Monday, April 7, 2008

The Sinner's Prayer. . .

Praying, talking to God is a good thing. It would be foolish to argue that talking to God was ever wrong, but the way that I have seen this sinner's prayer used is not a good thing at all.

I minister at a jail and on one occasion I saw a man after giving his talk ask the room full of men if any were ready to accept Jesus into their hearts. Hands were raised and then this man led the group of men in the sinner's prayer. Everything was fine up to this point, but then he said (This is as close to a quote as I can make it):

"I know that you are murderers, rapists, child molesters, drug dealers and wife beaters. And I know that you will continue to rape, deal drugs, murder, molest and beat your wives, but now you know with 100% certainty that you are going to heaven."

That is no exaggeration, that is no distortion. . . those are the words that this man said. He then quoted:

Ephesians 2:8
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

According to this man, we are not saved by works therefore no action of ours has any impact upon our salvation. This is such a huge abomination of the Truth of Scripture.

There is no talking to this man. Once we were riding on an elevator alone and please I was not looking for controversy or to be confrontational, in truth I asked in all innocence:

"I have heard you speak for a couple of years and I've never heard you mention baptism. What are your beliefs about baptism?"

He got red in the face and started spouting and sputtering at me. He was very angry just from my asking this question. He said that baptism is just a public profession of your private faith and nothing more, not necessary at all. . .He was very angry. . . I cannot speak to him, but his message is so potentially destructive. If people believe this man's message. . . I weep. . . they do believe it and this man is not alone. Others preach this same lie. . . those who follow this teaching will one day appear before Jesus and be in for a terrible surprise. . .

Just last night in my Bible reading I ran across an Old Testament verse:

Exodus 32:33
And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Do we serve the same God in the Old Testament as we do in the New Testament? I do not know how you can argue that your actions will not effect your salvation. If God is blotting the sinners name out of the book, it must mean that it was once written in the book. What book is God talking about? It must mean that you once were written in the book of life. There is no need to blot something out that was not there in the first place. Then it is apparent that people can lose their salvation by sinning.

Here is a New Testament passage. This is Jesus speaking:

Matthew 7:21-23
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (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? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Notice who he is talking to, those who have done works in His name. Jesus is talking to people who recognize Him. They are calling Him Lord. In their lives they did, what they considered to be, wonderful works in His name. . . but. . . but. . .BUT!!!! He does not know them because they 'worked iniquity.' What does that mean? That is a blanket statement, they did bad things. . . THEY SINNED and did not repent of it!

No one should fool themselves that sin of any description is unimportant. This passage also addresses the question of works. These people thought that by doing good things he would know them, but that is a trap.

Jesus also said:

Luke 17:7-10
But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? (8) And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? (9) Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I think not. (10) So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

We are commanded to #1 Love God with everything we have and #2 Love our fellow man. When asked, those are what Jesus said were the two most important, the great commandments of the Law. (Matthew 22:36-40) Here in verse 9 Jesus asks, "Do you thank a servant for doing what they are supposed to do?" If Jesus is our Lord, then we are His servants. We cannot think highly of our selves for doing those things commanded of us. Notice verse 10. Our attitude needs necessarily to be one of total humility, "We are nothing special. We are only doing what is expected of us."

It is very clear that doing good things will not get us into heaven. It is absolutely true we get there by our faith and by the grace of God, but it is likewise clear that doing bad things will get us put into hell. I pray for this man. I pray for all who believe and who preach like him. Someday they will need to answer to God for their words and for their misleading of people. . .

Please Lord help them. . .
Please Lord open their eyes. . .

I love you my God. . .


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