do and walking by faith in Him daily until the end of our lives here, and not only mentally acknowledging His death, burial and resurrection.

How I hope and pray that this article will prick the hearts of many. It was written because of my great concern with today’s false gospel message that is leading many professing Christians to destruction. It is rampant and widely accepted although it is pure heresy. Please search your own hearts and be sure that you are true servants of the Lord and living lives to glorify and exalt the holy and precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Please write me with any questions or prayer requests... I truly do pray for those who ask for prayer!! May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth on salvation.

Please e-mail me with any questions or comments,
I would love to hear from you!
 

Please feel free to use and copy these pages to share with others. I do ask that you please do not alter them in any way and include my site address. 

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Thank you!