Image

Are We Turning the Sinner’s Prayer Into a Magical Incantation?

30 May

20130530-120541.jpg

Controversy does sell, unfortunately.

I totally understand why J.D. Greear called his latest book “Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart”. He doesn’t mean to never ask Him in. He means to not obsessively ask Him in over and over again, claiming lack of assurance of your salvation.

As a person affected by a smattering of OCD, I recognize what he is trying to say.

There are those of us who have trouble arriving at an assurance of our salvation. I mean, God’s free gift does seem too good to be true sometimes!

On the other extreme are the people who ask Jesus into their hearts every once in a while as they live like the devil, with no relationship to Jesus or His law/commandments whatsoever!

Both extremes meet their solution in the gospel of Christ, the gospel of grace.

You see, salvation is by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9). It is not due to baptism nor to joining a church. But it is also not due to saying the right prayer.

Two words apply, as J.D. Greear walks us through the Scriptures to see. “Repentance” and “faith”. And Ephesians 2:9 tells us God even gives us the faith.

So when we get obsessed with a prayer (the prayer for salvation is often called “The Sinner’s Prayer”) and whether we prayed it correctly, we make salvation about us and about our works.

It is really about Christ’s finished work on our behalf.

That is an important distinction, for, as J.D. Greear says, there are many people who have been saved but talk themselves out of assurance that the event took place. There are also many who have no relationship to Jesus at all, and do not care to have one, who are living in false assurance because they prayed the Sinner’s Prayer once long ago.

Repentance and faith. We can see them in an assurance that we are rightly related to God in Christ and in His finished work.

It is all about Christ. When we try to insert a worthy-enough prayer from our end, we end up making the Sinner’s Prayer into a magical incantation!

Then we Baptists become just like the people we criticize for thinking that a religious ritual saves them.

Let’s not make the Sinner’s Prayer into a religious ritual.

It really is all about Jesus. He bore our sin so we could claim salvation in Him. Hallelujah!

Advertisements

One Response to “Are We Turning the Sinner’s Prayer Into a Magical Incantation?”

  1. Donald LaValley December 6, 2015 at 7:17 PM #

    If what you meant by the Fact Is: from the article, Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart” that “We can’t know for sure about anyone’s salvation except our own” that this means you and I can’t know, your possibly correct in your assumption. However, in writing to the believers in Phillipi, Philippines 4:3 the apostle Paul intreated “true yokefellow(s)” to help the women which laboured with him in the gospel, with Clement and other yokefellows, whose names are written in the book of life. It’s clear in this passage that Paul recognized genuine fruit of the Spirit and was sure of their salvation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: