Get Away From the Sinners Prayer (Don’t Fail the Test)
If you sincerely prayed this prayer, you are born again. This is the phrase I have read on many Gospel tracts. This is the dilemma that that statement should raise- How do I know I was sincere in the prayer?
This statement puts the emphasis on the prayer being the magic wand of salvation, and the ambiguity of our sincerity becomes the assurance. I have met young people and old people alike who have been duped into believing praying a prayer is what saves you. This is an error that has infiltrated not the enemy ranks of the world but the base camp of many solid denominations. This mindset is leaving in its wake a spiritual epidemic. I have talked with people who said they have prayed to receive Jesus in their hearts hundreds of times and still have no assurance. Why don’t they have assurance? The prayer is not designed to give them assurance. Well, then what is it that gives a follower of Jesus assurance that they are right with God? Keep reading. I want to do two things with this article. First, I want to show what the above phrase produces. Second, I want to give three biblical assurances that show someone they are born again.
I think I Sincerely Prayed?
This mindset swiftly moves the person from repentance and faith to the sincerity of the prayer coming from their heart. Nowhere in the bible does it say that if we are sincere and ask Jesus into our heart, he will come in. What does the bible tell us about our hearts? They are deceitfully wicked. (Jeremiah 17:9) It is where all the foolishness of children is found. (Proverbs 22:15) The heart is seen as the overflow of who we are, and we are sinful, rebellious people. (Luke 6:45)
1. False Assurance
What does false assurance look like? I am going to set up a pretend scenario. Let’s say we go to the latest and hippest Christian concert out there. At the end of the show, they present a Gospel that asks people to come forward and pray a prayer. A few hundred people come forward, and they ask all the people to repeat a prayer, and they declare them all saved. How does this give someone false assurance? Tim, one of the people who prayed, leaves the concert and nothing in his life is different. He continues to live and act just like the rest of his godless friends. Tim grew up in church and sees the importance of religion but loves his sinful lifestyle. People ask him if he has sincerely prayed to receive Jesus into his heart. He says that he has and is reassured by so called Christians that he is born again. However, his conscience continues to prick him, although, he has some level of assurance.
2. Perpetual Need for Assurance
This causes Tim to have a consistent need for assurance. What does this look like? Every time Tim goes to a church meeting and the pastor asks people to raise their hands if they want to receive Jesus in their heart, Tim is one of the many who raises his hand. He has done this countless times looking for assurance that will never come. Why? He and countless others are looking for assurance in the wrong place. They are looking for assurance to come from a prayer. Hence, the reason they pray time and time again.
3. A Weak Ministry of Evangelism
This makes for a cycle of weak Gospel presentations that don’t advance the kingdom of God, but, in all actuality, feed the ego of man. They have a weak foundation on what the Gospel is and how someone is genuinely saved. They go out and get people to repeat a prayer and brag about the amount of people that came to know Jesus through them. I have heard people say in a city of 30,000 people that 2,000 people got saved in a weekend. If this were the case, the city would be thrown into revival because of the 2,000 plus in the city sharing the Gospel of Jesus. How did they determine that these 2,000 people really are Christians? The sincerity of their prayer! This is not biblical, and this error produces false assurance, a perpetual need for assurance, and a weak ministry of evangelism. True conversion has been forsaken for the desire for numbers.
Next week we will look at the three signs of true conversion. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions before next week.