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“Ten reasons NOT to ask Jesus into your heart” by Todd Friel.

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Ten reasons NOT to ask Jesus into your heart.

By Todd Friel

The music weeps, the preacher pleads, “Give your heart to Jesus. You have a God shaped hole in your heart and only Jesus can fill it.” Dozens, hundreds or thousands of people who want to get their spiritual life on track make their way to the altar. They ask Jesus into their heart.
Cut to three months later. Nobody has seen our new convert in church. The follow up committee calls him and encourages him to attend a Bible study, but to no avail. We label him a backslider and get ready for the next outreach event.

Our beloved child lies in her snuggly warm bed and says, “Yes, Daddy. I want to ask Jesus into my heart.” You lead her in “the prayer” and hope that it sticks. You spend the next ten years questioning if she really, really meant it. Puberty hits and the answer reveals itself. She backslides. We spend the next ten years praying that she will come to her senses.

Telling someone to ask Jesus into their hearts has a very typical result, backsliding. the Bible says that a person who is soundly saved puts his hand to the plow and does not look back because he is fit for service. In other words, a true convert cannot backslide. If a person backslides, he never slid forward in the first place. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (II Cor.5) No backsliding there.

Brace yourself for this one: with very few if any exceptions, anyone who asked Jesus into their hearts to be saved…is not. If you asked Jesus into your heart because you were told that is what you have to do to become a Christian, you were mis-informed.

If you have ever told someone to ask Jesus into their heart (like I have), you produced a false convert. Here is why.

1. It is not in the Bible.

There is not a single verse that even hints we should say a prayer inviting Jesus into our hearts. Some use Rev. 3:20. To tell us that Jesus is standing at the door of our hearts begging to come in.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” There are two reasons that interpretation is wrong.

The context tells us that the door Jesus is knocking on is the door of the church, not the human heart. Jesus is not knocking to enter someone’s heart but to have fellowship with His church.
Even if the context didn’t tell us this, we would be forcing a meaning into the text (eisegesis). How do we know it is our heart he is knocking at? Why not our car door? How do we know he isn’t knocking on our foot? To suggest that he is knocking on the door of our heart is superimposing a meaning on the text that simply does not exist.

The Bible does not instruct us to ask Jesus into our heart. This alone should resolve the issue, nevertheless, here are nine more reasons.

2. Asking Jesus into your heart is a saying that makes no sense.

What does it mean to ask Jesus into your heart? If I say the right incantation will He somehow enter my heart? Is it literal? Does He reside in the upper or lower ventricle? Is this a metaphysical experience? Is it figurative? If it is, what exactly does it mean? While I am certain that most adults cannot articulate its meaning, I am certain that no child can explain it. Pastor Dennis Rokser reminds us that little children think literally and can easily be confused (or frightened) at the prospect of asking Jesus into their heart.

3. In order to be saved, a man must repent (Acts 2:38).Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of repentance.

4. In order to be saved, a man must trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).
Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of faith.

5. The person who wrongly believes they are saved will have a false sense of security. Millions of people who sincerely, but wrongly, asked Jesus into their hearts think they are saved but struggle to feel secure. They live in doubt and fear because they do not have the Holy Spirit giving them assurance of salvation.

6. The person who asks Jesus into his heart will likely end up inoculated, bitter and backslidden. Because he did not get saved by reciting a formulaic prayer, he will grow disillusioned with Jesus, the Bible, church and fellow believers. His latter end will be worse than the first.

7. It presents God as a beggar just hoping you will let Him into your busy life. This presentation of God robs Him of His sovereignty.

8. The cause of Christ is ridiculed. Visit an atheist web-site and read the pagans who scoff, “How dare those Christians tell us how to live when they get divorced more than we do? Who are they to say homosexuals shouldn’t adopt kids when tens of thousands of orphans don’t get adopted by Christians?” Born again believers adopt kids and don’t get divorced.

People who ask Jesus into their hearts do. Jesus gets mocked when false converts give Him a bad name.

9. The cause of evangelism is hindered. While it is certainly easier to get church members by telling them to ask Jesus into their hearts, try pleading with someone to make today the day of their salvation. Get ready for a painful response. “Why should I become a Christian when I have seen so called Christians act worse than a pagan?” People who ask Jesus into their hearts give pagans an excuse for not repenting.

10. Here is the scary one. People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment. How tragic that millions of people think they are right with God when they are not. How many people who will cry out, “Lord, Lord” on judgment day will be “Christians” who asked Jesus into their hearts?

So, what must one do to be saved? Repent and trust. (Heb.6:1) The Bible makes it clear that all men must repent and place their trust in Jesus Christ. Every man does have a “God shaped hole in their hearts,” but that hole is not contentment, fulfillment and peace. Every man’s heart problem is righteousness. Instead of preaching that Jesus fulfills, we must preach that God judges and Jesus satisfies God’s judgment…if a man will repent and place his trust in Him.

If you are reading this and you asked Jesus into your heart, chances are good you had a spiritual buzz for a while, but now you struggle to read your Bible, tithe, attend church and pray. Perhaps you were told you would have contentment, purpose and a better life if you just ask Jesus into your heart. I am sorry, that was a lie.

HT:  Repent and Believe

290 comments on ““Ten reasons NOT to ask Jesus into your heart” by Todd Friel.

  1. Hey thanks so much for this post!

    This is something we all have to have very clear and perhaps pass it along to other “christian” friends and several pastors :)

    Thanks for sharing it, I’ll make sure to print it out and have it close to my notes… not for myself but so I can give those reasons to people around me.

    God bless,

  2. Thanks for this article, it’s so informative.

    I attended a Pentecostal super-church for a few years and I saw this practice time and again. The Pastor would cry out, “Ask Jesus into your heart and we’ll give you a bag of goodies”. People would go running out to receive their bag of chocolates and WWJD? stickers. Sad, but 100% true.

    After watching this for a number of years and seeing no true convert I can agree wholeheartedly with your article. I praise God for drawing me away from that “church”, but what of those many lost souls? Do they now think that they are truly saved? How sad for them all, and especially the Pastor who lied to them.

  3. Excellent! What more can I say?

  4. Hello I’m a Christan and you have one massive flaw in this. For all people if they have taught well. Have a thing called Faith and that means stepping a void and knowing God will protect you. And also if you have done little research into Jesus over a course of thousands of years and many authors .They made prophecies predections of the future. And Jesus did all these and even the roman solders who killed did some to. Example they took his clothes and gambled for them or not breaking his feet to kill him faster or being stabbed in the side and also the countless people who were not Jews that say him after he rose from the dead now explain to how a man can rise from dead and complete countless prophecies before the age of 33 roughly?

  5. Revelation 3:20
    Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

    Sounds like he’s speaking to the individual not to the church to me.

  6. I subscribed to wretchedradio and have heard Todd talk about this before on the radio program and I’m in total agreement.
    thanks for posting this.

  7. Gotta be careful with this. We need to recognize the effort and realize that it doesn’t end with the altar call. That’s just the beginning. Our jobs as Christians are to work with them and help them learn the ways of their new life.

    The general tone of this post is legalistic and judgmental. It may get you more page views, but this is not the attitude that wins new people to the Lord.

    There’s no way a lost soul would look at this and say, I want to be like that. Love, love and love them some more.

  8. Can anyone find this phrase in scripture, ‘ask Jesus into your heart?’
    We are not called to twist God’s word and produce false converts who show no evidence of being regenerated. The Bible warns against adding to or taking away from His word {Deut. 4:2, Proverbs 30:6, Rev. 22:18, 19}.
    The Gospel is good news, Christ has died, rose from the dead, and sits at the right hand of the Father. He reconciles lost sinners to a Holy God because of His finished work on the cross. Does a lost sinner understand why the Gospel is good news? No, they must first hear about their condition… sin. They must realize apart from the Lord Jesus Christ they have no hope beyond the grave. Their sins are a crime against Almighty God that come with a price too high for mortal man to pay. Those who reject the Gospel will pay for their sins as they suffer eternally in the lake of fire. God, in His great mercy, has made a way back to Himself through His Son. The Gospel message is summed up in Luke 24:47, ‘And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’
    Let us not go beyond what is written.
    If we preach love, love, love, we are not preaching the whole counsel {Acts 20:27}. You can ‘love’ people right into hell. We must remember, we are called to proclaim God’s truth, we are not, however, responsible for the outcome. God saves lost sinners, we don’t. He uses His instruments of righteousness to proclaim His truth; “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.” 1 Cor. 3:7
    This post is not for the eyes of the lost, it is for those who profess Christ as Lord and proclaim His truth. If it isn’t proclaimed scripturally, it will save no one. “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel-not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power” 1 Cor. 1:17

  9. This is an amazing article, the more people that know and accept the fact that they have to repent, give up ones SELF and completely trust what God has planned for them the better!! Thank you for this truth

  10. Kevin,

    You didn’t answer any of the questions asked in the post. What door is Jesus speaking of? Does an individual’s heart have a door? Maybe some other body part has the door.

    Dubs,

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t see anywhere in the post that denies that we should not teach new believers (or old believers). Teaching is part of the great commission (Matt 28:18-20), so I’m not sure what you’re getting at.

    Furthermore, I think you’re judging us as being judgmental and legalistic, which is very judgmental of you. Also, that would make you hypocritical, since you think judging is bad. I have no problem with exercising proper judgment. My Lord commanded me to judge righteously (John 7:24).

    Would a lost person look at this and want to be like that? No, they are children of the devil, objects of wrath, and dead in their sin. Why would they want to obey the God they hate? The only way that would be possible is if God changed them from the inside out, which He does through the Gospel–not by the likability of Christians.

    Is there something specific you disagree with?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  11. lyn very well said, I can not add any more to what you have written.

  12. I encourage all to agree with asking Jesus into your heart to watch this video

  13. super for speaking your mind and stuff but i just strongly dont agree to what you are saying. like i dont get why you hate this subjet so much.like your reason 2 that was compleatly and purly ignorens, because if you are a so called beliver you would know that asking jesus in to your heart is not literal, thats was just a lame exuse for a reason.children are not going to be fritend, there young not stuped. i was told about letting jesus in your heart when i was like 8 and i wanted to know more about the dude. i know im not as well informed as you when it comes to the bible but i know when it says in john 14:20 i am in my father and you in me, and i in you the believer is secure in christ, and christ is in god. well i dont know how you interpritete that but to me it sounds like he is saying that when you are a beliver he is in you and you in him.
    and in my belief i dont know about others but when you ask jesus in your heart its just a verbal agreement saying im christian and im proud.
    asking jesus in your heart is just a way to get young children people who never really heard of god to understand salvation. this is a statement born out of simplicety, and should not be critesized and dicected for ignorent people to juge.
    sorry if i made some people angry for what i said but thats how i feel, sorry agen for the miss spelled words what can i say im only 14

    if any one writes back on this then your doing it in vain cuz this will probably be the last time i’ll be here, i only stumbled on this website by accedent

  14. Re: love, love love.

    God has softened my heart to love others. Without Him, I would be nothing. He’s changed me, and that shows to others.

    From above:
    “The only way that would be possible is if God changed them from the inside out, which He does through the Gospel–not by the likability of Christians.”

    Change is a process, not an event. If my kindness plants a seed, it’s not because I’m likable, it’s because God’s love is shining through me. I want to be seen as one that loves others because Jesus loved all.

    This is a debate for the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The “heart” thing – read all about it in Mark 7. Your ‘heart’ is a big deal to Jesus. It’s not referring to Valentine’s Day.

    Great argument Rose, and don’t worry about the spelling. Jesus loves you anyway.

  15. Most if not all of these “10 reasons” can also be applied to the teaching that there must be a “struggle of faith” before salvation.

    http://defendingcontending.com/2008/01/23/the-graham-formula/

  16. Kevin,

    The verse from Revelation is commonly used by those who subscribe to the “pray a little prayer and ask Jesus into your heart” . And I must say that it is a faulty use of this passage. What is the number one thing we have to remember when interpreting ANY passage of Scripture?

    CONTEXT.

    Let’s look at the CONTEXT of Revelation 3:20. To do so, we must look back and start at verse 14 and read through verse 22

    “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”

    First, we do not see anything about a person’s heart in that passage. Nowhere does Jesus mention anything about a person asking Him into their heart. To believe that, one must read it into the text–because it isn’t there.

    Second, the mistake in interpreting this passage comes from the phrase “I will come in to him.” To unravel this mistake, we have to understand WHY Jesus said what He did. The church at Laodicea–much like the church in America today–had apparently gotten to the point that they were going through the motions, and doing things just to do them.

    To put it in modern terms, they showed up on Sunday, they got their coffee, they talked, they made plans for next weekend, they heard a little message, they checked their watches, they ran out the door to beat the Methodists to Shoney’s.

    Then next Sunday, they showed up, they got their coffee, they talked, they made plans for next weekend, they heard a little message, they checked their watches, they ran out the door to beat the Methodists to Shoney’s.

    Then next Sunday, they showed up, they got their coffee, they talked, they made plans for next weekend, they heard a little message, they checked their watches, they ran out the door to beat the Methodists to Shoney’s.

    Ad infinitum.

    When they were “at church” they were…….there. They tolerated the preaching. They yawned through the singing. Then, when they were outside the church, they looked just like the rest of the world–except for that little tiny fish they stuck on their car. They weren’t dead. But they weren’t on fire, either. Jesus says, “Look, you can either be alive to My word–or be cold as a rock. Be one or the other! But if you aren’t going to care for the things of Me, then don’t even use My name!”

    So He tells them, “If you want Me, I’m here. I’m not going to make you repent. But if you do, I’ll come back in.” This does NOT mean that Jesus will enter into the person. See Mark 15:43; Acts 11:3. It means He will enter their house–the house of worship. He won’t let their candlestick go out, and for only one reason–if someone–ANYONE–lets Him in. And for each one who does, He will share His feast with them (see Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25), and He will delay removing His hand from that church.

    Consider what happened the night Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. What did God tell Abram? If Abram could find 10 righteous men in Sodom, He wouldn’t destroy it. Here, Jesus tells the Laodiceans that if even ONE person could repent, He would keep their candlestick burning.

    That is what the passage in Revelation 3:20 is talking about. It is NOT talking about Jesus “knocking on the door of your heart.” It’s a nice human sentiment, but it isn’t biblical.

  17. The word ‘heart’ in scripture does not necessarily mean emotional feelings.
    Proverbs 23:26 says, ‘My son, give me your heart and let your eyes keep to my ways’.
    The word ‘heart’ in this passage means -inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding; ‘inner’ meaning -mind, knowledge, thinking, reflection, memory. I.O.W., it’s the giving of ALL of self to God, heart, mind, soul.
    To love Christ isn’t the same kind of love we have for each other, which is more of an emotional love. Being obedient to His word, desiring to serve and follow…these are examples of love for Christ. This isn’t possible unless He works it in us. When we see the word ‘heart’ in scripture, it doesn’t necessarily mean what we think it means. I urge all to study passages, and words from those passages in the original language, Hebrew for the Old testament and Greek for the New Testament. A good source for this is found at http://www.blueletterbible.org

    The mind is key in salvation and walking in obedience to Christ. The Word of God transforms and renews the mind, which causes the believer to walk, talk, and behave differently than the non-believer.
    ‘Whatever fillls your mind will control your behavior’ -John MacArthur
    For a insightful study on the word heart, go here…
    http://www.gty.org/Resources/Study+Guide+Chapter/2139

  18. I find the recent indicts on the “sinner’s prayer” tragic at best. Taking note of your “suggestions” for reference, I find the references to Acts and Hebrews sophomoric. C’mon, I can go to another link on your page and find different context construction for Acts and Hebrews (for the Hebrews–repentance etc.)

    I’m doing my best not to be hypercritical and truly am searching for value in your endevour, but it’s difficult.

    Check the gospels (even the papal ones)– Jesus only condemned ONE—Who hears and does not believe.

    In the “fruit checking spirit,” yours is sour and full of despair.

    And just in case, sorrow in your salvation whilst living in a guilt driven fear, is a road absent from Grace and Mercy.

    I guess I’m a “Chicken Framer”—salvation is first, and you guys represent the “eggers”—Salvation comes from behavior.

    Check a little bit more of Lewis (which you should have done in grad school)–read about his final choice between christianity and norse mythology. Why he viewed christianity as the only Unique religion. And his decision trumped all of the above drivel about guidance pastors needing jobs.

    I guess we all want a voice.

  19. I am still waiting for scriptural evidence on a ‘sinner’s prayer’ as well as ‘giving your heart to Jesus’. Where would one find these phrases in scripture?
    Tell me plato, does your life reflect a change? Do you now hate the sins you once loved? Is there evidence of God doing a continual work in your heart? Does your life match what your mouth claims? ‘Wherefore the Lord said, “Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” Isaiah 29:13
    ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” 2 Cor. 5:17
    “Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation” Galatians 6:15
    Outward appearances, confessions and religiosity are NOT genuine and are meaningless; it is the inward work wrought by God that matters.
    You express your opinions, yet offer NO passages from scripture to back your views. So we are to bow down to your views and take your criticism seriously?!? On what basis do you make your accusations?
    Salvation does not ‘come from’ behavior, salvation is of the Lord. Behavior is EVIDENCE of salvation, or lack thereof. Being born again is a work of a mighty and powerful God which manifests itself in outward actions, i.e., talk, dress, way of life, etc. You may scream legalism, but we call it obedience.

    There’s no need to over-complicate what God intended to be quite simple, ‘Repent, and believe in the Gospel’.

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    “I desire mercy, not sacrifice”

    Christ does NOT want a verbal commitment from any, He demands repentance. You cannot come to Christ and hang on to sin, any sin; whether it be pride, boasting, covetous, greed, immorality, SELF, etc.
    We MUST see ourselves as God does…lost – vile – wicked – without any hope apart from His great grace and mercy. Why do you suppose the tax collector cried out, ‘O God, have mercy on me, a sinner!’ He NEVER repeated a prayer, or asked Jesus to ‘come into his heart’.
    He threw himself upon the mercy of God, emptied himself of all self-righteousness and pride, which led him to his brokenness. God is the one who breaks us over sin, drawing us to His Son and saving us.
    Salvation is a miraculous work of a Mighty and Powerful God, done in the hearts of those He saves.

    Instead of checking Lewis, check the Holy Scriptures, which have the power to save to the uttermost.

    Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish

  20. It never ceases to amaze me that those who defend the mushy-gushy, candy-coated, easy-believeism “gospel,” only run to the Scripture long enough to wrest a verse from its context, throw it at you, then label you a Pharisee and judgmental (all the while judging you . . . go figure), then smugly sit back thinking they’ve just devised the quintessential argument in favor of their error. Boy would they have an issue with the Apostle Paul if they ever read his writings!

    In this thread I’ve seen some throw out “love” as if to imply we and others who disagree with them are unloving. This is a sad tactic that does not further their argument but is so easy to use.

    As Paul Washer once so aptly said:
    The Bible never says that God is “love, love love.” And it never says that God is “merciful, merciful, merciful.” But it does say God is “holy, holy, holy.” And the repetition is important, very important. You want to know what God is–who God is? God is holy. And if there was ever a message we needed to hear in America today, it’s that.

    For those who think they have the market on love and that anyone who exercises discernment or tries to warn those on the road to Hell of their impending doom are unloving, I urge you to take this quick, fun, exciting, and relevant little six question quiz entitled A Test: Are You Loving or Unloving?

    - The Pilgrim

    P.S. Yes, I finally did it. I used the words “fun,” “exciting,” and “relevant” all in one post!

  21. As I have grown in the faith one thing I have learned is that what is false can quickly become what is believed to be true in less than a generation. All it takes is time and the falsehood to be spoken enough that it eventually takes root and becomes the established norm. Vladimir Lenin knew this well when he said, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”

    This is the case with the so-called sinner’s prayer, isle walking and asking Jesus into your heart. Teachings found nowhere in Scriptures, which are not only wrong in letter but also Spirit. Yet today they are for many gospel truth where a word spoken against them is viewed as harsh, unloving or un-Christian. How tragic indeed that we live in a generation where so many are quick to defend the doctrines of men and thereby deny the commandments of God.

    To all those who say words written/spoken against false doctrine ares wrong, you’d do well to read the gospels, Paul’s letters, the prophets, eh, actually the whole Bible. Herein you will not find a cotton-candy, kids-glove approach but rather strong words spoken from strong believers as they were moved by the Spirit of the Lord.

  22. I wish there was a picture of that monk on a donkey, who, on his travels to the holy land decided to chop up most of scripture by making them nice and linear. I wonder if he knew that a simple act of numerical framing would allow gazillions of Christians to take so much away from the narrative (the addition of verses).

    Anywhoo. Thanks for the verse lesson. But I will ask you once again to tell me who Jesus condemns? While Augustine did a good job fighting back the Gothic sacking of home schooled Christians, he is responsible for most of your ritual on Sunday (670+ years after Jesus). So most of your “traditions” are not scriptural either.

    And guess what? A sinners prayer may just be an option. Believe? Chicken not the egg.

    Think I’ll call this “movement” another example of Neo-Gnosticism. Seems to happen when exclusive start losing their grip on their property.

    So I hear the word, believe the word and say or do something to that effect out loud and none of you can find a “verse” on that? Hmmm.

    To Pilgrim: you would probably like me lol.

  23. Plato Mystic,

    I don’t think you understand why we say the sinner’s prayer is bad. No one is against someone saying a prayer admitting their guilt, and calling on the name of Jesus. The problem is when people rely on the sinner’s prayer for their salvation. That is the salvation by works of which you accuse us. It is warmed-over Catholicism where a religious ritual makes you right with God.

    Salvation comes when Jesus saves us. He raises us from death to life, and makes us born again. He grants repentance and faith in Him. The natural response of someone who is a new creation is to do good works. That is truly salvation by grace alone through faith alone.

    Jesus condemned plenty of people, and anyone who’s read the gospels once would know that. John 3:3 is only one in a long list of examples.

    I think you’ve been pretty pompous for someone who hasn’t even attempted to defend their position. I’d like to hear why you think people should ask Jesus into their hearts. Are you born again?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  24. Many years ago even before hearing such sermons, I was already of the view that saying the sinners prayer is no where to be found in the Bible. It reminds me of muslims or people of other faiths reciting some verses as an act of initiation or converting into a particular religion. .

    But having said that, I am of the view that there are genuine conversion among those who invited Jesus into their hearts.I myself heard the gospel for the first time through a tract I found on the floor. I was convicted of my sins and lost state and the need for Jesus to save me from hell. I desired His grace and salvation and just followed the sinner’s prayer in the tract and the Holy Spirit did the rest.To me that was a miracle as I heard the gospel without any human telling me. Therefore I feel that to insist that we do away with the sinners prayer is abit legalistic.The Bible says that a person is saved if he believed Jesus in his heart and confess Him with their lips.Isn’t saying the sinners prayer a good way of confessing Jesus. It’s also a way of reassuring the person who prays and the person who hears of the commitment made.Saying the sinners prayer is just a good way of making a commitment to Christ, if prior to that, the gospel was very clearly spelt out and the person was convicted by the Holy Spirit of his sins and helpless state and repents and take Jesus as his Saviour and Lord. Who are we then to judge that person is not saved. It is rightly between him and God. Of course ultimately the genuine conversion must be shown by evidences of the truly born again.

    I’ve seen many conversion of persons praying to receive Jesus into their hearts.There are of course the non genuine cases as there will be cases of seeds falling on poor soil.

  25. Plato, I will ask, again, the questions from my previous post,– does your life reflect a change? Do you now hate the sins you once loved? Is there evidence of God doing a continual work in your heart? Does your life match what your mouth claims? Has God done a work in your heart, changing you daily from the inside out? Do people notice you no longer walk in habitual sin, if, in fact, you don’t?

    Again, where in the bible do we find the sinner’s prayer, or the phrase ‘ask Jesus into your heart?’

    Are you born from above? Has God re-birthed you? If so, then why is it you express your opinion with NO scriptural backing? God’s word is the ONLY source of truth, if what you believe cannot be found in scripture, then you may be in serious trouble.

    I must agree with Bill, you are a bit prideful. Pride is the root of almost all sin. Pride is a sin detested by a Holy God. Do you understand the word repentance?

    It would be decent of you to at least be courteous and answer questions directed at you, without being pompous. You seem to avoid any confrontation that demands biblical proof. You believe what you believe, and that’s it…no passages from God’s holy word to back up your belief, just a pre-conceived idea of what you think salvation is.

    One of the biggest sins most fall into is creating a God in their own image; a God they can believe in any way they choose. A God that loves everybody, and saves all who simply make a verbal commitment. The problem with all that is…it’s NOT the God of the bible. In Matthew 24, the disciples ask Jesus what will be the sign of His coming, and of the end of the age. The very first thing Jesus says is ‘take heed that NO MAN DECEIVE you’….deception will send more people down the broad road.

    May the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob be merciful to you…may He crush you under the weight of your sins, drawing you to Christ, granting you repentance and the new birth. May He gift you with true genuine salvation.

  26. Before I make my comment let me first qualify it:

    I agree 100%, wholeheartedly with the opinion that using a ‘sinner’s prayer’, asking Jesus into one’s heart, etc. as a way to secure and assure salvation is a sure fire way to produce a false convert – it is not biblical and has had horrific results that will only be truly seen on the Day of Judgment. What ought to be said is: ‘Repent and believe in the Gospel’, for the forgiveness of your sins. (Mark 1:15)

    My comment however is simply this:

    I believe it is important to strive for biblical balance and to not just react to heresy and false teaching, as is so common among us. So while it is wrong to tell a lost person that in order to be saved they simply need to ‘ask Jesus into their heart’,

    the Apostle Paul certainly felt this was an appropriate way to describe the Christian’s reality:

    “…so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith…”
    (Ephesians 3:17 – ESV, NIV, NASB, NKJV).

    So while a child may take this literally, the error is not in using biblical language, but failing to properly explain what the Bible means.

    For His glory.

  27. I really don’t know about Todd Friel but I feel his 10 reasons are really overstretched. We are all very clear that the sinners prayer is no where to be found in the Bible, and that repentance and faith in Jesus are essential for salvation. However, to make a statement like in his point no 10 sounds almost self righteous. Did God tell him that , and made him so very sure that all who invited Jesus into their hearts are doomed for hell. These are irresponsible statements and merely his human viewpoint but he boldly declares condemnation like he is God’s newly appointed reformed prophet. Reminds me somewhat of some groups of Pentecostals who confidently question a person’s salvation if they are not baptised in the Holy Spirit or speak in tongues.

    I believe being born again happens at a specific point of time and for many they articulate that point of conversion in their hearts by confessing with their mouth, and this is often through the best way they know ie the sinners prayer. For many that is an important and meaning point in their lives. Of course a person can be saved without saying the sinners prayer as long as there is a genuine conversion in their hearts .

    Anyway, how do they know a person is saved in the New Testament, seeing that changed lives will take awhile to be seen. They did not wait for evidences before they baptised the new converts. They were baptised immediately when they were saved. How did they know they were saved? In Acts 2:41, 3000 souls ‘received the word’ and were added into the body of Christ in one day.What do they mean by receiving the word? They were baptised on same day. Do we dare question the validity of these conversions or salvation. In Acts 8:36-38, the eunuch ‘believed and confessed with his mouth’ and was baptised immediately. What about the conversion of Lydia and Cornelius. I am sure this is the pattern of conversion in the New Testament. These people were baptised simply based on their verbal confession of faith.

    Let’s not be reckless concerning the sinners prayer.Just correct the flaws like making sure the gospel is clearly explained and not rushing someone to receive Jesus into their hearts. Don’t throw the baby with the bath water.It may not be in the Bible but there is nothing in the Bible that says it is wrong either, especially after reading conversion pattern in the New Testament. Further the fault is often with the church which slags when it comes to follow up of the newly born child of God and discipleship.

  28. In regard to young children, I’ve already explained to my six year old daughter that salvation is through repentance and faith, she seems to understand it just fine. The main issue is that “asking Jesus into your heart” is redundant, misleading, unbiblical, unnecessary, and it has the ability to lead people to hell. Can people be saved by asking Jesus into their heart? Sure, but not because of it, but in spite of it. Jesus himself said unless you repent, you will perish. Your eternal salvation is nothing to hash over, like Paul says, we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

  29. “Born again believers adopt kids and don’t get divorced”.

    Many true Bible-believing, Christ-loving Christians do get divorced. There is Biblical divorce for cases of unrepentant adultery, and believers can find themselves abandoned by a divorce they never wanted in the cases of so-called “no fault” divorce where contesting it is to no avail, because eventually it will be granted if the other partner is committed to abandoning the marriage. Condemning the abused and/or abandoned serves no one.

    Many true Bible-believing, Christ-loving Christians do not adopt, for various reasons, including recognising they would not make good parents (not everyone should have children), or by not being able to meet the special needs (emotional, financial, etc.) of children who need adoption. There is nothing wrong with people recognising their shortcomings and responding appropriately.

    Broadbrush judgments like this weaken a very logical and well-reasoned discussion on an important matter. Their inclusion detracts from your overall message.

  30. In Acts 2:41, the number of souls saved through Peter’s preaching and added to the body of Christ was super big, 3000 souls in just 1 day. I don’t know of any modern day crusade or rally that can match that number of salvation.
    And the common practice in the New Testament was to baptised converts immediately. How do we reckon they verify each and every individual to ascertain if they have truly been convicted of their sins and truly repented, and that they now put their full trust in Jesus. The apostles must have just depended on some form of verbal confession or declaration or a form of ‘sinners prayer’ and that enabled the apostles to confidently baptise them as believers immediately on the same day. Do we question the validity of the ‘decisions’ of these new believers.

    Don’t condemn the practice of saying the sinners prayer as an evil just because of some christians or evangelists who use it carelessly and irresponsibly. The evil is in the failure to explain clearly the gospel of Jesus Christ and explaining the need for repentance and obedience before leading a person in the sinners prayer. The evil is in pressuring and rushing a person for a decision. And after we have explained the gospel clearly and the person decides to ‘receive Jesus as Saviour and Lord’ we take him at his word just like the apostles did when they had them baptised immediately, all 3000 of them.

  31. Hi Barry K,

    Why do you think they would have to verify someone’s salvation before they were baptized? No good Jew would want to get baptized in the name of Jesus without counting the cost. If you want to replace the sinner’s prayer or asking Jesus into your heart with baptism, I think you’d be on the right track.

    As far as what you say about point #10, I agree with Friel. If someone asks Jesus into their heart to get saved they’re not saved. If someone repents and puts their faith in Jesus, and then is lead in a prayer to ask Jesus into their heart, then they’re saved because they repented. If I asked Jesus into my heart right now, Friel didn’t mean that I would lose my salvation.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  32. Bill,

    Friel reason as in point 10 is faulty, as there are true salvation among those who received Jesus into their hearts, of course with repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. Not all are doomed to Hell, just as we are unsure that all those who choose not to pray for Jesus to come into their lives will go to Heaven. If you are so against praying to receive Jesus, what then is the best way to lead a dying man to Christ just before he dies. Even the dying thief on the cross confessed Jesus as Lord.

    You ask the elementary question why should someone’s conversion be verified before baptism. Its because baptism is for believers, ie for the born again, Jew or Gentile alike. Otherwise you are just giving the person a bath. That is why I believe the apostles must have just relied on some form of verbal confession of faith , not much different from declaring and receiving Jesus as Lord and Saviour, before they baptised the new believers on the same day.

    You presumed no good Jews will want to be baptised without counting the cost. You can then also presume that no sensible person today will want to pray for Jesus to be their Lord and Saviour without counting the cost of discipleship, the cost of giving up their old live style, their old religion, their goals and ambitions, their friends etc.
    Further the Jews were not the only ones converted. Read on through the book of Acts and discover that gentiles (not some good Jews whom you presumed will count their costs) were also converted and also baptised immediately, again the apostles must have relied on their verbal confession as proof of salvation. This is the pattern in the book of Acts.

    Don’t be quick and careless to declare hell for those who verbally confess Jesus as Lord and Saviour through saying the sinners prayers and inviting Jesus into their hearts on the presumption that they are all unrepentant or have not count the cost of discipleship. Is this a ‘new revelation’ of some reformed prophet ? And why is he not insisting that converts be baptised immediately or on the same day, as that is the practice and standard of the New Testament. And why do we need baptismal classes which is also not mentioned in the Bible. What I am saying is, don’t turn the minor into a big doctrinal issue. As I’ve said in my previous comment, the problem is not with the sinners prayer but the failure to explain the gospel clearly and not emphasing repentance and obedience enough.

  33. Barry,

    It seems that you’re giving the disciples a problem that they didn’t know about, and proposing that their solution was a sinner’s prayer. I don’t see them deliberating over the problem of trying to figure out who they’d be willing to baptize, and I don’t think the sinner’s prayer is a solution, anyway.

    This post is about asking Jesus into your heart. The only way to get saved is to repent and put our faith in Jesus. If someone prays a prayer or asks Jesus into their heart but DOES NOT repent and place their faith in Jesus, they’re going to hell. That’s all I’m saying, and all Friel intended. If someone NEVER repents, they will perish (Luke 13:5).

    The thief on the cross received Jesus by repentance and faith, not by being lead in a prayer. If a dying man wants to get right with God, he doesn’t need us to lead him in a prayer. He needs to repent and put his faith in Jesus.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  34. The gospel preached today by most doesn’t require laying down their lives. There is no real cost of discipleship. It is something done lightly to an emotional plea. How many would put their hands up and say they have accepted Jesus into their hearts. Maybe half the population. How many walk daily with our Lord and Savior, forsaking the world, and the things going on in the so called Christian church. A very small number. “Enter by the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way, that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it.Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it ” Matthew 7- 13, 14

    John MacArthur has an excellent sermon on above

  35. Bill,
    What I am saying is the early apostles did not make an issue over how each individual confess their faith. It could be in any form but as is in the book of Acts, it is through some verbal confession of faith in Jesus before they were baptised. I am not proposing that they said exactly today’s version of the sinners prayer but that they made an indication of faith in Jesus like the eunuch. This is similar to the practice in confession or declaration of faith in Christ today for those who turn to Him for salvation, whether they are led in the sinners prayer or confess in their own words or prayer. It is merely an outward expression of an inward faith in Christ, and just in case your legalism catch me, I will therefore add , made after being convicted of sin and with repentance. If the apostles made no issue of that ,why do we?

    You are being legalistic again by harping on the obvious that the thief was saved by Jesus through repentance and faith and not by being led to say the sinners prayer. I obviously know that. The thief confessed Jesus as Lord as an outward expression of an inner faith, but every one knows he was not saved by the confession or for that matter the sinners prayer if he had said that, but by the finished work of Jesus on calvary. If you do not prefer to ask some one to outwardly express their inner conviction and faith, it is entirely up to you, but do not be technical and legalistic and run down others who carefully do that.

    The weaknesses connected with praying the sinners prayer is the real issue that needs to be addressed, not the prayer itself. But Friel instead chose to throw the sinners prayer in bad light, like we don’t know that you are not saved by it but by the blood of Jesus. He could have just made a simple statement that NOT all who said the sinners prayer will enter Heaven but instead chose to made the confession sound like an evil. Along his same line of condemnation as is in his “scarry” point 10, he could also preach the following obvious sermons :

    1 All those who were baptised are not saved
    2 All those who read the Bible regularly are not saved
    3 All those who prays regularly are not saved
    4 All those who believe in doctrine of election are not saved
    5 All those who are Calvinists are not saved
    6 Etc

    UNLESS they have repented of their sins and put their faith in the finished work of Jesus.
    Isn’t that stating the obvious and not a ” new revelation” and need only be taught and not be made into a huge doctrinal issue.
    Thanks Bill.

  36. Jude,

    I love to read and listen to John MacArthur. Currently I am reading his book Hard To Believe. Being a Christian is a tough call, a life of self denial and a daily carrying of the cross. I don’t know if you can boldly claim to be among the few who ‘met’ these high standards. I wouldn’t dare claim that for myself but I won’t judge you. Similarly, I won’t get too hasty to judge and proclaim that all who pray to receive Jesus into their hearts, will perish on the day of judgement ( Friel reason no 10 ).

  37. I don’t meet these high standards and couldn’t. When I sin I humbly go to the throne of grace and plead forgiveness through my Lord and Savior’s perfect righteousness. Through the blood He shed for me on Calvary. ” If we confess our sins He is perfect and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1-9. I am incapable of living a perfect life. My righteousness is as filthy rags. The thing with the sinners prayer is the total reliance on it to save sinners. How many times I have heard people being reassured if they said the prayer they are saved. Write the date down and when you have doubts or the devil tells you that you’re not saved, then you know you are. We are incapable of making a decision to be saved, God draws us by His Spirit, He opens our heart to the gospel, He gives us faith to believe. We are dead in our trespasses and sins. We respond to the gospel because God has prepared our heart. Not by a decision we make. We then respond with repentance. The point is a prayer without conviction of sin and heartfelt repentance is false

  38. Jude
    You and Friel make sweeping statements regarding those who invited Jesus into their hearts, ignoring the fact that there are many who are genuinely born again and walking faithfully in the light with God, many I know who gave up riches and many things to serve God in fulltime ministry. With one sweep, you declare all of them condemned. They all made “decisions” to receive Christ into their “hearts” which you seem to frown upon, choosing to pridefully uphold your doctrinal beliefs over evidences of spiritual fruits and the cost of discipleship which they bear.

    We rightly share the same admission and position of failure and inability to match up to the high calling of being a true disciple of Jesus, the life of self denial and complete submission and obedience. You and I rightly depend on God’s grace and mercy to forgive our sins and our daily shortcomings 1 John1:9 . We all know our righteousness are like filty rags, so do those who invite Jesus into their hearts,otherwise they would not need a saviour. Only the works of Jesus on calvary(not our works) will get us to Heaven. I agree with you wholeheartedly that we are unable to live a perfect life(our righteousness is imputed). But is it not unreasonable and even hypocritical to doubt someone’s salvation merely because he invited Jesus into his heart and with one sweep delcare them unsaved but at the same time we don’t doubt the salvation of those who expect high standards, but themselves fail to measure up and show evidences of true discipleship but instead hold on to 1 John1:9 as a safeguard just for ourselves, but not necessarily for others whom we readily condemn.

    Do not make generalisation and sweeping statements. There are equally many in the reformed church who think they are born again through their adherence of strict reform teachings and traditions, but are not.

  39. For man to claim he made a decision for Christ is to say he had a part in his own salvation. This goes against what Scripture teaches, ‘by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that NOT of yourselves; it is a gift of God, not of works, that no man may boast’. Eph. 2:8,9.
    It’s part of the free will/arminian belief that just does not square with scripture. The word of God clearly teaches man is dead spiritually to the things of God, dead in sin {Jer. 17:9, Eph. 2:1}. No one calls on the name of Christ unless the Spirit of God has done a work in their heart.
    So, when Jude says we are incapable of making a decision to be saved, he is only saying what Scripture clearly teaches.
    I will site my own testimony for example. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with God, Jesus, the Bible, or anything of ‘religious’ nature. I was steeped in sin, all the while knowing I was doing wrong, but I really did not care. Then Almighty God brought me to my knees with devastating news concerning a loved one. I then cried out for mercy. It was a powerful work of a merciful and gracious God that saved me, not a verbal confession by me. I didn’t want Jesus until He crushed me under the weight of my sins; until He opened my spiritual eyes and ears to just how sinful I am. All who respond to the Gospel do so because God has drawn them to Christ {John 6:44} and gifted them with repentance and faith. He justifies, He sanctifies, He regenerates. He works the greatest miracle known to man in every one He saves, He brings to life and re-births a dead sinner. Let’s not rob God of glory due Him and say we made a decision, like God is waiting for us to say yes or no to His gift of salvation. Like Paul Washer says, there are some who are saved in spite of the sinner’s prayer, not because of it. The same could be said for making a decision.
    The pride of man wants to take credit for something we could never do, bring ourselves back from spiritual death.

  40. Here is another message from Paul Washer concerning making a decision….

  41. Lyn
    I am neither a 5 point Calvinists nor an Amenian. I embrace the truth and sound teachings from both camps as long as it is in line with the word of God. And I am not a cessationist as I belive miracles and spiritual gifts may still operate today according to His sovereign will and no theology, Calvinists or Amenian can stop what He chooses to do. But I am not a word faith believer. Having said that, evidences of changed lives and Godly living of the truly born again are more valid proofs of true salvation then the theological views of conditional or unconditional election. These I have seen among those who make ‘decision’ for Christ, and ‘receive’ Him as Saviour and Lord and may I qualify that it was in response to the conviction and drawing of the Holy Spirit and all glory goes to God. Who are we to judge and say that it is not so.

    Your story is much the same as those who made decision to receive Jesus as Saviour and Lord except that you tell it with words and in a way to match with your theology of unconditional election. Those people who receive Jesus can instead of using the unacceptable word ‘decision’ , tell it in a more theologically correct way ; that they responded because Jesus called them and gave them the faith to response. If you are still not satisfied with the new rewording , will you then accept the many evidences of their changed and godly lives as proofs of their salvation. Or will you still proudly hold on to your doctrinal position. Their prayers were MERELY outward expression or confession of an inward faith. The genuiness of the inner faith is up to each individual and only God can judge the hearts of men. The outward confession will not save them. But did not the Bible encourage us to believe in our hearts and confess Jesus is Lord with our mouth. Rms 10:9. The Ethiopian eunuch did.

    Except your testimony tells us that you knelt down on account of your human sorrow because of some sad news, and you cry to God for mercy. Many people who receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour have also gone through similar or worse experiences. Once they were hostile but now they turn to God in desperation, acknowledge their sins and lostness,repented and prayed for mercy and forgiveness surrendered their lives to Christ .Is that any different from your experience, except you choose not to pray the sinners prayer or confess Jesus is Lord( Rms 10:9) . But how did you beg for mercy if you did not pray.There must be a point of time where you first confess or call Him Lord.That’s your confession though not in the exact words as the sinners prayer. But that does not matter because it not our prayers that save us.It is the work of the Holy Spirit that brings about conversion and salvation.

    Finally, it is not Calvinism or Amenian, nor the doctrine of conditional or unconditional election that will save us but only JESUS CHRIST.
    .

  42. I don’t tell my ‘story’ to match any theology, my words match what scripture teaches {btw, I am not a calvinist or an arminian, I believe solely what scripture teaches}. Read the passages I quoted. As for my ‘doctrinal position’, I gave scripture to support what I said, where are your passages to support man’s ability to choose to accept Jesus, or repeating a prayer for salvation? Doctrines don’t save, doctrine brings clarity to how God works salvation in those He saves.

    Not everyone who says to the Lord Jesus, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter into the kingdom, only those who do the will of the Father. There are superficial Christians all over this planet, it really doesn’t matter if they repeated a model sinner’s prayer, or if they believe or deny the doctrine of election. Unless God does a work in your heart, whatever you believe is useless.
    You seem to be a staunch supporter of the sinner’s prayer. As I’ve already stated in my previous post, some are saved, but not because they decided to pray and receive Jesus on their own power; it is by grace we are saved…nothing we do brings about salvation…period.
    Those whom God saves will be changed from the inside out.
    I prayed out of a broken and contrite heart, not a formulated prayer someone told me to repeat, or a card to sign, or a phrase to ask Jesus into my heart. God is the One who gets all the credit for what He has done in me.

    You make this claim, ‘Who are we to judge and say that it is not so’. This is not an issue of judging, this is an issue of making sure we get the Gospel right. How did people come to the belief that they must pray a certain prayer? The content of that prayer is what the gist of the post is about. To merely mouth some words and think you have salvation because of those words is not the Gospel. Christ never asks us to repeat a prayer, or make a decision, or invite Hiim into our hearts. I challenge you to prove from God’s word where He does.

    Your argument is like a cat chasing its own tail, you go round and round and never really make a clear concise biblical stance for what you are arguing against. You seem to misunderstand the reason behind the opposition of the sinner’s prayer…it cannot be found in scripture. To pray as prompted by the Holy Spirit at the time of conviction is NOT a ‘sinner’s prayer’. The sinner’s prayer is praying what someone tells you to pray in order to be saved…there is a HUGE difference between this type of prayer and prayer wrought by the Holy Spirit of God upon salvation.

  43. Hi Lyn, I am a woman.
    Barry K I will say what I said before. The sinners prayer is thought to be like a magic formula to guarantee salvation, it is not biblical. I will say no more

  44. Jude,
    You said, “…It doesn’t matter if they repeated a model sinner’s prayer( or not),or if they believe or deny the doctrine of election. Unless God does a work in your heart your believe is useless.” Exactly what I have been trying to convince you of, while instead you run down the sinners prayer per se. It’s about the Holy Spirit work in your hearts and only God can read the heart, so don’t be too quick to pass blanket judgement like Friel. Same applies to those who prefer not to verbally confess Jesus as Lord, your position is not one bit different, you may be saved or lost. The answer is in the working of the Holy spirit in your heart.

    As to verses concerning verbal confession, I have already quoted Rms 10: 9 and Rms 10:13. The ethopian eunuch confess Jesus ,Acts 8: 37. Are those verses less valid or inferior to your verses. Israel was God’s elect but many rejected Him and chose other Gods but Joshua made his choice and declared that he and his household will serve the Lord, Jos 24: 15.

    The sinners prayer may not be in the Bible, but nowhere does it say it is forbidden either. It is akin to the confession I have stated above. It is merely an outward expression of an inner coversion by the Holy Spirit. Do I have to keep repeating this to convince you that those are not magical words of conversion. Neither did I say it is mandatory that we must say a certain sinners prayer , you need not pray if that is your preference but don’t judge others who choose to.No one is taking Glory that belongs to God.

    Lastly, I wrote in my earlier comments about how Jesus made Himself known to me, through a dirty piece of tract, I found on the floor. No human told me about Jesus and it was the FIRST time I ever heard the gospel. I was living in an underdeveloped country then, with very little evangelism and no contact with missionaries, not as privileged as USA. In that context, what happened was God’s hand. The Holy Spirit convicted me of my personal sins and lost state, and I prayed the sinners prayer. He did the rest. Is my experience and that of many others less valid than yours, because we uttered the sinners prayer.
    We are equally Bereans.

    Jude
    The last comment was addressed to Lyn and not meant for you .Sorry about that.

    Jude,
    You thought wrongly and should now correct yourself. They are not magical words or formula to guarantee salvation. It is simply an outward expression of an inner work of grace by the Holy Spirit. Anyone who reject it pe se or misuse it as magical words, are both stumbling blocks to evangelism.

  45. Barry K Exactly, it is a stumbling block. Also the holy Spirit convicted you of your sins and lost state and you said the sinners prayer. This is what I have been saying. It doesn’t matter what prayer you said then because you were repentant and saw your need for forgiveness. The prayer was a result of a sinner crying out to God. The normal sinners prayer is said after a sermon or whatever, as “do you want to invite Jesus into your heart,” without knowing if there is conviction or what is going on. I live in Australia. The sinners prayer is used so churches can write down how many are saved. I have seen so many go forward to an altar call who never go back. It was an emotional decision at that time, that did not reach the heart. A lot of the people wake up the next morning and wonder what they did. I don’t know where you live or what church you go to, but here in Australia the sinners prayer is responsible for so many false conversions that it is a major stumbling block

  46. Barry~ Consider what I stated earlier, “The sinner’s prayer is praying what someone tells you to pray in order to be saved…there is a HUGE difference between this type of prayer and prayer wrought by the Holy Spirit of God upon salvation.” It is when professing Christians tell lost sinners to ‘pray this prayer, ask Jesus to come into your heart’ that causes a false convert. I.O.W., we cannot repeat some words somebody tells us to say and be saved. No prayer saves us; crying out to God for mercy is a result of Him bringing us to repentance. The misunderstanding seems to be coming from the type of ‘sinner’s prayer’ Jude, myself, and this post is referring to.

    Jude~ I apologize for referring to you as a man. You are right, this method of evangelism is producing more goats than sheep. Salvation is not a process of ‘do this, say this, repeat this’ etc., salvation is solely of the Lord.
    I am not saved because I cried out/prayed to God, I am saved by His grace—period.

  47. Todd,

    the asking into the heart is just an expression, I think the vast majority of Christians understand that its a faith and trust issue which naturally produces repentance.

    You are also hitting on a larger theological issue called Lordship Salvation.
    This debate is whether salvation is given when someone trusts Christ or must someone have Christ reign over every part of their lives to be saved.
    Most scholars side with the simple trust in Christ is saving, since we continue to know and trust Christ more through our whole life and continually repent giving Christ more and more Lordship.

    You do make a great point, that no incantations or special wording saves us, but we must accept Christ through genuine faith. Often people use the idea of heart to represent soul/spirit of a person, which is fine as long as the person understands this.

    In Christ we are not just forgiven, we are justified and declared righteous. There is no work to be done, only response to his great love which will be repent and change.

    In response to a couple of your points you may need a little more exegetical studies, at least this is how I see them:

    -Plow verse, neither you nor me, nor anyone is truly worthy or fit for the kingdom of G-d, we are only worthy because of Jesus’ grace. Jesus is describing how we should follow, but never think that we can prove or be worthy apart from Christ.

    -Yes we are a creation!!!!!! But we still have a sinful nature, thus backsliding (an awful word in general) and more specifically is possible and will happen, we need to thoroughly practice 1st John 1!

    #1. The Revelation 3:20 is relevant because it describes a relationship in which Christ is initiating. The ancient world custom of dining together was very important sign of trust, think no police or phones back then, so when you invited someone in you were trusting them, having intimacy and relationship. This is why it upset the Pharisees so much when Jesus dined with supposed sinners.

    #2. I think I addressed above.

    #3. Most Gospel presentations go to repentance and need forgiveness, before a call for response (asking Jesus in) otherwise asking Jesus to be part of your life would be meaningless.

    #4. Good point, but man see asking Him in as trusting God instead of one’s self. But people can mistakenly understand this you are correct.

    #5. ^ same as above. Speech and wording should be clearer.

    #6. ^ same as above.

    #7. God is very much trying to reach and love all His creation and even weeping for us (see Israel in OT), but I understand your thoughts.

    #8. Yes people who don’t have a relationship with Christ aren’t going to act any better. We should have compassion and aid them on to understanding.

    #9. ^ I wouldn’t blame this all on just the ‘heart’ thing, sometimes Christians are saved but refuse to follow well and end up very lost…thus the absolute importance of follow up, discipleship and community.

    10. Good point, this is a poignant example of the relationship we must have with Christ.

    I hope this helps. God bless.

  48. You are also hitting on a larger theological issue called Lordship Salvation.

    This debate is whether salvation is given when someone trusts Christ or must someone have Christ reign over every part of their lives to be saved.

    Most scholars side with the simple trust in Christ is saving, since we continue to know and trust Christ more through our whole life and continually repent giving Christ more and more Lordship.

    I don’t know what “scholars” you’ve been reading, but most scholars who know the Scriptures agree that there is no salvation apart from declaring Jesus Christ as Lord. This is one of those things that I hear these mealy-mouthed, little-boy “preachers” keep babbling about, asking people to “Make Jesus Lord today!” Friend, We don’t make Jesus Lord.

    HE ALREADY IS LORD OF ALL!!!!!!!

    Luke 2:11–”For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
    Acts 2:36–“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
    Acts 10:36–”The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He IS Lord of all…”

    In all, there are 106 references in the New Testament to the fact that Jesus Christ IS LORD. NOT ONCE does it say ANYWHERE that WE “make” Jesus Lord. To believe that WE “make Jesus Lord”–and I am not afraid to say this–that is a belief that borders on heresy. WE don’t make Him Lord. God already has!!!!!!! And if a person does not know Jesus as Lord, they have not truly been saved. Romans 10:9–IF you confess with your mouth Jesus Christ as Lord, and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Notice, Paul did not say, “If you confess Jesus Christ as Savior…” One must confess Him as LORD. Philippians 2:11–…and every tongue WILL CONFESS that JESUS CHRIST IS LORD

    The Revelation 3:20 is relevant because it describes a relationship in which Christ is initiating.

    Again, Jesus does not say ANYTHING about someone asking Him into their heart. That is a made-up teaching that has no biblical basis. I answered it here.

  49. To claim that one must make Jesus ‘Lord’ is unbiblical. We cannot make Him Lord no more than we can save ourselves. The Bible commands us to repent in numerous places, the Bible also states we must be born again. We can do NONE of these things. Even our faith is a gift of God. The gift of salvation is given by God, through His grace. When He gifts us with salvation, He gifts us with repentance, faith, sanctification and regeneration; and the understanding that Christ is Lord. If you do not understand the concept of Christ being Lord, you better examine yourself to see if you are in the faith.

  50. Amen and amen, Four* Pointer! I was just getting ready to respond. There are some well-known preachers who proclaim this nonsense that you can accept Jesus as Saviour and then add the appellation of “Lord” later down the road! This includes Charles Ryrie, and Zane Hodges.

  51. When a person is first saved, they Repent and believe. True Repentance and True faith will continue in that persons life.
    They will continue to repent of sin and continue to believe in Christ alone for salvation.

  52. This is from former RCC priest Richard Bennett…

    Bennett examines the common notion that one is saved by ‘accepting Jesus into your heart.’

    “It is unscriptural to think that salvation begins by Christ first coming into the sinful heart of a man. The dead and ungodly person can be made acceptable to God only as he is “ in Christ“, as the New Testament makes so clear. According to the biblical concept, salvation is being made accepted in Christ. The whole theme of Ephesians chapters one and two is summarized by verse 6 of Chapter one, “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” Compared to this, the terminology “accept Jesus into your heart” is literally backward. It assumes that the human heart is a fitting place for Christ to dwell and it takes for granted that the human person initiates salvation. Often we will hear such as the following, “Accept Jesus into your heart, as He Himself asks you in His Word, ‘behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’”39 To misuse this text to imply that salvation does in fact begin in the human heart is a serious decep-tion. The invitation expressed in Revelation 3:20-21 comes after the Lord had given a list of disgusting and offensive sins committed in the church of Laodicea, and then warned them of His chastement and judgement. They were then commanded to repent, “I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”40 Fellow-ship with the Lord presupposes repentance and faith in the Lord. So to misuse the text by totally ignoring this vital groundwork of repentance and faith in the Lord, is soul damning.”

    from http://www.bereanbeacon.org/articles/The_Invincible_Gospel_and_the_Modern_Evangelical_lie.pdf

  53. While I am no fan of seeker sensitive practices nor a a defender of the sinner’s prayer, I agree with
    much of what Barry K has stated. I like Todd Friel and he has taken on false prophets like Todd Bentley and emergent pastors, but the broad brush condemnation of every person who has said the sinner’s prayer to hell is just over the top. I could just as easily have said that every person baptized as an infant is going to hell because they never repented, but as much as I believe the practice to be unbiblical I will not go to that extreme.

  54. I could just as easily have said that every person baptized as an infant is going to hell because they never repented, but as much as I believe the practice to be unbiblical I will not go to that extreme.

    Just after posting this I discovered that not only does the above statement contradict itself, but it actually it not the point I am trying to make. So I want to clarify myself and try again. I think a better broadbrush statement for Todd would be to state that anyone baptized as an infant is going to hell since an infant can’t repent and believe the Gospel.
    Lets rephrase his statement: “How many people who will cry out, “Lord, Lord” on judgment day will be “Christians” who believed they were saved because they were baptized as an infant?”

  55. I think we need to clarify Todd’s statement…if someone is trusting in a prayer another told them to repeat as their means of salvation, they are not saved. Why? Because that is not what the Bible teaches. Read Ephesians 2:8.9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast ”
    To insist you’re saved because you prayed a prayer lines up with verse nine, ‘not of works’. There is nothing we can do to acquire salvation; this was the gist of Todd’s post. Salvation is of the Lord, this is what the Bible clearly teaches.
    It would seem Todd’s statement was taken out of context; I encourage all to re-read this again, ’6. The person who asks Jesus into his heart will likely end up inoculated, bitter and backslidden. Because he did not get saved by reciting a formulaic prayer, he will grow disillusioned with Jesus, the Bible, church and fellow believers. His latter end will be worse than the first.’
    Notice the wording, ‘he did not get saved by reciting a formulaic prayer’. Todd did NOT say crying out to Jesus was wrong {all who are saved by His grace who do cry out do so because the Holy Spirit has brought them to this point}, he said repeating a formulaic prayer doesn’t save.
    This is not outside the boundaries of scripture.
    As for point number 10, there is no biblical proof for ‘asking Jesus into your heart’. Again, salvation is not a work of man, but a miracle of God. If someone is trusting in his/her ‘work’ of inviting Jesus into their heart as a means of salvation, they are disillusioned. You need look no further than God’s own word. If there is evidence of a changed life, it is solely because of grace, not because of a man’s ‘work’.
    For all who say, ‘I know I’m saved because I prayed a prayer’ or ‘I made a decision’, then they’re basing their salvation on their own work. This is in direct violation to Ephesians 2:8.9. That is what this post is geared toward, those who think they’re saved because of something they’ve done. This is what matters…
    “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation.”- Galatians 6:15

  56. Once again: Whom does Jesus condemn?

    Jesus asked/discussed verification of belief over 100 times in the gospels (do a search). Mark 16:16 is probably the most relevant to this discussion.

    Most of you critique the formulaic “sinners prayer” and yet add variables into your formula “repentance, grace, mercy, clean-livin’” etc. Most conversations, parables, rebukes by Jesus were designed to invoke a belief.

    He wants us to make a stand. Repentance is realization or “belief” that we can DO NOTHING. Thus the turn. If the “sinners prayer” is that STAND for the individual, who are you to challenge that?

    I am sure you will continue irrelevant scripture (Ep 2:8-9). Try continuing all the way to the next verse.. Better yet, read the first part of the letter (see silly monk on a donkey who added verses to confuse)–Ep 1:13 READ IT.

    Make a stand. Then STAND with those who have.

    For the silly person who questioned my life earlier. The answer is:

    I have sin (maybe even more than you).
    I also keep stones in my pocket at all times and hand them out frequently to you, the “christian”, who would rather challenge my faith, my stand, than worship and praise our King together.

    So many of you have so much wisdom, energy, and resources. For the Kingdom, please. . . we need it now. It’s wasted on fear and desperate rhetoric.

    Watch or listen to D. Wilkerson’s “sorrow and aguish” one more time and then toss it, burn it, delete it whatever. Introverted godless chatter.

    Good luck

  57. Plato Mystic,

    Your screen name appears to reveal your theology.

    Who does Jesus SAY is condemned? John 3:18 tell us: “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

    The one who does not believe – the Word says nothing about having heard and then does not believe. All men are born unbelieving – it’s in our DNA. Believing is a gift from God, who chooses those whom He will save, see John 1:12-13:

    “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

  58. On the screen name: :) read about the demise of the gnostics and how it came about. better yet, why the goths didn’t destroy us all.

    John 3:18 yep.

    John 1:12-13. nope. your translation is backwards. further noted in verses 5 and 6 of same chapter, “all men might believe”

    Thus the tragedy of the verse (we lose meaning in chopping it up).

    Summary, “all” have a choice, but maybe not all have heard :)

    Thanks, you were clear.

    And yes, my handle suggests I would like to end the war between the blues and the greys (because I am both). LOL chew on that one :)

  59. PM,

    Do you think Jesus was talking about salvation in Matt 10:37-39?

    “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; 38and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.”

    What must someone believe about Jesus so be saved? For example, Catholics believe in Jesus, are they going to heaven?

    Thanks,
    Bill

  60. Plato Mystic,

    Regarding John 3:13, choose a different translation and tell me how the KJV is backwards. http://bible.cc/john/1-13.htm

    The ESV Study Bible notes for these two verses:

    John 1:12–13 Receive him implies not merely intellectual agreement with some facts about Jesus but also welcoming and submitting to him in a personal relationship. “Believed in” (Gk. pisteuō eis) implies personal trust. His name refers to all that is true about him, and therefore the totality of his person. Born, not of blood . . . , but of God makes clear that neither physical birth nor ethnic descent nor human effort can make people children of God, but only God’s supernatural work (8:41–47; cf. 3:16). This extends the possibility of becoming God’s children to Gentiles and not just Jews (11:51–52; cf. 10:16). See also 3:3–8. To all . . . who believed . . . he gave the right indicates that saving faith precedes becoming members of God’s family through adoption as his children.

    Bill,

    Anyone who trusts in the works of the flesh as any part of the merit that gains salvation is condemned. Not on does Roman Catholic doctrine teach this false doctrine, but many mainstream and evangelical churches who have embraced Charles Finney rather than the Word of God.

  61. Manfred,

    It’s difficult covenant stuff. To simplify, I agree with the revelatory framework. However, I (based on the overwhelming amount of choice examples) suggest that if we have no investment in our decision to take up our cross, but hold all the cards in our decision to fall essentially mitigates calvary.

    I do know people who choose to believe, have a revelation, then turn. However, I don’t see the relationship between that and an “alter call.”

    “no trust in the flesh” Hmmmm. . . my choice is based on that premise :)

    Chicken/Egg and Faith/Works. LOL

  62. Plato Mystic,

    Thank you for your cordial responses.

    From the human perspective, we can’t see all – but we must trust the Word of God. Folks who believe, have a revelation, then turn represent folk who have been called by the Lord to belief and repentance. Theologians will argue about the order of salvation – I agree with the reformed perspective on “ordo salutis”: http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Ordo-Salutis/

    I agree with you – no trust in the flesh. I am exhibit “A”.

    Regarding chicken and egg – definitely, the chicken came first. God created all the creatures, not all the eggs :-)

  63. I don’t believe you are interpreting the saying correctly. From what I understand about letting Jesus into your heart is that you are accepting him and loving him as lord and savior, not simply acknowledging him, and repenting for all the sins you’ve committed. Jesus preached love as one of his foremost teachings, so does it not makes sense that you love him as well? Should one not love AND repent? Did you not love your parents, and still say that you’re sorry for something bad you did when you were a kid?

    I’m trying to carve my own way to salvation with a personal, loving relationship with Christ, and viewing God as a loving parent as opposed to a brutal tyrant that he was portrayed as through much of the church’s history as an effort to maintain power and control over medieval Europe. I’ve done a lot of studying of the Bible, what it means, and how to live my life according to what I’ve interpreted to be true biblical Christianity. And much of what is in this blog simply negates the aspect of love that is needed. Christianity isn’t a science, it’s an experience of love, trust, worship, and repentance.

  64. Jimmy,

    I understand that many may very well be referring to repentance and faith when they say “ask Jesus into your heart.” They may mean very well, but we are responsible to explain the gospel properly. If we tell an unsaved person that to get saved they must ask Jesus into their heart, I think we’ve done a poor job of explaining what should be done.

    Why would you want to leave an unbeliever to reason through that asking Jesus into your heart involves repentance and trust in Jesus. Why don’t you just tell them to repent and trust Jesus? Why would you prefer to use a phrase that isn’t in the Bible to describe how they should respond to the gospel?

    There is so much unbiblical evangelism out there, and for you to step up to the plate in its defense seems silly, and terribly unloving.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  65. It’s not me that lives, but Christ that lives in me, and you let him lead you down the path. That is faith, which is the answer!

  66. Hi Mac,

    No one here doubts that Christ is in us. The question is, does He come into us by us asking Him to come into our hearts. If that is how it happens, the Bible makes no mention of it.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  67. I am so confused right now. I thought God the Father called us to Him through the Holy Spirit and then we decided (because we realized how horrible we are and how much we need Jesus) to repent of our sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are saying we make no decision at all, then is everyone saved? Or only certain people? I prayed I guess what you would call a sinner’s prayer, but it was a lot more than that. I bet I prayed with my friend’s mom for like 15 minutes, not 15 seconds. Living for Christ is hard. I am ashamed that there is not much fruit in my life. I am finally getting into the Bible after praying 22 years ago. I have gone to church my whole life and been exposed to the Bible, but I have never really read it in-depth. I strive to do this, but I can only do it with God’s help.

  68. Nicole,

    God calls us and NONE that the father gives to the Son will be lost. (see John 6:37)

    So the “choosing” of Christ that a redeemed person exercises is a function of the faith God gives to those whom He calls. As a sinner cannot help but sin – as that’s his nature, so a new creature in Christ cannot help but cry out for mercy – as that’s his new nature.

    From a human perspective, it’s easy to think we choose Christ. So we must be careful to look into the Scriptures to see the Truth that God chose those whom it pleased Him to do and nobody else can come to the Father.

  69. Your acting like Christ is a linguist and if you don’t say the exact right words to express your faith in Christ, then you aren’t saved. Where are your statistics that people who use the words “come into my heart” backslide?

    If some confesses with their mouth Jesus as Lord and believes in their heart God raised him from the dead but use the wrong words we’re condemned.

    I have an idea…lets stop saving the saved and go out and preach to the lost!

  70. Karen Twombly – to whom are your comments addressed?

  71. Tithing is part of the law. If you practice even a small part of the law what what are you doing talking about Jesus in the first place?

  72. The only problem I would have with this article is the statements that someone that is truly saved will never backslide into carnality, and that they would never get divorced and always adopt kids. I’m not sure why these comments were stated like this because they were the only comments made in the original article that were untrue.

  73. Mueleski,

    I don’t believe that any of the contributors here at DefCon would believe the three statements that you made. We do believe that a true believer will sin, but they will not remain in that sin without firm discipline from the hand of our Heavenly Father. Sadly, true Christians have gotten divorces. However, they are in sin when they do and must seek repentance. Finally, not all true believers will adopt children, although it must be said that when our hearts are filled with the love of God that we will seek to reach beyond ourselves in many different ways – including adoption for some people

    The Desert Pastor

  74. Desert Pastor,

    Did you even read the article or is the person who wrote it not one of you contributors? Here is what he wrote:
    “In other words, a true convert cannot backslide. If a person backslides, he never slid forward in the first place. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (II Cor.5) No backsliding there.”
    So why would you even say I made the statement? I don’t understand the disconnect.

    Mueleski
    ___________________________________________________________________
    Desert Pastor,

    What you said I do agree with, but that isn’t how the article stated those same views. We are, after all, only sinners saved by grace.

    I do think that quick prayerism, easy believism, just ask Jesus into your heartism, or whatever you want to call it is not good and is only hurting the cause of Christ and giving people a false assurance of salvation. The author of this article hit the nail on the head when he stated that there is no sign of fruit in many of these professions (I use this word loosely), because there was no conviction of their sin, understanding that there is a penalty for their sin, a penalty we could only pay for in hell, Christ paid that penalty on the cross, we are offered a free gift of salvation bought by the blood of Christ, and we must turn from our sinful lives turning to God and receive that gift.

    Mueleski

  75. Mueleski,

    Thanks for seeking to clarify. The comment was not supposed that you made. I was merely repeating that you had said something in a previous note – something you read in the blogpost by Friel, who is not one of our contributors by the way. I did not intend for it to come across that the quotes were believed by you. My apologies.

    I stand by my thoughts in regards to sin in the life of a believer. I do not believe the Bible teaches anywhere in the New Testament though the principle of “backsliding” as held to and preached in so many evangelical churches.

    The Desert Pastor

  76. I must say that, while I agree with many ideas and doctrines put forth by the members of this site, I have not found the general tone of the conversation to be edifying and encouraging to my faith. I wholeheartedly agree that false doctrine and unbiblical beliefs must be corrected, and that our love for fellow brothers and sisters often includes a very stark, realistic statement of truth and the need to repent and follow it. However, I do not see how the unrestricted condemnation of everyone who has spoken the sinner’s prayer is justified in this context.

    I believe what Friel meant when he said “People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment” was that if someone merely trusts in the utterance of a few words for their salvation, they will be horribly surprised to find themselves turned away at the Second Coming. I don’t think anyone who has commented here has affirmed anything different. However, what he meant to say, and we all agree with, is not what he actually said, and therefore is misleading and unhelpful.

    To continue with Barry’s example, one could say, “People who are baptized are not saved by their baptism, but by the grace of God effectively changing their hearts and behaviors, which they publicly proclaim by their baptism.” Or, one might say, “People who are baptized and trust in the physical act of the baptism for salvation are not saved.” However, the writer of this entry chose to format his statement like “People who are baptized are not saved.” It was this abrupt and unfinished thought that most of the comments on this post have been in response to.

    As far as the actual sinner’s prayer is concerned – I agree that it has in many cases been unwisely taught, applied, and promoted, and that its significance has often been overstated, perhaps even to the point of trusting in it as the means of salvation. I would never use it in evangelism as a key ritual that must be performed before salvation can happen, and dislike mass altar calls for the very reason that they make it easy to come forward once and then disappear into the crowd. But I would encourage anyone who has been convicted by God of his sin and utter depravity, and who understands Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and the entirety of the life of sacrifice and holiness he is called to in Christ, to fall on his face before his Creator and to pray for His unmerited grace to fall on him, to count Christ’s obedience and punishment as the sole basis of his justification, and to change his mind and heart in continual sanctification. This is not a magical prayer that one looks to for salvation, but a deep and heartfelt cry of submission to God’s will.

    Personally, I came to Christ with a full understanding of the source (Eph. 2:4-6) and effects (Eph. 2:10) of the grace I was receiving. I have seen God change my heart and attitudes, seen Him instill in me a passion for evangelism and study of the Word, seen Him break off patterns of sin and rebellion in my life. When my parents explained to me the fullness of the gospel and what it entailed, they communicated clearly and effectively that the effect of Christ dwelling in our hearts through faith (Eph. 3:17) was increasing holiness and commitment to his will (Eph. 4:20-24). This is how I have always understood Christ living in my heart. As for the “invitation”, I would say that it is submitting to God’s authority and humbly requesting that he indeed dwell in us as He has promised (Eph. 3:17), which is motivated solely by his effective call on our lives and impossible apart from His grace. It is not an attempt to wrest our will free of God’s providence and determine His actions, but rather His providential grace which enables us to respond to the call He has placed on our lives before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:3-6,11). I have no doubt that I have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, and I see the same changed lives and hearts in dozens, if not hundreds, of others in my life who have prayed the sinner’s prayer in one form or another.

    In conclusion, although the sinner’s prayer is unequivocally unsuitable for any hope of salvation based on its own merit, I do not believe that a prayer uttered as a confession of a heart’s submission to God is in any way sinful. To categorically and incontrovertibly claim that all who have prayed such a prayer are condemned to hell is simply prideful and untrue. If you meant to speak specifically against those who trust in their one-time prayer as their ticket to heaven, please be more careful in specifying the target of your criticism.

  77. John,
    Many here have a deep heartfelt concern for those who are trusting in THEIR work as a means of salvation, i.e., ‘I prayed that prayer’, or ‘I invited Jesus into my heart’, or ‘I made a decision for Jesus’. I just heard someone make this very claim yesterday, believing himself to be saved because of his own work. As Pastor Paul Washer says, ‘you will NOT find that anywhere in scripture’. I have yet to see someone point me to passages that say we must repeat a prayer to be saved. Prayer is not a means of salvation, grace is. This is a fine line that many cross and lean upon as assurance of salvation. If one is indeed saved, it certainly is not because they had anything to do with it, it is because Almighty God has looked upon them with favor, drawn them to Christ, brought them to repentance, and gifted them with faith and salvation. A lost sinner must understand his/her own unworthiness before the cross of Christ even makes any sense. Again, only God can open the deaf ear, the blind eye, and the dead heart. Praying to God is wonderful, IF you understand fully that your prayer was wrought by divine supernatural power. The Spirit of God brings us to repentance and leads us to cry out for mercy and forgiveness. Our cries aren’t what saves us, His grace is.
    There are tons of people who base their salvation on something they’ve done, yet their lives do not reflect what their mouths are saying. They believe themselves saved because they performed one or more steps {which is NO different than what the RCC teaches}. Todd may have been too harsh, and indeed there may be some who actually are saved in spite of their claim of repeating a prayer, or making a decision, etc…but it’s not because they prayed a magic formula type prayer, it’s because the grace and mercy of a God who is filled with compassion has saved them. As they grow in Christ, they will come to the realization that they had nothing to do with being gifted by God with eternal life.
    Let us be very very careful NOT to lead the lost astray, we must not give them a sense of false security by claiming salvation is based on a work we do. The Bible does not tell us to command lost sinners to pray a systematic prayer, the Bible commands us to give the Gospel. We must steer clear of evangelism that prompts lost sinners to simply repeat prayers, or make decisions, or invite Jesus into their hearts. All of mankind is totally depraved, dead in sin, unable to comprehend the things of God UNLESS God FIRST does a work in the dead heart to quicken that heart. Wicked men must hear of their crimes against a Holy God, the severity of those crimes, and the beauty of Christ on the cross. It is the Gospel itself that has the power to transform lives {Romans 1:16}. When we tamper with that powerful message and bring it down to ‘man’s understanding’ of what salvation is, we have made it of no affect…it saves no one. Unfortunately, this is where we are at the present time, with so many who name the name of Christ making the way of salvation so easy, just repeat prayers, or get baptized, etc. This is not the true Gospel.

    Lyn

  78. I made a comment much earlier in the posts that apparently upset/worried some people. I am sorry if I mixed terms or caused anyone anger. Since the 2 posts after were a bit intense, though I appreciate the concern.

    I mean to say that santification, growing to be more like Christ, is a process in which we realize what is already true. Christ indeed is Lord. We do not need to ‘make’ Him so. However, growing more like Christ is continually repenting of all of our sins and giving every piece of our being to the Lord. I meant to by ‘make Him Lord’, as us choosing to give Christ control over everything in our lives and soul. This is continual process as the Spirit continues to show us parts of our lives and hearts that need the application of the Gospel. And re-application and re-application. Christ is already LORD! Amen! We must strive to be willing to the santification process in which Christ’s Lordship becomes more and more visible through our lives. Thus bringing Him increasing glory.

  79. I agree wholeheartedly with Todds message here.
    My observations .Often the call to “the sinners prayer”is preceded by a talk that has nothing to do with the gospel.How can they believe unless they hear? The prayer itself often has nothing to do with the gospel.
    The preacher often makes the papal announcement ,Now you are saved and going to heaven.Presumptious at best
    I believe that the whole sinners prayer ask Jesus into your heart thing is to bring glory to the preacher “I led 20 people to the Lord on Sunday night”The biblical response of faith in Christ is baptism not lift your hand (while every eye is closed) and repeat this prayer.

  80. I went to a church years ago that emphasized the ‘aisle-walk/say the sinner’s prayer’ and I cannot tell you how many times I prayed the prayer, thinking that my ‘sincerity’ was the measure of whether I’d get saved or not. Years later, when He opened my eyes to realize salvation wasn’t based upon me/my ‘decision’ but upon solely what Jesus had done at the Cross, I cried out to Him and He had mercy upon me and turned a heart of stone into a heart of flesh. I FINALLY understood. All I know is that once I was blind, but now I see….He answered two prayers I had “Please don’t forget me” and “Please don’t give up on me”.

    Our God is faithful, merciful and gracious, and He gave me a thankful heart, the faith to believe, and the priceless gift of salvation and eternal life…..my heart belongs to Him…

  81. ………I LOVE THE ACCOUNT OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS AND THE TWO HOODLUMS WHO SHARED THE HILL THAT DAY. ONE VOICED “IF YOU ARE THE CHRIST SAVE US ALL”. ( BAD ATTITUDE DUDE) BUT THE HEAVEN BOUND SCOUNDREL VOICED “REMEMBER ME LORD WHEN YOU COME INTO YOUR KINGDOM”. WOW!!!! REVELATION, REPENTANCE AND REDEMPTION IN A 30 SECOND CONVERSATION WITH THE SAVIOR. ” FROM THIS DAY FORWARD YOU SHALL BE WITH ME”. AMAZING GRACE HOW SWEET THE SOUND. SHAME ON THE WELL MEANING RELIGIONIST WHO USES THE WRONG APPROACH TO BRING ABOUT A HEART FELT REVELATION. NO DOUBT HIS CHURCH LEADERS WERE NOT DISCIPLED WELL EITHER. I PRAY GODS MIGHTY AND LOVING GRACE ON NIEVE PEOPLE WHO SOMEHOW FELT HE OR SHE WAS MAKING A RIGHT CHOICE FOR THE RIGHT REASON WHEN THEY CLOSED THEIR EYES AND RAISED THEIR HAND OR RAN TO THE FRONT FOR PRAYER AFTER AN INVITATION. OUR GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME.

  82. Didn’t read all of the replies against this post that are here but have heard most of them before. I have been ridiculed and hated by family and friends who have just put me off for saying just what you have said here. Even that I was being legalistic.
    The truth is I find it a miracle that God opened my eyes to the truth of his word and the repentance and the spirit to fight sin in my life. It couldn’t have came from anywhere else other than his kindness that has called me to repentance and trust in what he did through his son. I also know that I am still not perfect and must die daily to sin, I’ve not reached perfection. But when I see him I will be perfect as he is perfect. But the comforter has given me peace and knowing his Spirit leads me in good works.
    America is full of Churches but finding a church that teaches this truth are few and far and in between.
    As I travel around and see the depth of the error I am amazed that people call this a Christian nation seeing the depths it has fallen into. You turn on the TV and you get this message everywhere that it is filthy money that God will bless you with. And then another that teaches that I’m OK, your OK. Then the one where you can make your self righteous before God with your free will. Its no difference than going to a man to make you righteous before God. That is not what the bible teaches, and if it does it is in a warning in Acts chp 8. And they have taken it around the globe. And realizing this I look to Gods word. And in it I see that there will be this falling away. Mat 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
    I am so surprise to have found a place on the enter net that proclaims the truth.
    Lord God have mercy and give me strength to proclaim your Righteousness and the great work of yours through your son, giving glory to your name.

  83. The Bible tells us exactly how to be saved:

    Romans 10:9~That if thou shalt CONFESS WITH THY MOUTH the Lord Jesus, and shalt BELIEVE IN THINE HEART that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

    Matthew 10:32~Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

    Luke 12:8~Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God:

    Acts 2:24~Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

    Acts 16:31~And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    Romans 4:24~But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

    Romans 14:9~For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

    Philippians 2:11~And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father

    God is NOT going to leave something as crucial as salvation a mystery. He laid out what we have to do very clearly within His Holy Words.

    Psalm 51 is a beautiful model of how to restore the JOY of your salvation after sinning. David was one of the biggest backsliders we see, as an example, in the Bible, yet he was still called a man after God’s own heart. Did God mean his left ventricle?

  84. For Kevin from July 21st 2009. If you read just the verse, it does seem that way. but if you read all of Chapter 3, it’s clearly written to the Church of Laodicea. I’ve learned to always read the verse before and after a single verse, or even the whole chapter or book to get the true meaning of the one verse.

  85. The Bible may not command us to invite Jesus into our hearts, but it does mention Jesus or the Holy Spirit being in our hearts, contrary to what you seem to be saying:

    2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (New International Version, ©2010)
    21 Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

    Galatians 4:6
    6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”

    Ephesians 3:16-17
    16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.

    1 John 3:24
    24 The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.

  86. Do you think the phrase may have been taken from here?

    [6] And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
    (Galatians 4:6 ESV)

  87. Who am I to say if someone calls on the name of the Lord that they are not saved? But I think it would be the case where people are saved by God’s mercy in spite of the prayer not because of it.

    Personally I have said the sinner’s prayer but I really wasn’t sure if I was saved until I realized that it was because of what Jesus did on the cross in my place 2000 years ago to save me, a sinner, who cannot save himself and how he rose again on the third day and not what I did, ie, saying the prayer. Because isn’t focusing on what I do, saying the prayer to ask him into my heart in effect works and not grace?

    It is kind of funny that there have been times when I have discussed this very issue with people who support the sinner’s prayer and I tell them that I am saved because people have shared the gospel with me and i have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, just like the jailer at Ephesus in Acts 16 after being witnesased to by Paul and Silas after he asked them, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

    I have also told supporters of the sinner’s prayer that, after hearing the gospel, that I believe with all my heart that Jesus is the Son of God, just like the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8.

    And their response is that I still need to ask Jesus into my heart but if that is the case, then why didn’t Phillip tell the Eunuch to do so and why didn’t Paul and Silas tell the jailer to do the same thing?

    Intreesting that in 1 John 4:15 it says, “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.” So Jesus is in our hearts if we believe in Him and not by asking Him to come into us.

    I know suppoters of the prayer often site a date they were saved, the day they came forward and did the prayer but I think I have a better date than than, as I said, 2000 years ago by what Jesus did for me.

  88. Todd seems to be saying that no true Chhristan can backslide. Ummm…ever hear of a book of the Bible called 1 Corinthians? Do you think those people were all false converts? He referred to them as ‘brothers’. Lordship Salvation appeals to the flesh, but works have never, and will never save anyone. Repentance does NOT mean turn from your sins (you dont anyway! we all sin every day!) it means to change ones mind. Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
    Oops!!! They forgot to tell him to repent~

  89. hmmmm… read 1 John. there are no Christians who can backslide. and there is no word as “backslide” in regards to a christian who go on sinning.. 1 John tells us, they were really never were of us.

    REPENT AND BELIEVE. GOD WILL LET YOU KNOW THAT YOU’RE SAVED. :D

    We must be careful in sharing. let’s share pure Gospel. because Gospel itself is powerful to change lives. no need to add toppings on it. :D

    Genuine Christians cannot go on sinning because there is a conviction of sin every time, it leads them to repent and continue to repent. THEY DESIRE GOD AND THE THING GOD WANTS THEM TO DO. just read 1 JOHN. u can evaluate yourselves if you are really in the FAITH.

    and if ever you are practicing “sinner’s prayer”
    BE RESPONSIBLE TO FOLLOW UP THOSE WHOM YOU LEAD INTO THIS PRAYER. YOU ARE ETERNALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR LEADING THEM TO CHRIST IN AN UNBIBLICAL WAY.

  90. for forgiveness of sins is simply stated in Acts 2:38-39″Peter replied, “Repent and be Baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call” The way to salvation is plainly stated in tht scripture as well as many others, and if you believe tht this scripture is flawed that you have to repent AND be baptized then look at this in Proverbs 30:5-6 “Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar.” Not only must u repent and trust in God but you must be reborn of water and spirit(read John 3:1-7)

  91. Alan – so if one is not baptized he is not saved?

  92. What a fantastic article! I hope you don’t mind, but we shared part of this on our talk show this morning (when our guest didn’t call in!), and the listener feedback was incredible.

  93. While I agree that the Bible does not require you to ask Jesus into your heart; what i believe most evangelicals, who use that phrase, believe is that a person needs to be “regenerated” (born again) resulting in Romans 10:9,10. As a person is under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they evaluate their lives and see themselves void of God and a heart filled with sin. Repentance doesn’t lead to salvation, it is a fruit of it. In other words, someone could say, Lord, Lord did we not stop drinking, smoking, carousing “for” your salvation. That would be of works “lest we should boast”. To me that’s the balance of repentance vs. just asking Jesus in your heart.
    Christ in you is the hope of glory!

  94. This is a great article and I agree with everything you say. However, the offence that is caused when you tell people that asking Jesus into your heart is wrong or making a decision for Christ or anything else that makes it a conditional gospel is totally wrong and unbiblical…wow the response is explosive. I know! I lost ‘friends’ because I dared to call to task those who told the young people in our church that coming to Jesus was like an invitation on Facebook. We’re all required to say “Yes, No or Maybe”! The church is under attack by subtle deception in every way thinkable.

  95. This is very bibilical in most ways. One thing that I’d like to discuss with you and have you ponder is–does a true/authentic/genuine conversion guarantee that a person will endure in faith until the end? This is another area that is grossly misunderstood and very related to your article. If one is not saved by “accepting Jesus in ones heart” but rather though belief and repentence, how does this manifest? The bible is clear for the need to persevere until the end in order to be saved–”those who are BEING led by the spirt are those that are the sons of God.” Note the present tense.

    Now, If one has repented genuinely and then starts to not follow the spirit and consequently walks off the narrow way and on to the road to destruction–does this necessarily negate his or her conversion? Read the Parable of the Sower and that of the Talents in Matthew. Also, consider 1 Timothy. Then, Paul’s cry to the Galatians to not return to the law. How can one return to some if they have not left the previous? Also, John 15–the vine and branches. If we have been grafted in, and we walk away, does that mean that we were never genuinely attached?

    I appreciate you writing about the hersesy of “accept Jesus in your heart.” Now, let us chat about what it means to be a saved person. What does the scripture say? Lives are at stake. My contention, based on the scriptures is that our salvation is a process that is started, continued and finished for those who endure to the end. How does one endure to the end? By abiding in the vine (John 15), walking by the Spirit (Romans), putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and completing the work which has been prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2). This is not something completed one time, or even over a season. It is a life long process of abiding, being obedient in a constant state of dependence.

    Hope to continue this conversation.

  96. True believers will endure until the end. They will not start and then stop.

  97. There are no upper or lower ventricles, only left and right ventricles. The differentiation between upper and lower quadrants of the heart are ventricle and atrium. The error is in the explanation of reason No. 2.

  98. I thought your blog was well done. Except for how one is supposed to enter the kingdom of God without the Holy Spirit? John 3:3, John 3:5, Acts 2:38, Mark 16:15 & 16, 1 Peter 3:21. You should do a study on baptism. Yes, you need to believe & repent but you need to be baptized to become a child of God and then have entry into His kingdom. Those are all biblical and not taken out of context. There is only one way into the Masters kingdom and that is His way with His directions. Without the Holy Spirit, the bible is hard to read and dedication to following the will of God is also difficult and our pray life, if any, is repetitive and ritualistic like other religions. If we are to do communion (literally) as a reminder of what Christ has done for us, then being baptized is one in the same and should be done literally and for the proper reasons. Not for an outward sign of a inward grace. The whole book of Acts is about the beginnings of the church after Christ left the earth. Everyone who realized what they needed to be doing to follow Christ, stopped and got baptized ASAP! No waiting til we had enough people together, or for membership reasons, or we have to take a class. It was done at the side of the road, in the wee hours of the morning/night, the urgency was there and the baptism was preformed.

    I know from experience. I went to church as a child, rebelled as a teenager and into my young adult life. I went through all the motions that the church told me to do. With no change really. In 2008/ 2009 I started learning about baptism because of one out spoken preacher who would not let it go and I thank him for that. Since being baptized things are different, the word is opened up to me, I want to and find that I can follow God with alot greater ease, I am constantly meditating on God and His word and my prayer life is stronger and more successful. I attribute all of that to following Jesus Christ to the grave through water baptism. I died to self and rose up from the water a new creation. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will follow my commands.” Baptism is a command.

  99. Erin – you are quite deceived if you think baptism saves or is essential for salvation. Yes, believers are commanded to be baptized, but nothing we do can save or help save our souls. Study this page closely: http://defendingcontending.com/2011/09/27/order-of-salvation-ordo-salutis/ God alone saves by no works of man. All works of any import are the results of being born again.

  100. Faith without works is dead. Baptism is a work and is done in faith and is humbling. We are to humbly walk before our God. If people can not bow and bend and be baptized, they are not humble. God hates pride and prideful people. Peter was given the keys to the kingdom Matthew 16:19 and the first message that Peter preached was Acts 1:15 – Acts 2. The keys are key to entering through a locked door and John 3:3 and John 3:5 & 6 reiterate that. Jesus even says, I stand at the door and knock. We have to enter into His relm through death. Baptism represents following Christ to the grave and we come up renewed (risen to a new life) then we receive a gift (sorta like a welcome home gift) the Holy Spirit.The Holy Spirit is the identifying mark that makes one a christian and the only way to get that mark is through baptism. So yes, essentially baptism does save us. 1 Peter 3:21.

    God loved His children Israel. They sinned greatly and God sent them away (divorced them). He made a way of re establishing the relationship again through the blood of Jesus. Jesus went to find the treasure (children of Israel) that was in the world and bought the whole world, so all can come to Him. Jesus is the King of Kings. A King has laws (10 commandment and more), and a people (children of Israel & others), and a kingdom (earth). There was only one time where God was truly there leader and that was when they were taken out of Egypt. Then they decided to self govern just like the pagans around them (we are no different). When someone dies their death will is then enforced and can not be unless one is dead. The same goes for Jesus and His will. His will says that one needs to believe, repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of ones sins. When we do this he is gracious enough to help us out with the gift of the Holy Spirit, so that we can make it through this life and for some to see the day that He returns and takes back His government and rules and reigns forever.

    So does baptism save us? Yes, because we are following Christ to His death, humility is involved, death to ones self, freedom is obtained, the command is followed. It is very deep. Deeper than people realized. Most important decision of ones life. He wants humble servants. Most people dont want to reveal there sin and cover it up. Baptism shows everyone that you are humble to admit that you are a sinner. It is life changing if it is done for the right reasons.

    That is all that I have to say. I Love the Lord and am glad that he called me and waited for me. I will do all that I can to please Him and continue to be chosen by Him. People have dropped the ball, we dont teach the word for what it says and that is why we are in such a mess all the way around. We are supposed to teach our children (pass it on) and to study to show ourselves approved. You cant know God unless you read His words. He needs to become our everything. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We should all ask God for the wisdom of Solomon, for His truth and not to be deceived every day.

    Thanks for taking the time and reading what I wrote.

  101. hello Erin,
    I have a question for you, what about the thief on the cross? He was not baptized, and yet our Lord told him in Luke 23:43 “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” How would you respond to this?

    Lyn

  102. The thief was not baptized yes I agree, but Jesus was still alive at that time and therefore His will of baptism goes to those who remain after his death. The reading of ones will can not be enforced before their death. Since Jesus was still alive at the time of the thief on the cross, Jesus had the power to absolve him of his sins right then and there. Kings of history have the power to enforce justice either reward or punishment, no different than what Jesus did with the thief on the cross. In the thief’s case his king was still alive and he was dealt with right then and there.

  103. Thanks for your response Erin. Can I ask you for Scriptural backing for your views that Jesus being alive made water baptism null and void?

  104. Sorry, let me clarify. The baptism of John was not fully complete until after Jesus’ death, resurrection and then pentecost. The Whole book of Acts is great for understanding baptism. Act 19:1-6 shows the difference between John’s baptism and the baptism after Jesus’ death and resurrection in Acts 2:38 Actually read the 2nd Chapter of Acts especially verse 37 and onward. John’s baptism was an intro to the what we are to follow after Jesus’ death & resurrection. It is very clear (John’s baptism Mark 1:4)” John the baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (baptism after Jesus’ death & resurrection Acts 2:38) “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (39) For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself. It is not that it was null and void, it was not fully complete.

    The whole book of Acts shows how people believed (conversion), repented and immediately were baptized. It takes more than just believing and saying a special prayer to enter the kingdom of heaven. We have to humbly follow the Master who knows best, by being an obedient servant. Many are called, few are chosen. Narrow is the way and few who find it. It takes more than what the preachers on TV say “Just believe on Jesus tonight!” The demons believe in Christ, but dont worship Him.

  105. Erin – The baptism of John was the baptism of repentance, not the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is the one baptism that is salvific. There is no easy believism, on this we agree. But believer’s baptism is just that – a symbolic act by those who have been saved and baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit. Water baptism has NOTHING to do with anyone’s salvation. It is an act of obedience by the child of God.

  106. Manfred,
    are you able to check my latest comment and see if it is held up as spam? Thanks

  107. Erin said
    “It takes more than just believing and saying a special prayer to enter the kingdom of heaven. ”

    It also takes more than being baptized in water!

    Surely a true believer would want to obey Christ in baptism as in all things. Here is where you can clear up some confusion though. A lost sinner starts to feel Godly sorrow for their sin, is presented the Gospel, and believes in Jesus Christ. They are told they should be baptized in water and agree to do so as they want to obey Jesus. Are they saved by the merits of Jesus Christ at that moment, like if they died on their way to be baptized would they be condemned? I think answering this, though it is hypothetical only of course, would help clear things up.

    True faith works for sure (produces fruit such as obedience in the life of a true saint), but true faith also saves on the merits of Jesus Christ alone by the grace of God. Embracing only one of these two truths will lead to error on the left hand or the right.

    In Christ -Jim

  108. Erin,

    I do hope you will read this, I think it will benefit you tremendously. It is from John MacArthur…

    First, it is quite clear from such passages as Acts 15 and Romans 4 that no external act is necessary for salvation. Salvation is by divine grace through faith alone (Romans 3:22, 24, 25, 26, 28, 30; 4:5; Galatians 2:16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 3:9, etc.).
    If baptism were necessary for salvation, we would expect to find it stressed whenever the gospel is presented in Scripture. That is not the case, however. Peter mentioned baptism in his sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38). However, in his sermon from Solomon’s portico in the Temple (Acts 3:12-26), Peter makes no reference to baptism, but links forgiveness of sin to repentance (3:19). If baptism is necessary for the forgiveness of sin, why didn’t Peter say so in Acts 3?
    Paul never made baptism any part of his gospel presentations. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Paul gives a concise summary of the gospel message he preached. There is no mention of baptism. In 1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul states that “Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel,” thus clearly differentiating the gospel from baptism. That is difficult to understand if baptism is necessary for salvation. If baptism were part of the gospel itself, necessary for salvation, what good would it have done Paul to preach the gospel, but not baptize? No one would have been saved. Paul clearly understood baptism to be separate from the gospel, and hence in no way efficacious for salvation.
    Perhaps the most convincing refutation of the view that baptism is necessary for salvation are those who were saved apart from baptism. We have no record of the apostles’ being baptized, yet Jesus pronounced them clean of their sins (John 15:3–note that the Word of God, not baptism, is what cleansed them). The penitent woman (Luke 7:37-50), the paralytic man (Matthew 9:2), and the publican (Luke 18:13-14) also experienced forgiveness of sins apart from baptism.
    The Bible also gives us an example of people who were saved before being baptized. In Acts 10:44-48, Cornelius and those with him were converted through Peter’s message. That they were saved before being baptized is evident from their reception of the Holy Spirit (v. 44) and the gifts of the Spirit (v. 46) before their baptism. Indeed, it is the fact that they had received the Holy Spirit (and hence were saved) that led Peter to baptize them (cf. v. 47).
    One of the basic principles of biblical interpretation is the analogia scriptura, the analogy of Scripture. In other words, we must compare Scripture with Scripture in order to understand its full and proper sense. And since the Bible doesn’t contradict itself, any interpretation of a specific passage that contradicts the general teaching of the Bible is to be rejected. Since the general teaching of the Bible is, as we have seen, that baptism and other forms of ritual are not necessary for salvation, no individual passage could teach otherwise. Thus we must look for interpretations of those passages that will be in harmony with the general teaching of Scripture. With that in mind, let’s look briefly at some passages that appear to teach that baptism is required for salvation.
    In Acts 2:38, Peter appears to link forgiveness of sins to baptism. But there are at least two plausible interpretations of this verse that do not connect forgiveness of sin with baptism. It is possible to translate the Greek preposition eis “because of,” or “on the basis of,” instead of “for.” It is used in that sense in Matthew 3:11; 12:41; and Luke 11:32. It is also possible to take the clause “and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” as parenthetical. Support for that interpretation comes from that fact that “repent” and “your” are plural, while “be baptized” is singular, thus setting it off from the rest of the sentence. If that interpretation is correct, the verse would read “Repent (and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ) for the forgiveness of your sins.” Forgiveness is thus connected with repentance, not baptism, in keeping with the consistent teaching of the New Testament (cf. Luke 24:47; John 3:18; Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18; Ephesians 5:26).
    Mark 16:16, a verse often quoted to prove baptism is necessary for salvation, is actually a proof of the opposite. Notice that the basis for condemnation in that verse is not the failure to be baptized, but only the failure to believe. Baptism is mentioned in the first part of the verse because it was the outward symbol that always accompanied the inward belief. I might also mention that many textual scholars think it unlikely that vv. 9-20 are an authentic part of Mark’s gospel. We can’t discuss here all the textual evidence that has caused many New Testament scholars to reject the passage. But you can find a thorough discussion in Bruce Metzger, et al., A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, pp. 122-128, and William Hendriksen, The Gospel of Mark, pp. 682-687.
    Water baptism does not seem to be what Peter has in view in 1 Peter 3:21. The English word “baptism” is simply a transliteration of the Greek word baptizo, which means “to immerse.” Baptizo does not always refer to water baptism in the New Testament (cf. Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; 7:4; 10:38-39; Luke 3:16; 11:38; 12:50; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16; 1 Corinthians 10:2; 12:13). Peter is not talking about immersion in water, as the phrase “not the removal of dirt from the flesh” indicates. He is referring to immersion in Christ’s death and resurrection through “an appeal to God for a good conscience,” or repentance.
    I also do not believe water baptism is in view in Romans 6 or Galatians 3. I see in those passages a reference to the baptism in the Holy Spirit (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13). For a detailed exposition of those passages, I refer you to my commentaries on Galatians and Romans, or the tapes of my sermons on Galatians 3 and Romans 6.
    In Acts 22:16, Paul recounts the words of Ananias to him following his experience on the Damascus road: “Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” It is best to connect the phrase “wash away your sins” with “calling on His name.” If we connect it with “be baptized,” the Greek participle epikalesamenos (“calling”) would have no antecedent. Paul’s sins were washed away not by baptism, but by calling on His name.
    Baptism is certainly important, and required of every believer. However, the New Testament does not teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.

  109. Lyn, you will be pleased to know that I will go through every scripture that you presented. Also, with all that you have said, What is it that you really believe and how does one enter into the kingdom of God and become one of His children?

    Jim, why are people told to get baptized? Is it for membership reasons, or a warm fuzzy feeling? Can you not see the gift that is given in baptism? How else can you tap into that? Yes, the blood of Jesus is the most important! The only time you come in contact with the blood is through baptism. Once you have the Holy Spirit, He can then lead you and guide you.

    Answer to your question about dying on the way to being baptized. Very Hypothetical at that. Most people who find the importance of baptism, follow it up such as did the people in the bible. They cant get it done fast enough. They usually dont wait until they are on deaths door to figure it out. It is of the uttermost importance until they can get it done and then they start to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But hey, with the teaching in this land we have today, really why should I not expect so much resistance. The bible says that the people want their ears tickled and God will allow them to be carried away by doctrines of demons. What does satan want the most… for people not to enter into the kingdom of God. Jesus said, my sheep hear my voice and Jesus is the door (John 10:9) We have to enter through Him. Just think, wouldn’t satan attack the way into the kingdom and hide it and twist the way to enter. Look at the “Just ask Jesus into heart doctrine” Hey, in all reality you should not believe me, you should take it to God and ask Him to show you if you really want the truth. We are to hunger and search for righteousness. Finding the truth is right. Truth is hard to swallow, especially because most of us have come from the infiltrated churches and have been programmed to think one way and when someone comes with truth which is different from what we have learnt it is very painful to have to learn things in a new way because it conflicts with the previous programs installed.

  110. Erin,
    Thank you for considering reading what I have given you.
    I believe that salvation is of grace {Ephesians 2:8,9}, given as God’s gift to whom He draws to Christ {John 6:44}. I, being dead in sin {Ephesians 2:1, 5} can do nothing to save my soul. I am trusting fully in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ for the redemption of my soul. Water baptism is not necessary for salvation, as the thief on the cross clearly proves. However, we are to undergo water baptism as being symbolic of identifying with the Lord Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection. Here is a brief scriptural basis for water baptism-
    Scriptural baptism states the believer’s death, burial, and resurrection with Christ. “Buried with Him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with Him, through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead.” Colossians 2:12
    Scriptural baptism proclaims the death of our old life to sin, and our resurrection to walk in newness of life. “As Christ was raised up from the dead, by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4
    Scriptural baptism proclaims our faith in the Trinity of the Godhead. “Baptizing them in the NAME of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 28:19
    Scriptural baptism proclaims our “putting on” of Christ. “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:26,27

    If I would have died hours after God saved me, not being baptized, I would have entered into His kingdom because my faith, hope and trust are all in what Christ has done, He was the propitiation for my sins, His finished work satisfied God’s wrath at my sins. I will enter into His kingdom when I do die because of what Christ has done, not because I am baptized; when He said, ‘it is finished’, there is nothing that needs to be added to that.

    Grace and peace to you Erin,
    Lyn

  111. faith without works is dead. James 2:20 and the body without the spirit is dead and so faith without works is dead.

    Does not one enter the kingdom of God while here on earth?

  112. Works are evidence of faith, those whom God has saved and regenerated {born again} are the ones who do ‘works’ which God has ordained {Eph. 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them}. Works are not a means of salvation Erin, they are proof one is saved; only a heart regenerated by the supernatural power of God can do what God wills and commands us to do.

    God’s kingdom is not of this world, John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

  113. Lyn – you do have a lengthy comment in the spam queue – but it looks like you have been able to post pretty much the same biblically sound response to Erin :-) I do not know why it is in spam nor how to release it – I may not have permissions to do so. At any rate, press on!

  114. Erin said:
    “Jim, why are people told to get baptized? Is it for membership reasons, or a warm fuzzy feeling? Can you not see the gift that is given in baptism? How else can you tap into that? Yes, the blood of Jesus is the most important! The only time you come in contact with the blood is through baptism. Once you have the Holy Spirit, He can then lead you and guide you.”

    Jim says:
    Ignoring the whole council of the word of God has led you into devotion to a pet doctrine.

    Peter says:
    (at Cornelius’s house)

    Act 10:43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”
    Act 10:44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.
    Act 10:45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.
    Act 10:46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared,
    Act 10:47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”

    Jim says:
    Some people received the Holy Spirit before baptism. That is an undeniable fact.

    Paul also says:
    Eph 1:13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,

    Erin said:
    “But hey, with the teaching in this land we have today, really why should I not expect so much resistance. The bible says that the people want their ears tickled and God will allow them to be carried away by doctrines of demons.”

    Jim says:
    Like baptismal regeneration…

    Erin said:
    “Hey, in all reality you should not believe me, you should take it to God and ask Him to show you if you really want the truth.”

    Jim says:
    I don’t believe you and God has shown me the truth in the scripture I posted earlier. The truth is a person. His name is Jesus Christ. The truth is not your pet doctrine.

    Joh 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
    Joh 14:7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

    Erin said:
    “Truth is hard to swallow, especially because most of us have come from the infiltrated churches and have been programmed to think one way”

    Jim says:
    I home fellowship, after coming out of an apostate church. I have no religious program. Do you go to an institutional church Erin?

    Erin said:
    “and when someone comes with truth which is different from what we have learnt it is very painful to have to learn things in a new way because it conflicts with the previous programs installed.”

    Jim says:
    Well, I have presented truth in the account of Cornelius that is different than what you have learned. I hope you will take it to heart and humble yourself. You obviously have great zeal for a pet doctrine and it will be hard for you to let that go, but with God all things are possible. Just to prevent any twisting of words, I do agree that a believer professing faith in Jesus should be baptized in water, I just disagree with this heresy you stated here which has been clearly refuted by scripture.

    “The only time you come in contact with the blood is through baptism.”

  115. Jim, I like you phrase “pet doctrine”

  116. Hi Erin,

    I was hoping you would be back, I have a link for you, please give it some consideration. It’s http://salvationbygrace.org , click on ‘current Q & A topics’, in the middle column, you can click on ‘is baptism necessary for salvation?’ Pray before you read this, that God will grant you understanding. It is so very easy to misconstrue what the Bible says, we interpret Scripture with Scripture. I would not steer you towards dangerous or false teachings, I desire for you to know the truth. I am praying for you dear one…

  117. So I guess in a nutshell that the way to receive the Holy Spirit is just by sheer luck and hope that it lands on you. Receiving of how to get the Holy Spirit comes with no directions? And I thought that we had an organized God. Well, you all win! I give up, but I will hold on to my so called “pet doctrine” until proven otherwise, which you have failed to prove. You just proved to me where you stand and what you believe. Oh yeah, Jim, everyone is deceived, it just depends on what level. If you think you are not programmed, you are very deceived.

    It has been a blast!

  118. Erin,
    Is that what you think baptism is for? To receive the Holy Spirit? Please, do not leave here angry. I hope you will read this –

    Question: “When / How do we receive the Holy Spirit?”

    Answer: The apostle Paul clearly taught that we receive the Holy Spirit the moment we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior. First Corinthians 12:13 declares, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Romans 8:9 tells us that if a person does not possess the Holy Spirit, he or she does not belong to Christ: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the seal of salvation for all those who believe: “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

    These three passages make it clear that the Holy Spirit is received at the moment of salvation. Paul could not say that we all were baptized by one Spirit and all given one Spirit to drink if not all of the Corinthian believers possessed the Holy Spirit. Romans 8:9 is even stronger, stating that if a person does not have the Spirit, he does not belong to Christ. Therefore, the possession of the Spirit is an identifying factor of the possession of salvation. Further, the Holy Spirit could not be the “seal of salvation” (Ephesians 1:13-14) if He is not received at the moment of salvation. Many scriptures make it abundantly clear that our salvation is secured the moment we receive Christ as Savior.

    This discussion is controversial because the ministries of the Holy Spirit are often confused. The receiving/indwelling of the Spirit occurs at the moment of salvation. The filling of the Spirit is an ongoing process in the Christian life. While we hold that the baptism of the Spirit also occurs at the moment of salvation, some Christians do not. This sometimes results in the baptism of the Spirit being confused with “receiving the Spirit” as an act subsequent to salvation.

    In conclusion, how do we receive the Holy Spirit? We receive the Holy Spirit by simply receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior (John 3:5-16). When do we receive the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit becomes our permanent possession the moment we believe. from http://gotquestions.org

    When God saves a sinner, He seals that redeemed sinner with His Spirit, we are kept by the power of God until the day we die. He does it Erin, we do nothing to receive His Spirit, no work, no ritual. Please pull yourself away from the person [s] who is filling your head with a false teaching and a false gospel. You cannot earn salvation, nor can you receive His Spirit apart from being supernaturally born from above – John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

  119. All the scripture that you have produced leads back to baptism. I am not leaving mad. Debating the scripture is enjoyable. I have other things in my life that upset me way more. I know who my God is and I strive to serve Him. I know how one gets saved and receives the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is my King and it is His shed blood that saves me. Dont worry about me, I am not lost. There are others that dont even know His name. They need help more than I do. I love God, His Son, the word of God and spending time with Him and learning from Him. Please dont worry. I am okay! I trust my God!

  120. Erin,
    You say you are okay, and you trust God, good! Then please, consider reading all I have presented to you and pray to go deeper into the things of God. I am not trying to sway you to ‘another religion’, I desire what God desires for you; a deeper understanding of His truth. Not everyone who claims to be a preacher/teacher truly is. Scripture must be studied in its context and interpreted with other Scripture.
    When we delve into the deep things of God, digging into His word and listening to gifted men preach and teach, that is when we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. God delights in that we should desire to know Him, to understand and discern His word, to desire wisdom and insight.
    Do think about what I have said, and in time, if you read what I have given you, what a blessing you will receive.

    grace and peace to you friend,
    Lyn

  121. Hi Erin,

    It seems to me you don’t have a grasp on the gospel or the gravity of your sin. Therefore, you are not saved, despite your feelings and experiences.

    Our sin is against an infinitely holy God, and we are deserving of an infinite penalty. Either Jesus paid that penalty on our behalf or He didn’t. If He has paid it, then He has paid it. You don’t have to do X, Y and Z to receive it. What an insult that is to Christ! Is His sacrifice adequate or not?

    It is clear to me you are unwilling or incapable of understanding what Lyn and Jim have attempted to explain. Your only hope for eternity is the cross of Christ, not any of the filthy rags you have to offer.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  122. Thanks Bill, you are so kind. The definition of sin is lawlessness. When you dont obey the word of God it is sin which is lawlessness. I know the gravity of my sin, thank you very much. I am not trying to belittle what Jesus Christ has done. I do have a grasp on the gospel also. The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is more to the gospel than just believing, we need to obey the gospel also. The way one is born again is by believing and obeying the gospel.

  123. Erin,
    The way to be born again cannot be attained by anyone, being born again is a supernatural work of God. From Ezekiel 36:26-27, ” A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
    And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
    This is from John 1:13, ‘Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.’

    Notice in all these verses how one is born again, by God, according to His will. You cannot believe and obey unless He first rebirths you Erin. You are still attributing salvation with something you must do, you are in error.

    You are dead in sin, unable to respond to the things of God {Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 4-5, But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) ;} that being said, I ask you this, how does a dead person respond to the Gospel call?

    grace and peace,
    Lyn

  124. Prior to being born again ALL are dead in their sins without the hope of eternal life with Christ. So unless you are referring to a physical corpse of a person they have no hope, but if it is in reference to a physical living person who is dead in their sins, there is a hope for them.

    I find it interesting how you all interpret the the word of God. I now wonder about topics such as speaking in tongues, communion, who the children of Israel are today, heaven, hell, the rapture or the return of Christ. I dont even want to go there though.

  125. Erin,
    I have not given you interpretations, I have quoted scripture and did not go any farther. God’s word speaks for itself. You are making accusations that are not true.

    You stated “The way one is born again is by believing and obeying the gospel.” Then you follow that up with, “Prior to being born again ALL are dead in their sins without the hope of eternal life with Christ”. With that said, what have I said that differs from what you say you believe?

    Erin,

    I have gone back over your comments, and this is a summary, according to your own words, of what you believe…

    1. Yes, you need to believe & repent but you need to be baptized to become a child of God and then have entry into His kingdom.
    2. Everyone who realized what they needed to be doing to follow Christ, stopped and got baptized ASAP!
    3. Since being baptized things are different, the word is opened up to me
    4. I attribute all of that to following Jesus Christ to the grave through water baptism.
    5. Faith without works is dead. Baptism is a work and is done in faith and is humbling.
    6. So does baptism save us? Yes, because we are following Christ to His death, humility is involved, death to ones self, freedom is obtained, the command is followed.
    7. The keys are key to entering through a locked door and John 3:3 and John 3:5 & 6 reiterate that.
    8. The baptism of John was not fully complete until after Jesus’ death, resurrection and then pentecost
    9. Can you not see the gift that is given in baptism? How else can you tap into that? Yes, the blood of Jesus is the most important! The only time you come in contact with the blood is through baptism. Once you have the Holy Spirit, He can then lead you and guide you.
    10. John the baptist appeared in the wilderness preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” (baptism after Jesus’ death & resurrection Acts 2:38) “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
    11.The only time you come in contact with the blood is through baptism
    12. Does not one enter the kingdom of God while here on earth?
    13. I trust my God!
    14. The way one is born again is by believing and obeying the gospel.

    You seem to be all over the charts with what you believe, but to sum it up, your own words testify that you believe salvation is based on a work, something you must do…in this case, baptism {see #1, 6}. You attribute your ‘changed life’ not to the new birth, but to a work you have done {see #3}. I think we need go no farther, you are speaking out of both sides of your mouth, you claim to understand the Gospel but you adhere to a salvation by works. Your complete wholehearted trust is not in the finished work of Christ, it is in Christ plus your water baptism. You are in very very dangerous and deep error and still dead in your sins.

  126. you need to hear the word of God, then believe in Jesus (told about Him and what He has or us and why, the death, burial & resurrection which is the gospel), then you can follow that up with repenting (sin=lawlessness), then that can be followed by obeying the gospel by being baptized FOR, not because of but FOR the forgiveness of ones sins, which is then followed by receiving a gift (the most important gift the Holy Spirit), which one needs according to the word of God. That sums up Acts 2:38 and backs up John 3:3 and John 3:5. Very Simple!!

  127. should say (told about Him and what He has done for us and why)

    baptism marks you with the holy spirit, just as circumcision marked Abraham and his descendants. Both are acts done in faith. With that said, 1Peter 3:21 then verifies that.

  128. Erin,
    You refuse to listen to truth, you have not read anything given you here on this blog. You have misconstrued beliefs on baptism, and you appear to NOT be teachable.

    Baptism is NOT a means of attaining the Spirit of God; again, one last time, let us go into the word of God…

    First Corinthians 12:13 declares, “For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.” Romans 8:9 tells us that if a person does not possess the Holy Spirit, he or she does not belong to Christ: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.” Ephesians 1:13-14 teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the seal of salvation for all those who believe: “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Further, the Holy Spirit could not be the “seal of salvation” (Ephesians 1:13-14) if He is not received at the moment of salvation.

    How do we get the Holy Spirit? Not by undergoing a water baptism, but a baptism of the Spirit. From 2 Corinthians 1:22, ‘Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.’ Who seals us with His Spirit Erin, according to God’s word? Back up one verse, 2Cor. 1:21 ‘Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;’

    Ask yourself this Erin, if God seals us, how is it you can claim baptism is necessary?

    As for 1 Peter 3:21, The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: from John MacArthur..

    What that verse is saying is that…Peter has just talked about…First, we are talking about 1 Peter 3:18. Christ has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God, and so forth. It talks about there Christ’s provision of salvation. And then it says that when His body was on the cross dead, His spirit was alive–not the Holy Spirit there in verse 18–but His spirit. And, He went and preached to the spirits in prison. And, I believe these were demon beings, and the word “preach” is not “to preach the gospel” euaggelizo, but kerusso, “to proclaim a triumph.”
    I believe, that when He was dying on the cross (this is a marvelous truth), when He was dying on the cross, it looked to Hell and the demons like perhaps they had won the victory. And, so, at the very moment when His body was dead, during that period of time, “His spirit was alive,” it says in verse 18, and He went right down into the prison where the spirits are kept. And, you want to know what spirits they were? Verse 20 says they were the ones disobedient during the time of Noah. And, you remember, in those days, in the time of Noah, God sent the flood because the sons of God co-mingled with the daughters of men. So they were spirit beings who cohabited with women creating a sort of “Rosemary Baby” race of people, and God destroyed them all in the flood. So, these are demon spirits. That is all you really need to know. He went into the place, proclaimed a triumph over the demon spirits, even in the midst of His death.
    And then, it talks about the Ark in which people were saved by water. The Ark, then, becomes a symbol. And, in verse 21, “The like figure under which even baptism doth also now save us. But, it is not the putting away of the filth of the flesh.” In other words, He is saying that as that Ark was saved in water, so are we saved in water. But, it is not external water. Do you see that? It is not the water that washes the flesh, the physical body. Not that at all. But, it is that purification of the conscience. It is the purification of the conscience that He is really referring to. In other words, it is symbolic as the ship was saved by the water. It floated on the water. The water was its salvation. So, we are saved by a certain kind of being in water. But, it is not the water of the physical baptism. What water is it? Titus 3:5, tells us, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy, He saved us”…here it comes…”by the washing of regeneration.” Okay? It is that washing of the heart.
    Now, you go back with Peter and go back with Paul to a Jewish concept that really starts in the New Testament with Nicodemus, doesn’t it? Jesus says, “You must be born of”…what?…”water,” John 3, “and spirit.” What water was that? Well, what would Nicodemus understand? Nicodemus was a Jew. He was The Teacher in Israel. He was erudite scholar of the Old Testament. And, he would know that back in Ezekiel’s prophecy, in Chapter 36, Ezekiel said someday God is going to come in a unique way, and He is going to wash you with clean water. Take out the stony heart and give you a heart of flesh, and put His spirit within you. So, Nicodemus knew that someday the Messiah would come and He would do a washing work in the heart and plant the spirit. That is the water and the spirit of John 3. And, so, water, which, always in the Old Testament, was outward cleansing symbolized inward cleansing, always does the same in the New. So that the Ark, then, becomes a figure of being saved through a water. And, that water is not an external baptism. This verse in Peter argues against baptismal regeneration, but rather, a washing of the heart through the working of God and forgiveness through Christ.

    Concerning 1 Peter 3:21, from Dr. James White…

    But, someone will surely object, Peter himself said that “baptism saves us” in 1 Peter 3:21. Let’s look at the passage in context:
    “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who were disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”
    …we point out that foremost in Peter’s mind, again, is the death of Christ as the sacrifice for sin. Men are brought to God, not by what they do, but what God has done in Christ Jesus (v. 18). Upon the heels of this he mentions God’s act of judgment in the days of Noah. At that time eight souls were saved through water. Peter then says that this water “symbolizes” baptism (as the NIV translates the Greek term antitupon, literally, “antitype”). Baptism now saves us, Peter says–just as the water “saved” Noah and his family. But, of course, we know that Peter was not asserting that there was some salvific aspect to the flood waters themselves–God shut up the ark, and God saved Noah and his family. But the water is a symbol, Peter says, a symbol seen now in baptism. But is Peter dropping the symbolization so as to make baptism the means of salvation? Certainly not. Dr. Wuest has commented so well that we give his words at length:
    Water baptism is clearly in the apostle’s mind, not the baptism by the Holy Spirit, for he speaks of the waters of the flood as saving the inmates of the ark, and in this verse, of baptism saving believers. But he says that it saves them only as a counterpart. That is, water baptism is the counterpart of the reality, salvation. It can only save as a counterpart, not actually. The Old Testament sacrifices were counterparts of the reality, the Lord Jesus. They did not actually save the believer, only in type. It is not argued here that these sacrifices are analogous to Christian water baptism. The author is merely using them as an illustration of the use of the word “counterpart.” So water baptism only saves the believer in type. The Old Testament Jew was saved before he brought the offering. That offering was only his outward testimony that he was placing faith in the Lamb of God of whom these sacrifices were a type….Water baptism is the outward testimony of the believer’s inward faith. The person is saved the moment he places his faith in the Lord Jesus. Water baptism is the visible testimony to his faith and the salvation he was given in answer to that faith. Peter is careful to inform his readers that he is not teaching baptismal regeneration, namely, that a person who submits to baptism is thereby regenerated, for he says, “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh.” Baptism, Peter explains, does not wash away the filth of the flesh, either in a literal sense as a bath for the body, nor in a metaphorical sense as a cleansing for the soul. No ceremonies really affect the conscience. But he defines what he means by salvation, in the words “the answer of a good conscience toward God,” and he explains how this is accomplished, namely, “by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” in that he believing sinner is identified with Him in that resurrection.

  129. Honestly, I started reading the 1st of your last posts (and will not finish them either) and really this is going nowhere. I am offended that you say that I am not teachable. I can say the same to you that you dont see things my way therefore that makes you not teachable. I know what I believe and I guess it will be determined on the day of Jesus Christ return. I am also not dead in my sins because Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, saved me through His shed blood and beaten body on the cross. If that is not enough for you people, then nothing will satisfy you. You need to pray that you will have eyes to see and ears to hear what the word of God truly says. Maybe I can not articulate myself as graciously as you all can. You have totally missed my point and that is probably because of other points in the bible that we disagree on, which I am not even going to go there.

    One thing I have learned is that I need to be alot sharper, to deal with people like you all. You always have an answer for everything and yours is always the right way (according to you).

  130. Erin,
    If you were teachable, you would not keep repeating yourself concerning the necessity of baptism for salvation. You refuse to read what is posted here because it goes against what you’ve set your mind to believe, even though scripture does NOT back what you believe. The answers given you here are not our interpretation, they are the word of God. God’s word does not contradict, so when He says we are saved by grace, then how can you insist we must be baptized?

  131. Erin,
    After further investigation, it is now clear what you are promoting is called synergism which means combined action or operation. In short, God does His part in saving a sinner, but the sinner has to do his part as well.

    You may want to read this http://defendingcontending.com/2009/03/28/monergism-vs-synergism/

    In Christ,
    Lyn

  132. Lyn- Dont sweat it. They just cut and paste stuff from other people. They try to make you think they actually know something by pasting a lot- wear you out from asking questions and thinking- like a lot of Christians do to their kids.
    Like changing what simple words like lawful, moral, obedience and “good” mean.

  133. So your a calvinist

  134. No cutting ang pasting here Wayne. Does your cult have a name that you all follow?

  135. Erin,
    I would ask that you review http://defendingcontending.com/rules-of-engagement/

    You are on the threshold of breaking rule # 2, 3, and 4 at this time. As a former contributor to this blog, I feel it may be necessary to bring your comments to the attention of those who maintain this blog.

    thank you
    Lyn

  136. Erin said:

    “So your a calvinist”

    Only speaking for myself, I am not a “calvinist”.

    Do you belong to a denomination?

    -Jim

  137. No, I dont belong to a denomination or religious establishment. God is not religion. Religion is a man made institution.

  138. Hello, friends. I am trying to follow this discussion and I think I have narrowed it down to this quote from Erin:

    “Baptism represents following Christ to the grave and we come up renewed (risen to a new life) then we receive a gift (sorta like a welcome home gift) the Holy Spirit.The Holy Spirit is the identifying mark that makes one a christian and the only way to get that mark is through baptism. So yes, essentially baptism does save us. 1 Peter 3:21.”

    Erin, are you truly saying that the believer is given the Holy Spirit at baptism and baptism saves us?

    Sincerely,
    -atg

  139. I have been restricted and can not relpy. Sorry

  140. It seems that the impetus/reason for this article “Ten reasons NOT to ask Jesus into your heart” by Todd Friel.” is the high level of attrition of people from church after hearing the Gospel… however, if you use the numbers that Jesus used in the parable of the sower… then a 75% attrition rate is expected. That is to say out of the 4 that heard the word only 1 fully received and stuck around as a believer (good soil)… OK so I understand where the author is coming from – but seriously the article is mostly critical with a bit of explanation… The real issue is that the Church needs to understand that the first moment out the front is the first step in discipleship – Jesus said make disciples – a more helpful article would be one that outlines ways to move from the first step in discipleship… for example – ask for their phone number and take them out for a beverage and explain the Gospel to them – where there is time and room for questions and full explanations… but please don’t write articles that encourage people not to make a decision to get to know Jesus better….

  141. “but please don’t write articles that encourage people not to make a decision to get to know Jesus better….”

    This is not about keeping people from “knowing Jesus better”. It is about lying to them, telling them they have come into a relationshipo with Christ when they are still dead in their sin and the wrath of God abides upon them. While it might make us happy that we are “making disciples” all we are doing is filling pews and hell with false converts.

    -Jim

  142. … your reply is what the popular media do all the time… take one “soundbite” or one “phrase” and totally skew what I wrote or ignore a large part of it but that is OK, frustrating but OK…
    1. when someone puts their hand up to ask Jesus to come in their heart – that is person is not a “convert” or “disciple” – they have made one decision for Jesus – a disciple makes a decision for Christ everyday – I get that … You get that…
    2. In summary my point was this…
    A) The bible already warns of a high attrition rate (Parable of the Sower)…
    B) The Church needs to understand when it comes to “making disciples” when someone “asks Jesus into their heart” they are more than likely saying “i want to get to know more about Jesus coz I really don’t have a clue” (Note – “the prayer” as the article seems to dismiss has power whether they fully get it or not because “the tongue has power of life and death, those who love it eats is fruit”
    C) Because that 1st decision is more likely them saying “i want to get to know more about Jesus coz I really don’t have a clue”, the Church should have in place a way of catching up with that person to discuss their decision and figure out what their relationship status with Jesus really is…
    D) Don’t write an article bagging out the Church and their leaders – write an article that helps the Church understand why these people aren’t sticking

  143. I am posting this comment to defend Jesus and the protestant christian belief.
    It does hint that you should ask Jesus into your heart as your Lord and Savior.
    Luke 23:38-43: There was a written notice hung above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. One of the criminals that hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “Since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what are deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (as if asking him) Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

    Why would you say don’t ask Jesus into your heart, if you don’t you will go to Hell.

  144. Hi Rachel,

    It seems like you didn’t read the original post.

  145. To tell someone to ask Jesus into your heart is not found in the Bible Rachel. Ephesians 2:8-9 specifically states how a sinner is saved, by grace. Salvation is God’s gift given to whom He chooses, not because we choose Him. The doctrines of grace are essential to study, understand, and get back to if we want to see God move and sinners saved. To insist we have any part in being saved is to rob God of glory and make grace null and void. You have read into God’s word what simply isn’t there. I encourage you to ponder Ephesians chapter two.

    If you want to know about the doctrines of grace, I suggest you read Dr. James Boice’s book entitled ‘Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace, Rediscovering the Doctrines that Shook the World’.

    Lyn

  146. Rachel:

    I do not fault the intent of anyone asking Jesus to come into their heart. It reflects they want Jesus. But here’s the issue: What does the Bible say? Do we see anyone asking Jesus to come into their heart in Scripture, either while Jesus walked the earth, or in Acts? Or is it taught in the epistles?

    A lot rides on the issues of faith and repentance. When we truly believe the Gospel , we repent (turn around FROM following/obeying/submitting to the fallen human nature has been our normal behavior, and turn TO submission to God’s Word of truth). God the Holy Spirit is sent from the Father, by Jesus, to dwell within us. We don’t need to ask Him to. It’s part of the process that He performs. He makes us new creatures, we are given a new nature, and are grafted onto The Vine, through which we draw our very life, He adopts us as His children.

    The thief on the cross displayed: 1) Belief in the basic truths of the Gospel (Who Jesus is, that he (the thief) was deserving of death, that he trusted in Jesus’ power to forgive him), and 2) He asked for the Lord’s mercy upon him. He may not have verbalized a studied and formalized version of the Gospel, but he displayed true repentance and belief. Notice he never said anything like: “Jesus, I invite you into my heart”.

    Thus the problem with “asking Jesus to come into my heart” by-passes that whole process. God cannot dwell in a being who is separated from Him because of sin. Do you see the difference?

  147. That is so true, when they told me that the gospel that is preached in our churches is false because our churches are no longer led by the holy spirit i was offended, but God recently revealed to me how serious the gospel is. What i just read is a conformation of what the Lord has been revealing in my life.

  148. I believe the frase “Ask Jesus into your heart” come from a real desire to feel like we making a real commitment. We have all heard “That little boy has my heart” which is interpreted to mean we Love them very much. This I believe is why ppl say it…If you ask Jesus into your heart then you must really Love Him. Sometime the Bible can be a little confusing….Like….”Whosoever believes in Him (Jesus) shall not parish but have everlasting life” If this verse is taken out of context it wont say anything about Repentance….For this reason scripture should really not be taken out of context very often. Some verses can stand alone but most cant without varying interpretation. Just this mans veiw……

  149. In the asking Jesus into your heart you have to look into several scriptures that covey that message. John 1:12 as many as “received” Him, to them gave He the right to become the children of God.

    Romans 10:9,10 …if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your “heart” that God has raised Him from the dead you “shall” be saved.

    So we can wrangle uselessly over words but the reality is that those who ask Him into their hearts are in effect saying they are repenting of their sins and receiving (accepting) Jesus Christ as their Lord.

    One other main factor is the wind that blows where it wills…being born again. Regenerated by the Word of Truth.

    God does the saving as we believe on the report- The Gospel-the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes. And I agree with Todd in this- that if you are truly born again/believe, the result will be works and no backsliding other than seasons of greater faith and joy and times when sins battle wears a person down. The ebb and flow of living in the world while not being of it.

    Lots to think through, and fortunately we have His Spirit to make sense of His Word, no simple dogmas.

  150. Guess what some day when Jesus comes back you guys will regret saying all the things you guys said Jesus is real and if you don’t ask him now when he comes back there will be the great white thron e of judgement in heave and you will be judged on all the bad things you did and after that you will go to the ” lake of fire” or hell and the bible says you will be thirsty for eternity and what that awful person is telling you is a big fat lie. And if you don’t believe me fine believe that awful lieing person says fine fine go to hell or read the bible say the prayer an ask jesus in to your heart and to answer Rachel’s question yes many people did get saved in the BIBLE.

  151. Hi Jordan,

    You clearly didn’t read the post. Salvation isn’t gained by asking Jesus in your heart. God saves us, and we are commanded to repent and put our faith in Christ. Nowhere does the Bible talk about asking Him into our heart.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  152. Repentance and trust will not save either. Salvation is by faith alone.

  153. Andrew – Correct! Salvation is by grace alone by faith alone in Christ alone. This salvation will evidence itself by repentance and faith and love for the Word and people of God and hatred for sin and evil.

  154. And I would add to andrew and Manfred’s above (2) posts…….that faith PRODUCES repentance and the “trust” in salvation……….and faith is as a result of regeneration. Whew…..wrapped around the axle on words, I know.

    Todd
    Texas

  155. But repenting and trusting is part of the “asking Jesus into your heart prayer” aka getting saved. So if you say it and mean it and truly repent and trust in HIm, you are saved. It seems like it might be a case of wording to me. When Jesus calls you, and you answer with repentance and trust in Christ, call it what you will, you are saved.

  156. There is only one reason not to ask Jesus into your heart, it isn’t found in the bible.

    Repenting and trusting in Christ does not mean you have asked him into your heart, it means you have asked Him for mercy and forgiveness of your wickedness against him. Praying a prayer does not constitute salvation, only the regenerating power of God and His grace saves sinners.

  157. Here’s another point of view. http://youtu.be/mQBduikVS5E

  158. Hello Jim,

    I think the guy in your video doesn’t understand the argument any better than most of the people who have commented here. There is no doubt that the Bible says that Jesus dwells in the hearts of believers. The question is, “How does He get there?” The guy in the video never once cited a verse that says He gets there by accepting Him or by asking Him into our hearts. This article is a call to leave behind sloppy language like “asking Jesus into our hearts.”

    Thanks,
    Bill

  159. The problem is those who do this, who ask Jesus into their heart, then trust in something they’ve done for salvation. One commenter said ‘So if you say it and mean it and truly repent and trust in HIm, you are saved. ‘ This is so dangerous because man is depraved, dead in sin and unable to perk up and respond to the Gospel apart from God’s grace. No matter how sincere you were when you invited Jesus in, that will not save you, it is the regenerating power of a God who is mighty that opens the understanding and breaks the sinner, the Holy Spirit leads the sinner to repentance {which is part of His ministry in salvation}. We simply cannot give people a ‘formula’ to follow or a method to adhere to because the power of the saving of a soul is in the preaching of the Gospel {Romans 1:16}; the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, who bore sin on the cross. When we tack on a procedure/method at the end of our Gospel presentation, we prove we are not trusting in the power of God’s word. We want results and this method brings them, unfortunately this method produces false converts and America is filled with tons of false converts as a result of this method. This method also makes null and void God’s grace, which is what saves sinners {Eph. 2:8-9}. We are not called to be successful in converting sinners, we have no power to save. We are called to be faithful and to proclaim God’s truth; He will save or leave the sinner in their sin, according to His will.

  160. what is your take on baptism in relationship to all of this?

    ————————————-

    Sorry, as I’m reading more I see it is being discussed. I do know that it is possible for everyone to understand the gospel and salvation. Why wold God make it too complicated to where we must have others interpret for us? We humans try to complicate things so much! Just read the Bible, in context, and have an open heart to what God is telling you through the Word. Let God speak for Himself, without considering any opinion you or others may have. I pray that all of you have an open heart and study diligently. God wants all of us to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, right?

  161. Kayla,

    That verse you quoted at the end, 1 Tim 2:4, must be taken in context and in light of the balance of relevant Scripture in order to be properly understood. If God truly wanted ALL men to be saved, a) He has failed miserably throughout history and b) all would be saved. Neither of these statements is true. So what is the true meaning? Here is a Calvinist look at that verse: http://www.mslick.com/allmen.htm

    May the sovereign God and savior of the elect be your refuge in all things.

  162. In either 1997 or 1998, I said the “Sinner’s Prayer” and asked Jesus into my heart. For the next 10 years, I lived my life as I wanted. I was most definitely NOT saved. In 2008, I found myself hunched over, crying out to the Lord in remorse and sorrow. THAT’S when I became a Christian. To this day, I discourage people from saying the Sinner’s Prayer or asking Jesus into their hearts; I know first-hand that it may not mean a thing.

  163. That is the most rediculous statement I have ever read ~ ten reasons NOT to ask Jesus into your heart. We have free will on earth to choose to be & do good or bad. Many Christians are trying to do right in the eyes of God. Jesus is most welcome in everyone’s heart. Jesus is the key to heaven. You are rediculous. Jesus already lives in my heart and I know it. I have gotten intuition feelings when many times worrying about different issues and then I would get a feeling that everything would be alright. I believe that is the power of God. You need Jesus in your heart in all seriousness.

    Also, God is not in the deceiving business. He says what He means and He means what He says. : ) God bless.

  164. Janna said: “Also, God is not in the deceiving business. He says what He means and He means what He says. : ) God bless.”

    So He meant it when He said:

    Romans 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

    I guess means it is not of him who asks Jesus into his heart.

    Matthew 4:16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

    notice Jesus did not preach for us to ask Him into our hearts.

    Also, you said “I have gotten intuition feelings when many times worrying about different issues”. That alone may prove nothing. Have you read the book of 1 John to examine yourself to see if you are in the faith. God bless you Janna as you use your “free” will to make your calling and election sure. Do not trust your eternal soul to a cliche found on christian bumper stickers.

    -Jim

  165. Well done, Jim!
    One thing I would add to what you said as a warning about “free will” is that it was corrupted in the Garden, and has been corrupt in every man since then. Jesus expressed in His life, “Not my (free) will but Your Will be done Father!”

  166. Janna,
    Yes, you have free will to choose good or bad, BUT, because we are all born sinners with a sin nature, depraved and in bondage to sin, we will always choose sin. Sin has power over the sinner and can only be broken by Christ and His finished work on the cross. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us the human heart is like, ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?’ The heart means ‘inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding, inclination, resolution, determination (of will)’. All we think, feel, understand and claim to know is deceitful, which means ‘full of trickery’. Our minds are also desperately sick, which means ‘incurable’. How can such a mind freely choose anything good?

    You also say ‘Many Christians are trying to do right in the eyes of God. Jesus is most welcome in everyone’s heart.’ Do you know what Isaiah the prophet said about our works? Isa_64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Unless you are trusting in what Christ has done for propitiation {satisfaction} of sin, all your work is in vain. Also, nowhere in Scripture will you find the command to invite Jesus into your heart; instead you will find the command to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus. How is a sinner saved? “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.” – Ephesians 2:8-9 Salvation is given by God as a gift to whom He chooses {2 Thess. 2:13}, not as a result of us doing a ‘work’, such as asking Him into our hearts. You violate Ephesian 2:8-9 when you insist you are saved because of something you did. I encourage you to cry out for mercy and acknowledge your wickedness before a Holy God.

  167. It is ok to ask Jesus into your heart

    The heart is important in the Bible [762 in KJV, 541 in NIV not including plurals] and in our salvation and our relationship with God. Although the exact words “Ask Jesus into your heart” may not be found in the Bible the concept certainly is.
    It is with our heart that we believe and are justified (Romans 10:10). Calling on the name of the Lord saves (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13). Calling on the Lord can be as simple as thief on the cross: “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom” (Luke 23:42). Paul had to be knocked off of a donkey and blinded by an extremely bright divine light before he called upon the Lord (Acts 22:6-16).
    Paul prayed that Christ would dwell in people’s hearts (Ephesians 3:16-17). So I see nothing wrong in a person asking that Jesus come into their heart. After all it isn’t the words a person says it is the intent of their heart. True confession, repentance and trust must accompany whatever words are spoken. “Anyone who trusts in him will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:13). “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).

  168. Ken, if someone is basing their salvation on the concept that they ‘asked Jesus into their heart’, then there is a huge problem. This is a work, and it violates Eph. 2:8-9.
    The ‘heart’ is not a blood pumping organ when spoken of in the bible, it refers to our minds. For instance, Mark 7:21 “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries”; heart meaning ‘kardia’, which is defined ‘as the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavours’.
    The heart/mind is dead in sin, depraved and incurably sick, as Jeremiah 17:9 states. This type of mind is unable to invite Jesus into it and first must be opened up by the supernatural power of God. This isn’t humanly possible, so the intent of the heart, as you state, is only corrupt until God regenerates the sinner. Even repentance is not humanly possible and is given only by God {2 Timothy 2:25}, as is all of salvation. Salvation is all of grace and none of what we do. To think otherwise is to go against what God’s word teaches.
    You seem to think that verbal confessions are all that is necessary; calling on the Lord is produced or brought about by God Himself, as Christ teaches in John 6:44, ‘no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him’. Crying out to God as the thief on the cross did, or being blinded as the Apostle Paul was, these were a work of God which caused them to say ‘remember me’ and “Who are You, Lord?”{Acts 9:5}. God is sovereign in all of salvation; including repentance, regeneration, sanctification, justification, glorification. We are all dead in sin, ‘And you were dead in your trespasses and sins’ {Eph. 2:1}, until God ‘made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)’ {Eph. 2:5}. Calling upon the name of the Lord is wrought by God, inviting Jesus into your heart is not scriptural.
    Are you growing in holiness, Christ-likeness; do you now hate the sins you once loved and is Christ your all in all? Are you surrendered totally to Christ as Lord and Master? Does this world and all that it offers no longer appeal to you and do you live solely to glorify God {albeit not perfectly} and to do His will? Is there evidence that God has regenerated you and that you are in fact a new creation in Christ? These are just a few questions one needs to ask themselves as we are commanded to examine ourselves and see if we are in the faith {which is also a gift given by God}.

  169. Well done, Jim!
    One thing I would add to what you said as a warning about “free will” is that it was corrupted in the Garden,

    For sure Mickey, that is why I put free in quotes! In Christ -jim

  170. This argument against “Ask Jesus into your heart” seems just like the argument against “Infant Baptism”. It is not in the Bible. It does not make sense. Here is the scary one. People who are baptised as infants are not necessarily saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment. The person who wrongly believes they are saved will have a false sense of security. The cause of Christ is ridiculed. The cause of evangelism is hindered. If this is a valid point, why not go to the hospital and baptize all the babies of Christian parents as soon as they are born. No further need to be evangelistic if we keep this up.

  171. @Matthew: No, it’s not a case of wording. It’s important to have pinpoint accurate doctrine since we are saved by what we believe. The New Testament NEVER says we are saved by repentance or trust: this would be work’s-based salvation. We are saved by grace through faith which leads to repentance. The Pentecostals/Charismatics believe they are saved by repentance and add redemption through the blood of Christ. This latter point is a kind of mystical universalism which claims that Christ’s death automatically saves, but as you know, our righteousness is imputed or activated by faith!

  172. Very good and important thoughts – although it is against evangelists habit… Thanks.
    Reblogged it on:
    http://jesaja662.wordpress.com/2012/06/24/ten-reasons-not-to-ask-jesus-into-your-heart/

  173. “It’s important to have pinpoint accurate doctrine since we are saved by what we believe. ”

    We are not saved by what we believe, but in WHOM we believe, and that by grace through faith.

    “The New Testament NEVER says we are saved by repentance or trust: this would be work’s-based salvation.”

    Trusting Christ is work based? Thats like saying believing in Christ is work based. Many people use the term trust to differ saving faith from demon faith (the Bible CLEARLY shows two different types of people who profess faith in Christ). When repentance is seen in proper biblical light it clearly not mans work but the work of God within us. More than that though, it is commanded of us to bring forth this fruit (of course the mature know that even this is only by the grace of God).

    Joh 15:10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

    But Jesus, some of my christian friends say you are adding works to grace… and they all have seminary degrees. They believe they are only your friend if they DONT do what you say, so that free grace may abound.

    Jim

  174. @fleebabylon:
    Firstly, the Bible does say we are saved by what we believe about Christ. For example: ‘And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation’ (Eph. 1: 13) and ‘if you declare with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved’ (Romans 10: 9), etc.

    Secondly, you say that ‘trust’ distinguishes ‘saving faith’ from ‘demon faith’, but where is this in the Bible? Those with ‘saving faith’ are characterized from those with ‘demon faith’ simply by having an inheritance prepared since the creation of the world (Matt. 25: 34).

    Thirdly, repentance is not a prerequisite for salvation e.g. ‘Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness’ (Titus 1: 1) and ‘For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions…’ (Titus 2: 11), etc.

  175. Apart from Confession there is no salvation Romans 10:9 Pretty plain read you bible. If you haven’t said it from your heart your not saved period

    http://www.thischristianjourney.com/ThisChristianJourney/GeneralPages/SixReasons.htm
    Six reason why you should get saved

  176. “Apart from Confession there is no salvation Romans 10:9 Pretty plain read you bible. If you haven’t said it from your heart your not saved period”

    So a mute person cant be saved, guess that no mute people are elect?

    @Andrew

    “Firstly, the Bible does say we are saved by what we believe about Christ”

    So we are saved by what color we think His hair was then? Those who are right about His hair color are saved, those who are wrong are lost. Absurd of course, but some of the “doctrines” that christendom tries to force her victims into are just as absurd. So maybe we agree? that there are core doctrines that are outlined in the NT or even in some popular confessions. Yet there are also many absurd doctrines that carnal religous groups cling to as proof that they are the most pure church, no less absurd than the hair color example above.

    Consider Apollos, he was ‘fervent in spirit’ though still lacking in doctrine. Are you saying he was lost before this event?

    Act 18:24 Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him and explained to him the way of God more accurately.

    “Secondly…Those with ‘saving faith’ are characterized from those with ‘demon faith’ simply by having an inheritance prepared since the creation of the world (Matt. 25: 34). ”

    Bringing forth good fruit is the best proof that we are elect, you would error if you tru to pit these two against each other. Even the whole of Matthew 25 shows that what we do is the proof of if we are sheeps or goats. Salvation is by faith, the most simple example being the thief on the cross. Yet if someone makes a profession of faith it is worthless apart from fruit being brought forth in their life (Sheep and goats, good fish and bad, etc).

    “Thirdly, repentance is not a prerequisite for salvation”

    Never said it was a “prerequisite”? The grace of God that saves teaches us godliness – that is exactly my point. If it does not teach us godliness than it is not the grace of God… which is often the result of alter calls and asking Jesus into your heart..

    In Christ -Jim

  177. As we study GOD’S holy words of total truth from the holy bible, then we see that Baptism (Born Again) is Essential for Salvation and a Command from GOD. Without GOD’S Grace = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Baptism (Born Again) = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Faith/Believing/Hope = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Hearing = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Obeying GOD = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Repentance = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Love = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Confessing Christ Jesus = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Living a Godly life in Christ Jesus…After We Are Baptized = We Cannot Be Saved. Therefore, let Us Not All be Selective: Hearers/Readers/Doer’s of the Words of GOD and only want what our Itching Ears want to Hear…2 Timothy 4:3…(ERV) The time will come when people will not listen to the true teaching. But people will find more and more teachers who please them. They will find teachers who say what they want to hear. (GNB) The time will come when people will not listen to sound doctrine, but will follow their own desires and will collect for themselves more and more teachers who will tell them what they are itching to hear. We must remember that there are 100’s of Commands from GOD in the New Testament and We must Follow God’s Holy Words that pertain to Life and godliness very seriously and not selectively. Whole (Holy) Words Of God in Oneness & Unity as GOD intended. Otherwise are we not just practicing Carnality and being Carnal? That is why there are so many denominations, false teachers, division, anti-Christ’s, non-unity, non-oneness and dissensions in Christ Jesus Church = Kingdom. We mere men think that we know more than GOD and We selectively teach from His Words of Truth with bible verses that are sometimes taken or read out of context/order. We then do not read the previous verses, verses after and/or other verses that parallel and complete/unite that one verse in perfect harmony with other verses. We must remember: our GOD is not a GOD of Disorder but a GOD of Peace…1 Corinthians 14:33,40. We then end up having our Lord’s house divided and it will fall. Luke 11:17…(HCSB) 17 Knowing their thoughts, He told them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is headed for destruction, and a house divided against itself falls. Brethren…Let us all stop hardening our own hearts. I will get off of my soap box now, but I can give you many examples from the holy bible that actually condemn 1,000’s of false churches that claim to follow Christ Jesus, including the 7 churches (that seem righteous to men) in the book of Revelations.
    Shalom!

    ——————————

    The Bible Teaches: GOD’S “Plan Of Salvation” consists of not just taking one step to have heavenly eternal life, but many steps. To become a: Saved Christian. (Christian = Christ Like in all we say and do).

    What Must I Do To Be Saved??? * A Person Must First:

    * Hear the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the Word of God!
    (Romans 10:14-18, Acts 8:5-6, Acts 8:12-13, Acts 13:48, Acts 17:11, Acts 28:23-29, Luke 11:28, Luke 8:15-21, John 5:25, John 8:47, Romans 10:14, Rev. 2:7,29, Rev. 3:6, Matthew 13:13-23,43, Mark 4:20)

    * Believe and have Faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ & that he is the: Son of God, the true Messiah, only Mediator, the Way, the Truth, and the Life! Saved by Grace through Believing…(Ephesians 2:8, Acts 19:4, Acts 16:30-31, Galatians 3:22, Romans 3:22, Romans 10:8-14, 1John 3:21-24, 1 Timothy 1:16, John 6:28-69, John 8:24, Hebrews 11:1 & 6, John 11:26, John 12:44-50, John 20:30-31, 1 Thessalonians 4:14)

    * Repent of all our past and present sins!
    (Luke 13:3-5, Luke 15:7, Acts 2:38 Acts 3:19, Acts 8:22, Acts 26:20, Acts 17:30, Mark 1:15, Mark 6:12, Revelation 3:19, Revelation 9:20-21, Revelation 16:9)

    * Confess his holy name: Jesus Christ…confess that Jesus is the Christ, the true Messiah, and the only one that can take away our sins. (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:8-12, Romans 14:11, Jam 5:16, Hebrews 3:1, Hebrews 13:15, Philippians 12:9-12, 1 John 1:9)

    * Be Baptized…Born Again…fully immersed into water (Not Sprinkled) to represent Christ our Savior’s Burial!
    (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38-47, Acts 19:3-5, Romans 6:3-5, Ephesians 4:4-6, 1 Peter 3:17-22, Galatians 3:26-27, John 3:3-8, 1 Peter 1:23)

    * Live a Godly life in Christ…be Christ like in all we say and do, and in Christ’s church we must worship God, partake of the Lord’s Supper, Praise Him and be a servant. Live for Christ and stay faithful to God…We Must Have Love For GOD and Everyone!
    (Matthew 4:4, Acts 2:42-47; Acts 20:7, Philippians 1:21, Romans 14:8-9, 1 Thessalonians 2:12, 1 Thessalonians 4:7, 2 Timothy 3:10-17, 2 Timothy 4:7-9, Galatians 2:20, 2 Corinthians 6:16, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Colossians 1:10-13, 1 Peter 2:12-16, 1 Peter 4:2-6, Revelation 2:10, Revelation 20:12, Revelation 21:3, Luke 6:34, Luke 6:27-28, Mark 12:29-34)

    * Saved by Obeying GOD, Loving GOD and by the Grace of the Lord Christ Jesus…GOD our Heavenly Father does the work of saving us by His Grace (Unmerited Favor), if We Obey Him. If We truly Love GOD, then We will Obey Him (Keep His Commandments) and do what GOD Says… Acts 15:11; Ephesians 2:5-8; Matthew 5:19; Titus 2:11; John 14:15,21; Acts 5:32; 1 John 5:2; John 15:10; Acts 16:4; 1 Corinthians 7:19; 1 John 2:3-4; 1 John 3:22; 1 John 5:2; 1 John 5:3; 2 John 1:6; Revelations 22:14; James 2:14-26; Rom 3:23-24; Matt 7:13-14

    {Without These Many Steps: We cannot be Saved, We are sinners, We are without hope, We are eternally lost and destined for eternity in hell! (Romans 3:10,23; Ephesians 2:12, Psalms 9:17, Psalms 16:10, Proverbs 15:24, Proverbs 23:14, Matthew 5:22, Matthew 5:29-30, Mat 10:28, Mat 16:18, Mat 23:33, Luke 16:23, Rev 20:14)

    The Gospel Invitation Of GOD’S Plan Of Salvation…Is Available For Us All…
    As we study GOD’S holy words of total truth from the holy bible, then we see that Baptism is Essential for Salvation and a Command from GOD. Without GOD’S Grace = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Baptism (Born Again) = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Faith/Believing/Hope = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Hearing = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Obeying GOD = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Repentance = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Love = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Confessing Christ Jesus = We Cannot Be Saved, Without Living a Godly life in Christ Jesus…After We Are Baptized = We Cannot Be Saved.

  178. James – are you a Roman Catholic or Seventh Day Adventist? You are confusing justification/redemption/salvation with sanctification (and the ongoing present tense of “being saved”). The only works that CAN bring about the initial saving (justification) is the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. All the work humans do is rubbish in regards to raising sinful men from spiritual death to new life in Christ. All the work we do in response to being raised to new life is an offering of praise to God for His marvelous mercy and grace in having saved one such as me. No flesh can boast in the presence of the Sovereign God and Judge of all things.

  179. Manfred…

    Not Catholic or Seventh Day Adventist…

    Just a Christian/Spiritual Jew/Spiritual Israelite

    Let Us Carefully Read/Study…James 2:14-26
    And see what GOD has to say…

    People are made right with God by what they do, not by faith only
    Faith that does nothing is worth nothing

    James 2:14-26
    New Century Version (NCV)
    Faith and Good Works
    14 My brothers and sisters, if people say they have faith, but do nothing, their faith is worth nothing. Can faith like that save them?
    15 A brother or sister in Christ might need clothes or food.
    16 If you say to that person, “God be with you! I hope you stay warm and get plenty to eat,” but you do not give what that person needs, your words are worth nothing.
    17 In the same way, faith by itself—that does nothing—is dead.
    18 Someone might say, “You have faith, but I have deeds.” Show me your faith without doing anything, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
    19 You believe there is one God. Good! But the demons believe that, too, and they tremble with fear.
    20 You foolish person! Must you be shown that faith that does nothing is worth nothing?
    21 Abraham, our ancestor, was made right with God by what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar.
    22 So you see that Abraham’s faith and the things he did worked together. His faith was made perfect by what he did.
    23 This shows the full meaning of the Scripture that says: “Abraham believed God, and God accepted Abraham’s faith, and that faith made him right with God.” And Abraham was called God’s friend.
    24 So you see that people are made right with God by what they do, not by faith only.
    25 Another example is Rahab, a prostitute, who was made right with God by something she did. She welcomed the spies into her home and helped them escape by a different road.
    26 Just as a person’s body that does not have a spirit is dead, so faith that does nothing is dead!

    We Cannot Be Saved With:
    Works…Alone
    Grace…Alone
    Baptism (Born Again)…Alone
    Hearing…Alone
    Confessing…Alone
    Repenting…Alone
    Living A Godly Life…Alone
    Un-Obedient Love…Alone
    Faith…Alone
    Hope…Alone

    We Need Them All In Order To Be Saved And That Is Truly Obeying GOD

  180. James – your works, and mine, are polluted by our sin and CANNOT earn merit from God. You – and Martin Luther – misunderstand James 2 and much else in Scripture. Faith is a gift from God and NOT OF WORKS, lest any man boast. Saved by GRACE and not deeds we’ve done. You can string together as many passages as you want and twist them the same way the heretics in SDA and Roman Catholicism does, but you cannot make salvation by works of man biblical.

  181. James:
    I haven’t read every comment, but just in case it hasn’t been mentioned, did the thief on the cross keep your list of rules?

  182. Rev Limiter…
    First Of All, These Are Not My List Of Rules…They are GOD’S Commands/Rules from HIS Holy Book Of Life. We must not pick and choose only what we want to obey and hear. The thief on the cross was not under the New Covenant, but he was still under the Old Covenant, so these commands where not in affect until after Christ Jesus died.
    Regarding this common “argument” that one can be saved without baptism because the thief on the cross was saved, here are six responses:
    1. One doesn’t know that the thief wasn’t baptized under John’s baptism. It would be impossible to prove one way or the other that the thief on the cross was baptized. In fact, there is more evidence that he was baptized than that he wasn’t baptized.
    2. Jesus had power to personally forgive sins on earth (Matthew 9:6, Mark 2:10, Luke 5:24). While Jesus was on the earth, he had authority to forgive whomsoever He willed. Today, however, forgiveness is based upon our relationship to Christ through His covenant.
    3. The thief showed faith in Christ when most of the world was reviling Him. The fact that the thief knew who Jesus was shows something regarding the thief’s knowledge. It means that the thief had heard someone teach regarding Jesus.
    4. The thief recognized the true nature of the kingdom putting faith in Christ that he was going to come into it despite Jesus present circumstance of hanging on the cross. The thief told Jesus to remember him when Jesus came into His kingdom (Luke 23:42). The fact that the thief knew something about the kingdom of Jesus also attests to the thief’s knowledge. Somewhere someone had told him about the coming kingdom and someone had told him that this kingdom belonged to Jesus. The thief had heard and believed the preaching of the gospel.
    5. Jesus had not yet died, and so the New Covenant had not come into effect (Hebrews 9:16). Everyone that lives today is under the authority of the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant/Law. Since that is the case, the thief could not have been forgiven under the terms of the New Covenant, but the Old. I would have just as much authority to build an ark in order to be saved as I would to appeal to the thief on the cross. Those things happened under a different covenant and hence are not applicable to my circumstances today under the New Covenant of Christ.
    6. The terms of the New Covenant had not yet been given. Jesus told Peter that he would give him the keys to the kingdom in Matthew 16:18, 19. Those keys had not yet been given at the time of Jesus’ death. Those keys were finally given in Acts 2. It wasn’t until those terms were given that one could know what to do to have forgiveness of sins under the New Covenant. The thief couldn’t have known what those terms were, but today, we can.
    Can a person be saved in exactly the same way that the thief on the cross was saved? No. Today we must be saved under the authority of the New Covenant and under the terms of that covenant. Today that is accomplished through submission to God’s command through the apostles to be baptized, for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
    The thief on the cross is a great example of forgiveness. It shows us that it is never too late to come to the Lord in this life. However, the thief on the cross is not an example of what one must do to be saved today as his salvation was based upon a different covenant, different circumstances, and a different relationship to Jesus.

  183. James,

    You are saying that Christ’s blood was not enough. That His sacrifice wasn’t enough to save me…it has to be that *plus* things that I do? That is blasphemy.

    My works are just an outward showing of my faith….fruit. Now, obviously if I am saved, I will have the fruit….but my salvation is *not* dependent on my works. That takes glory away from Christ and would give me room to boast. He is perfectly sufficient and I never will be. Thanks be to God for His Son Who took my place so that I may live!

    The point of James 2 that you quoted is showing that if we have true faith, we will bear the fruit of works naturally. If we are truly born again by the Spirit, we will do those things that show this! If we aren’t bearing that fruit, our faith is dead because there is no true faith.

    I sincerely pray that you see the truth in this because you are truly wrong in this. Salvation comes from Jesus alone. Do not add one thing to His perfect sacrifice….or else you saying that He is not enough…blasphemy.

    Kindly,
    Katy

  184. James:
    Thanks for your explanation concerning the thief! I understand his old covenant status. Had you been conversant in the scriptures, you wouldn’t have had to paste in your response! I found the link you used rather quickly!

    I want to make this as simple as possible! Would you agree that a person is justified at the moment of conversion? (John 5:24) I certainly hope you would! Now, since that’s the case, how would you deal with a recent convert who passed away moments after coming to faith?

  185. I do wonder though where He would be, if not in our hearts, if He is in us?! (And I am assuming we are not talking about the blood pumping engine in our body but the inner most part of our being, the center of our emotions, decisions, desires and control is, something tantamount to either soul or spirit or both, depending on which context.

    Please kindly explain these:

    But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. (Romans 8:10)

    To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: (Colossians 1:27)

    I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, (Ephesians 3:16) – Well you could say this is the Holy Spirit, but even then in this context, I would say they are the same.

    I think we just need to be clear on context. You do not base the salvation message on just a simple prayer of Jesus coming into our heart, however, it is His desire to be there, and if you open up yourself to accept HIm as Lord and Saviour, you are indeed asking Him to come in (to your heart!)

  186. Isaac, you state ‘ if you open up yourself to accept HIm as Lord and Saviour, you are indeed asking Him to come in (to your heart!)’ which places salvation at the mercy of the sinner and his doing something, i.e., opening yourself up and accepting Him and Lord and Savior. Where in God’s word do we find this?
    It simply is not there…here is how a sinner is saved, “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.” Eph 2:8-9

    You are promoting a ‘works-based’ salvation when stating we must do something, i.e., open ones self up to accept Him. The word of God contradicts this in the above passages; the Bible is clear, salvation is by grace and grace alone, not because we do something, but because God does. Unfortunately in the churches in America, we find false teachings and an accursed gospel that states sinners simply do this or that and then God saves them; this is not what scripture teaches. The doctrines of grace are a lost teaching in this post-modern, relevant, universal visible church; and it shows. We have multitudes of false converts who think themselves saved because of something they’ve done, instead of understanding the grace of God in the saving of a dead- in -sin sinner.

    “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,” Eph. 2:1
    “even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” Eph. 2:5

  187. It is not that these words have an evil power to keep people unsaved, they are not wrong in themselves, it is
    1, if that is all that is expressed, [not relized thru scripture you will definately spend eternity in LOF, not agreed with God that regardless of excuses we have done horrible things and are sorrowful for it. That our sins placed him on cross, Believe that Jesus is the son of God, the creator and saviour, that there is none other way to God. If aperson prays right off as I have witnessed it is very scary, I have seen people actually truly get saved that way BECAUSE they had already been brought to that point by Holy Spirit . so
    2, where is the person at, are they self righteous or repentant, heard and completely believe gospel and Gods word, they may just need to confess it to others and God in prayer

  188. I have so many issues with this teaching. First of all to all those who say ‘where in the bible does it say ‘ask Jesus into your heart”. I say look at Ephesians 3:17 (NASB)
    17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
    If he says he will dwell in our hearts how is it anti-biblical to express the desire for him to do so?
    This also addresses the second point Todd makes. If Christ said he will dwell in our hearts don’t be a douche and ask if it is literal. And in your first point you quote Rev 3:20. Well have you read Rev 3:18? Only 2 verses earlier God is asking them to buy gold refined in the fire, and white garments and eye salve? Is this literal? Does God have a marketplace where we can purchase these things? No. Of course it is figurative as is vs20.

    Now your other points hold some grounding IF you tell people to ‘ask Jesus into your heart’ as the only means of salvation. But if you lead them in a prayer acknowledging God as sovereign, Jesus as Lord, accepting his sacrifice and truely repenting of their sin then why can’t you also express the desire for him to come dwell in your heart as he promised in ephesians 3:17?

  189. I would like everyone to look up these verses: Romans 3:22, John 1:12, Acts 16:30,31,John 3:15 -17, Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 10:32 -33, and Matthew 7:7-8 . In this you say there is only one verse on salvation, but as you can see it is not true. I would also like to point out that when I was saved, and others I have spoken to have said that they did repent of their sins. Also when you say this prayer, which isn’t always the same for everyone, you can say I trust and believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and I believe god is god and things like that. I would also like to point out that you can have fears because of the devil. He can scare you into believing that. I could go on but I think you get the jest. In any case people who believe this should do research in their bible, pray, and talk to your pastor before you make a dission that could change your perspective and your life.

  190. Boy there are so many comments in this thread.
    There is no sinners prayer in the New Testament and that’s a simple fact. There is however, a lot said about belief, repentance and baptism. Strangely, very few people seem to notice this. Every conversion account in the New Testament involves baptism; every single one. Even Jesus very instruction to the disciples said to “go into all nations baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit …………..” What I cannot understand is how most people who call themselves Chistians can’t see this. People (Christians) should read the bible without their rose coloured glasses and preconceived ideas and views, and look at what God’s word actually says. God made it very clear what man needs to do to be saved, but most people would prefer to follow man made ideas.
    People, why not simply follow what God’s word actually teaches. Many people (Christians) seem to forget we are talking about the almighty creator of everything. He went to an awful lot of trouble to offer mankind salvation. I think if he put baptism in his word, he meant for us to do it.

  191. We are commanded to be baptized once we have become Christians. However, it is not an essential to salvation as evidenced by the thief on the Cross. He professed his faith in Jesus and was promised to be in Paradise with Christ. Baptism, like any good work, is an evidence of salvation. If someone simply refused to be baptized, it could be a warning flag. We should love our Savior so much that we absolutely desire to be obedient to Him. But we must also be careful not to make it sound as though a failure to be baptized means someone is not saved.

  192. Can I ask where it says in scripture that we are to be baptised once we have become Christians?

    I don’t understand how you can use the example of the thief on the cross.

    Firstly, the new covenant had not come in as Jesus had not died yet, and so the thief was still under the old law and therefore did not need to be baptised or believe in Jesus to be saved.

    Secondly, the thief did not ask Jesus to forgive him, he asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom. Maybe the thief believed that Jesus was the son of God or at best athought he was a prophet. Jesus own disciples didn’t really work out who Jesus really was until he arose from the dead and finally appeared to them. Belief in Jesus does not mean you are saved. The demons believe in Jesus, but they are not saved. James chapter 2 makes that clear, so do the many encounters that Jesus had with demons and demon possessed people. Also, I think Jesus (God in human form) can forgive anyone he wants. So, even if baptism was required whilst Jesus was hanging on the cross, he clearly knew the thief’s heart and decided to forgive him; even though the thief did not ask for forgiveness. The thief was a very special situation, of a man with no hope of salvation and God showing the extent of His mercy. I think you need to be very careful using the thief as an example to apply to everyone. If you do, then logically you also need to believe that we don’t need to repent and ask for forgiveness and God will just forgive us anyway.

    Thirdly, if you’re already saved, why be baptised?

  193. TR – Can you point to me any place where someone was baptized BEFORE a profession of faith. In all instances I can think of, it follows. In Matthew 28: 19-20, Christ said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”. According to Christ, one was made a disciple FIRST, then baptized. Thus baptism follows one being saved through repentance and faith.

    Regarding the thief, it does not hold that he was under the old covenant because he had made no sacrifice for his sins. Having been nailed to the cross, he could not get down, go to the temple and give a sacrifice. Thus, his salvation could only be obtained through Christ’s sacrificial atonement. Yes, he did not specifically say “forgive me” but you may recall that he began reviling Christ with the other thief. At some point, he ceases this and rebukes the other thief saying that they were deserving if their punishment. Being convicted of of his sin and realizing his punishment is just, he turns to Christ and asks to be remembered. Christ then promises him that he will enter Paradise that day. Sounds like repentance and faith to me.

    Baptism is a profession of our faith, that we have died to self with Christ (entering the water) and have been resurrected to new life (exiting the water). There is no indication that baptism would be a requirement for salvation because it is a work of obedience. Remember Galatians 2:16 says “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we have also believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” If baptism is a requirement of salvation, then it is a work if the law and salvation by faith alone is false.

  194. Umm, who would get baptised if they didn’t believe or have faith in the first place. If it was the other way around wouldn’t that be putting the cart before the horse. That makes no sense. The only people who were baptised were believers.

    So my question is still why get baptised if you are already saved? Isn’t that trying to work your way to heaven?

    As far as the thief on the cross is concerned, what does him hanging on the cross and unable to get down to make a sacrifice, have anything to do with him being under the old law, or not. Prior to Jesus dying and resurrecting from the dead, everyone was judged according to the old law; the new covenant hadn’t come in yet.

    What does Acts2:38 say -
    “Repent and be baptised, everyone of you for the forgiveness of your sins”. It does say believe for the forgiveness of your sins, or repent for the forgiveness of your sins. It says “Repent and be baptised, ………… for the forgiveness of your sins”. It’s black and white man. If you didn’t believe first, you wouldn’t repent and wouldn’t get baptised, and your sins wouldn’t be forgiven.

    Read 1Peter3:18-21 -
    ………..the water that saved Noah and his family..”symbolises baptism that now saves you…………..It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ”.

    I think saying “baptism that now saves you” is pretty clear and concise.

    Also, who said baptism is a work? The new testament certainly doesn’t.

    If you apply your logic, then all you need do is believe, and do nothing apart from believe for the rest of your life. So, don’t be kind, don’t patient, don’t generous, don’t care for the poor and down trodden, don’t look after the homeless, don’t care for orphans and widows, don’t make disciples, etc……. These are all works aren’t they?

    Isn’t it easier to just accept what the word says.

    Jesus, said small is the gate and narrow is the way and few will find it. According to current stats there are approximately 2.5billion “Christians” in the world, with hundreds of different teachings on what the word says. Are they all correct? Are they all saved? If they are then Jesus was mistaken about “few”.

    As with Noah only 8 people were saved. That is few.

    I encourage you and anyone else reading this, to look into the scriptures and accept what they say, without preconceived ideas or views based on what you have been told.

    Good luck and God be with you all. TR

  195. TR, it is so easy to believe what you are taught and this verse has led many astray. Sadly it would not be so had they but read the next part of the verse that you just happened to leave out – ” (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)”

    Yes, an easy read in context shows us that baptism is NOT for salvation, but solely for a good conscience toward God. Period.

  196. One more note, the Old Covenant was done away with when Christ died on the cross. He himself said that the work was finished. The thief on the cross crossed the great divide between life and death based on the finished work of Jesus Christ. He was saved by grace alone just as are all true believers!

  197. TR – it is clear at this point you are not actually seeking discussion here, but are only looking to promote your false belief that baptism is a requirement for salvation. Therefore, any further posts on this matter will not be approved. You are of course welcome to continue reading our articles.

  198. I think the notion on “accepting Jesus into one’s heart” is somehow misconstrued. I understand this to mean that we are inviting Jesus into the core of our being – to take control of our life. Acts 15:8 “God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.” It is the heart that God transforms.

    My daughter was 3-years old when she prayed to “receive Jesus into her heart”, even in one so young the change in her life was immediately evident. PTL, she is now 22 and still walking with God. Jesus himself said that, “Unless you become like a little child you cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” This is the simplicity of His wonderful gift!

    Repentance infers an act of the will, yet in Ephesians 2 we are taught that we are saved by God-given faith, through grace – NOT by any form of works which to me this would include an ‘act’ of repentance. In Romans 10:9, Paul states, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” This is the Gospel in all its simplicity. Belief must always come before true repentance.

    Some people receive Christ’s salvation because of the realization of their sinful nature – not so with everyone. My circumstances were that of one who had come to the end of their rope and my prayerful cry was, “God, if you’re there help me!”

    I was 35 when I acknowledge Jesus as Lord. It was only after He took over my life that I was able to receive the gift of repentance (Acts 5:31) and it was God who lead me to receive this gift (Romans 2:4), and subsequently be baptized.

    If Jesus does not dwell in my heart, that is the very core of my being, then where does He live?

    Oh, the wonder of His amazing grace!

    David Harrison

  199. As a new Christian, (I was a false convert for 6 years, and before that I thought I was one because I went to church as a kid and believed in God); I can relate to this article. I think it’s dead on. I prayed a prayer about 6 years ago and invited Jesus into my heart. I found the prayer on a popular evangelical website. I then proceeded to read my Bible (which was boring and didn’t last long), continued to live in sin, (I was covered to get into heaven so…), but I did drop a few sins, got healthy, tried to “be” a Christian, this was an ongoing struggle (in hindsight I was trying to be something I wasn’t), I even managed to get baptized a year later because I hadn’t yet.

    Fast forward, I got I’ll last year and turned to my Bible looking for comfort, started attending a few different churches while reading my Bible. The Word of God convicted me. I became aware I was a false convert from Matthew and the parable The Lord gives about the sower and the seed. Over several weeks the Holy Spirit drew me closer and I came to see the truth. I mourned over my sin. I still do now anytime I speak of that wonderful time when I first became a child of God. What is also amazing is how His Word is so powerful. Even as I attended a few weeks at a church I have since left because of so little discernment in the church, God spoke to me through the Word. I have since found a church that is preaching the Word, but found out they are hand in hand with BGEA and Roman Catholicism. I shared my concerns with one if the Pastors and was shocked about the lack of discernment with my concern. I was recommended a worldly book to help me with a struggle personally I wa having and also a portion if the Bible (I wholeheartedly believe in the sufficiency of scripture.) I do not disagree with books written by man but they had better be Biblically correct or I won’t read them. So I prayerfully sent an email to the lead pastor with my concerns an some detailed papers on Roman Catholicism as well as scripture on discernment. I have received no response, but will pray for them. This Sunday will be a first visit to a new church. It’s an hour drive but from my research seems biblical. It is difficult to find a solid church but I long to be with family.

    Anyways, my major point was that the true gospel message of the Bible I had never heard until the age of 34.

    And I grew up in church and even prayed the sinners prayer.

    This article is important and gives a great reminder that we all should be sharing the true gospel whenever we are given the chance. I am married to a professing Christian and a professing 15 year old daughter. But I know The Lord has a plan. I just follow after my King and pray for my little family. My husbands family is deeply rooted in Roman Catholicism. I am praying for their hearts to be softened and for me to have an opportunity to share the truth with them. We are not close either relationally or physically. (Holiday callers and we all live several states away from each other). But I am praying how God would have me share the truth with them. Random phone call? Send them a letter with information? Any tips??

    Ps . I love this sight among many others. Proclaim it. Defend it. Contend for it.

    That would make a great shirt….and an opener to share the gospel….:)

  200. I liked the article, and I like Todd Friel a lot. I don’t agree with the part at the end about tithing. Tithing is not a new testament practice, but giving is. Let’s encourage giving, but not yolk people with this old testament tithing thing. Do we also have to eat fish on Fridays? Overall, I think the article is a bit harsh, and shocking to many, I’m sure. I am somewhat in agreement with it’s intent, but not sure about the harshness of it. (I tend to be harsh at times too)

  201. 1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

    How can this scripture be false if He “in me” is great then he who is in the world? How does that work? I absolutely agree that we need to repent and believe. I will always be a sinner, only Jesus is perfect. I am thankful by the grace of God, I believe in Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit!

  202. Hello CB of CA,

    No one is saying a Bible verse is false. Jesus indwells believers. The issue is that we don’t get saved by asking Jesus into our hearts. Those who think they are saved by asking Jesus into their hearts, are probably not saved at all.

    Thanks,
    Bill

  203. CB of CA,
    I would like to correct you on one point. If you are a true child of God you are not longer a sinner! You are a saint. You are a righteous person who sometimes sins, but you are no longer a sinner! Christ is your new character, the ‘new you’. The sinner died on the cross. If you would like to study the Biblical truth on this topic, I highly recommend the Grace Walk bible study (and DVD) by Dr. Jim McVey. It will turn your life around. http://www.gracewalkcanada.org/resources/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=7&products_id=33

  204. Soo Jesus is the hearts of His believers (Galatian 2:20, Ephesians 3:17) but its wrong to ask Him in? This is a new concept I’m struggling with. I agree that this term is very cliche and as a child I used to wonder how Jesus lived in my heart. In evangelism I never use the term brcause I hate Christian cliches. But is Todd saying Jesus isny in the hearts of believers? I would also venturr to say that because someone asks Jesus into their hearts it doesn’t necessarily mean a false convert. Someone csn be saved in spite of inviting Jesus in.

  205. The problem with this article is that once again, Todd treats it as if it is an “either/or” situation. If someone used the phrase, “Jesus come into my heart” they didn’t repent and trust in Christ and are false converts. Yes, it’s a stupid term, but I’ve heard people use that term and at the same time repent and trust in Christ. They didn’t know any better, but they didn’t leave the important part out either. So just because they used that term, they are somehow not saved? That is just stupid. Instead of being snarky about this subject, wouldn’t it be better to bring it up in the body of Christ to discuss, so people could learn from it instead of being legalistic, making sweeping assumptions that lack grace and balance?

  206. Christopher, your writing is deeply hypocritical in that it is snarky and makes sweeping assumptions that lack grace. -Jim

  207. Fleebabylon

    You really have to be kidding. I’m commenting on an old post with comments full of snark and grand-standing, not opening a discussion, and I’m not a famous Christian that is speaking or blogging in the efforts of teaching. Your comment is just silly and addresses nothing.

  208. God bless you Christopher.

  209. Ephesians 3:17 (NKJV)
    17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,

  210. Agree with the article but this verse is interesting…….so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, Eph 3:17

  211. Two short comments (OK, short by my standards!);
    A) Look up “repent” in your concordance, you will find it does NOT mean to ‘turn away from your sins and turn towards God’ as many preachers will say (usually making a 180 degree turn in the process), it means ‘to think differently’. So when a person repents, they think differently, or change their mind as to what will get them to Heaven. Their works will NOT get them there and ‘the sinner’s prayer’ will not get them there; just see Romans 4:5 “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” This is exactly how Abraham was saved too, as seen in Galatians 3:6 “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Only our belief in Jesus will get us to Heaven. Which leads to my second point…

    B) Many people, if not most, will refer to John 3:16 as ‘the Gospel in a nutshell’, take a look; John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Where is a prayer mentioned here? It is NOT! Also, no prayer is mentioned in Romans 4:5 that you read above. So, either a prayer is not needed to obtain salvation, or you can’t get saved with John 3:16 or with Romans 4:5. Which is it?

    The Gospel was written that we may “know” that we have eternal life; not that we may “think so” or “hope so”, but that we may “know”. So if you are having doubts about your salvation, consider this; could it be the Holy Spirit tapping you on the shoulder and saying ‘you are not quite there yet’?

  212. You referred to becoming a new creation. That is what happens when we become saved. No it does not instantly change us. But if we are truly saved we are going to make progress. Like my pastor says, In order to backslide, you have to have something to slide back from. In the bible, Peter was weak and denied Christ 3 times. He sinned even after following Christ and believing and repenting. Countless others have slipped up in the bible after coming to Him. So that blows the idea that we are going to sin no more once we get saved. Also, if we died before we were able to repent of a sin we might have commited, even after believing, we would go to hell by your way of thinking. And it would mean that Jesus’ finished work on the cross wasn’t good enough. It was good enough to take away all my sin. Past, present and future. And if we only had to believe? The devil believes in Jesus, and I know he is not going to heaven. To believe in means you know he is real. And there are plenty of “good” people in this world who have turned their life around and felt bad for things they have done wrong. Does not mean they are automatically going to heaven. Have to get that heart right. But the thing is, if you get right you are going to want to change, live for the Lord and just keep on repenting and trying to get it right. I just don’t see what your saying at all.

  213. I would have to disagree that everyone who asks Jesus in their heart is not saved, or born again. I think it depends more on how it is presented. Speaking for myself, it was explained like this. The heart is my inward man, whoever is in control of my heart is in control of me. I am a sinner, lost without God and heading to hell unless I repent and ask, or invite Jesus into my heart. So yes I am sure there are those who prayed that prayer who are not saved. But not all, remember about the lesson of the good and bad soil, this is from the mouth of Jesus himself Luke 8:5 through 15. Note Jesus says the seed is the Word, the soil is the heart. I would also add that it is important that once one receives The Lord they need to be discipled.

  214. “I would have to disagree that everyone who asks Jesus in their heart is not saved, or born again. ”

    I didn’t see anyone say this? Someone may get saved while asking Jesus into their heart but it is in spite of it and not because of this lame tradition of evangelical churchianity.

  215. It appears that many people have differing ideas of what happens when they ‘ask Jesus into their heart’. But if it has anything to do with asking Jesus to forgive you of your sins, then that person is not saved. I know this goes against most ‘traditions’, but think about it; Jesus died on the cross to forgive the sins of the world (see I John 2:2) , so now we have to ask Him to forgive us? Didn’t He do exactly that on the cross? Look at it this way; You are the warden of a prison, and you have been given the authority to forgive all crimes, so now you go through the jail and open every cell door, telling the prisoners “the penalty for your crimes has been paid and you are free to go.” Some prisoners will believe you and walk out through the open cell doors into freedom, but knowing the minds of people there will be some who simply don’t believe you. They will sit in their cells with the door wide open and plead, beg and cry, asking for their crimes to be forgiven so they can go free. As the warden, what else can you do to free them? Nothing. The penalty has been paid and they have been told that they are free to walk out the door and leave, but they still sit in their cells, not believing what they have been told. And the same is true with salvation; all of our sins were been paid for when Jesus died on the cross, and the cell door of sin is wide open, all we need to do is change out mind and believe that going through the open door is our only way out. We can plead, beg and cry all we want, and in all sincerity ask God to forgive our sins, but He can’t forgive what he has already forgiven, and promised that He would “remember no more” (see Hebrews 10:17). And yes, Satan also believes, but he will never repent and believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven; he will always try to make his own way in order to place himself above God.

  216. Hello brothers/sisters!!,

    WOW! This is an extremely unsettling topic for me. At first, reading through the article and comments made me literally feel sick. Satan is dividing us all! I understand the frustration and anger through everyone’s convictions but we are to do so in love! [1 Corin. 13:4-13] I don’t mean to undermine anyone’s Biblical intelligence by referencing that well known Scripture but we REALLY have to understand what that means to help out one another. Love covers a MULTITUDE of sins. I don’t believe anyone is intentionally trying to hurt one another but geez! We have to realize we all come from different doctrinal backgrounds.

    WOAH! Sorry for seeming dramatic but this is the very foundation of our salvation. This is SERIOUS stuff. Let me be clear, I don’t like the sugar coated watered down Gospel either. Before reading this article, I didn’t believe in any specific formula for salvation but I have to admit at first it was VERY hard to swallow. I wouldn’t go as far as telling someone they aren’t saved if they ask Jesus into their heart or if they aren’t baptized. OUCH!

    “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. “[Ephesians 2:8-9]

    “Asking Jesus into your heart” without faith wouldn’t make you born again but if you ask him in your heart and have faith [which should convict you of your sin since he died for your sin, leading to repentance immediately or shortly after.] Biblically speaking you are saved! [If you have no conviction of sin there would be no need of a Savior. Ultimately, God reveals your need for a savior!]

    Everyone becomes a new creation differently but I believe that Scripture along with other various Scripture it’s clear it’s by faith of Salvation through God’s grace that you believe he is your Savior. I understand its elementary to ask Jesus in your heart when Jesus probably doesn’t live their after the prayer because we then have the Holy Spirit inside of us which is Jesus Christ but to the non believer seeking salvation that is irrelevant. God knows their hearts! He has chosen who will be His and I believe he could use the tool of “asking Jesus into their heart”. Obviously, not everyone would be saved by this tool and I’m not saying they should but God allows a salvation prayer to be used sometimes.

    It saddens me deeply that some “Christians” didn’t have faith to begin with and start going to Church but continue to sin without conviction maybe for the rest of their life becoming to the world another American Christian statistic. Eventually, we will know the believer by their fruits but if the person is a new believer give them grace! When I was a new believer I had a problem with alcoholism because my best friend who was pregnant died. It wasn’t an excuse. I realize that but at the time I was so angry with God and attributed her death to my new found faith. I repented and now I am set free from alcoholism, drugs and sexual sin but sometimes purity is a process. With the help of God and through His Word equipping me it took 2 years for me to effectively change my life.I was convicted of my sin but it took awhile to exchange my addiction to partying to an addiction to the Bible. God transforms everyone differently and satan loves to attack a new believer. Some people are set free from addiction immediately and for other people it’s a process.

    When I became saved by God’s grace I didn’t say any specific prayer I received the Holy Spirit from crying out to Jesus literally crying for hours about how horrible of a person I was. God revealed to me we live in a blatant satanic society.. I came to Salvation realizing satan was real and I was going to hell. It’s a pretty odd way of coming to Salvation but that’s what started God’s powerful reveal to me. He showed me Jesus Christ was the way to Salvation [not the satanic New Age propaganda being spread like cancer throughout our culture like I once believed] so I turned from my ways but it took awhile to get my faith growing and trusting in Our Savior more. Now I’m at the point where I want to lead others to Christ so they may know him. We are to make disciples and tell people the Good News! Jesus came to heal the sick and the sinner. AMEN!!! I can’t wait for HIS return !!! Love you all!

  217. Yes he did die on the cross and yes he did it for the world, that is the point, everyone has the opportunity to accept or reject Christ’s atoning death for us. But not everyone does. I can see the point you are making, but I also believe you are making much ado about nothing. How a person accepts the Truth of the Gospel and the words they say are not the point, the point is the condition of the persons heart. For by Grace are you saved through faith! Faith! The word says we are to confess our sins, so isn’t that kind of the same thing? 1John 1:8-10 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and His word has no place in us. So what do we say to that? Is God a liar? Does he or does He not tell us to confess our sins? Yes Christ paid for our sins on the cross. This is the point when we recognize our sin and our need for a savior. If as a Christian I am instructed to confess my sins, doesn’t that apply to salvation as well? As I said the point is not so much the words as the attitude of the heart…and God knows our heart, He knows if we are sincere or not.

  218. LouAnn has an excellent point; but take a look at 1 John 2:1 where this book is written to “My little children…”, this is a phrase that is only used when talking to those who were already saved, so this is not a salvation verse, it is a fellowship verse to be used after salvation to keep us close to God. So to answer your question; no, this does not also apply to salvation. Nowhere in the bible will you find anyone asking God to forgive their sins to obtain salvation, they always believed.

    Also, if we need to ask for forgiveness, then that means that God can’t let us into Heaven until we do so, indicating there is a barrier between Him and us. Take a look at Colossians 1:20-22 “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:” We can’t ‘make peace with our maker’ because Jesus already made peace for us, and he also reconciled all things unto himself (that includes us) so the penalty has already been paid and the barrier between God and us is no longer there (remember the renting of the veil of the tabernacle when Jesus died). It goes on to say that anyone who is alienated with God is only such “in your mind”. After which it reiterates that we are already reconciled through His death. All we need to do is believe that and say ‘thank you’ to God.

    And in regards to making much ado about nothing, read Matthew 7:22 “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Here we see what sounds like a group of religious people who in their minds have done great thing in their service to God, but what is God’s reply? We see it in verse 23 “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” God will call their good deeds “iniquity” because He never knew them, they were never saved, regardless of all these great things they did. It’s only logical that the people who would fall into that category are the people who think they are saved and serving God. After all, who in their right mind would follow after the lusts of this world and call that doing ‘many wonderful works’ in His name? So in the end, these people find out that they really didn’t have it right when it came to salvation. Making sure you are correct about salvation is more than a matter of life and death, it’s a matter of eternal life and eternal death.

  219. “But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart.” that is the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scriptures says, ‘Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:8-13

  220. What about Matthew 6:9-13. Is not the instruction of The Lord Himself, note verse 12. Although I see the point you are making. My point is that as a Christian the Holy Spirit has pointed out an area of my life where I have not submitted my fleshly behavior to Him. We are told to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. My salvation is intact because I continually work out my salvation. I am a sinner saved by grace, I thank God for that grace.

  221. Perhaps looking at the flip-side brings clarity. Those that are going to Hell are those that have either willfully rejected or willfully ignored God’s offer of eternal life – those who do not believe, John 3:18.

    Throughout the Gospels Jesus instructed people to BELIEVE and He gave them a plethora of reasons to believe, and many did: John 2:23, John 4:39, John 8:30, etc.

    I did too.

    God did not make salvation difficult. It’s ALL grace.

  222. @Robert

    Colossians 1:20-22 Seems to be saying that the unrepentant sinner is separated from God. As a Christian, I don’t repent or ask forgiveness of my sins because I am separated from the Lord or for salvation. I do it because it hurts me to sin against the Lord that saved me with His grace. We all sin at times. It doesn’t mean we have to confess our sins for salvation, if we are already a Christian, it means we want to because we want to do what is right.

    Colossians 1:20-22 (ESV)
    20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him,

    1 John 1:7-10 (ESV)
    7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

    Even in the Lord’s prayer, when He teaches them how to pray, it includes asking for forgiveness;

    Matthew 6:12 (ESV)
    12 and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

  223. The passage you noted starts out, “Our Father…”, so the people who are praying this are already Christians and this is a model for their prayer to their Father. Take a look at John 8, verses 38 and 44; those who are not saved have another father, the devil. So once again, the passage you mention is intended for those who are already Christians, and not intended as directions on becoming a Christian.

    I think the main cause of confusion is that many people do not realize the fact that there are three ‘salvations’ in the Bible. The first is Salvation of the Soul (Believing – Justification), the second is Salvation of Life (Living as a Christian – sanctification (working out your salvation as you noted, which I compare to working out at a gym to strengthen your walk with God as some strengthen their physical body)), and the third is Salvation of Body (catching away – glorification)

    As far as the Holy Spirit pointing out areas in our lives, I once again point to Matthew 7:22. I am certain that those people would say that the Holy Spirit led them to do these “many wonderful works”, but was it truly the Holy Spirit? Or was it a preacher guiding them? Or was it the principles they were reading and studying in the Bible showing forth in their lives? I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I talked on the way home from church and basically said these very words ourselves. We justified our salvation based on the things we did for the church, the classes we taught, the programs we led. But it was all wrong; we were always basing our salvation on something ‘we’ did, and not solely on what ‘Jesus’ did. And if you study Romans 4:5 “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”, you will find that even a prayer asking for forgiveness is ‘works’, and simply ‘believing’ is what justifies us in God’s eyes. When I truly got saved I had to accept that everything I had done for God for the previous 20 years was as filthy rags (that was hard). I had to ‘repent’ / ‘change my mind’ as to the proper way to Heaven and simply believe that Jesus did it all on the cross. That’s when I said ‘thank you’, and I was saved.

  224. That is my point…….you stated that Christians are not to pray this way not me. It seems that you are using circular reasoning…or you missed my point?

  225. Maybe I misunderstood what you were saying, that seems to happen more and more as I grow older :)
    All I am saying is that we don’t become a Christian by asking God to forgive us, because Jesus already forgave us when He died on the cross. We become a Christian by believing that Jesus did forgive us when He died on the cross, and through this He paid the price for our salvation.
    If that’s how you became a Christian, then according to God’s Word, you are on your way to Heaven. Anyone who thinks they are saved because they prayed a prayer, was baptized, or did anything else to ‘please God’, is still on the wrong road.

  226. I see we have both come to the same conclusion. I agree, as the Word says, for by grace are you saved through faith and not of yourselves, it is a gift of God..not of works lest any man should boast. I am referring to keeping an open and honest heart before The Lord as we grow into His likeness. does that make sense?

  227. That makes perfect sense! What you are talking about falls under the second salvation, Salvation of Life. Unfortunately, many people will look at verses that talk about growing stronger in the Lord, and use those to say ‘See, I did this, I must be saved.’ But they are taking the verse out of context when they use it for Salvation of the Soul.
    Please excuse my ‘senior moment’, I didn’t think I was going to be having them for a few more years, but they are upon me now :)
    Have a Grand day!

  228. Lol no problem, it’s kind of funny how we can be saying the same thing and not know we are. I think at times our wording can throw people off, especially if we aren’t familiar with each other.for instance…you use the term second salvation…I have never heard that expression before…….but now that I understand your meaning, I get it. You have a blessed day!

  229. I don’t completely agree with this post. Asking Jesus into your heart is not a negative thing and I’m sure you the author of this post is intelligent enough to know that it doesn’t mean your physical heart… With that being said I was asked to “let Jesus into my heart” and two years later is was baptized at the age of 26. When the pastor ask someone to let Jesus into their heart it is meant to begin the conversation for becoming a Christian being baptized and a member of the church. No where does anyone say “let Jesus into your heart and you are free from needing to repent for your sins etc.” and the reason that Christians backslide is because we r human and flawed. Even some Christians after being baptized and committed to Christ commit a sin on some level and it had nothing to do with a pastor saying “let Jesus into your heart.” I don’t mean to offend you but it doesn’t sound like you did any research before you wrote this post. If you did, then you were unfortunately misinformed. Asking Jesus into your heart is supposed to begin conversations and work on becoming a Christian with the intention of being baptized and dedicating your life to God (I did not list those in a particular order). It is no meant to take the place of baptizism and salvation. God bless

  230. Repentance of sin is one of biggest lies of the church. Repentance has nothing to do with sin. It is simply turning your mind to christ. The moment u do that u have no sin. God will guide us through our changes and as the body we are here to help each other.

  231. Cindy Miechel,

    True, repentance is a change of mind, an understanding of your wickedness that you were not aware of nor cared about before God opens the understanding of the sinner. However, it does not stop there.
    Repentance has everything to do with sin, for once God grants repentance, the sinner forsakes what they once loved. They see how wicked their actions were, and they forsake sin as a result. A changed mind leads to a changed way of living.

    Notice in the following verses concerning the act of repenting – what was or was not done…
    Jer_15:7 “I will winnow them with a winnowing fork At the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy My people; They did not repent of their ways.” Here we see God bringing judgment because His people did not change their mind? No, because they did not ‘repent of their ways’. Their ways were sinful, and they would not forsake those sinful ways, i.e. ‘repent’.

    From Acts 26:20 b, ‘that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.’ It is clear that repentance manifests itself in true believers by deeds. Matthew Henry’s commentary on this verse is helpful, “To repent of their sins, to be sorry for them and to confess them, and enter into covenant against them; they ought to bethink themselves, so the word metanoein properly signifies; they ought to change their mind and change their way, and undo what they had done amiss.”

    Here is another example, Eze_18:30 “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,” declares the Lord GOD. “Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you.’ Here again is the command to do something, ‘repent and turn away from all your transgressions’. To say repentance of sin is a lie is to call God a liar.
    To say you no longer have sin is erroneous as well; yes, believers are forgiven of their sins because Christ atoned for them, but that does not mean they do not sin. 1 John 1:8 clearly states this, ‘ If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’

    From Ligonier ministries, “Repentance means a change of mind-set. It means a change of your fundamental attitudes and outlooks on life. In Hebrew terms, it means changing the desires of your heart, consequently changing the orientation of your whole life.” -ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/true-repentance/

    This may be helpful as well, from John MacArthur, ‘Repentance is no more a meritorious work than its counterpart, faith. It is an inward response. Genuine repentance pleads with the Lord to forgive and deliver from the burden of sin and the fear of judgment and hell. It is the attitude of the publican who, fearful of even looking toward heaven, smote his breast and cried, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!” (Luke 18:13). Repentance is not merely behavior reform. But because true repentance involves a change of heart and purpose, it inevitably results in a change of behavior.’ – gty.org/resources/print/articles/a330

  232. I WAS a sinner – just like the publican – no longer! I am a 100% holy, 100% righteous child of God. Yes I still sin in my flesh, but that is not the real me! The REAL ME (you) is one with Christ (Colossians 3:3, etc.). To now call oneself a sinner is to call Jesus Christ a sinner – no way! Oh, the wonder of God’s grace.

  233. David Harrison,

    The real you still sins, -the born again believer will battle the world, the devil and his own flesh for the remainder of his time on earth. Each day is characterized by confessing sin and forsaking it.
    Followers of Christ are saints, children of God, this is true. The ‘right standing’ we now have before God does not come from us, by how good we are. It comes from Christ, who lived the perfect life while on earth; it is His righteousness that is imputed to the believer. Let me share a quote with you from John Bunyan, ‘”Our sins, when laid upon Christ, were yet personally ours, not his; so his righteousness, when put upon us, is yet personally his, not ours.” – John Bunyan
    The doctrine of justification is just that – the righteousness of Christ imputed to His own so that they now are declared just before a holy God. No one could be just and in right standing apart from Christ’s imputed righteousness. Even though we are saved, we still sin. If it were not for the righteousness of Christ, we would not be declared just because of our continued sinful ways. Praise God for the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.
    “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous.” Romans 5:19
    Phil. 3:9 also states ‘and be found in him, not having a righteousness of mine own, even that which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith’.

  234. I’m afraid I have to disagree with you on your first comment. Romans 6:4 says that “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death..” So what died? The ‘old me’. 6:4 “For you know your old self was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be done away with…” 6:7 “because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.” The real me is free from sin and I am so thankful! You have to understand the distinction between ‘the flesh’ that you still walk around in and the spirit that is one with Christ.

    I think its time you change your name. You were not but you are now and being made ever more so!

  235. I never said we are not free from the bondage of sin, however, we still do sin. What caused the Apostle Paul to say, ‘o wretched man that I am’? He understood that Christ frees and saves, but that did not mean sin no longer is an issue for the believer. You will NOT reach a state of sinless perfection this side of heaven.

    Again, I refer you to 1 John 1:8, ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’ I include commentary from John Gill….

    Notwithstanding believers are cleansed from their sins by the blood of Christ, yet they are not without sin; no man is without sin: this is not only true of all men, as they come into the world, being conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity, and of all that are in a state of unregeneracy, and of God’s elect, while in such a state, but even of all regenerated and sanctified persons in this life; as appears by the ingenuous confessions of sin made by the saints in all ages; by their complaints concerning it, and groans under it; by the continual war in them between flesh and spirit; and by their prayers for the discoveries of pardoning grace, and for the fresh application of Christ’s blood for cleansing; by their remissness in the discharge of duty, and by their frequent slips and falls, and often backslidings: and though their sins are all pardoned, and they are justified from all things by the righteousness of Christ, yet they are not without sin; though they are freed from the guilt of sin, and are under no obligation to punishment on account of it, yet not from the being of it; their sins were indeed transferred from them to Christ, and he has bore them, and took them and put them away, and they are redeemed from them, and are acquitted, discharged, and pardoned, so that sin is not imputed to them, and God sees no iniquity in them in the article of justification; and also, their iniquities are caused to pass from them, as to the guilt of them, and are taken out of their sight, and they have no more conscience of them, having their hearts sprinkled and purged by the blood of Jesus, and are clear of all condemnation, the curse of the law, the wrath of God, or the second death, by reason of them; yet pardon of sin, and justification from it, though they take away the guilt of sin, and free from obligation to punishment, yet they do not take out the being of sin, or cause it to cease to act, or do not make sins cease to be sins, or change the nature of actions, of sinful ones, to make them harmless, innocent, or indifferent; the sins of believers are equally sins with other persons, are of the same kind and nature, and equally transgressions of the law, and many of them are attended with more aggravating circumstances, and are taken notice of by God, and resented by him, and for which he chastises his people in love: now though a believer may say that he has not this or that particular sin, or is not guilty of this or that sin, for he has the seeds of all sin in him, yet he cannot say he has no sin; and though he may truly say he shall have no sin, for in the other state the being and principle of sin will be removed, and the saints will be perfectly holy in themselves, yet he cannot, in this present life, say that he is without it: if any of us who profess to be cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ should affirm this,

    we deceive ourselves; such persons must be ignorant of themselves, and put a cheat upon themselves, thinking themselves to be something when they are nothing; flattering themselves what pure and holy creatures they are, when there is a fountain of sin and wickedness in them; these are self-deceptions, sad delusions, and gross impositions upon themselves:

    and the truth is not in us; it is a plain case the truth of grace is not in such persons, for if there was a real work of God upon their souls, they would know and discern the plague of their own hearts, the impurity of their nature, and the imperfection of their obedience; nor is the word of truth in them, for if that had an entrance into them, and worked effectually in them, they would in the light of it discover much sin and iniquity in them; and indeed there is no principle of truth, no veracity in them; there is no sincerity nor ingenuity in them; they do not speak honestly and uprightly, but contrary to the dictates of their own conscience.

  236. I know of no Scripture that talks about “the real me.” Once we start getting into language that the Scripture doesn’t use, we can get ourselves tied in knots.

    Many passages make it abundantly clear that we cannot draw any distinction between ourselves and our sin. James 1 comes to mind — we sin when we are drawn away of our own lusts/desires. Unfortunately, that is me, myself, and I. It really is.

    That is why we need to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. And that is an ongoing process, not instantaneous.

  237. David,

    I do not wish to continue to hijack this thread, so I will give you one last thing, a link that describes the two natures of believers, written by A. W. Pink -pbministries.org/books/pink/Miscellaneous/romans_7.htm

    I think if you read this you will see more clearly the indwelling sin that lies in every believer. If you want, you can contact me by clicking on my name and continue this discussion privately.

  238. Cindy said:

    “Repentance of sin is one of biggest lies of the church. Repentance has nothing to do with sin”

    Jesus said:

    “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.”

    Lyn said:

    “Repentance has everything to do with sin, for once God grants repentance, the sinner forsakes what they once loved. They see how wicked their actions were, and they forsake sin as a result. A changed mind leads to a changed way of living.”

    Jim says:

    Amen Lyn. Of course we dont preach the “stop sinning” non-gospel that so many college campus preachers do, but we do include turning from sin in the message to the lost and saved alike just as our Lord Jesus Christ did. Better to be approved of God than this backslidden generation of laodecians and their scholars.

    In Christ -jim

  239. What Heath, Ken Quallis, Dave L7, Brian, and Blaine said — Ephesians 3:17
    “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,” <3 <3 <3

  240. Hum, how interesting: I was reading this article, wondering actually if there was a scripture about Jesus living in our heart. Then I just looked up something else in my Bible about loving one another, and was attracted to Ephesians 3;17! I thought, hey I am going to post it not knowing the last person who posted here also cites this scripture.
    I think the Holy Spirit is just bringing a little adjustment to your study. Nevertheless I certainly agree with you that we need to preach repentance and faith as well.

  241. Ephesians 3:17 is Paul’s prayer for those who are already believers, that they would have a full knowledge and awareness of all that they have in Christ.

    Does Christ live in believers? Certainly. We could add Galatians 2:20. Colossians 1:27 also fits (though some might argue that the plural of “you” indicates Christ being in the church, I would disagree).

    So yes, Christ lives in the heart of believers. But no one is ever told in the Bible that the way they are saved is by asking Him into their heart, and there are many reasons not to tell people that this is the way they are saved.

    But I am sure many, many people have been saved in this way, because it by grace through faith we are saved, and this is undoubtedly the way that many people express that initial faith. We aren’t saved by the perfection of the way we express our faith when we first believe. We are saved by grace, and God’s grace is sufficient to save even those whose words aren’t perfect.

    Lord, I believe. Help Thou my unbelief.

  242. May I share this with the deepest concern. Ladies and Gentlemen if Christ did not die for sinners then none of you are saved. As believers I am sure that you choose to follow Christ, and rightfully you should. However the bible places every person born on this earth under sin. It is called imputed sin. And it’s due to Adam and Eves sin against God therefore sin was passed on to all their descendants. Now when Christ was crucified he bore all our punishment, and therefore His atonement is sufficient for the entire world. And when a person chooses to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then Christ’s atonement is applied to the believer. This is called imputed righteousness. It is the only answer for imputed sin. You cannot get to heaven due to your works. And that is exactly what you all are stating in this post. That somehow you are, or have reached a state of sinless perfection. Where God is now going to accept you. Really? What about your prior sin? You do not really think Gods just going to overlook it do you? What about your sins now which you have committed after becoming a believer? What about those sins? Think God is just going to overlook those too? Really? And please do not tell me you have not sinned after you have been converted. For the word of the Lord states that if we say we have no sin, then the truth is not in us. You see what you all are doing is patting each other on the back about you religious accomplishments, and sharing how you’re going to be accepted into heaven because of your good works right? Then why did Paul the Apostle say that salvation is a gift from God. Not of works least any man should boast. My question to you is this. Are you depending upon Christ’s gift of eternal salvation, or are you depending on your own works, and religious accomplishments? Let me know how that works out for you when you stand before the Almighty. You see people what you all need to know is this. Christ summed up the entire Bible in two statements. Which is. Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And the second is love your neighbor as yourself. For this is the law and the prophets. Now if your still not convinced then I will enlighten you to the following. Abraham was justified 460 years before the law I.E. the 10 commandments or any of the levitical ordinances were introduced. He is first recorded case for justification by faith in the scriptures. The bible says Abraham believed God and therefore God imputed to Abraham righteousness. So if Abraham was justified before God. Before the law ever came. Or Christ was crucified. Then salvation is not of works. It’s of faith. That’s why God states that without faith it’s impossible to please God. As well as it states that the just shall live by faith. Further it states we walk by faith and not by sight. This I wish to share with all of you concerning salvation. It’s one of the Key Doctrines from the word of God. It is the doctrine of The Security of the Believer. Which states: But to the extent that a Christian fails to serve God, his reward may be lost, though he will be saved from everlasting wrath. The Christian is saved and secured by faith, but in love and gratitude to Christ will seek to faithfully serve Him. Ladies and Gentlemen remember that Christ is our advocate. If any man sins and will turn from his sin and confess it. Then Christ is able to restore that person to a place of fellowship. Though your sins be as red as crimson Christ can wash that persons sins whiter than snow. I know most of you probably do not have a an actual “Study Bible”. However I do. It’s a King James study Bible and one of it’s features is that it has Doctrinal footnotes that cover every single topic in the word of God. And if you read through all of them, then you will have touched on every key doctrine throughout the scriptures. It is a wonderful Bible to have and I highly recommend it.

  243. Todd, There is 1 Scripture: 2 Corinthians 13:5 (ESV)
    5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
    This actually speaks of the Spirit of Christ, not Christ Himself. So, there is 1 Scripture that (appears to) say this. Those who distort the Scriptures have made much mischief with this one passage.

  244. Love this, I am in total agreement because I am one of those who is backsliding and wondering if I really was ever a Christian at all. This completely makes sense, I was deceived by the greatest heresy the church has ever come across. The word now convicts me of my everyday need for a savior, repentance, and surrender. The word is enough, the magical little prayer is dangerous unto death.

  245. Reblogged this on The Shepherd/Guardian and commented:
    This bears repeating.
    Blessings

  246. Reblogged this on Truth2Freedom's Blog.

  247. It’s 2013, and I just ran across this blog post from 2009. The perspective is interesting. What I am sadden about is not the blog post, rather the responses. Why offensiveness, and negativity? Seems like folks are fixated on the things they disagree with. Let’s flip the focus on to what many do agree with the blogger here:

    1. Jesus is the way to salvation.
    2. We must repent, and put away our old selves to follow Christ ways.
    3. We must have faith in God.
    4. Being a follower of Christ takes real work, continuously.

    The main point the blogger is making is that simply saying, “I accept Christ in my heart”, is not enough. There’s more work to do. That minor acceptance statement has become the initiation in to a “Christian Club”, for some, with little to no follows up by others. Following Christ is a changed mindset.

    No one should call this blogger a liar. It is their perception alone, with the mission to lead people to think and act beyond the words of “I accept Jesus in my heart”. Rather than bicker, try starting with what you agree with in the spirit of Christ, and have a discussion about our approach. I believe that we have to stop applying this cookie cutter invitations, and leaving it at that.

    This conversation is about God. Anyone who was here yesterday, today, or in the future should be allowing the Holy Spirit to extend the invitation, rather than interjecting ourselves (our perceptions).

  248. I usually keep quiet, but I cannot sit silently on this one. People need to stop scaring people into believing they are not going to heaven if they did not accept Christ the right way. Salvation is a free gift. To say that someone that backslides is not saved, is not biblical. And what is the definition of backslides? Who determines that? Is it one sin? Is it two sins? The scriptures in this article are being twisted. Was Peter not in Christ when he “backslid” and denied Christ? Because that is where this thought is going. I understand the thought that relying on a prayer is not the way, Jesus is the way. Salvation is not a get out of jail free card to sin. I have always thought of salvation like a man who is drowning in the ocean and cries out, save me! He doesn’t need fancy words or have to do a bunch of works to get saved. He acknowledges the need for a savior, and recognizes the inability to save himself. Why do we try to complicate that?? And if that drowning man somewhere along the way later struggles with a besetting sin, was he insincere and never meant it and is therefore not saved? The Bible clearly says that “no man can pluck them out of my hands.” We cannot lose our salvation (which I do not think the author is saying). Look, life is short, Jesus is coming, let’s be telling people about our Savior and not how they might not be saved if they didn’t do it right!

  249. Jordana – actually, salvation is like someone who is dead on the bottom of the ocean and cannot hear nor cry out for help. He needs someone who is supernatural to raise him up and give him new life. This is what Christ and the Holy Spirit do. This is why Scripture tells us that anyone who has come to faith in Jesus is a NEW CREATURE in Christ. As such, our appetites are changed and we grow in our desire for godliness and hatred toward sin. But we are still here on earth in bodies of flesh and we still sin – if any man say he is without sin he is liar and the truth is not in him.

    Amen and amen – life is short and we must be about proclaiming the biblical gospel about the only Savior.

  250. Your comment of “I have always thought of salvation like a man who is drowning in the ocean and cries out, save me!” is a common thought, but the point of salvation is that we don’t need to cry out “save me!” because when Jesus died on the cross he already saved us, what we need to do is believe that to be saved, not ask Him to do something that He has already done. If you ask someone when they were redeemed / reconciled, they will often look for the date they wrote inside the front cover of their bible, but if you search the scriptures for these words, you will find that they are used in the past tense, showing the we were “all” redeemed by the blood of Christ at the Cross. Colossians 1:20-22 “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:”. A more accurate thought of salvation would be; every person is in a prison cell of sin, but the warden (Jesus) has already come around and personally unlocked and opened each door and told every person that they are free to leave. Some will believe this and walk out the open door, but others will think ‘it can’t be that simple, I will sit here and think on it and come up with a better solution’. Which person is the one who was saved, the one who believed and walked out the already opened door, or the one who stays in the cell looking for a more logical way out of the prison of sin?

  251. Robert,
    The mention of redemption in the epistles always have reference to believers (because the epistles are addressed to them). This is the reason why redemption is often in the past tense.
    Secondly, your illustration of the prison cell being open because Christ has accomplished redemption for all, and all one has to do is to walk out free, is not accurate to Scripture. If, in your view, redemption has been accomplished for all on the cross, then all are freed from the slave market of Satan and sin. In which case, your allusion to the past tense is contrary to Ephesians 2:1-2 wherein Paul spoke about the believers in Ephesus as once walking according to the prince of the power of the air, i.e. Satan; and furthermore, that NOW “worketh in the children of disobedience.”
    If redemption has been accomplished for all at the cross, then all are set free, and no one is now under slavery.
    We would encourage you to read Ephesians 1:4-14. Consider the verses carefully, and you will see that the chain of salvation are all connected and do not stand on any single link on its own: election, predestination, redemption, adoption, conversion.
    Besides, Romans 3:10-18 describe humanity in general and in particular, of which one of the characteristics is that none seeks after God. “None” means no one, except for the grace of God to seek and to save those that are lost (Luke 19:10).

  252. Much of this discussion is troubling to me.

    “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Does the Scripture say that? Yes, it does. Does it say only that? Of course not. But to diminish the importance of calling on God in our salvation is inappropriate.

    “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Sounds like a request to me, a calling out to God to save. Jesus said the man who said that was justified, which is an amazing and wonderful thing.

    No one was ever saved because they asked Jesus into their heart. Never. Everyone who was ever saved was saved because of the work of Christ, and because God called them and they believed and repented. You can argue the theology of how those things work together, but the Scripture says they are true and necessary.

    But Friel is wrong to say that if someone asks Jesus into their heart, they are a false convert. We’re saved by God’s grace. We aren’t saved because we expressed our belief and repentance in the right words, because we had a complete and proper theological understanding at the time, because in our childlike faith (yes, that’s Scripture, too) we asked for the wrong thing.

    We all need to remember that God sees the heart behind the words.

    I was saved at the age of 4, almost 49 years ago. I still don’t have a complete and proper understanding of faith and my salvation, and neither does anyone writing or reading here. If I said it wrong back then, I still probably say it wrong sometimes now, too. But I knew and I know that God is merciful to me a sinner, and that JESUS paid it ALL for ME.

    Friel is right to tell us that we shouldn’t be telling people to ask Christ into their heart. Doing so can confuse them and even result in them not understanding the Gospel. But he goes too far on several points in this article.

    The problem with going too far is that people tend to go too far in response as a result, either to oppose or support.

  253. Well said!

  254. Then what do you do about Hebrews 1:3 when it says, referring to Jesus, “…when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” If this verse was only meant for believers, then every time someone was saved, Jesus would have to get up to purge their sins, and then sit down again. And Hebrews 10:10 says “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Either Jesus died “once for all” as the scripture said, or He didn’t.
    And my prison illustration is accurate with scripture, we are all freed from the ‘slave market of Satan and sin’, just take a look at Revelation 20:12 where “the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.” They were judged for their works because Christ already paid the price of redemption for their sins. And again, in John 8:24 we see “…for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” Those who do not believe shall die “in” their sins, not “for” their sins. Just like the prison cell, many people will not believe that the door was opened by Christ, and they will remain in their prison cell of sin, and they will die there, “in” their cell of sin, but only because they didn’t believe and walk out, not because God was punishing them for their sins. 1 Timothy 4:10 upholds this too; “For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.” Jesus is the “Saviour of all men”, and when the Bible says “all”, it means “all”, showing that all the prison cell doors are open. But, He is specially the Saviour of those who believe and walk out of their cell into freedom.
    I agree that Romans chapter 3 paints an accurate portrait of mankind, and reading into chapter 10 we see the famous verse 13; “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But many people stop there and miss the point, because verse 14 starts out “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” This is a perfect example of the confusion caused because people don’t understand that there are three different ‘salvations’ in the Bible. Let me quote from a previous comment I made here in June 2013… “I think the main cause of confusion is that many people do not realize the fact that there are three ‘salvations’ in the Bible. The first is Salvation of the Soul (Believing – Justification), the second is Salvation of Life (Living as a Christian – sanctification (working out your salvation as you noted, which I compare to working out at a gym to strengthen your walk with God as some strengthen their physical body)), and the third is Salvation of Body (catching away – glorification).”

    There are no examples in the Bible where someone calls upon God to receive Salvation of the Soul, they simply believe the record of His Son and they receive Salvation of the Soul, God’s free gift to all mankind. After Salvation of the Soul, the believers then call upon the name of the Lord for Salvation of Life, help living the life God intended them to live, and this is what Romans 10:13 is referring to, not salvation of the soul.

    Thus the wording in John 3:16, “…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” One does not cry out to God so He will save them, because He already saved them through the blood of Jesus on the cross. Every example in the Bible of someone being saved states that they simply “believed”. And while we are there, read John 3:18 “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” Why is someone condemned? Because of their sin? No. They are condemned because they didn’t believe in Jesus.

    I lived as a ‘Christian’ for over 20 years, but I was like one of the people who was still in the prison cell, calling out through the bars and having asked God to save me. But it wasn’t until several years ago that I realized that He was outside the prison telling me that the work was already done at the cross and the door to my cell was already open. I was one of the people in Matthew 7:22 who called out “…Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Not knowing that His reply was “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” because I still had not come to the understanding that the work had been finished, and anything that I tried to do, even calling on Him, was futile. I finally made that connection when Romans 4:5 was pointed out to me; “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

  255. The prison with all its cell doors flung open is only valid as an illustration of God calling all men everywhere to repent. However, not all would respond to walk out of the prison due to their spiritual blindness. Those who are blinded are like the people around Lot’s house, figuring out where the door to the house is, and never finding it. “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Corinthians 4:3). Romans 3 describes all lost people without exception in the repeated use of the word “none.” Not only are all not seeking after God, there is none that understands God and His truth. Who are the lost? The prison cell illustration would mean that some are not that lost.

    Supposing it is just a matter of intellect where one prisoner knows better to be saved whilst the other person continues to wallow in the cell, what is the factor that makes the two men to differ? Intelligence? Spiritual insight? That factor is spiritual regeneration, the second birth, without which all men remain dead in trespasses and sin, the condition all of us were born with (Ephesians 2:1).

    Don’t underestimate the meaning of spiritual death: that word “dead” in Ephesians 2:1 is “nekros,” and it refers to a corpse. Should there be a dispute about the meaning of spiritual death (and there are many who do not believe “dead” means “dead”), Paul used the same word “nekros” in Ephesians 1:20 for the resurrection of Christ “from the dead.” Therefore, just as there was no physical life in the dead body of Jesus in the tomb to respond to external stimuli, there is no spiritual life in all sinners without regeneration. Your capacity to understand and believe is the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration that produces faith (which is God’s gift – Eph 2:8-9), and also repentance (another gift of God – 2 Timothy 2:25). If we can understand enough to believe and put our faith in Christ to be saved through our own ability, why do we need to be regenerated? Put it another way, if you have the capacity to believe, then the Gospel is not hidden from you, you are not spiritually dead and lost, and you do not need to be born again in the spirit…because you already have it!

    Secondly, as I wrote earlier, if the death of Christ on the cross (an historical event with continuing benefits to believers in Him) had accomplished AND applied the forgiveness of sins for every person, then no person should be judged for their sins. Then God would be unfair to judge any person. Mind you, if Christ has forgiven us all, then the sin of unbelief must necessarily be forgiven, or else Jesus did not pay it all.

    In salvation, there is the element of human responsibility to believe, and there is the sovereignty of God in the entire process of salvation, beginning with election (Ephesians 1:4-14). There are other articles on this site that explains how the two elements work together.

    To God be the glory!

  256. The Bible does not say that we call upon God for salvation of the soul unless you take it out of context. Please read my previous reply, especially the end of the first paragraph. You can’t take Romans 10:13 without verse 14, which clears the matter that only those who already believe call upon God, and that’s for salvation of life, not salvation of the soul. It’s a common misunderstanding, and it took me 20 years to hear it, and another 8 or 9 months to “believe” it. Many of us have taken what a pastor or friend has told us as truth, but unfortunately it does not line up with what the scriptures say.

  257. @Robert

    Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
    Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
    Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
    Rom 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
    Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    Rom 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
    Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
    Rom 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
    Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    Verse 9 is talking about receiving salvation of the soul. Verse 10 is talking about receiving salvation of the soul. Verse 11 is, too. So is verse 12, and 13, and 14, and 15, and 16, and 17.

    Verse 13 is describing one of the responses of faith. We’re not saved by calling, we are saved by believing, but calling on the Lord for salvation is one of the responses of faith, and your comments are not in line with that at all.

    The whole passage is about the Gospel, about proclaiming and receiving it. You can’t tell us to connect up verse 13 with verse 14 and say I am taking verse 13 out of context when you are yanking 13 and 14 out of the context of the entire passage and trying to make it into something it isn’t.

  258. You are correct in your comment about the sin of unbelief, but only if you hold that unbelief is a sin. Whereas I hold that unbelief is not a sin, but rather a state that a person is in.

    As far as it not being a sin; John said in reference to Christ, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” So, either Jesus took away the sin of the world, or John was a liar. And since I don’t think John was a liar that means Jesus did take away the sin of “the world”, which pretty much includes everyone. Thus, God cannot judge us for any sin because He judged Jesus in our place at the cross. Therefore, the ‘sin of unbelief’ is another tradition that was created years ago that has no basis in scripture.

    And as far as it being a state a person is in; again I point out John 3:18, where those who are condemned are those who do not believe in Jesus (keeping in mind that in Revelation they were judged for their “works”, not their “sins”). And those who are not condemned are those who do believe in Jesus. And the only way to move from the state of unbelief to the state of belief is through repentance; which is another often misused word in the Bible. Many people think that when we repent we turn from our sins and turn toward God, but that is not biblical. I have seen many pastors through the years face one direction on the platform and then turn 180 degrees to look the other direction in order to illustrate repentance, but the true meaning of the word is to think differently, or reconsider. In other words, we change our mind, not our direction. Mankind has attempted to come up with his own way to get to God, starting from Cain bringing a sacrifice of the fruit of the ground instead of a sacrifice of blood. And we need to change our mind as to what will get us to Heaven, and believe on Jesus as the scripture hath said.

  259. You said it yourself, “We’re not saved by calling, we are saved by believing, but calling on the Lord for salvation is one of the responses of faith”. And you also quoted verse 14 “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” Believing is salvation of the soul, and the verse clearly states that one can’t call on God if they have not first believed. So yes, calling on the Lord is a response of faith, but it has nothing to do with salvation of the soul because that was obtained when the person first believed, and calling on the Lord comes afterwards. Therefore, the “saved” in verse 13 cannot be soul salvation, it must be salvation of life.

  260. Romans 11:20 (ESV) “They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear.”
    Hebrews 3:16–19 (ESV) 16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

    I hold? When we say “Whereas I hold that unbelief is not a sin” we start down the path to great error. Be careful, my friend.
    -Ray

  261. Yes, God was grieved by those who sinned, but it doesn’t say that they should not enter into His rest because of their sin, it says they should not enter in because of their unbelief. And even believers today can grieve the Holy Spirit as found in Ephesians 4:30, but that will not keep them from God’s rest, it will only diminish their rewards in Heaven. I agree that unbelief will keep one out of heaven, but to count that unbelief a sin is to say that Jesus did not die for ‘all’ sin.

  262. Robert, I’ve cited the Scriptures, and I stand by what I said previously:

    “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Does the Scripture say that? Yes, it does. Does it say only that? Of course not. But to diminish the importance of calling on God in our salvation is inappropriate.

    Anyone can look at Romans 10 and see that your parsing of verse 13 to exclude salvation of the soul is not appropriate. True faith is expressed. The Scripture rarely draws the kind of fine distinction that you are drawing between the expression of the faith and the faith itself.

    I have no time to continue this aspect of this discussion, which seems likely to drift into mere arguing about words to no profit. I pray that we and all reading may grow in our understanding of the glorious gift of our salvation, but that we will not drift, as our knowledge grows deeper, from rejoicing in the sheer simplicity of child-like faith, even if it is expressed in child-like ways.

  263. I completely understand where you are coming from on this issue, and I didn’t intend for anything that I said to be taken as an argument. I in fact took that same stand for over 20 years myself.
    Not to open another can or worms with another analogy, but there are certain things that one must understand in order to be saved, like combining the ingredients in a cake. To believe in Jesus one must understand who He is and what He did (John 4:10), and afterwards one calls upon Him to help live a godly life. But you don’t mix the frosting in with the other ingredients and expect the outcome to be right. The frosting comes afterwards.
    I wish you the best in your continued study of His word.

  264. Robert, I like your analogy. Jesus himself implored everyone to BELIEVE a.k.a. faith, and He chastised those who would not believe. The sweet frosting (learning what grace is all about) comes later.

  265. I’m sorry your reasons are baseless.

  266. Don, you are welcome to stop by, but to just throw out that the reasons are baseless with no explanation is hardly worth the time it took you to visit us. Feel free to explain, but remember to stay within the realms of our rules of engagement.

  267. In an earlier post, Robert states:
    “As far as it not being a sin; John said in reference to Christ, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” So, either Jesus took away the sin of the world, or John was a liar. And since I don’t think John was a liar that means Jesus did take away the sin of “the world”, which pretty much includes everyone. Thus, God cannot judge us for any sin because He judged Jesus in our place at the cross. Therefore, the ‘sin of unbelief’ is another tradition that was created years ago that has no basis in scripture.”

    The sin of unbelief is not “another tradition.” Nor are the Bible writers confused or lying. Revelation 21:8 clearly states that among all the other sins that are committed, unbelief is one of them.

    Therefore, Christ died for all and for all sins, or He did not.

  268. You are correct; the Bible writers are not confused or lying. But neither do they contradict one another. So, if Rev. 21:8 appears to list unbelief as a sin, but God has already judged all sins when He laid them on Christ at the cross, then there must be another meaning here because a just God could never hold any sin against us that Jesus was already judged for. One possible explanation would require us to take a look at the context; this passage is a vision that John had after the new heaven and new earth were in place, so it would be after the millennial reign of Christ (the great white throne judgment was in the previous passage), therefore it is not intended as a warning against unbelief as a sin in our current time. I am not saying this is the only explanation, but it would make sense. The bottom line though still must be that when Jesus died on the cross God judged Him for all sin, thus our sins are purged, taken away, forgotten by God (see I John 2:2, Hebrews 1:3, Hebrews 10:17, and I Timothy 2:5-6 to name just a few), so how can a just God hold any sin against us? He can’t! And He won’t! As I pointed out in another previous reply, read Revelation 20:11-12 (noted earlier as being the great white throne judgment), and you will see that these people will be judged for their “works”, not for their “sins”, because Jesus was already judged for all sin. John 3:18 says “he that believeth not is condemned”; so yes, unbelief will condemn people to an eternity in hell, but that does not mean that unbelief is a sin.

  269. @Robert “a just God could never hold any sin against us that Jesus was already judged for.”

    Not true. People are judged justly because sin is imputed to them. They are justified justly because the gift of the righteousness of God is imputed to them. Scripture nowhere says that such imputation always results from propitiation (though that is a theological conclusion that many draw).

    Imputation is stated in Scripture to be based upon the presence of law (Romans 5:13) and the presence of grace working through faith (Romans 4:4-8). It simply does not say anywhere that a sin for which Christ made propitiation cannot still be imputed to those who do not believe.

    Nor do we find it true of believers. Judgment begins at the house of God. Whom the Lord loves He chastens, for our sins. We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account for the deeds done in the body. Yet, we know Christ died for our sins. Is God unjust for holding us accountable for them in these ways? Since Christ died for our sins, are our actions irrelevant? Manifestly not. Yet, Jesus was judged for those sins, was He not? Is God then unjust for chastening us for them?

    I do not wish to involve myself in your broader discussion, but your line of reasoning on this particular point is something the Scriptures do not say, and is quite problematic.

  270. Your presupposition that Christ died for all men, and for all sins, is influencing your interpretation and identification of the “unbelieving” in Rev 21:8, and also every other verse that you raise. There is a problem when a simple verse about the unbelieving being cast into the lake of fire cannot be accepted for what it means.

    I hope you will think through your view that God will judge all men based on their works, but not on their unbelief. The consequence is works-salvation. Lest you try to make the point that belief is akin to works, Ephesians 2:8-9 prove that faith (belief) is a gift of grace from God, and not works or human effort.

    The latest posting about the views of hell may help you to see a broader perspective beyond the position that you are holding so closely.

  271. I had wrote a long response to this answering each point. But then I thought what’s the point brevity is your friend. Words are meaningless and I can prove it.

    Romans 8:26.
    In the same way the spirit helps us in our weaknesses we do not know what we ought to pray for the spirit himself intercedes for us with wordless groans.

    Seems to me God could careless about what words are uttered. If a person is receiving salvation God is listening to Spirit not words.

  272. Jeremy; I am guessing by your statement that you do not believe that Christ died for all men and for all sins? I have a hard time accepting that someone can do exactly as God said and still go to hell just because that’s the way God planned it, or that someone can live like they please, ignoring God’s plan for their life, and still go to Heaven. There are too many verses that refer to “all” and “the world” for me to believe that God only died for a chosen group. And this touches on your other point about accepting a verse for what it means; if Jesus died for “the world” as we read in many verses, then we have to take those also for what they mean.

    Romans 4:5 clearly shows that believing is not a work, and Revelation 20:12 also clearly shows that at the great white throne judgment, they will be judged for their works. So unless there is a contradiction here, we must find a way to believe both verses, and a works-salvation is not that way. The only way that I can see to understand the meaning of both verses is that Christ died for the sins of all mankind (not just a group of men). If we believe in the finished work of Christ, then at death we will be judged based on His righteousness, otherwise at death we will be judged for our works because we don’t have the righteousness of Jesus upon us (Romans 10:3).

  273. Wendy; I read the verses you mentioned, and it sounds like you are saying that sin is placed upon individuals even today, but take a look at Romans 5:12; death by sin was passed upon all men because of the sin of Adam, so man’s sin nature was a problem from the beginning, it is not something that is placed upon him now. And in Romans 4:8 we see “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” Two different words are used in these verses; first, death by sin was “passed” upon all men, it came upon them because of Adam’s sin. And second, the Lord will not “impute” sin; which means “to take an inventory”, looking at what is already there, not adding to what is already there. The “Blessed” man in that verse is he who has believed in Jesus, and at that moment his ‘inventory’ of sin is wiped clean and replaced with an inventory of the righteousness of God.

    I do agree with your point that God will chasten his children for their sins; sin was not taken out of the world, but it was taken out of our ‘inventory’ as mentiond before. So as His children we still sin, and God will chasten us for that, but He will not hold it against us and say that we are no longer His children. The fact that He does chasten us shows us that we are “His” children and not the children of the devil as John 8:38-45 describes.

  274. Sorry, I got the names confused on my last reply, the previous one to “Wendy” should have been to “Jon”, this one is to “Wendy”. My Senior Moment for the day! :)

    Wendy; Based on the capital “S” in “Spirit” in this passage, it is in reference to the Holy Spirit, not the spirit within man. Therefore, when one of God’s children doesn’t know what to pray for, or as many suggest are in such grief that they can’t get the words out, then the Holy Spirit prays for them. But this is only for God’s children, not for the unsaved who are trying to pray and ask forgiveness, because the main premise of this page is to show that asking God to forgive our sins in order to have salvation is not scriptural.

  275. Oh how this article has stirred the pot. I would like a similar article on what a scriptural church service would be. Paul tells us how in 1 Cor. 14 but we utterly ignore him today and thus God as well. Paul ends his instruction with a serious charge that this teaching is from God and those who do not recognize this are NOT recognized.
    This teaching was not voided due to any degree of cessation of any of the gifts. Nor is it nullified by the decency and order statement. That would make the entire instruction self contradictory.
    The church is instructed to be taught by multiple teachers every time they come together. They are all taught to exercise all of their gifts to one another during the service. Let EACH ONE bring a psalm or song or reading….The elders are required to control any excess but they are not to utterly stifle the Spirit.
    When did this unscriptural practice of letting only one teacher teach while the entire rest of the body is required to sit still and keep quite begin?
    I suspect he is another hold over from Rome.
    what about monetary gain? A worthy widow is to receive honor including money. What is that amount. An elder is to receive only twice the amount paid to widows according to scriptures. this fits perfectly with paying a stipend to multiple elder teachers but is inconsistent with a well paid solo act pastor. This would greatly reduce the flood of hirelings in the pulpits.

  276. I can’t stand the “Ask Jesus into your heart” methodology.

    I would encourage all who are reading these things to examine the studies here:

    http://faithsaves.net/exegesis-application-romans-109-14-soulwinning-churches-christians-passage-teach-sinners-prayer/

    and here:

    http://faithsaves.net/the-other-jesus-the-gospel-perverted-by-asking-jesus-into-your-heart-ovid-need/

    These studies, and others on Biblical evangelism that calls people to repentance and faith rather than to saying and meaning the sinner’s prayer, can also be found here:

    http://faithsaves.net/soteriology/

    These resources, and others like them, have radically changed my evangelistic methodology for good; may they be a blessing and a help to you also.

  277. I’ve never commented on anyone’s blog before and don’t plan on making a habit of it, but I just wanted to share a little bit of my experience. I agree with many of your points. I believe people get more excited in soul winning than living lives in love and righteousness. But I don’t agree that saying a prayer or asking Jesus into your heart is a bad. Three years ago my friend ministered to me and I had to make an enormous leap of faith to say a prayer. I don’t remember what I said but as I finished praying I was rocked by the Holy Spirit and my life hasn’t been the same since. God saved me and I have indeed put my hand to the plow and not looked back. If we trust in the sovereignty of The Lord that we can trust that those whom He predestined to save, He will save by whatever means necessary even if it is though a “sinners prayer.” God bless you abundantly.

  278. What comes home to me, is the attraction of WANTING an easy way of
    1. Telling people how to be saved (of course, as has been discussed, that’s NOT the same as “asking Jesus into your heart”)
    2. WANTING an easy way of DEFINING that a person is saved.

  279. You need to read Romans 10:9-10, and 13. I believe you do had to give your whole life to God. I do believe asking Jesus into our heart, after i ask Jesus into my heart, than if i do sin, i ask Jesus to forgive me of that sin.

  280. FALSE FALSE FALSE!!!!!!!! DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS GARBAGE.THIS PERSON WHO WROTE THIS ARTICLE IS FOLLOWING SATANS LIES………. DO NOT BE DECEIVED. IF YOU DO NOT ACCEPT JESUS INTO YOUR HEART YOU WILL NOT BE SAVED…….. YOU CAN NOT GET INTO HEAVEN WITHOUT ACCEPTING CHRIST…. DO NOT LISTEN TO THE LIES OF SATAN. THIS IS A HUGE LIE.

    Revelation 3:20 NKJV

    Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me

  281. Marlord, you are welcome to visit and comment, but refrain from “SHOUTING” at us. Further, we would like to make a recommendation. Please obtain a concordance and do a little study about any verses you want to post. It is important that verses be used in context. Revelation 3:20 has nothing to do with salvation or about “inviting Jesus into your heart.” This passage is a direct message to believers and is a warning to those gatherings of believers who do not want Christ in the midst of their gathering.

  282. Ephesians 3:17 “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in Love

  283. Unfortunately, once again verse 14 is left out; “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” The unsaved do not ‘call upon the Lord’ for salvation, the saved ‘call upon the Lord’ for help in living the Christian life. Look at previous replies to see that there are three distinct and separate ‘salvations’ in the Bible, and this passage is not for salvation of the soul, it is for salvation of life; help in living the way Jesus wants us to live. There are no examples in the Bible of anyone praying a prayer to receive soul salvation; every instance refers to them ‘believing’ the record of God’s Son. Genesis 15:6 “And he (Abraham) believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Acts 16:30-31 “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” And what most say is the best known verse in the Bible, even ‘the Gospel in a nutshell’; John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” So, either asking God to forgive your sins is not the way to get to Heaven, or you can’t be saved through these verses. I was trapped in that lie from Satan for MANY years, but once I found the truth that God forgave ALL sin when Jesus died on the cross, and realized that asking Him to do something that He already did made no sense, I repented – I changed my mind about what would save me, which is the true Biblical meaning of ‘repent’.

  284. Matthew 6:21
    “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

    Proverbs 4:23
    “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

    Matthew 15:18-19
    18 But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

    The “Heart” in Biblical understanding is the place of Volitional decision, where decisions are made between the rational and the emotive. If we help people understand this basic concept then the heart appears to be a good place to start.

    Galatians 2:20
    I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

  285. Kevin, well and good it would seem from your citation of Scripture. But have you considered another verse, which is equally valid about the description of the heart? Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”
    Either all the verses about the heart have contradictory elements in them, or there are no contradictions whatsoever, but there is an inherent condition that is in all men . Jeremiah 17:9 is a universal condition of the human heart in its utter depravity. This is why we need a regenerated heart, and regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.
    If what appears to be contradictory at first, hold your horses and continue to do your studies.

  286. While we are on the ‘heart’, may I add Acts 16:14 “And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.”
    To start with, Lydia did not ‘open her heart to Jesus’, but rather Jesus opened her heart. Which based on the passage tells us that she received faith, and Romans 10:17 reminds us “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Thus we can conclude that if we read or listen to the word of God, then God will give us faith and open our ‘heart’ that we might believe the record of His Son. And when we ‘believe’ (as Abraham did; see James 2:23), God imputes Christ’s righteousness upon us and our ‘heart’ is regenerated. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” This is a reminder that even the faith that we need to be saved is not our own, “it is the gift of God”.
    The ‘heart’ is merely a muscle that pumps blood; it has no thoughts of its own. As a previous posting said, when the Bible refers to our ‘heart’ it is in reference to our ‘mind’, where we make our decisions (look it up in your concordance). Having a ‘head knowledge’ but not a ‘heart knowledge’ makes no sense at all when you stop to think about it; but that’s Satan’s plans, that we don’t stop and think about it, because then he will lose one of his best weapons in the fight against the truth, which is getting people to believe what they hear without checking with the scriptures to make sure what they hear is the truth.

  287. This will really mess with some people’s faith, but asking Jesus into your heart is a false Gospel.

    Paul said that if anyone preaches any other gospel, other than that which he preached, let him be accursed.

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