Thursday, August 8, 2013

Only Sinners Can Be Saved

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" (Luke 18:13)

Thus although the message of the Gospel is universal, only those who believe in Christ become active sharers of the goods promised and offered in the Gospel; serious contrition comes before this faith and its handmaid is good works.  Thus they who are influenced by no feeling and hatred of sin but go on in sin securely and yet still have the conviction that the Gospel promises belong to them commit a kind of sacrilege.  About these someone might, and not without merit, declare that the Gospel is preached as a witness against them.  This is a very shameful abuse of the Gospel in these last times of the world.  Alas! This attitude is so strong that almost all hope for a remedy has been removed, although all Scripture declares the Gospel message pertains only to those who experience true repentance, who grieve steadfastly over their sins, and seek anxiously to be freed from them.
  • Those who are well have no need for a physician, but those who are sick.  I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. (Matt. 9:12; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31)
  • The poor have the Gospel preached to them. (Matt. 11:5).
  • Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matt. 11:28)
Thus John the Baptist, Christ, and the apostles always gave the message of repentance before they preached the Gospel.  Christ does not enter into people’s hearts through the grace of the Gospel unless John first prepares the way for Him through repentance.  God does not pour out the oil of His mercy except into a contrite vessel.

Johann Gerhard, On the Gospel


Steve Finnell said...

There are those who advance the position that, by saying, the Sinner's Prayer your sins will be forgiven and you will be added to the Lord's church. The question remains, can saying a prayer save anyone? Let us investigate that supposition.

The typical sinner's prayer: "Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that you have died for my sins and arose from the grave. I now turn from my sins and invite You into my heart and life. I receive You as my Lord. Amen."

The birth of the church of Christ was A.D. 33 the Day of Pentecost. How were they saved?

Acts 2:22-41.....36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ---this Jesus whom you crucified." 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren what shall we do?" 38 Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The events on the Day of Pentecost that lead to salvation.
1. Peter preached the death, burial , and resurrection of Jesus.(Acts 2:22-35)
2. Peter proclaimed Jesus as both Lord and Christ. (Acts 2:36)
3. Men believed the message and were convicted of their sins and ask what they should do. (Acts 2:37)
4. Peter told them to repent and be baptized (immersed in water) so their sins could be forgiven and they could receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
5. How were they saved? Act2:40-41..."Be saved from this perverse generation" 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. (Notice they were not saved until they were baptized).


What did they have to do to be saved?

They needed to have faith: John 3:16, Mark 16:16
They needed to repent: Acts 2:38, Acts 3;19 (repentance means to make a commitment to turn from sin and turn toward God).
They needed to confess: Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:36-37.
They needed to be baptized: Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:20-21.

The apostles never taught the sinner's prayer as the terms for pardon.

No one is questioning the sincerity of those who recite the SINNER'S PRAYER, the question is, can the SINNER'S PRAYER SAVE ANYONE?

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Steve Bricker said...

I agree with your take that saying a specific prayer will guarantee heaven, but that is a side issue. The point of the quote was that in the preaching of the gospel, men must be shown the are lost and undone per the Law (i.e., if we don't know we are lost, we have no need to be saved.) Too often the Lord Jesus is presented as a moral example or a therapist to salve our consciences. He is more than that; he is God incarnate and deserving of all that the Almighty is due.