The Bible tells us that our salvation is a free gift. Many people just can't believe the fact that we don't need to do anything to save ourselves - only believe in the finished work of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, on the cross of Calvary and the grave. Because of this, many still try to add to what He has done, always to no result.
There are others, however, who take salvation very lightly. They simply say a "sinner's prayer" as if it's a magic formula that, when you say it "with all your heart," you're saved. It's like popping a bag of microwave popcorn in the microwave for a few minutes, and voila! Instant movie food.
But the truth is, friends, is that saying or reciting that sinner's prayer isn't enough, no matter how many times you say it, or how flowery and colorful and artistic the words may be. Why?
Because salvation must bear fruit.
Salvation as the door
As already mentioned, salvation is a free gift to us. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us,
"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
Simply put, we don't have to do anything to be saved. Anything we do to save ourselves is futile, because "there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Only Jesus Christ is able to save us from sin, death, and hell.
The thing is, although Christ has already paid the extremely high price of our salvation, we have to receive the gift that He offers freely. When we receive His salvation by faith, we are sure to be saved.
Accepting the free gift of salvation, however, does not end with a sinner's prayer. It starts with a very important act of faith that we are able to do by the grace of God: repentance.
"Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord..." (Acts 3:19)
Repentance is a very important process. When we repent, we see the seriousness of our sins, admit them before God and ask for His forgiveness, and change our minds about our sin. We begin to hate our sin, turn away from it, and turn to God.
You see, there can be no turning away from something if we don't turn to something else. When we repent we must turn away from sin, and must turn towards God.
After we repent, what follows next?
"...bear fruits worthy of repentance..." (see Luke 3:8)
When we turn away from sin, we don't do them again. We begin living a changed life: from a life without trusting in and obeying God to a life of complete surrender and obedience to God.
Friends, a sinner's prayer isn't enough to save us, let us stay saved, and allow us entrance into the Kingdom of God.
- Only Christ Jesus' finished work can save us.
- Only His Holy Spirit and grace can empower us to live a saved life in relationship with the Father.
- Only obedience to the Father's will gives us entry into the Kingdom of God.
I leave you with this very important passage, coming from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Christ:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'" (Matthew 7:21-23)