Is your name written in the Lamb's Book of Life? Are you certain beyond any shadow of a doubt that it's recorded there, or, don't you know? It's simply not enough to say, "Well, I think my name is there. I've lived a pretty good life, I'm a good person, and I've tried to do everything I'm supposed to do. Besides, I've heard that I'd go to heaven if I just repeated the words of that 'sinner's prayer'. God can't turn His back on all those things, can He?"
Many don't understand that merely reading or repeating the words of that prayer in a casual manner without any prior understanding and without being led by the Holy Spirit will not result in one's salvation. Any attempt to gain salvation using an easy believe-ism shortcut such as that would have no more effect than quoting a nursery rhyme.
The sinner's prayer is often recited simply as a mechanical response to the urging of the Pastor or leader initiating the invitation. Sometimes certain psychological techniques are even used to manipulate people into responding. In those situations it's likely there is no conviction of sin, or Holy Spirit leading, but rather, it's an impulsive or momentary response to gain salvation.
Not long ago while visiting a secular message board, I read a statement from someone who didn't believe that the Bible was true. However, he said that if the rapture or some other obvious Biblical event ever happened as predicted, then he would admit that perhaps parts of Scripture might have some validity. Then, just to be on the safe side after seeing an event take place, he would go into a church somewhere and recite the words of the sinner's prayer to get saved thereby avoiding any trouble down the road.
In spite of what that man and so many others are led to believe, salvation cannot and will not happen that way. Simply and casually saying the words of the sinner's prayer is not a "escape the pit of hell" card to be played at will, nor is it a "free pass to heaven". Sadly, many are being misled when they're told, "Just repeat these words after me and you'll go to heaven." That form of easy believe-ism will cause countless numbers of good people to mistakenly think they are saved just because they have "done the prayer".
However, the plan of salvation God offers to us is much different. Scripture teaches that salvation is impossible without the Holy Spirit first convicting people (John 6:44,65; John 16:8,9) of the fact that they are sinners (Rom. 3:23) in the eyes of God, that they are hopelessly lost forever (Rom. 6:23), and that they need the Savior in their life. They need to understand that God loves them so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, as the perfect sacrificial Lamb to die on Calvary's cross to pay the sin penalty in full for all who by faith alone would believe (John 3:16; Eph, 2:8,9).
They must be ready to fully submit themselves (James 4:7) to Him, repent of their sin-filled life (Luke 13:3), and humbly fall on their face before Him with a Godly sorrow (2 Cor. 7:10) over their non-belief, their lost condition, their sin against our righteous and holy God, then, verbally confess with the mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord (Rom. 10:9,10).
Only by having a truly repentant heart are people able to reach out to receive His free gift of salvation (2 Cor. 9:15) at which time they consciously and deliberately pour out their soul to Almighty God and surrender their life to Him (Acts 4:12). That most special moment can only happen as the Holy Spirit leads and convicts. It's truly an emotional time of heartfelt prayer - often accompanied by tears of submission, thanksgiving, and joy (1 Pet. 1:7-9).
The prayer thoughts and commitment must come forth from the bottom of one's heart with humble sincerity. Although God knows the true intent of the heart, new believers might find themselves struggling as they mentally search for the "proper" words to pray during that emotional moment. Guidelines set forth in what is known as the "sinner's prayer", or sometimes called the "prayer of salvation", are often used to guide new believers as they cry out to the Lord.
The exact words prayed aren't as important as our sincere desire to have a changed life in Him, to be washed clean by the precious blood of the Lamb, and to confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and Master over all of our life.
If you truly have that sincere desire and have been convicted by the Holy Spirit of your need for the Savior in your life, then you might pray something like this:
"Oh God, help me! I need You in my life. I'm so sorry for the things I've done. I'm sorry I had turned my back on You for so long. I can't go on without You. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that He died for me, in my place, for all my sin. I believe that He rose from the dead and is in heaven today preparing a place for me. Oh God, forgive all my sins. By faith alone I now accept Jesus Christ as my Savior, and confess that He is Lord over all. Come into my heart and life now, today, and help me to live a life that's pleasing and honoring to You. Thank You in Jesus' Name - Amen!"
Sadly, many forms of easy believe-ism are running rampant in our churches today. They probably teach Jesus, but not judgment; rewards, but not repentance; salvation, but not sincerity; anointment, but not accountability; eternal heaven, but not eternal hell. With many it's just say a quick sinner's prayer, do good things, love everyone, and you're "in" without any emphasis on our lost and sinful condition, Christ's sacrifice on the cross, our need to be spiritually re-born, and a changed life in Him bearing worthy fruit for the Lord.
Many people sit comfortably and confidently in church pews week after week and year after year believing they are saved. However, some of them were likely misled by the promotion of easy believe-ism techniques and programs. Easy believe-ism will result in false conversions for people who have never truly met Jesus at the cross. Simply put, there are no easy believe-ism shortcuts for salvation. It's God's way, or no way.
The Lamb's Book of Life will be opened revealing the name of every repentant, born again, redeemed, washed by the precious blood, believer. Oh, how sad and horrifying it will be on that day for the many who had always thought they were saved, but then are told their names cannot be found. Do you know for certain that your name is recorded there? That day for judgment is sure to come for all, perhaps sooner rather than later. Commit your heart and life to Him today (2 Cor. 5:17; 1 John 4:15) before it's too late.
Matthew 7:21-23 NASB
21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'
Revelation 20:15 NASB
And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
During retirement, my prayer is that I might serve the Lord by sharing the Gospel through my writing. As the Lord leads, my work will inform, challenge and encourage. I also enjoy Biblical theme woodcarving, Bible studies and Christian music. Watch, pray and keep looking up!
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