The Sinner’s Prayer

A small tract came into my possession a few days ago. It was from a well-known denomination that promoted a salvation that differs from what is found in the Bible. Instead of a list of passages revealing God’s Word on the matter, this supposed “spiritually born again” person attained this state through a prayer that read as follows (I quote):

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I do not deserve to go to Heaven. I am genuinely sorry for my sin. I believe that You died on the cross to pay for my sins and that You arose from the dead. I am putting all my faith and trust in You alone to forgive my sins, come into my heart and save my soul from Hell, and take me to Heaven when I die. Thank You Jesus for Your gift of eternal life. Amen.[1]

The noteworthy element about this prayer is that it (or anything like it), is nowhere to be found in the Bible. God never said to say it, no example of this prayer being cited to be saved exists and there is nothing anywhere that even implies that one should pray themselves out of a lost and into a saved condition. This can only mean that this prayer (and all like it) finds its origin in humans. Is a salvation plan made by man going to be accepted by God?

Salvation is clearly spoken of in the New Testament but it is usually collated from several contexts since everything God revealed about our salvation does not reside in a singular verse. In fact, if God says something must be done in order to be saved, it is essential. To claim that one verse states everything about being saved is to negate, undermine and diminish the sum total of God’s revelation;The sum of thy word is truth” (Psalm 119:160, ASV).

Therefore, if the Bible says I have to hear before I can be saved (Romans 10:10-17), then I must hear the Gospel. If I must believe the Gospel (John 7:24) then I cannot be saved without believing. If I must repent (Luke 13:3, 5), then I must repent of my past sins with a dedication to live for Christ. If I must be baptized (1 Peter 3:21), then I must be baptized in order to be saved. What we can and do know from God’s Word is this fact: being saved was never accomplished by a “Sinner’s Prayer,” and it is not today, either. Instead, it is in obedience (Romans 6:1-17).

JDS

[1] Trinity Baptist Church, 2212 North Davis Drive, Arlington, TX 76012, 817-460-7940, tbctexas.org