September 18, 2014 by Chris French
I’ve run into a couple of sermons and lessons on the Sinner’s Prayer over the last week, so I wanted to share something with you I found that will help as you talk to our denominational friends who believe the Sinner’s Prayer will save.
Almost every time you ask someone to show you where they found the Sinner’s Prayer in Scripture (which is the exact question you should be asking) they’ll take you to Romans 10.9,13.
“because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
That might stump you for a second. It’s in the Bible so it’s true. How will you reconcile what you know to be true with this passage? Well, you could (and rightly so) tell your friend that the Bible says to do several things to be saved. You’ll need to believe the Gospel (Rom. 10.9), you’ll need to repent of your sins (Acts 3.19), be immersed in water for the purpose of God forgiving your sin (1 Peter 3.21) and live in God’s grace (Eph. 2.8-10). If you want to be saved you should do everything the Bible says to be saved, not just choose one and hang your hat on it.
That’s the way I’ve reasoned with friends who believe the Sinner’s Prayer has some power to save. Last week though I heard a lesson from Romans 10 that is even more helpful.
Go back and read Romans 10.1
“Brothers (the church in Rome), my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them (the Jews) is that they may be saved”
Through this whole passage Paul is speaking about the Jews. Read thru Romans 10.1-14. How are the Jews ever going to be saved unless someone convinces them that Jesus is God? They won’t be! The hurdle they need to jump is understanding that Jesus was who He said He was. Repentance and immersion would come soon after, but right now they needed to believe and confess that Jesus was God.
This passage doesn’t validate the Sinner’s Prayer! It’s not even directed at us! Paul is talking about the Jews and how God hasn’t abandoned them, but that they’ve left Him! They needed to open their eyes and see Jesus as God, but just belief and confession wasn’t going to be enough. The demons do that and everyone agrees that they’re not saved! (James 2.19)
So while incredibly interesting contextually this passage doesn’t help us toward salvation. What have you found to be most helpful in debunking the Sinner’s Prayer?