By: Douglas M. Williams Sr
The Bible does not say anything about “The Sinner’s Prayer” as is taught by so many today, which they teach will save a person who is outside of Christ.
The Bible teaches that a believer (Mark 16:16; Hebrews 11:6) must repent of sins (Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38); confess faith in Christ (Matthew 10:32-33; Romans 10:10; Acts 8:37); and be baptized to be forgiven as sins are washed away by the blood of Jesus (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Revelation 1:5).
As we hear people talk of “the sinner’s prayer” or read it, the wording is different but the message is about the same as copied here:
“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I know you died on the cross for me. I now turn from my sins and ask you to forgive me. I now invite you into my heart and life. I now trust you as Savior and follow You as Lord. Thank you for saving me. Amen.”
As noted above this idea cannot be found in the Bible to save a person outside of Christ. But the Bible says one must obey Jesus as also noted above. The Bible teaches that salvation is in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17; 2 Timothy 2:10), and the only way to get in Christ is to obey the gospel that is completed by baptism (Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:26-27).
The Bible shows us that when believers asked what to do to be saved, they were told to “repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). Thus, the disciples were carrying out the Lord’s instructions (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).
The Bible does teach that a Christian, who is in Christ, is to confess sins, repent, and pray to God for forgiveness (Acts 8:13-24; James 5:16).
It would seem that there is misunderstanding about what one outside of Christ and one who is in Christ, as a child of God, must do to be forgiven. This is a good example to “Study…rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
God bless you in your study of God’s word and obedience to it. If I can help you, please let me know.