The following is a standard criticism of genuine born-again Christians by the “church of christ” people (when referring to the so-called “church of christ” I use lower case c’s for church and Christ because they aren’t the true church and they follow “another” Christ, not the real Jesus [2 Cor. 11:3-4]). This fellow came across our church website and found fault with our stated “plan of salvation.”
The self-righteous sinner who is trying to get to heaven on his own merit will do anything and argue any point in order to avoid a personal encounter with the Lord. Their religion is a formalistic, ritualistic one that preaches a works-based religion that promises possible salvation to those who adhere to their formula, mind their rules and obey their ritual.
Hi, I just happened across your web site and saw this.
C. The Sinner's Prayer. * Ask the prospect to take your hand if me/she means business. Then lead him/her in a prayer like this (have him/her repeat after you, sincerely, from the heart): "Dear Lord, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died to pay for my sins and save me from hell. The best way I know how, right now, I receive your Son, Jesus Christ as my personal Saviour. Lord Jesus, come into my heart and save me, I pray, in your Name, Amen."
Who was it that came up with the concept of a "Sinner's Prayer"? I don't recall the bible saying a sinner has to beg God for salvation in prayer. I do read that if a sinner believes then he should repent, confess Christ and be baptized in His name and that salvation is gladly and freely given to those that do. Is this not true? That's what my faith in Christ and his word led me to do giving me assurance of my salvation and a clear conscience.
Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. B~~~
To answer this man’s question, let us go to the Scriptures and actually see what they say. It will be quite apparent that B~~~ missed the following verses in his Bible reading. If he came across them, he didn’t see them because “if our gospel be hid, it hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…” (2 Corinthians 4:3-4). Until a person’s heart turns to the Lord, the “blinders” will remain over their eyes, and the Lord will not reveal anything to them (1 Corinthians 3:14-16), but He will send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie that they might be damned because they chose not to believe the truth and to try and “work” their way to heaven (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12). Until a person is born again they will not be able to “see,” perceive or understand the things of the kingdom of God (John 3:3). The apostle Paul told us in 1 Corinthians 2:14 that the “natural man” (the unsaved man) cannot “know” the things of the Spirit of God, but that they are “foolishness” unto him because the lost man has no spiritual discernment. This is the problem with non-Christians. It is particularly evident when dealing with “church of christ” people.
The genuine Christian studied his Bible and “rightly divides” it (2 Timothy 2:15); the deluded cultist, however, doesn’t really study the Bible, but he wrests the scriptures “to his own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16) and instead of “rightly dividing” he slices and dices the Scriptures, and in the process cutshimself to pieces. He is like a baby playing with razor blades – he isdangerous to himself!
Now with that introduction, let’s see what the Bible says, and find out if there is such a concept in the Bible as a “Sinner’s Prayer.” Of course the term itself occurs nowhere in the Bible, but the concept is there.
The Bible says in Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
“Whosoever” means anyone who. This is the sinner. “Call” means to call out to God in prayer. So here we have prayer by another name. “Saved” means to have your sins forgiven and to receive eternal life so that you miss hell and can go to heaven. Looks to me that if a sinner was to call uponthe name of the Lord, God would save him. What do you think? I did it, and it worked for me.
The prerequisites for salvation are in the previous verses of the same chapter. In verses 9 & 10 we see that salvation depends on a person confessing the Lord Jesus (not his sins) and believing with his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead. A person who does that can be saved. Verse 14 tells us that a person cannot call on the Lord until he believes. So if you believe unto righteousness (v. 10) you will be saved, and you might even “call” upon Him, and if you did you would be saved (Romans 10:13). A person can put their faith and trust in Christ as Savior silently in his heart (v. 10) or simultaneously with his heart and his mouth through prayer and be saved. Water baptism has nothing to do with it.
The Psalmist, King David, said in Psalm 55:16, “As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me.” He said that God would save him if he called upon Him. There is a sinner calling on God and getting saved! Is it a sinner’s prayer? Well, there are no suggested words, but it says if you do pray to God, He will save you. Supply your own words if you want to. As long as it is from the heart, God will hear and answer and save you if you call upon Him. That is what David said. He should know. I know because I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and when I prayed to Him to save me, He did! How about you? Have you called upon the Lord in repentance and faith, and has He saved you?
David quotes the Lord in Psalm 50:15, where God says, “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.” God says if you will call upon Him in the day of trouble, He will deliver you. That means He will save you. The “day of trouble” is that season in which the Spirit of God works in your heart to convince you that you are a sinner who needs God’s forgiveness and that Christ is the only way of salvation. The Holy Spirit of God deals with your heart, mind and conscience in such a way that you are “troubled” at the thought of dying and going to hell. That happened to me when I was a seventeen year old high school kid in California. I called upon the Lord and He saved me before I ever stepped into the baptistry. Has that happened to you?
Now, “mouthing” the words of a prayer won’t save anybody. The prayer must be from the heart, and as such must be sincere. The Bible says in Psalm 145:18, “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon himin truth.” One time I “mouthed” the words of a prayer that two soul-winners led me and my buddies in while sitting on the picnic tables outside our high school cafeteria. None of us meant the prayer, none of us were sincere, none of us called upon the Lord “in truth.” But about a year later, I called upon the name of the Lord sincerely, “in truth,” and God saved me: He forgave my sins and He gave me eternal life. Glory to His Name! Has that happened to you?
So, is the concept of a sinner praying to God to be saved in the Bible? Yes, it is. Are there literal examples of a sinner praying to God to be saved? Yes, there are. Let’s look at two SINNERS PRAYING in the Gospel of Luke.
The parable of the Publican and the Pharisee is familiar to most. In Luke 18:9-14 we read the story. There you see the self-righteous, religious Pharisee bragging to God on his goodness and morality which he is counting on to get him to heaven. You also see in contrast the publican, who was looked down upon in his community. He wouldn’t even look up to heaven. He smote his breast in repentance and said, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Jesus said that the publican who prayed to God for mercy wasjustified and the other wasn’t. The Pharisee’s hope was in his works; the publican’s hope was in the mercy of God. The man that got saved in this passage was a sinner who prayed to God for mercy and received it. He was a sinner praying, and his prayer was a sinner’s prayer if there ever was one!
The account of the Lord Jesus dying on the cross between two thieves inLuke 23:39-43 shows us a sinner praying. One of the thieves, the repentant one, said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” And Jesus told him he would be with Him in paradise that same day! The sinner prayed and Jesus saved him. If this isn’t Romans 10:13 in action, I don’t know what else it is. The sinner called upon the name of the Lord to save him. The Bible says that he addressed Jesus as “Lord.” He wanted to go to Paradise (heaven). Jesus heard him and answered him and assured him that he would be with Christ after he died. The man got saved on the Cross by praying to the Lord. Water baptism had nothing to do with it. And he died under the New Testament, not the Old, because he died after Christ died, putting him into the New Testament dispensation (Hebrews 9:16-17). According to the “church of christ” he should have had to be baptized in order to be saved, but he wasn’t! He was saved by faith through prayer – Romans 10:9-13. Have you been saved according to the Bible like this fellow was?
We see from the Scriptures that the concept of the Sinner’s Prayer is in the Bible, and that there are examples of Sinners Praying and getting saved, just like Romans 10:13 says.
Solid Rock Baptist Church - Serving the Lord in the Memphis/Mid-South area