There are those now who are trying to make a case against The Sinner’s Prayer. The argument is that it is superstitious and unbiblical, or so goes David Platt’s conclusion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPhEEzjU8xQ (accessed on November 21, 2017) He says it is nowhere in the scriptures. To that I say, neither is abortion or the rapture, but conclusions can be made from other scriptures about God’s instruction on those subjects.
To address what the Bible says about salvation and how someone may have come up with The Sinner’s Prayer (I have no idea who came up with it or how, but Biblically it appears to be okay to me) let’s go straight to the Bible. No better place to start…or end, for that matter.
The argument some people make is that what the Bible actually says is that we should orally confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead. The basis for that is Romans 10:9, which actually says: that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. That is absolutely true. However, are we not taught that we should compare scripture with scripture? Is that ALL the Bible says about salvation, or is there more?
Can we also offer these scriptures? (From the New American Standard Bible, NASB)
John 1:12 – But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God even to those who believe in His Name… There is no mention of confessing with your mouth or believing that God raised Him from the dead here. Neither is there mention of receiving Him and believing in His Name in Romans 10:9. So we must believe in His Name and receive Him.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. There is nothing from Romans 10:9 here. "Believe" is mentioned in both but with different meanings. In Romans 10:9 it is that we are to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. In John 3:16 it is that we are to believe in Jesus. Two distinctly different ideas. So we must believe in Him.
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Again, there is no mention of confessing with your mouth or believing that God raised Him from the dead here. Neither is there mention of John 3:16’s message of believing in Christ. So we must believe salvation is free to us but we must accept this gift.
Ephesians 2:8-9 - For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works so that no one may boast. Again, there is no mention of confessing with your mouth or believing that God raised Him from the dead here. So we're saved through faith and accept His free gift.
Ephesians 3:17 – …so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…
None of the previous scriptures contribute to this one’s message except Ephesians 2, which says you’re saved through faith. If you don’t accept Christ into your heart, how is Ephesians 3:17 going to happen? If you're a Christian, not only has He come into your heart, He is DWELLING there! No one DWELLS at your house unless you invite them. Just like there are probably not squatters in your house (I hope!) there aren’t squatters in your heart. If someone is in your heart, you’ve allowed it. You’ve invited them in. So by faith we must invite Christ to dwell in our hearts. He does not force His way in.
It appears to me that God offers us a free gift: salvation through Jesus Christ. It also appears that we must take ALL the scriptures on salvation (and surely I have not listed them all here) and compare them, put them together, and tell the whole story. Let me ask you this: if I stand in front of you holding a wrapped gift and tell you that it’s yours, don’t you have to accept it? Don’t you have to walk up to me and take it from my hand? I guess I could put it on the ground in front of you and walk away, but you still have to pick it up. You still have to accept it. Accepting the free gift of Jesus Christ as our salvation is VERY Biblical, in my humble opinion. The gift is there. If you never accept it, do you really have it?
God is not going to force Himself into your heart. If Ephesians 3:17 is true...and it is...it’s up to you to invite Jesus Christ into your heart.
Have you done that? Or have you left His beautifully wrapped gift lying on the ground and walked away?