Why didn't Jesus just lead the rich young ruler in a simple "sinner's prayer" and then tell him he had eternal life? Why didn't Jesus just tell the man to ask Jesus into his heart? Why did Jesus say that it was so hard for a rich man to be saved if all he had to do was pray the "sinner's prayer"? In this episode of The Great Deception on the Charisma Podcast Network, we will discuss this and more.
That is what the vast majority of today's ministers would have told the rich young man he had to do, to just pray the "sinner's prayer," and then they would tell him he was saved—especially since the man obviously was a "good" moral person and wealthy.
He would have been welcomed into virtually any church in America today, and then shortly after, he'd have been given a position of leadership or teaching. He would have also been given special treatment because of his financial status.
Churches and pastors love to get members who are well off financially. They are much more able to support the pastor's programs and his salary than poor people. In fact, they are often referred to as "big tithers." And then when the rich church member dies, he would get "preached right into heaven," and the pastor would speak about how great a man he was and how generously he gave to the "work of God."
This scenario has been repeated millions of times all over America during the last hundred years since the "sinner's prayer" was invented. In fact, the "sinner's prayer" has become the most common method used to determine if someone was ever "saved." The "sinner's prayer" has become the standard of measure rather than repentance and a changed life that bears fruit. I have known of people who questioned their own salvation, and then their pastor would reassure them that they were truly saved by reminding them of the time they prayed the "sinner's prayer" as a child.
This is a such a tragedy—to get children or anyone to pray a "sinner's prayer" and then tell them they are saved and that nothing they could do would ever take away their salvation. To use the "sinner's prayer" as a gauge to determine salvation is totally unscriptural and false. Instead, we are to look for a changed life, a new creation, a transformed life obedient to the Word of God marked by repentance. We must look for the one who loves God with all his heart and loves His Word, for this is the life that will bear the fruit of the Spirit; this is the evidence of a saved person.
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter" (Matt. 7:21). In other words, not everyone who cries out to God just praying some words will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of the Father who is in heaven will enter, the person who is obedient to God.
For more on this Spirit-filled topic, listen to this episode of The Great Deception on the Charisma Podcast Network now.
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