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Is A Sinner's Prayer Necessary?

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#1
Butero

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According to scripture, in order to be saved, we must have faith in Jesus.  At the same time, there are people who believe in Jesus but don't claim to be saved.  I once knew a man who said, "I believe in the Lord, I just don't serve him."  The Bible says the devils believe in Jesus, and we see that is true by the way they reacted when Jesus met that possessed man at the tombs.  I remember being under conviction 6 months, and during that time, I believed in Jesus but had never said a sinners prayer or turned my life over to him.  My question is, do you believe it is possible to just believe in Jesus and be saved, without ever asking Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior and without confessing your sins or confessing Jesus to others. 



#2
Atwood

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Good questions, Royal Butero.

It was posted: "According to scripture, in order to be saved, we must have faith in Jesus."

Indeed, many times faith in the Lord Jesus or believing in Him is the one and only responsibility put for a man to do in order to be saved (to secure a transformation and eternal life with the Lord Jesus). Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, period.

"At the same time, there are people who believe in Jesus but don't claim to be saved."

Well, such a statement indicates that they believe in His existence. They may believe that He paid for sins and that He is the Savior. Yet demons believe all that. Believing facts to be true does not save. The faith which believes is trusting Christ as Savior. If they don't claim to be saved then they do not trust a Savior. How could you trust a Savior to save you and not claim to be saved? It is like saying, "I believe a rich man put a million dollars in my bank account, but while I have never drawn it out, I don't believe I have a million dollars in my bank account."

"I once knew a man who said, "I believe in the Lord, I just don't serve him.""

We don't know what he meant by "believe in." It is indeed possible to trust Christ as Savior and be carnal: "I am carnal, sold under sin." Romans 7.

You posted "I believed in Jesus but had never said a sinners prayer or turned my life over to him."

The Bible never says that saying a sinner's prayer saves. It is possible to exercise initial faith with a prayer though, to call on His name in faith. Turning the life over is another matter, and requires definition. It seems to me that when you trust, you turn over the life. However, it is not promising to obey and serve that saves (works), but faith in the Savior, apart from works.

You posted: "My question is, do you believe it is possible to just believe in Jesus and be saved, without ever asking Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior and without confessing your sins or confessing Jesus to others. "

The Bible never says that asking Jesus into one's heart saves; thus it bothers me when people use that in evangelism. Christians may need to have Christ dwelling in their hearts (center of being) by faith. See Eph 3. The Bible does use the expression once of "receive Christ," but then that is further explained as believing in Him (John 1:12). And in Rev 3, addressing the Lukewarm Church of Laodicea, the offer is made:

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." The text doesn't say "heart." And it is addressed to a Church; thus some may object to using this in evangelism. However, the context indicates that the offer is to professed Christians in a "Church" composed of unsaved professors; those who need eye salve.

It appears to me from Ephesians 3 that many in the Church of Ephesus (at the time Paul wrote and prayed for them) may not have had Christ dwelling in their heart by faith. Though saved, He was at the margin of their lives, not in the center (the heart).

As to confessing sins, when one trusts Christ as Savior, "Savior" implies that you recognize you are a sinner; you come as a sinner to be saved from sin. You could hardly confess all your sins -- the list is way too long. In fact, the unsaved person's life is all one big sin. Who wants to hear the nauseating details? It is surely unedifying and unadvisable to broadcast to the world the sordid details of one's sins.

As far as confessing the Lord Jesus to others, that does not save -- it would be salvation by works. We confess or agree with (homologeō) God as to Who the Lord Jesus is, namely the risen Son of God, both God and man -- we must come for salvation with an adequate (if not perfect) idea of who Christ is. You indeed may trust the Lord Jesus as Savior in your bedroom, with no one in the house. And you will not wait for regeneration until you do a good work of confessing Him to men.

It also should be recognized that a supposed faith which does not issue in good works is a false faith; genuine faith in Christ must issue in good works.

I hope this helps.

#3
Littlelambseativy

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How can one call himself a Christian if he does not say,"Jesus forgive me of my sins." How then can he call Him Lord and Master? Unless you know someone how can you truly love them and if you love them you will want to show them your love. One has to has faith that Jesus is the Son of God in order to believe what is written of Him in the Bible and if one does that person acknowledges his sin and his need of a Saviour - then comes the love and the desire to tell others and do what one can for the one he loves.
That was circuitous but I hope was explanatory also.

#4
Butero

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Thanks for your responses Atwood and Littlelambseativy.  In most churches I have been part of, they lead those wanting salvation in a traditional sinner's prayer.  I never went to any of his meetings, but I heard Billy Graham had people sign a card where they accepted Jesus.  I have come across some people that simply claim to believe in Jesus, but never confessed their sins and asked Jesus to save them.  I remember questioning within myself whether or not those people were really saved.  I realize a "sinner's prayer" is not found in the Bible, so I can't really say they are saved or not saved.  I am just trying to get different opinions of what it takes to be saved and to really become a Christian.  As I mentioned already, even the devil's believe in Jesus.  This is one of those things I am not sure of.  I have no doubt we must believe in Jesus, but what in addition to that? 



#5
Atwood

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It was posted:
How can one call himself a Christian if he does not say,"Jesus forgive me of my sins."

I am going to expand on this, without accusing the poster of errors; so don't take this personal.

Anyone who trusts Christ as Savior is entitled to call Himself a Christian -- Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved! The offer of salvation goes out over and over in the Bible without including any "Jesus forgive me of my sins." Of course "Savior" implies one is a sinner or one would not need a Savior. Of course it is proper to ask the Lord to forgive us of our sins when we trust Him as Savior, only we must be careful not to add to the gospel as the Bible gives it. And the sins for which we are forgiven is one entire life of sin, impossible to recite in total.

Indeed, Christians are going to confess their sins, hopefully quickly after each one is done. But in point of fact, Christians are forgiven all their sins when they trust Christ as Savior; all sins: past, present, and future. And I think that after we die we will all find that we failed to confess many sins; indeed we don't even presently remember all our sins. Also, Christians are surely capable of overlooking sins and going on with life willy nilly.

As I expand on this, I am not saying that you said what I will next address; but it has for a long time seemed to me quite a waste of time for a Christian to pray these words, "Forgive me my sins" or "Forgive us our debts." 1 John says that if we confess our sins He is faith and just to forgive. Thus there is a household forgiveness, despite the fact that all our sins are really forgiven already. But sin is to be confessed specifically (you state just what you did), like "I called Bill a fool at 2 PM today." "Forgive us our debts" is a model wherein we insert the actual sins when we actually pray.

#6
Atwood

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It is a good discussion, Butero.

You refer to the "sinner's prayer." I think most are referring to the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, where first the Pharisee boasts of his righteousness, but then the Publican prays, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Then it is added "And save me for Jesus' sake." I don't think that is a bad prayer at all, but in considering the plan of salvation, I wish to stick close to scripture.

I do not accept that there are acceptable variations on the plan of salvation which are debatable among Christians. Belief of the truth on salvation is an indicator that one is truly a Christian vs just a pretender.

Butero posted: "I have no doubt we must believe in Jesus, but what in addition to that?"

Zilch. Absolutely nothing. By stating over and over that one is saved by faith (with nothing added), God would be a liar to not grant salvation to men who merely trust the Lord Jesus as Savior -- but God cannot lie. Sirs what must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. John 3:16 "that whosoever believes in Him."

The apparent variations which rarely occur must be understood in the light of the reiterated "by faith alone" passages. Repentance is metanoia, a change of mind. Saving repentance is the change of mind from not trusting Christ to trusting Him. Calling on His name is calling in faith.

Romans 10: "For the scripture says, Whosoever believes on him shall not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for the same Lord is Lord of all, and is rich unto all that call upon him: for, Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?"

Anyone who has added to the gospel other things besides faith, has probably not trusted Christ as Savior. Trusting Christ as SAvior is not an ingredient in a mix of duties which bring a man salvation. If one trusts Christ as Savior, then why would one do other things? Adding would indicate that one really doesn't trust Christ as only and sufficient Savior. I would strongly advise anyone who has been trusting in a mix instead of in the Lord Jesus, to take the knee at once and trust Him as only and sufficient Savior, in the context that He is the God-man, who died and paid for our sins and rose again.

#7
Butero

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Thanks again Atwood for your contributions.  I do not believe in unconditional eternal security, or that when a person trusts Jesus, all past, present and future sins are all automatically under the blood.  Even so, that is for another thread.  We have debated that topic to death.  My question here is over what it takes to get saved in the first place.  It seems clear to me that simple faith in Jesus is your answer, unless I am greatly misunderstanding your, and I do appreciate you giving your opinion.  Based on that, would it be fair to say that in your view, it is possible to fill out a Billy Graham card or say a sinner's prayer and never really be saved, and it is also possible to never go through either of those things and never go down to an alter to pray, but simply believe in Jesus and be saved? 



#8
Willamina

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Thanks for your responses Atwood and Littlelambseativy.  In most churches I have been part of, they lead those wanting salvation in a traditional sinner's prayer.  I never went to any of his meetings, but I heard Billy Graham had people sign a card where they accepted Jesus.  I have come across some people that simply claim to believe in Jesus, but never confessed their sins and asked Jesus to save them.  I remember questioning within myself whether or not those people were really saved.  I realize a "sinner's prayer" is not found in the Bible, so I can't really say they are saved or not saved.  I am just trying to get different opinions of what it takes to be saved and to really become a Christian.  As I mentioned already, even the devil's believe in Jesus.  This is one of those things I am not sure of.  I have no doubt we must believe in Jesus, but what in addition to that?

The answer is the difinition of believe: to trust in, rely on, adhere to Christ. Even Jesus told people to repent. Luke 13:3, 5. Unless we turn in our hearts away from our sin and rely on Christ to redeem us, and continue to rely on Christ daily to adhere to Him, we are probably not saved. To believe is an ongoing process. We are saved when we first believed and are born again. But believing is a lifestyle.

I know people who say they are Christians and believe but have never repented. They say they have an "understanding" with God, Who they think is OK with them. Some of these say they pray to God when they want something good and to satan when they want something bad like to get even. Some say that they don't know if they are saved: that they don't know if their good outweighs the bad.
Others think they are just as good as the next guy so of course they are going to heaven.
So most of them have no idea what it means to be a Christian.

#9
bopeep1909

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According to scripture, in order to be saved, we must have faith in Jesus.  At the same time, there are people who believe in Jesus but don't claim to be saved.  I once knew a man who said, "I believe in the Lord, I just don't serve him."  The Bible says the devils believe in Jesus, and we see that is true by the way they reacted when Jesus met that possessed man at the tombs.  I remember being under conviction 6 months, and during that time, I believed in Jesus but had never said a sinners prayer or turned my life over to him.  My question is, do you believe it is possible to just believe in Jesus and be saved, without ever asking Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior and without confessing your sins or confessing Jesus to others. 

Yes,in order to be saved we must believe and have faith in Jesus Christ.Just because these people say they believe in Jesus does not mean they are saved.There are many false "Christians' in our world.Yes,the Bible says that Satan and his demons tremble at the name of Jesus Christ.They have reason to.Look at what is going to happen to them.In order to believe we need to pray to Jesus Christ to ask Him into our lives and repent of our sins.We need to maintain a relationship with Christ by praying and communicating with Him daily.No one can fool God.He knows our hearts better than we know our own.



#10
Qnts2

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I have seen the 'sinners prayer' questioned before.

 

I have talked to people who have been very reluctant to admit publically or to family, Jesus. I can understand their reluctance as the reaction to their confession can result in rejection, but at the same time, I know enough people who failed to make their belief public knowledge, also later, deny Jesus and walk away.  Seeing this enough to wonder, I have come across the following verses.

 

  Romans 10:9 ]that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, [b]resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, [c]resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be [d]disappointed.”

 

Is a public confession somehow an expression of confessing Jesus? I do believe that people can be saved without the public confession, but if they are, the public confession will follow. In my view, either the sinners prayer, or a testimony at the time of baptism, both qualify as a confession of Jesus. Such a public confession is the same as a committment to Jesus.

 

So, I personally see the possibility of the need for a confession of Jesus as their Lord, which is covered by a sinners prayer. Not that the confession itself saves, but it is the committment to Jesus.  



#11
Butero

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Thanks for all the responses.  I want to make it clear that I did not start this thread to push a doctrine, for or against the need for a sinner's prayer.  I am just looking for opinions.  Thanks Willamina, Bopeep and Qnts.  This is one of those things I am not 100 percent sure about. 



#12
Openly Curious

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According to scripture, in order to be saved, we must have faith in Jesus.  At the same time, there are people who believe in Jesus but don't claim to be saved.  I once knew a man who said, "I believe in the Lord, I just don't serve him."  The Bible says the devils believe in Jesus, and we see that is true by the way they reacted when Jesus met that possessed man at the tombs.  I remember being under conviction 6 months, and during that time, I believed in Jesus but had never said a sinners prayer or turned my life over to him.  My question is, do you believe it is possible to just believe in Jesus and be saved, without ever asking Jesus into your heart to be your Lord and Savior and without confessing your sins or confessing Jesus to others.



I don't believe there is certain type or formulated prayer that one has to pray and be saved per say. But I do believe a person can pray even a formulated prayer such as a sinners prayer and if they believe in there heart having true repentance and accept Jesus as the sacrifice for their sins through faith that they can be saved. The Lord will not turn a deaf ear and He will save them to the uttermost. But one has to bow(surrender)the altar of their heart to God inwardly and repent. So a traditional sinner's prayer not neccesarily needed for salvation. But defiantly yes to "repentance unto salvation" for there is no other way whereby men can be saved.

Jesus told Nicodemus in....John 3:3 - Except a man be born again that he cannot even see the kingdom of God.

A person cannot walk in the light as He (Jesus) is in the light unless he is born again (converted). They remain in spiritual darkness.

#13
kwikphilly

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Blessings Butero....

     Every time I started typing a new reply was being added & I would cancel,read it & then begin again..............It was getting to me after the 3rd time so if I am repeating what someone else has said,please forgive me because I stopped reading them for now-LOL

    My Dear Brother,there is not an easy answer because it depends on what "believes in" means to you....................Believes in Him in John 3:16 supports this because it (contrary to what many misinterpret)says that they"should not " perish ,it does not say that they shall not or will not.....& that is my point,it depends on what "believe in"means to the believer...The Greek text uses "me: which means "may" as to say "God forbid" which is appropriately translated as "should not"

     Throughout Jesus ministry He revealed to whoever had ears to hear & eyes to see,Who He is....that they would come to "believe".....that belief,that faith is knowing the Truth,in knowing the absolute Truth the heart is receptive(longing ,yearning for,willing)of Jesus as Lord & Savior.................so yes,in that respect..it is my belief that the answer is yes.

       Jesus knows our hearts,we do not even know our own hearts...............When He sees the "believers "heart & one has come to that place where they want/need Jesus ...everything in a believers heart speaks to our Lord,the heart is confessing  ones sins asking for forgiveness,the heart is repentant,the heart needs the Lord & is forsaking all else,the heart wants to be Saved,the heart loves Jesus & yearns for His love-to be born again,the heart BELIEVES..............that "believes in" is why our Father gives us His Grace by which we are Saved                       To God be the Glory!

                                                                                                                                                 With love,in Christ,Kwik



#14
ayin jade

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From my own personal experience, when I got saved, I was in my living room. I looked up to the ceiling and said "so this is what you want from me Lord, to believe that He is Your Son?" That is when I felt the Holy Spirit whip through me like a whirlwind, when I fell to my knees and sobbed. The change was dramatic. There is no doubt what happened. 

 

I did not say a sinners prayer. But I had an attitude in my heart of humility, of trusting and looking to Him, of desiring His will. Where repentence came in, I dont know. I dont actively recall saying forgive me, but since I wanted only what He wanted, it was probably there as well. 

 

I do not think one needs to say specific words, or a specific prayer. I think what matters is the heart and a confession of some sort per romans 10.



#15
Butero

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Thanks OC, Kwikphilly and Ayin Jade.  Those are all helpful comments. 



#16
Cletus

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A sinners prayer is not necessary to be saved. The apostle paul was apprehended of The Lord. You read the story? A light fell on him and he heard a voice and said lord who are you. Then afterwards the other disciples where still afraid of paul because of how greatly he persecuted the church. Its in the book of acts and its one of my favorite bible stories because God apprehended me also. I was in jail. And I began having thoughts like what good is my life doing and what good have I done in life and then I felt this weight, and then I could feel his presence, I fell of my bunk and was weeping and I felt him lift the weight off me and all I could do is rock back and forth saying over and over, I'll be good, I'll be good. I never said a sinners prayer. I never even sought him out. I didnt even ask him to come into my life, but thank God He did.

#17
Butero

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A sinners prayer is not necessary to be saved. The apostle paul was apprehended of The Lord. You read the story? A light fell on him and he heard a voice and said lord who are you. Then afterwards the other disciples where still afraid of paul because of how greatly he persecuted the church. Its in the book of acts and its one of my favorite bible stories because God apprehended me also. I was in jail. And I began having thoughts like what good is my life doing and what good have I done in life and then I felt this weight, and then I could feel his presence, I fell of my bunk and was weeping and I felt him lift the weight off me and all I could do is rock back and forth saying over and over, I'll be good, I'll be good. I never said a sinners prayer. I never even sought him out. I didnt even ask him to come into my life, but thank God He did.

That is an interesting point Cletus.  There is certainly no record of Saul praying a sinner's prayer, but it was obvious he was sorry for the way he had persecuted the church.  That is an interesting testimony too. 



#18
the_patriot2014

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the sinners prayer? no. absolutly not. the sinners prayer is not found in scripture. Confession is, the exact sinners prayer? no. Saul did repent of his sins-yes. so did every conversion. but not a single person used the "sinners prayer" as is found on the back of most tracts. does that make the sinners prayer wrong? no, its a handy tool for people who want to confess but cant find the words-but it doesn't save you anymore then baptism-its the heart change that saves you, you confess and be baptized because the Bible commands you to and if you truly have a heart change you want to follow Gods commands.



#19
bopeep1909

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The sinner's prayer is a prayer a person prays to God when they understand that they are a sinner and need a savior.

A sinners pray will not accomplish anything on its own.

1) We need to understand that we are a sinner

2) We need to understand what God has done for us to remedy our lost and sinful condition.

Saying the sinners prayer is a way of declaring to God that you are relying on Jesus Christ as your Savior.

 

If anyone is interested what a sinners prayer looks like here is an example

 

"God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!"


Read more: http://www.gotquesti...l#ixzz307L9jYoy

 

:



#20
Sevenseas

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I'm going with Romans 10 also

 

But the righteousness that is by faith says: “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ”b (that is, to bring Christ down) 7“or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ”c (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). 8But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,”d that is, the message concerning faith that we proclaim: 9If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. 11As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”e 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

It seems that what we believe, we will declare.

 

There are other things that can be discussed (like how believers behave) but I think the simple answer is belief and confession of that belief and you can be alone when it happens






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