Thursday, November 17, 2005

WHERE IN THE BIBLE IS THE "SINNER'S PRAYER"?

What is the Biblical basis for saying the "sinner's prayer" in order to receive salvation? We know that God hears sinners when they truly seek Him. That is apparent in the story of Cornelius (Acts 10). But what about the so-called "Sinner's Prayer" that many are told to pray in order to receive salvation, where is that found? Before searching the Scriptures to answer this, I wondered how others would support "the sinner's prayer". So I did a Google search. The first site to come up was www.sinner-prayer.com. I thought that if there was "book, chapter, and verse" support for it, then this site would have it. Here is the sample prayer recommended on this site:
Image hosted by Photobucket.com"Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey You, and to do Your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen."
A closer look at this prayer yields an interesting contradiction. To pray the prayer you are required to know what you supposedly can't know or understand until after you are saved. Notice what the praying sinner, the unsaved person, is required to know and understand: he or she apparently knows that God exist; the praying sinner understands he broke God's law; the praying sinner understands repentance is necessary and possible; the praying sinner knows and comprehends exactly who Jesus is: the Son of God who died, is raised, and hears prayers; the praying sinner desires forgiveness and seeks help to avoid sin; the praying sinner gives an invitation to Jesus; the praying sinner makes request to receive the Holy Spirit; the praying sinner prays in Jesus' name; and last but not least, according to these same people, the praying sinner is demonstrating his faith. They say this prayer is "Merely a Tool to Communicate Our Faith" (this comment is on another of their pages). No Bible verses for saying this prayer are offered. No Bible verse is given to demonstrate that this is the tool to show your faith. Does the reader recognize the inherent contradiction in this teaching?

WHICH COMES FIRST: THE PRAYER OR THE SPIRIT
These same people who says that the lost but praying person can't do any of this without first having the Holy Spirit. One of the difficulties people have with the "sinner's prayer" approach to salvation is that you ask to receive the Holy Spirit in the prayer. But this contradicts what they say about first needing the Holy Spirit to understand all of the things you required to understand in the prayer: which includes praying to receive the Holy Spirit. It's a which came first question, the chicken or the egg? Which comes first here, the Spirit or the prayer? It's impossible to tell from their writing. You are led in a circle of realizing all of the particulars of the Gospel and your sinfulness. So then you pray for the forgivness and for the Holy Spirit which you supposedly needed to say the prayer in the first place. From a related web-site comes their rendition of 1 Corinthians 2:13-15:
When we tell you this, we do not use words of human wisdom. We speak words given to us by the Spirit, using the Spirit's words to explain spiritual truths. But people who aren't Christians can't understand these truths from God's Spirit. It all sounds foolish to them because only those who have the Spirit can understand what the Spirit means. We who have the Spirit understand these things, but others can't understand us at all.
This is not Scripture you have just read; rather, it is an erroneous interpretation by these folks of what Paul is saying in that 1 Corinthians 2 passage. And the interpretation contradicts the prayer they say is necessary for salvation. Do you first need the Spirit to understand anything about the Gospel and your sinfulness, or do you first need to sincerely say the "sinner's prayer" to get the Holy Spirit? In the final analysis, the explanation and teaching is contradictory and falls on itself.

IS THE SINNER'S PRAYER THE BIBLICAL STEP TOWARD SALVATION?
I believe that the Bible gives clear instructions for how to become a Christian. Those at the sinner-prayer.com web-site think so too. I studied the web-page containing this prayer to see what Biblical justification would be offered in support for praying to receive salvation. Here is what they offer in the way of chapter and verse support:

Sin is man's problem (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Man may think he knows the right way, but it usually ends in death (Proverbs 16:25). Reconciliation to God can only be accomplished through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:6-15).

NO SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT IS GIVEN
What they teach next has no chapter and verse support. They continue by explaining that the "Sinner's Prayer" is something spoken when the sinner recognizes his sinfulness and his need for salvation. No example of anyone in the Bible saying such a prayer is offered. No passage of the Bible is cited whatsoever in support of saying the prayer for salvation.

Also, after giving the "sinner's prayer", the site follows by saying, "if you decided to repent and receive Christ" you are in God's family. That's it. Simple as that. A prayer is a communication to God and therefore implies that God is listening to the prayer of the sinner. After advising the sinner that all that was necessary for salvation was to pray for it, the need for repentance is added presumably as another step for salvation. They give no Bible reference, though many passages could have been cited to show the necessity of repentance for salvation (see Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19). So why didn't the web-site say to repent of your sins and give Biblical support for it? Why do they instead ask the sinner to say a prayer that cannot be found in the Bible?

Maybe they think that their words are more persuasive than God's! After all, they think that God's words are impossible for the unconverted to understand. But they also ask you to trust them by saying a prayer which they give no Biblical support for. So the sinner they are appealing to cannot understand God if He says to them what the Gospel is and how to obey it, but the sinner will understand the contents of their prayer? That makes very little sense.

On top of that, the site adds that, besides repenting, you must "receive" Christ. They again offer no scripture in support, but on another page on the same web-site, John 1:12 is cited to show that Jesus must be "received." It still remains to be proven that "receiving Jesus" is done through their "sinner's prayer". Where is the passage of text that says "receive Jesus by saying the 'sinner's prayer'"?

Let's give the people who created the "sinner-prayer" web-site some credit: They are correct that knowledge of Jesus' Gospel is essential (Rom. 1:16; Acts 16:31). And the web-site correctly says knowledge of sin is necessary for salvaiton, or else what would one be repenting of (Acts 17:30)? And though the developers of the web-site don't give chapter and verse, repentance is also essential for being added to God's family (Lk. 13:3). And though they don't give chapter and verse, "receiving" Jesus is essential (John 1:12). But, the question remains: is it accurate to say that the so-called "sinner's prayer" is part of the "basic steps to becoming a Christian"? We would disagree that this prayer is a step to salvation.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT RECEIVING JESUS?
To receive Jesus according to God's plan must result in forgiveness of sins and the hope of salvation for eternity. And the Bible shows some "basic steps" for receiving such blessings. In Acts 2:21, Joel was quoted as saying, "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Strangely enough, the Sinner-prayer web-site didn't point to this verse, even though only a few verses later the same people were repenting and being baptized. They were not told to say the "sinner's prayer" in Acts 2:38,41. And when Ananias came and preached Jesus to Saul, he didn't tell Saul (later called Paul) to say a "sinner's prayer". Instead, Ananias said, "And now why do you delay, arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on his name." So it looks like the Biblical way to ask God for salvation is to be Baptized. Peter said essentially this in 1 Peter 3:21. He said that the antitype of the water Noah was brought safely through (v.20) is Baptism which "now saves you." He explains that it is not a washing away dirt of the flesh, but it (baptism) is an appeal to God (i.e. a prayer of sorts) for a clean conscience; it (baptism) saves you through the resurrection of Jesus.

And there is more. In Acts 8, when Philip "preached Jesus" to the Ethiopian Eunuch, the next verse says that the Eunuch asked to be baptized! Why? Could it be that when Jesus was accurately preached, that the sinner understood that God's grace is first received in the waters of baptism? Why else was there the urgency to baptize the Jailer in Acts 16? Verse 25 says that it was already past midnight when Paul "spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house." Then right after that, Paul was out baptizing the jailer in the middle of the night!

THE REAL APPEAL FOR SALVATION
Acts 2:21 in conjunction with Acts 2:38, and Acts 22:16, and this passage in 1 Peter seems to give pretty strong evidence that God's salvation is received at baptism. Baptism is how and when a person calls on God to be saved. Many other verses can be cited to show that when faith and adult baptism converge, then the gift of salvation is the result (see Galatians 3:26,27 and Colossians 2:12). This is further supported by passages like Romans 6:3-5 where "walking in newness of life" follows being buried with Christ in baptism. That the blessing of salvation occurs at the point of baptism explains why Jesus commanded the disciples be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20). And Mark records that "he that believes and is baptized shall be saved, and he that does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16). This is why we can say with a great deal of confidence that baptism is an important step of salvation, but the so-called "sinner's prayer" is not.
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EXAMPLE OF THE ERROR - NOTE THERE'S NO SCRIPTURAL SUPPORT
God hears prayer for salvation
Praying to be Saved - not the "Sinner's Prayer"
Repentance is real change beyond believing only
Legalism is not the strict adherence to God's word

52 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:48 AM

    Interesting- if you rely on your crux of your argument : not Bible based (which seems to be "not explicitly found in the scriptures") then you effectively have no teaching on:

    Abortion, moment of conception, drug abuse, the TRINITY itself (the word TRINITY is not in the Bible), stem cell research, and the list goes on.

    Secondly, while you nail this prayer as something unbiblical, I would like you to look at the lyrics of so many of your Christian worship and praise songs, which are a form of prayer. Many, as you will see are not Bible based, but teach a part of the Bible. The words themselves are not IN THE BIBLE as such.


    So, your angle of attack is what undermines your faith. Look at the fruits... if this prayer brings people closer to Jesus, then it is what it is. The only people that know if it does or not, are God, and that person.

    If you are trying to step in and say that because it is not word for word in the Bible, then it is the Opposite of Jesus, then you need to give your head a check.

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  2. Dear Anonmous,
    Thank you for your kind suggestion and I take these things under consideration.
    Please don't misunderstand. The so-called "sinner's prayer" is not explicitly or implicitly found in the Scriptures. Cornelius was not saved when he prayed. He was saved when he "heard words by which he must be saved" - Acts 11:14. And the Apostle Paul, formerly known as Saul, was not saved on the road or when he prayed. Paul was saved when he "arose and was baptized and washed away his sins calling on his name."

    Why would you want to defend a practice that isn't found in Scripture?

    The "trinity" is found in Scripture even if they word "trinity" is not used. The doctrine of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being three persons in one God is in the Bible. So you really don't have a point. And what about Abortion? Abortion may not be specifically addressed, but the Bible discusses the sanctity of life and the innocence of the that is even in the womb. The Bible says not to kill the innocent, so you really don't have point. Drug abuse? The Bible warns Christians to be sober at all times. That rules out the use of drugs.

    The "sinner's prayer" is not uttered in the Scriptures. There is no example or command for it. Why don't you focus like a laser on what the Scriptures do say and then defend that?

    Instead of telling people to do what can't be found in Scriptures, why not kindly lead people who believe to turn away from sins and be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? That would be more Biblical and it would totally rely on the saving grace of God.

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    1. Thank nocamo33

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    2. You are absolutely right! Well done article!

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  3. The need to repent and be baptized is part of the Gospel message? Acts 2:38

    If not, then it is a different Gospel to that preached by the apostles.

    I have been a believer for 22years and never heard anyone preach baptism in any congregation I attended as part of the Gospel message.

    If we are not going to use the bibles Gospel from the book of Acts then it is open slather.

    Baptism was always part of the Gospel message, administered straightaway. Why the urgency?

    Act 2:41 Then they that GLADLY RECEIVED HIS WORD were BAPTIZED: and the SAME DAY there were added unto them about THREE THOUSAND souls.

    Act 8:12 But WHEN THEY BELIEVED Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, THEY WERE BAPTIZED, both men and women.

    Act 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.

    Philip preached baptism in the Gospel.

    Act 8:36 And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; WHAT DOES HINDER ME TO BE BAPTIZED ?
    Act 8:38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

    Paul baptized

    Act 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

    Cornelius and the Gentiles

    Act 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he COMMANDED THEM TO BE BAPTIZED in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

    Paul preached baptism TO Lydia

    Act 16:14 woman named Lydia, …: whose heart the Lord opened, that SHE ATTENDED UNTO THE THINGS WHICH WERE SPOKEN BY PAUL
    Act 16:15 And WHEN SHE WAS BAPTIZED, and her household, she besought us, saying, IF YOU HAVE JUDGED ME FAITHFUL TO THE LORD, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

    Paul preached baptism TO Philippian Jailer

    Act 16:33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

    All baptized the same hour the Gospel was preached read Rom 6:3-7 and you will understand that without baptism there is no gospel.

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  4. praise the LORD to all that commented.

    just a few quick truhts. The sinners prayer is not in the bible. The trinity is not supported by the bible. It is only one GOD.(One God in Christ: Deut. 6:4, Is. 9:6, 43: 10-11, 44:8, 45:22, John 8:24-27,10:30,14:9-11,2 Cor. 5:19, Ep. 4:4-6, Col. 2:9, 1 Tim. 3:16, Rev. 1:8, 4:2.)
    Only one GOD.

    Nicodemus and JESUS had a conversation (john 3:1-21) were JESUS said you must be born again to see the kingdom of GOD. he also said you must be born of the water and of the spirit. Born of the water or water baptizim in JESUS NAME (nowhere in the bible is anyone baptized in the name of the father, son, and holy ghost)

    But what about born of the spirit:

    Holy Spirit Baptism Evidenced by SPEAKING IN TONGUES: Acts 2:2-4, 10:44-46, 19:6
    when you call on the name of JESUS sincerly HE will freely give you the gift of the Holy Spirit just like on the day of Pentecost

    so acknowledgment and repentance of you sins
    being born of the water(water baptism in JESUS name not father, son holy ghost)
    being born of the spirit( receiving the gift of the HolyGhost ans the spirit of GOD give utterance, or speaking in tongues)...are all necessary of salvation acsording to the WORD OF GOD

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  5. Anonymous9:33 PM

    scarey1. just a warning, you should watch out for legalism. when someone is baptised, which happens after they are saved, it doesnt matter what the preacher says while dunking. saying "in jesus' name doenst mean your praying in jesus' name. if your being baptised by the leading of god. its in jesus name. jesus is the father he is the son. and he is the holy spirit. jesus never nit picked or critiqued. he instructed to repent and believe. thats all thats necessary for salvation. im not dowm playing baptism. i believe theres new life in the baptism of both water and of the holy spirit but isnt necessary for salvation. the theif on the cross next to jesus wasnt baptised. thats works salvation. he just madly in love with us and desires a responce just as we do when were in love. but the only way to be neat him is to be holy as he is.

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  6. Thank you for the warning. However, teaching Scripture is not legalism. I am not sure what you mean by nit picking. You are right that He commanded belief and repentance. He also commanded confession, Mt. 10:32,33. It isn't nit picking to tell people they have to believe, confess, and be baptized. You know what? You yourself come off kind of nit picky. The "sinner's prayer" isn't in the Bible. And you don't have any liberty or right to add something Scripture. Where do you get the right to say baptism isn't necessary for salvation? You can't be taken serious. You need to work a little harder at this. I sense you are sincere, but you are sincerely wrong. Doing what Jesus commanded isn't even close to "works salvation". Instead of arguing with me who loves Jesus Christ very much, go after people who really are legalist. As it is, I don't think you have the first clue about "works salvation". The thief on the cross died pre-great commission. It's apples and oranges you are comparing - before and after the cross. Youmight want to take another look at these things.

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  7. Anonymous10:16 AM

    The sinners prayer is not in the bible, I don't remember ever hearing anyone teach that is was. That being said, what is the problem? it is however a vehicle for receiving Christ into ones heart and becoming Born again which is in the scriptures. In these last days we should be seeking to lift one another and looking for positive ways to help those who are lost and bring them into the kingdom. The sinners prayer has it's place and purpose. If you want to put religion under a microscope, how about the churches misuse of Malachi 3:6 as justification to tithe?

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    1. Pray jesus into heart is false doctrine. Paul commanded not to play nice with false teachers. Thats like saying, a ceo and board of directors that laid out the mission and how to achieve it can be hijacked by employees who decide to do different. They are not under authority of the bosses and must not be permitted to continue to practice and spread falsehood.

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  8. Matthew 10:10 is biblical - if you confess with ur mouth
    that Jesus Christ is the son of god and believed god raised him from the dead
    you shall be saved -

    This lord u know I'm a sinner... Is up there with god blesses those who bless themselves and the chorus to garth brooks' "unanswered prayer "
    as being totally unscriptural

    the sinners prayer other than opening is ad libbed by the person leading it

    Matt 10:10 is simple but leave it to people to complicate it
    ugh!!!!

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  9. Do you mean Romans 10:10? I believe Romans 10:10, but it doesn't teach everything concerning salvation such as repentance and baptism (see Romans 6, just four chapters earliers than the passage you cite). It says that we obeyed from the heart that form of teaching to which were were committed and we were set free. It says that when we were baptized into Christ, we were buried with Him into death, and in baptism we were also raised with him to walk in newness of life. So there is no scripture "sinner's prayer" that can nullify what Paul says in chapter 6 of Romans. The "sinner's prayer" as it is put forward by our denominational friends is a lie and deception of the Evil One. Thanks for leaving a comment.

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    1. Anonymous9:52 PM

      I have in my Bible in the first of the pages written out the scriptures " The Roman Road to Salvation. " I also know from asking and being shown and taught that baptism is an outward showing of an inner happening. I believe and know in my heart that all one needs for salvation is to confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and that Jesus is the only son of God and you will be saved. Once this is done nothing else needs be done to gain your salvation. I also believe once you are saved there is nothing you can do that will cause you to loose your salvation as salvation is a gift given to you by God.

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    2. Anonymous6:26 PM

      what anonymous states is true and well put

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  10. Anonymous12:00 AM

    Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    This is salvation in a nut shell...If you don't live the lifestyle baptism or sinners prayer won't matter. Regardless, before baptism or with ig a sinners prayer (that should lead to baptism) requires a confession.

    Another religious argument, sometimes bother me but i thank God for our passion and that he continues to direct us to apply it to our lifestyles and point people in the right direction. God bless you!

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  11. Dear Anonymous. I happen to agree that Romans 10:9,10 is important text re: salvation, but what about Romans 6:3-5? Just four chapters earlier, Paul reminded the Christians why they were baptized. You have to step back a minute to see what the Scriptures are saying about the significance of Baptism that it is where God's saving grace meets faith. Colossians 2:12 says so.

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  12. Anonymous12:38 AM

    I'm sorry for my interruption folks,

    Guys this is why our brothers and sisters turn from the Father. We as believers in Christ need not defend Him, for we know truth. Let alone defend Him against other brothers and sisters! In all honesty whether you pray the sinner's prayer or were baptized, or did both, the question is what is your relationship to Jesus Christ for that is what God wants. He does not want what you were but what you are! This debate whether intellectual or argumentative is irrelevant. Let us raise ourselves to a different level of faith and go perform as the Lord has commanded.

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  13. Dear Anonymous, if you don't believe in defending the truth against brothers and sisters, why leave a comment?

    And have you not read 1 Corinthians? It is written to Christians who are childish and in error. I would remind you what Paul said about the usefulness of the Scriptures: "16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;" 2 Tim. 3.

    Now when brothers and sisters are in doctrinal error, which is when they compromise, twist, and distort the truth, that is when we have to do what you dislike so much.

    And you need to understand that your "relationship" with Jesus Christ is suspect if you are approving of false doctrines like the "sinner's prayer".

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  14. hmm. Do we all love Jesus? Okay, thought so.
    Anonymous, just curious, were you baptized?
    This article was the first to come up when I searched "sinners prayer bible reference"

    interesting debate.

    I am a baptized follower, I wouldn't take my chances with God.

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  15. Thanks yoyo.
    I don't argue that the Scriptures say we are to "call on God" for salvation. The point I try to make with people like Anonymous is that there is a particular way to do so. It's not through the modern so-called "sinner's prayer" which is void of calls for repentance and confession. Passages like Acts 2:21 and 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pt. 3:21 as well as numerous examples show that we call on God to save - He saves us, not our works - when we in faith get in the watery grave. Baptism is an act of faith where a person is clothed with Christ and the sins are forgiven. See Galatians 3:26,26; Colossians 2:12; 3:1. Thanks.

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  16. Anonymous8:24 AM

    I believe that God knows our hearts and it is a way of leading a person to Jesus. If one is not familiar with the scriptures then it may be too much all at once. The prayer is a quick way to summarize that Jesus is real and that the person is prepared to start their journey with Christ. Many times we look to deep into a situation. As long as we are truely following Christ with our hearts God will understand. He knows that time is precious and people must take the time to learn the bible. A baby must first start with milk and then work his/her way to solids. May God bless you, it is very importnant to know the word and I understand that you are saying that we should come directly from the word and that is a very valid point.

    :)

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  17. Dear Anonymous.
    Thanks for your sincere words. I do hope that my love and sincerity is seen in this message.
    I agree with you in general that God does hear when sincere sinners begin that search. And it's true what you say that it's a growing process where the Believer begins as a baby and then moves to maturity.
    BUT, the salvation process - if you will - begins with someone who IS NOT saved, is pre-baby-in-Christ, and the question is WHEN does the seeking lost sinner FIRST or INITIALLY receive God's SAVING grace - at a prayer or at repentance and baptism. The Scriptures show that repentance, confession, and baptism are involved in the initial reception of God's SAVING grace (I qualify the grace of God because His grace is enjoyed by all men to some degree, see Acts 14:17; Rom.2:4, but SAVING grace is only for the elect who hear and obey the Gospel). So I agree that there is a learning curve involved here as well. Sometimes a person is primed to receive and obey the Gospel in a single lesson (as on Pentecost) and sometimes it takes several hours of teaching. But God has time and He gives time to allow the truly searching the opportunity to be saved. God is patient not wishing for any to perish.
    Finally, a prayer for salvation, the "sinner's prayer", doesn't accurately portray what God has prescribed for sinners to receiving Saving Grace. Thanks Anonymous for your words. I hope we come to common ground on this matter.

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  18. Anonymous3:51 PM

    Thank you DM for this article. Because I grew up in the Church I find it very hard to wrap my mind around NOT believing baptism is the point of salvation. All of the scriptures you cited are proof of that.
    When we adopt the "let's all just love God, and get along, and agree we are all saved" way of thinking, then everything about Christianity is up for debate! Why can we not submit and do what we are told to do? And why, are we as Christians, not allowed to use SCRIPTURE to defend the truth?
    It is very frustrating and this thinking is dangerous. Even some "baptized believers" only did so because they didn't want to "take chances with God"... I think there is a lot of learning that needs to happen if that is your view of the power and grace of baptism. Just the fact that we are GIVEN the opportunity to be baptized is an act of love and grace from God and who are we to deny His gift?

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  19. Search the Scripture folks, No one in scripture ever accepted Jesus as their Savior. There is no scriptural example, and everyone of us MUST have Scripture to support what we believe. No one in Scripture ever said the sinner's prayer. Multitudes, thousands upon thousands did Repent, were baptized in Jesus Name (not name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) and received the Holy Ghost.
    JD

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  20. Thanks JD. My understanding is not much diff. from yours except that baptism into the Father, Son, And Holy Spirit is the command of Christ, and only then is baptism "in the name of" or by the authority of Christ. Don't think you can dogmatically exclude what is said in the great commission.

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  21. Anonymous12:54 AM

    The thief on the cross was never baptized.

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    1. Anonymous11:29 PM

      The thief on the cross was under the old covenant, the new covenant didnt begin until Jesus died on the cross. Hebrews 9:15-17. Old testament believers were not required to have been baptize, Abraham believed and it was accounted to him as righteousness.

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  22. Dear Anonymous. Can you prove the thief on the cross was never baptized? I can't. I can't prove he was and I can't prove he wasn't. You are in the habit of asserting what you don't know? But I dealt with this and so you are also in the habit of ignoring the evidence? The thief could have been baptized by John but if he wasn't he still was saved prior to the baptism commanded by Jesus. I am not teaching for people to receive John's baptism (Acts 18,19 shows it's invalid now). But I do teach the baptism Jesus commanded in the great commission. Since this one was not known prior to the resurrection, the thief would not be required to receive it. ALSO, you miss the point altogether. The cause of Christ is not advanced by teaching "faith alone" cheap grace. Salvation is for those who believe and obey the Gospel. We are saved by grace through faith, Eph. 2:8,9. God's grace was demonstrated in His Son. Our faith is demonstrated in the things we naturally do upon hearing of God's grace. Without repentance, confession, and baptism, there's no faith.

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  23. Anonymous4:10 AM

    What about someone on there death bed, are they eternal lost if the excepted Jesus just be for they died, but not have been baptized?

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  24. Anonymous5:46 PM

    People don't disagree that baptism is taught in the bible people disagree when they try to take verses out of context and don't take the bible as a whole. We do not know if the the thief on cross was baptized but it is irrelevant. Christ baptism was not commanded until the day of Pentecost in acts2. My question would be how do we get into Christ? The bible tells us we r baptized into Christ, his body, his church. Gal 3:27 rom 6:3-5 it is that simple.

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  25. Anonymous11:00 PM

    I hear preachers praying the "sinners prayer" although I have heard it worded a little different. The preacher will have those who desire to have Christ in their life.. to repeat this prayer after him.. they never once mention that they need to be baptized afterwards.. very misleading, millions have been mislead.. HOW SAD..

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  26. How is it that people keep equating baptism with salvation. Paul clearly states in Romans 1 that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. He then tells the Corinthian in 1 Corinthians 1 that he was sent by the Lord to preach the Gospel and not to baptize. Biblical comparison shows clearly the Gospel does not include baptism. Paul gives the Gospel in a synopsis in 1 Corinthians 15 where it is stated that Christ died according to the Scriptures, was buried and rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. Nowhere in the Bible can you find salvation imparted through baptism. Even the act itself is called the baptism for the remission of sins. Yet that baptism is not what saves. Baptism follows the act of salvation. Every account of baptism occurs AFTER the profession of faith. Look at the Ethiopian Eunuch. Only AFTER his profession of faith is the chariot stopped that he may receive baptism. The Gentile Believers in Acts upon whom the Holy Spirit fell were baptized AFTER they believed and were exhibiting the gift of the Spirit. The jailer and his household were baptized AFTER they heard the message and believed. The Scriptures plainly state that salvation is through Christ alone. Even when we examine the supposed Scriptures which teach baptism is essential to salvation we can clearly see the structure of the English language will not support those false claims. It all depends on if you have been fed lies of the devil. The only baptizing which occurs at the moment of salvation is the baptism of the believer into the Lord's death, not the waters of the baptistery. As for the sinner's prayer, I have long believed it a tool of apostasy and a false doctrine which many have been led astray to believe as sound. Then again, I have often also decried the unscriptural usage of the altar call. Nowhere in Scripture was man told to wait till the end of a pretty sermon until the pretty music as played while the preacher pressures men to make a decision and holds the congregation in a semi-hostage type of situation. In the Bible the Lord moved mightily and such as were to be saved did so immediately. Then again, I also do not believe all so-called churches or preachers have Biblical authority to be called such. You will often find being a true Bible-believer can more often than not leave you on the fringe of accepted Churchianity.

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    1. Dear Baptist....You purposely misrepresent. We don't "equate baptism with salvation".

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    2. You are a false teacher. You twist scripture. You quote the very scriptures that prove DMs point and say they don't say what they clearly do. Can you recall another character in the bible that said "God did not say that" when he clearly did?

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  27. Anonymous8:15 AM

    VERY POOR THEOLOGY ON SALVATION BY BAPTISM. A CLEAR INDICATION THAT YOU ARE NOT SAVED. YOU ARE IN DANGER OF HELL IF THAT IS YOUR BELIEF-FAITH PLUS BAPTISM.

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    1. Dear Anonymous....Baptism is taught by Jesus as being essential. How do you miss that? You don't believe the Scriptures teach it but Jesus said "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved" Mk 16:16. I'm just following my Lord. And Jesus said for me to make disciples and baptize and teach them to observe all that he commanded, Mt 28. So the theology problem isn't mine. The theology problem is yours because you have adopted reformation theology. Rom. 1:5; 16:26 speaks of the "obedience of faith". Romans 10 speaks of obedience to the Gospel, heeding it. 1 Thess 1:3 speaks of our "work of faith". Obedience to the Gospel isn't contrary to "salvation by grace through faith"; it's the realization of it.

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    2. Anonymous9:01 AM

      Whenever Jesus healed someone and He healed many, what did He say, every time? Your works have healed you? No, your faith has healed you, your faith has made you well, your faith has saved you. It is by faith only. The thief on the cross believed in Jesus by faith and that is why he would be with Jesus in paradise, as Jesus said. John 3:16.

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    3. Anonymous, "Faith alone" is dead faith, Jas 2:14-26. Paul was happy to see the works of faith in the Thessalonians, 1 Thess 1:3. He was made an Apostle to bring about, not a dead "faith only" faith, but the "obedience of faith", Rom. 1:5; 16:26. The Gospel is not to be believe only, it is to be obeyed. It must be obeyed or you go to hell, 2 Thess 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17; Rom. 10:16 "heed the Gospel".

      Anonymous, I realize that it's difficult and near impossible to understand this considering your denominational indoctrination, but you must try. I believe in salvation by grace through faith. That's not the issue. The issue is WHAT KIND OF FAITH? I suggest that the verses I just gave require that it be an obedient, active faith and not the dead "assent" faith you cling to.

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  28. Great teaching on the invalidity of the so-called "Sinner's Prayer." However, I have one point of concern. In the last papragraph you indicated that:
    "Jesus commanded the disciples be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:18-20)."

    This is not exactly what is taking place in Matthew 28:18-20. But I'll come back to that.

    I am concerend that you did not stress the importantance of the fact that the "name" referred to in the scripture you referrenced is "Jesus Christ" and not the titles "Father" "Son" and Holy "Ghost." Furthermore, the scripture you used (Matthew 28-18-20) does not instruct the disciples how to perfom baptisms or command that they themselvs be baptized in any particular way. When Jesus spoke to His Apostles in Matthew 28, he was speaking to those who had already been baptized into His name and who had intimate knowledge that the name (singular) of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit was actually YeHoWsHua Ha'Mashiach (mistranslated as Jesus the Christ).

    Furthermore, Acts 2:37-42 is a much better example of instructions on how to perform baptism and is actually an apostlic command directing everyone to be baptised thusly. [Also, please see Acts 4:12.]

    Again, I thank you for such a thorough examination on the demonic doctrine of the the "Sinner's Prayer."

    Be blessed and Keep Looking Up!

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    1. Very interesting. Thank you.

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  29. Anonymous3:47 PM

    Baptism does not save us. Repentance does not save us. The Gospel, spoken, believed and by the power of God, saves us. We are bought
    for a price, so that Jesus could save us. We are Gentiles, as
    such Paul spoke the Gospel in Romans 10:9-10 to us, the Gentiles.
    We are not under the law, but under grace. The Law demanded rituals as baptism and repentance from the Jews and others according to the gospels of John, Mark, Luke and Matthew. We, when we believe in jesus Christ receive grace by faith in Jesus Christ. The apostles preached a different gospel to the people, than what Paul preached. The Gospel of Grace became the Gentiles gospel and some Jews who believed. There are not rituals attached to the Gospel in Romans 10:9-10

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    1. Belief is a work. Confessing with the tongue is a work. Romans 10:16 shows that the Gospel is to be heeded/obeyed. This jives with the "Obedience of faith" Paul was bringing about in people, Rom. 1:5; 16:26. It is when we "obey from the heart that form of teaching to which we were committed" that we are released from sins and saved, Rom. 6:17,18.

      I don't believe the work itself saves you. It's when we are baptized with faith that God is washing away the sins, and God is the Savior, and with the faith that it is the blood that washes, that is when we are saved. How we are saved is by God's grace by the blood of Jesus. WHEN we are saved is at a particular time - not at a 'sinner's prayer' - when we are immersed into the watery grave of baptism, Romans 6:3-5; Col. 2:12; Gal. 3:26,27. Thank you for commenting.

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  30. It says in the bible to repent of your sins ...it always says that who ever cunfess out of there own mouth the jesus is their lord and savor shall be saved ...thats exacly what the sinners pray allows you to do ... But you have to mean it and really want to be saved ..you cant just say that prayer and be saved ... So just cuss that pray isnt in the bible dosnt mean its wrong ...my pastor went to tiawon to preach the word of god .it does say to go to taiwon and preach so does that mean that hes wrong .no i dont think so ..

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  31. Anonymous10:10 AM

    Just a note...ALL OF THIS BICKERING BACK AND FORTH....thst is not what God wants. He wants us to love one another....Lev 19:18 thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.......I dont feel alot of love here. Romans 14:10 But why dost thoy judgethy brother? Or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? For we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ. 11. For it is written, As I live,saith the Lord, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW TO ME,EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS TO GOD. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. Each one of us are responsible for our own souls, talk to GodHe will listen and speak to each individual heart. Love in Christ.

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    1. Dear Anonymous, I agree that we should judge ourselves first, then we will see more clearly to help our brother remove the splinter from his own eye. The false teaching called the "sinner's prayer" is what I addressed. Does the Scripture not tell us to refute error? The "faith only" doctrine is of man and a contradiction to the call from Jesus to "deny self, take up your cross, and follow Me." Thanks for the reminder though. I agree that our conversation can be too strident.
      Dan Mayfield

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  32. The sinner's prayer is a prayer of salvation that a person prays to God when they understand that they are a sinner and in need of a Savior. Saying a sinner's prayer will not accomplish anything on its own. A true sinner's prayer only represents what a person knows, understands, and believes about their sinfulness and the need for salvation.

    The sinner's prayer is biblical as a concept based on Romans 10:9-10 although the Bible doesn't give us specific verbiage to use like the Lord's prayer. You can help one cross the line of faith and be saved by leading them via a sinner's prayer to repeat after what the leader says or by prompting where the leader/pastor will ask the other person to say in their own words the different segments of the prayer of salvation instead of repeating after the leader/pastor.

    The most important thing is that a sinner's prayer or prayer of salvation is a response to the gospel. The gospel has four key elements:
    a) God is love and He loves us and has a plan for our lives (John 3:16; John 10:10; Jeremiah 29:11)
    b) But here is a problem, we blew it! Man is sinful and separated from God. The wages of our sins is death (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).
    c) The good news? Jesus paid the price in full (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 5:34; John 14:6)
    d) We MUST Receive God’s forgiveness ... that is where prayer of salvation comes in.

    The first aspect of a sinner's prayer is understanding that we are all sinners. Romans 3:10 proclaims, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one." The Bible makes it clear that we have all sinned. We are all sinners in need of mercy and forgiveness from God (Titus 3:5-7). Because of our sin, we deserve eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). The sinner's prayer is a plea for grace instead of judgment. It is a request for mercy instead of wrath.

    The second aspect of a sinner's prayer is knowing what God has done to remedy our lost and sinful condition. God took on flesh and became a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 1:1,14). Jesus taught us the truth about God and lived a perfectly righteous and sinless life (John 8:46; 2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus then died on the cross in our place, taking the punishment that we deserve (Romans 5:8). Jesus rose from the dead to prove His victory over sin, death, and hell (Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians chapter 15). Because of all of this, we can have our sins forgiven and be promised an eternal home in Heaven - if we will just place our faith in Jesus Christ. All we have to do is believe that He died in our place and rose from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). We can be saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone. Ephesians 2:8 declares, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God."

    In summary Romans 10:9-10 and Ephesians 2:8 clearly demonstrate that by grace through faith alone, one may be saved by confessing with their mouth that “Jesus is Lord” and believing in their heart that God raised Him from the dead. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

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    1. Dear Frank, I believe that Romans 10:9,10 speaks truth about being saved, but that verse must be harmonized with other passages, for example Romans 6:16-18 where obedience to the form of doctrine leads to salvation. There is no contradiction, only a fuller understanding that a prayer isn't what God intended us to do to be saved.

      And I believe Ephesians 2:8,9 too. But "grace by faith alone" is the very doctrine that does not save.... Thankfully you understand that "faith alone" is inbiblical and so you add that "one may be saved" by doing the confessing with the mouth. However, confessing alone isn't sufficient either. The Bible must be harmonized. Romans 2:4 shows that God is patient with us that we Repent as well. God wants us to repent, confess and be baptized, which is what Paul teaches in the book of Romans (see Romans 6:3-5).

      Whether you stop short at confession or whether you teach what Paul did, repentance and baptism, the message must always be that our faith is not in ourselves or in our obedience, but our faith must be 100% in the saving work of God.

      There's no sinner's prayer in Acts 2: there is repentance and baptism. There's no sinner's prayer in Galatians: but there is baptism where by faith the person puts on Christ. There's no sinner's prayer in Acts 2216: unless you count what Ananias that in getting baptized and washing away his sins the calling on His name is a type of prayer. There's no sinner's prayer in 1 Peter: but there is the message that baptism saves through the resurrection of Christ. I suppose it's very likely that the person who is convicted of sin and who has repented, when being baptized he is appealing to God for a clean conscience: a type of sinner's prayer.

      Thank you.

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  33. Anonymous8:46 PM

    May i repost the question by another reader: What about someone on there death bed, are they eternal lost if the excepted Jesus just be for they died, but not have been baptized? I stumble upont his page looking for the steps to "witness" to a dying person...

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    1. Hi Anonymous, I have heard that many people are converted in their last hours and there's nothing to hinder that person from being carried to the water. If the paralytic could be carried to Jesus, couldn't friends carry such a person to the water? I'm not in a position to judge you or the person you speak of, but I do know that God is patient and doesn't wish for people to perish, 2 Pt 3:9. No doubt, such a person had countless knocks on his/her door to invite Jesus in but resisted. Again, I'm not judging but there are times when the opportunity for salvation is passed due to neglect. Thanks for caring about souls. What would happen if the person was taught additionally to be baptized? If the heart is sincere, he would ask for water as the Eunuch did, Acts 8. The situation you describe is difficult as there are many difficult situations in which people find the Lord. The rich young ruler of Matthew 19 was a tragic case where Jesus taught a man to give away all of his possessions. It was hard to become a Christian and find eternal life. And what about the Corinthians, some of which were adulterers, fornicators, and homosexuals? To become a Christian, they had to put away sexual sins and the sinful relationships. So the person who has put off obedience to Jesus (John 14:15; 15:14) until their last breath has made salvation hard. Telling the truth to them is hard. I sympathize with you. I hope you will retain the truth.

      Acts 2:38; 22:16; Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26,27; Colossians 2:11-13; 1 Pt 3:21.

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  34. Anonymous12:20 PM

    throw in this passage see what happens John 9:31

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    1. John 9:31 says, "We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him". Anonymous, what does that mean to you?

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