“Now everyone bow your heads, every eye closed. I don’t want anyone looking around the room, no one will know this but you and the Lord. Just repeat this prayer after me, and you will be saved”
If you have spent any amount of time in church, been to a conference or camp, or even a Christian concert you have probably heard someone say this. You may have responded to this, you may have responded to this several times. I know several who openly admit that they went down five, six, even seven times to be “saved”. What does it mean to be saved, what do you have to do? This may be my biggest beef with the Church today the message of salvation we spread. The meaning of salvation has been severely watered down from the Biblical meaning.
If you say this prayer, and follow the ABC’s of becoming a Christians then you will be fine. Friends, I have to say I disagree with this and the Bible disagrees with this theology. I have met many people in college, many I call friends, who have told me they are Christians. When I ask where they are plugged in at a local faith community I get this response. “I don’t really do church here, I mean I was saved when I was young. I got baptized and asked Jesus in my heart. I don’t really live it now, or think about it but I am good.” We have failed people. We have told them all they have to do is say this prayer, and they are good. They can live how they want, and have nothing to worry about. Friends we know this is not the case. I think David Platt nails it with this quote:
“Should it concern us that the bible never calls us to ask Jesus into our hearts. Should it concern us that the bible never mentions such a superstitious sinners prayer and yet that is exactly what we have sold to so many as salvation.”
Now the Bible does say those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. It also says though in James 2:17 that faith without works is dead. The Word tells us in Romans 6:1 not to keep sinning so grace can increase. It is a gift, not something you and I are to take advantage of. Now I know we sin, I have sinned today. En route home for Easter I sped while driving on the interstate, and that is sin. The point is when we are saved there is life transformation, like 2 Timothy says we are to flee evil desires. When we are truly saved, we let go of our petty sins. No longer pursuing what we want, but pursuing the Father. He submit to the Father and follow Him alone, seek His will land guidance, and don’t look back
I am not writing this blog to say you aren’t saved, I am writing this for us all to evaluate and examine ourselves. Are we living what we profess? Have we hit a slump, or were we sold a cheap version of what salvation is. I wish when pastors said their spill about becoming saved they would throw in “this will be the hardest choice you will ever decide to make. Your life will never be the same, and it will never be easy. You will be persecuted and looked down upon. You will suffer for his name, maybe even die for his name. In the end, it’s worth it and it’s the greatest life you could ever live.” This is what Platt says a about it:
“As long as you and I understand salvation as checking off a box to get to God, we will find ourselves in the meaningless sea of world religions that actually condemn the human race by exalting our supposed ability to get to God. On the other hand, when you and I realize that we are morally evil, dead in sin and deserving of God’s wrath with no way out on our own, we begin to discover our desperation for Christ.”
If you told someone all you have to do is say this prayer then you will not go to Hell. ”
Oh, so all I have to do is say this prayer once and I get paradise? Well heck to the yes I am down with that, it’s easy!”
That isn’t the way it is though! There is so much more than believing. We discusses this last night as Secret Church. If I were to ask the Devil does he believe in Jesus, he would say yes. If I were to ask Satan if He died for the sins of the world, he would say yes. If I were to ask Satan if Christ is the only way to Heaven, he would say yes. However if I asked Satan would he repent and live his life for Christ, he would say NO! The Devil knows, he believes, and sees God and Christ. BUT, he will spend eternity separated in eternal suffering.
Are we the same? Matthew 7:23 says many will tell Jesus that they knew him and did miracles in your name! What is Christ response? Depart from me evildoer for I never knew you. It’s more than a prayer, it’s more than going to church every week, it’s more than wearing a WWJD bracelet and tithing. It is committing your life every single day to Him. Denying yourself and living for His purpose. Through joy, suffering, persecution, and death. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 says to rejoice always, in the good and the bad.
There are 11,487 people groups in the world. 6,619 are unreached and of that 3,367 are unreached and unengaged. Over half of the people groups in the world are dying and going to hell. If we are saved this should disturb us! What are we going to do about it? Many Americans believe well I can’t go there it is too dangerous, God wouldn’t put me in danger. Lies! If you want safety and comfort stay away from Jesus! Ask every disciple and martyr what it means to follow Christ! The most dangerous places in the world is where we are commanded to go. The Bible makes it abundantly clear in Acts, if we are saved it is our job to tell these people the Gospel. That means all these people dying and going to hell is on us, it is our job and we are failing! If you think Jesus is going to give you a life of health, wealth, and no suffering after salvation you can go to Joel Osteen’s church, because that’s the opposite of what the Word teaches. Suffering increases when we are saved! What happens when we suffer others are saved. Friends it is worth it!
The point of this blog is for us to look at our lives. To ask, do I believe in God? Not believe he exist, many people do that. In fact, 57% of Christians interviewed out of 35,000 believe there is another way to Heaven aside from Christ. Do you believe His Word? Which in John 14:6 says he is the only way! Do we believe he has called us to spread the Gospel? In fact He has, maybe not in Africa or Asia, but everyday we should be sharing His Word. In our community, at work, and at school. We have so many opportunities to share the Gospel.
My prayer this Easter season is above all you know God. Know it is more than a prayer, but a life change. It will change who you are in a radical way, and people will see the difference. Then therefore you go and make disciples, and those disciples will make more, and so on and so on. That’s how we will reach these people groups that don’t know HIm, disciple making.
Don’t take away from this that I am saying you weren’t saved when you were 6. I am not saying that, God can save you at anytime when you respond to His call. However there are people sitting in our churches, people we know who think they are going to Heaven and are deceived. That was me! I don’t want that for anyone, I want every person to know where they are going. There is comfort in knowing your eternal resting place.
Enjoy your day tomorrow, enjoy the Easter Bunny and his eggs! Which makes absolutely no sense. Most of all, enjoy Jesus. Thank Him for what he did for all of us, as in 1 John it says He died for the whole world. Don’t clean up the cross tomorrow, understand he took all the wrath of the Father so don’t have to. The only way to do that is living for him. Who will we choose to live for after today, self or Christ? I hope we all answer Christ. Happy Easter, y’all!