The thief on the cross prayed “remember me” and received eternal life for that prayer. If a Muslim has lived a deceived life, perhaps even a member of ISIS, at the moment a bullet is taking him, cries out to Jesus with his last breath, he will not be turned away.
However, neither of those examples describes what the “normal” Christian conversion is like. John the Baptist said, “Repent and be baptized” which shows us a pattern of a change in heart and action. He immediately tells them to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” When people asked how to do that, he told them to do this and not do that (Luke 3:10-14). He tells them right and wrong. Changed heart, changed actions. Paul said, “(we are) created in Christ Jesus to do good works…(Eph. 2:10)”
When exposed to truth by Philip, the Ethiopian asked what was holding him back from being baptized. We are not told much more except that he “went on his way rejoicing.” All of Jesus’ followers did not have a change of heart or action, as we see by John 6:66. We say they followed for the loaves and fishes.
I heard a radio preacher “lead a sinner to Christ” by telling him to “repeat this prayer after me.” after which the preacher said if he was sincere he was now a child of God. Romans 8:16 says, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” We can neither confer nor confirm someone’s salvation.
When I was working as a volunteer chaplain, I was in a meeting in which one of my co-workers asked the Chaplain (a Baptist) what to tell a person who asks how they would know they were saved. The Chaplain said, “Tell them if they still don’t know in two weeks, they are not.” Wow, that’s harsh, isn’t it? But it probably leads to fewer deceived people than the radio preacher’s example.
A truly born again person will at least hate their sin. Christians, quit coddling your sins. Take them to the cross. Expose them. Repent as many times as you need to until you gain victory over them. Remember that “in Christ you can do all things.” He is your ultimate Victor. Oh, Victory in Jesus!
Yes! Amen! 👌👍
WoW! One of your best, Oneta. It always bothered me when people would say a “sinner’s prayer” and be told, “Now, you are saved.” In the Bible, the changed believers were the ones who said, “WOW, I once was blind but now I SEE!”