Monday, December 28, 2009
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
"Everybody says they're goin' to heaven ain't necessarily goin' there." These are the words of an old black gospel song. It is good theology also.
"Just say the prayer and you are saved." This is the mantra of the hyper soul-winners who think every time they can get someone to say the "sinner's prayer" they are sure for heaven. This is a sad and misleading belief. The Bible says that with the heart a person believes and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Honestly, we have no idea what some believe in their heart, even though they can repeat "the prayer."
I have lived and ministered too long to believe that everyone who says a prayer is truly saved. If they haven't really believed, that is if they were made to say a prayer, manipulated by an over-zealous soul-winner, pressed to think this is their fire escape from hell, etc., then they probably were not born again into the family of God.
I will go even further and say that probably most of the people who have prayed "the prayer" are not converted. Some of the greatest soul-winning pastors are qouted as saying that as many as 50% of our fundmental churches are unregenerated! They may have been too young to comprehend their sinfulness or understand why they are even praying or to Whom they are praying. Perhaps they were sloshed and a prayer seemed the thing to do at the time. Maybe they were an emotional wreck and were grasping at straws and figured if a prayer could help, why not try it? There are dozens of circumstances in which people may pray the sinner's prayer, yet it is prayed insincerely.
This is not to discount the countless millions who have trusted Christ by calling on His name and were thus birthed into a relationship with God. These do include young children, drunken sots and grieving souls. But it is best to let the recording angel keep the books, rather than a soul-winning aficionado looking to pad his numbers and fluff his feathers. I know how this validation game works in their ranks.
We all ought to be all about soul-winning, making the most of our opportunities, winning souls where and when we can, but the proof is in the fruit produced in the new believer by the power of the indwelling Holy Ghost.
Hey, James said it, the righteous are scarcely saved. That means hardly, with difficulty. So don't tell me that the self-righteous, religious man, the drunkard, the whore monger, the adulterer or the little brat who have not changed one iota since repeating "the prayer" are necessarily among the righteous. When they have won their first soul, when they evidence love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and self-control, then let's talk about a soul won to Christ.