I am not against prayer in any form! However, I am against lying to sinners and telling them prayer alone is what saves them. The Bible clearly teaches a person is not saved by prayer, rather he's saved by faith alone.
A sinner's faith should not be in his prayer, rather in Jesus Christ, and his shed blood. Countless millions of souls which have been tricked into repeating a prayer with their mouth, without ever repenting or wholly trusting upon Christ Jesus from the heart as their Savior.
They are trusting the prayer they said, instead of the blood God shed. For a sinner to get saved, he must first hear the Gospel and then understand it. The gospel, not "a" gospel but, the gospel, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, KJV; Ephesians 2:8,9, KJV.
The words of Jesus in Matthew 13:14-15, KJV; show us that hearing and understanding are essential to salvation. For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted..."
The understanding must come from the heart, and when a sinner is ready to be saved, then he'll come to Jesus Christ of his own accord by heartfelt faith and take Him as his Savior. It's impossible for a person to get saved and "not even know it!"
A person cannot be tricked into getting saved against his will! He must trust in Jesus Christ from his heart when he's ready. Modern Christianity as a whole has departed from the Biblical means of salvation by grace through faith and is guilty of preaching the heresy that salvation is not by heartfelt faith in Christ at all, but rather one's repeating a prayer to Christ.
In other words, they claim that God's saving power is not through faith alone in Christ's atoning sacrifice, but rather by man's own action of speaking the Sinner's Prayer. So ingrained is this heretical teaching among so-called Fundamentalists, that they have developed a "1-2-3 repeat after me" type of soul winning which omits the Gospel in its entirety and tricks a sinner into praying a vain religious prayer, begging god for forgiveness.
But does a man get saved by his prayer? and will god forgive anyone who comes to god asking for salvation apart from trusting the bloodstained gospel? No! The answer, my friend, most certainly is, "No!" The cold, hard fact is that the Bible teaches salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8,9) in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:25) plus nothing, minus nothing! To be saved, a sinner must repent and trust in what Jesus did for him on the cross, not what he himself does or says to get him to heaven.
Repentance happens the minute you believe. Repentance is of changing course and by believing, you have changed course. Believing must be heart knowledge and not mind knowledge, Why? Even Satan believes. Heart knowledge is true faith in taking God at his word. The sinner's prayer, is nowhere found in the bible so, where did it come from?
Most likely from Catholicism and even people like Billy Graham. Billy Graham's famous prayer, “Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be. Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? If it does, pray this prayer right now, and Christ will come into your life as He promised."
Several things are wrong with this. First, it makes faith and praying one and the same when it says that receiving Christ is not by faith alone, but by faith through Prayer (the prayer given). The prayer becomes man's work for salvation But, the Bible says it's by grace through faith in his blood, whether a person prays or not. Sure, a person can believe when he prays.
However, if a person is not trusting in Christ's blood atonement alone at the moment he prays, he is not saved. Salvation is only by faith in the blood. Further it states in the last paragraph that Christ will come into a person's life when they pray this prayer. But this is not in the bible!
The bible states once you believe and believe only, the Holy Spirit dwells in your heart. You pray, to give thanks and to ask and it shall be given. The given, does not necessarily happen right away or it never happens according to our will but, God's but, God's love will always bring comfort.
So, Justification or salvation then, according to the Bible is by "Grace Through faith in the precious shed blood of Jesus Christ!" It's not by repeating a prayer or asking God to save you. It's by taking him at his word and trusting in his precious shed blood as sufficient to save you, as it says in Romans 3:25 KJV.
Paul shows this clearly in the book of Romans with the following verses: Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Romans 3:24; KJV. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 5:1 KJV.
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him, Romans 5:9 KJV. God rested twice according to the bible, after creating the entire universe and he rested, Genesis 2:2, KJV.
Can man add to this work and make it better? Of course not!
Second, God raised Christ from hell bodily defeating death and paying for all sins and sat him on his right side, Acts 2: 30-36; KJV; done deal, Christ paid for all sins and defeated death, can anyone add to this? Ridiculously not!
And if you think you can, you are denying Christ and calling him a liar! Pick up your bibles and read folks and I mean the real bibles, the 1611 King James version and no other!
Bruce Tooker is a Sebring resident. Columns are the opinion of the writer, not necessarily that of the Highlands News-Sun.