14 September, 2006

The Useless Confession

How many people do you know who came forward during an alter call, said the sinners prayer, got baptized and thought...now I am saved!

There is only one problem: Saying the sinners prayer or the good confession, in and of itself, does not save you. I got to wondering about this and went to scripture. Where in scripture does Jesus go to someone and say: "Are you a sinner"? The person answers, yes. So Jesus says, "Do you want to ask Me into your heart"? That is not the way it happens in scripture, is it? So, why do we do this now?

Jesus knew that we are all sinners and without repentence and faith in Him we are destined to hell.

This was a revelation to me. I really believed saying the sinners prayer was part of the process of being saved. I don't know why I believed that because I can look back and see that I was not regenerated. I was not being sanctified. In effect, I was not Born Again. I was only acting Christian on the outside. This boils down to works salvation. Come forward, say the prayer, be baptized and join the church.

Saying the prayer does not ensure sanctification which is the process of becoming holy. Without which, we will NOT see God. (Hebrews 10)

Jesus' first sermon in Matthew was, "Repent. For the Kingdom of God is at hand. (Matthew 4: 17) His sermon was not: Say these words and you will be saved. He knows our hearts. Most of the preaching in the New Testament was about repentence. In the sinners prayer we are usually told to say something like, "I know I am a sinner...or I recognize I am a sinner and need......."

Sure, intellectually, we know we are sinners. But, the important question is: Do we HATE the sin we once loved. Are we appalled by this sin not only in ourselves but everywhere around us. Do we hate what God hates? Do we hate it when Jesus is trivialized and turned into entertainment or a 'model' of how to live instead of Lord, Jesus Christ, our Savior? Is our shame and despair so deep that we cannot bear it without a Savior? Do we know that we are helpless in fighting this sin on our own? Oh Lord, How many have we led astray with a vain, useless prayer!

What should we do? How Do we become saved? Beg HIM to save you. Read the Word He gave us. Then beg. Beg for as long as it takes. You see, we do NOT seek God, God seeks us. (Romans 3)

Romans 6

1What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free
from sin.


Henry (Rick) Frueh said...

"We've been taught that salvation costs nothing, but that is not what Jesus said. Yes, there are no works involved in becoming a follower of Christ, but there is an enigmatic "high cost" for every true believer. Jesus also added, "he be of you that forsaketh not all that he has" (Lk.14:33) cannot become a follower of His. We have so devalued what it means to become, by faith, a follower of Jesus Christ that these statements straight from God's mouth seem archaic and legalistic. How many sinners, if just before they recite the sinner's prayer, are asked "Are you ready to forsake all?" would repeat that simple, meaningless, and vain repetition? Oh no, they want to go to heaven and also have Jesus help fix their earthly problems, so they say the magic words and - poof! - it's painless and quick. No cross bearing, no forsaking, no persecution, and no counting the cost, and indeed many times they're counting the dollars!?"

I enjoyed and agreed with your article. The quote was from my post "The Devaluing of Eternal Life".

Lindon said...

Thanks Rick.

You wrote: How many sinners, if just before they recite the sinner's prayer, are asked "Are you ready to forsake all?" would repeat that simple, meaningless, and vain repetition?

What if we were told before: You will be expected to give everything up. And, to never love your children more than Jesus?

Puts it in a different perspective.

Anonymous said...

I had to laugh to myself at the thought of Jesus asking someone, "do you want me to come into your heart?"