The Sinner’s Prayer or Discipleship?
In a country where 73% of the population professes faith in Christ and say they have been born again; I ask, is the "Sinner’s Prayer" more detrimental than good? Vaccines are great but can create antibiotic resistant bacteria; can the sinner’s prayer do the same and produce Holy Spirit resistant false converts?
It is true that Romans 10:9 says “That if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you are saved.” But what does it mean to “believe in your heart”? When we look at this Scripture and the verses around it we see that mere oral profession is nothing in light to the belief in the heart, so how does somebody believe in their heart?
First we must understand the nature of man prior any belief in the heart. We are born sinful (Ps 51:5; Ro 5:12, 19), we continue in our sins (Ro 3:23), and ultimately that sin leads to eternal damnation (Ro 6:23). Our previous nature was corrupt and fully depraved, (Eph 4:20; Titus 1:15-16) we were lost and hopeless in our sins. In this hopelessness, can man find within himself any saving faith and would man even want to be saved apart from the Holy Spirit guiding him into truth and convicting him (ßGrace; John 16:8, 13-15)? No, nobody has the understanding within to know the vileness that consumes them.
Jesus told His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to convict the world and lead men into the truth and that is prevenient grace. Now what happens when the Holy Spirit wants to lead a person into a true relationship with God, but that person resists this grace believing that he is already saved? The Sinner’s Prayer capitalizes on false conversions, fleshly confessions of faith without any true belief in the heart! 73% of the U.S. professing faith in Christ is proof enough that profession is absolutely meaningless without true faith. True faith produces true regeneration and life in Christ (Eph 4:20-25; Ro 12:1-2; Titus 3:5) while heartless profession of dead faith begets hardness of heart. The big problem is that the hardened heart is inside of a man that believes himself to be saved and born again, and thus resistant to the Grace that leads him to true faith.
True belief in heart is produced when a person does not resist the leading of the Holy Spirit and faith blooms from the inward work of God (ß That is grace; 2 Co 7:9-11). We know that true faith immediately begets regeneration and in turn a regenerated man will produce the Fruits of the Spirit, do the Will of God, produce good works, and have the Holy Spirit within (Ga 5:22-23; Matt 7:21; Ja 2:17; Ro 8:6-16). These things are not only an assurance of our own salvation but how we test others; Jesus Himself tells us that we will know false converts and deceivers by their fruits.
Words (Sinner’s Prayer) cannot replace true faith; people must become Disciples of Christ not confirmed as Christians because they say that they are saved. This is not a complex issue; the heart is exceedingly deceitful and so is our enemy the Devil. If profession is not followed by true regeneration, repentance, and discipleship the profession was false and could very possible lead to dangerous grounds. The falsely converted man will resist the True God stronger than the most astute Atheist.