Previously I mentioned a booklet, “Living in Christ & Gospel of John,” published by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association wherein there are steps to salvation outlined for the reader of this booklet. I made the observation that of the steps set forth for the reader to consider there is scriptural support for most of the particular remarks made, but on the last step there is none. Mighty strange and unfortunate!
Though unfortunate, there is something good that comes from this that teaches us much. The sinner’s prayer, a standard teaching in the Protestant denominational world, is a teaching that has been conjured up by man and, thus, is not of God. If it was of God, then one can be sure the author(s) of this booklet would have included that alongside the remark. As it is, there is not!
In their “last step of the way” (if you will) in “how to receive Christ” there is a remark wherein one needs to pray a prayer asking Jesus into the petitioner’s heart. The prayer reads this way:
Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask your forgiveness. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from running my own life, and now I ask you to run it. I invite you to come into my heart and life [sic]. I trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name, amen. (page 4)
The sinner’s prayer is misguided at best and flat out biblically wrong at worst! This is a teaching of man, and not of God (Matthew 15:8-9, 13-14). It is a serious matter and not one to be lightly dismissed. The biblical answer to “how to receive Christ” is not so difficult that one needs to make up an answer that is not in the Bible! “How to receive Christ” is exactly similar to the question that was asked of Peter in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost. After hearing Peter preach, citing Scripture to support his points, after hearing Peter lay at the feet of the Jewish community the killing of the Lord’s anointed, they inquired of Peter what they need to do.
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:37-38, ASV)
Thus, those who desired to become Christian by the sinners’ prayer have tried to enter in through another gate (or door). There is no other gate, however. The gate they tried to enter in, they thought, was Christ. In fact, the gate they thought they entered through was not Christ, but a gate that belongs to another (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
More to follow; this is the second of four articles.