Church columnist: The prayer of faith, part 4
Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 21, 2015
Last week we left off talking about the prayer for God’s Pardon. That is, Jesus taught His disciples to pray for God to forgive them (Matthew 6:12; Luke 11:4).
One of the things we must be very clear about is that Jesus is talking to His disciples, those who had already become His followers and were already in fellowship with Christ and the Father. The reason this is important is because of the popular error of the alien sinner being taught to pray for their salvation.
It is called the Sinner’s Prayer and it is not found anywhere in the Bible. It typically goes something like this:
“Dear God in heaven, I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need your forgiveness.
I believe that your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.
You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9, that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.
Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.
Thank you Jesus for your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank you Jesus that your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to you alone and not to myself.
Thank you Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life. AMEN.”
The very website from which I quote this (http://salvationprayer.info/home/salvation/), says “Regarding the location of the Sinner’s Prayer in the Bible? Well, there isn’t one mentioned …” What? The prayer that is taught to numerous thousands of people by numerous denominations as the way they are to be saved isn’t in the Bible?
Yes, that is what it says and it is absolutely correct. As a matter of fact, I am so sure that the Sinner’s Prayer is not found anywhere in the Bible that I have a video offering a $1,000 reward for anyone that can show it to me.
How could we base the means of our salvation on an “implication,” as the website says that the Sinner’s Prayer isn’t in the Bible but it is implied? Would God really leave something so important up to our own interpretation of an implication?
No! Of course not. The Bible is very clear about what it takes to be saved and it isn’t an implied prayer.
The website says that the Sinner’s Prayer is implied in Romans 10:9, 10. That passage says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Where does that passage refer, or imply, anything about saying a prayer? The Greek word for “confess” in this passage is found 24 times in 21 verses. Of those, the closest someone could say that the word comes to prayer is in Hebrews 13:15, which is a different form of the word translated “thanks” in the NKJV. The form of the word used there means to profess publicly and is talking about worshipping God, not prayer specifically and certainly not an alien sinner’s prayer.
And 1 John 1:9, where John says, “If we (i.e. Christians, not alien sinners) confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleans us from all unrighteous.” This is another example of why context is so important. John is talking to those who had already been saved by Christ that continue to repent and ask God’s forgiveness as a child of God. He is not at all including the alien sinner in this statement.
What about Romans 10:9, 10? The word “confess” there means “to profess.” If we look for an example of an alien sinner being told to pray for their salvation, we will find none. But if we look for an example of an alien sinner being told to confess in order to be saved we do have a very good example of what that means.
In Acts 8:35-39 we have the example of the Ethiopian eunuch’s conversion. Philip preached Jesus to him (Acts 8:35), the eunuch saw a pool of water and wanted to know if he could be baptized into Christ based on Philip’s preaching Jesus to him (Acts 8:36).
Philip told him that the only thing hindering him from being baptized was whether or not he believed the word spoken about Christ (Acts 8:37), so the eunuch made a confession with the mouth unto salvation based on the belief of his heart (Acts 8:37; cf. Rom. 10:9, 10), hearing his confession with the mouth unto salvation (i.e. in the direction of salvation), Philip took him down into the water and baptized him into Christ (Acts 8:38), after which the eunuch went on his way rejoicing in his salvation (Acts 8:39).
There is the example of the roll Romans 10:9, 10 plays in someone obeying the gospel plan of salvation. Not a non-existent “Sinner’s Prayer.” Jesus did not teach the concept of a “Sinner’s Prayer” and neither did Paul. Obey the gospel plan of salvation to be born again through the word of God (1 Peter 1:23)!
I’ve had that video offering $1,000 for the Sinner’s Prayer in the Bible for a long time and haven’t had anyone claim that reward yet. But if you’d like to give a shot please let me know. I’ll bring my check book and see how it goes.