Controversy Over the Sinner’s Prayer

Just recently, my family and I were discussing salvation and what makes you saved. My brother brought up a video in which the Reverend Paul Washer states that those who once prayed the sinners prayer may not be saved if they were living like devils. This spurred a conversation through texting back and forth which has been going on for two days. It inspired me to write about it in this forum and discuss what the Bible says about salvation. 

Paul Washer’s video is called “The Sinners Prayer Does Not Save.”  Listening to his explanation, one would start to believe that this is true. He goes on to say that there is no place in the Bible that says we are to ask Jesus into our hearts. I have searched the Scriptures and have found this statement to be true.

My response to Washer’s proclamation is that although it doesn’t say that, in man’s way to communicate the Good News of Jesus, when we share the Gospel, and lead others to Christ, my take on the person praying and asking forgiveness is one of the first prayers a convert will make. 

Jesus taught His Disciples to pray. He taught them the Lord’s Prayer (cf. Matthew 6:9-13). I find nothing wrong with a new convert who prays and asks Jesus into his heart and into his life. But the prayer in itself does not save. That part, I agree with Washer. 

So what saves you? The Bible says that we must believe and repent. See Romans 10:9-10, “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Therefore, if you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth, you will be saved. This means you have to really mean it. True conversion only comes from having a genuine heart. See Acts 3:19, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” One must repent from their evil ways. 

These two things alone will save you. You must have a repentant heart and you must believe that Jesus is the Son of God. When you pray that prayer, you must mean it. 

Many times, people will pray “The Sinner’s Prayer,” but then they slide back into their old ways. A true conversion means that one will turn from their old ways and follow Jesus and His teachings. To just pray a prayer but there is no true change in one’s life, I would question if they were truly saved.

Were you aware that Satan believes that Jesus is the Son of God? He knows He is, but Satan does not follow Christ Jesus. Belief in itself does not make one saved unless there is repentance. To continue in an adulterous affair does not show repentance. Continuing to have sex out of marriage, rob, steal, curse, willfully sin, does not show repentance. True repentance means that one stops doing what they were doing prior to salvation, turning away from wickedness, and following Jesus and His teachings.

Look in Matthew 16:24-26, “24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” This shows “true” repentance.

What saves you is the work of God on your heart, who calls you to Him. It is only by God first regenerating us that we will repent and believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God and that we will repent and believe the Good News of Jesus Christ, which is the Gospel. Praying a prayer without “true” repentance and “true” faith in Christ Jesus will not save you! I pray that if you truly do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, that you will come to Him today by believing in Him and repenting from your sin. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Copyright July 29,2022. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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