Which Way Is It?
Posted by Pastor Szekely on March 6, 2008
Recently I’ve been perusing through many good Independent Baptist Church websites to read what they say about Bible salvation. What I’ve noticed is there are many sites which use as their standard to lead someone to Christ the text of “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation” from Lifegate, Inc. To read the full text, please click on the following logo:
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed this…but what I’ve found is actually confusing…and I admit, it’s confusing to me…but is this confusing to you? The following is a portion of the text from “God’s Simple Plan…” that, I believe, is contradicting – check it out [Note: comments I’ll make will be in blue]:
My friend, “God . . . commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). This repentance is a change of mind that agrees with God that one is a sinner, and also agrees with what Jesus did for us on the Cross.
In Acts 16:30-31, the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas: “ . . . ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved . . . .’” *I believe they rightly emphasized by bold text how someone is to be saved! In fact, they state this emphasis in the next paragraph…:
Simply believe on Him as the one who bore your sin, died in your place, was buried, and whom God resurrected. His resurrection powerfully assures that the believer can claim everlasting life when Jesus is received as Savior. *That’s good…simply believe! And to believe does not mean to only believe that Jesus existed or that He was a good example. Belief in Jesus Christ as Saviour is to realize that He died for you, and to trust in Him as YOUR Sacrifice and Substitute on the cross for to pay your sin-debt you owed before a Holy and Righteous God.
*SO FAR: I’m reading that Bible Salvation is not of any “works of righteousness which we have done”, but it is obtained or received by believing, trusting, having confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ and the work HE has done. In fact, the next verse that they quote is very powerful to reinforce this: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).
*So from all this, I’m seeing that as a lost person, as I come from godly sorrow unto repentance which was stated in the full text version, I must trust, believe, put my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver me, save me, from my sin-debt penalty before God. So why is there another way in the following?
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13). Whosoever includes you. Shall be saved means not maybe, nor can, but shall be saved. *Wait a minute…I just found out I must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved, but now I also must “call upon the name of the Lord” as well to be saved? Really? Didn’t they read Romans 10:14a, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?” The Bible is telling us that a person must have a saving belief FIRST before they can call on Him. [For further explanation on this, please click on my post, Sinner’s Prayer] Let’s read on…:
Surely, you realize you are a sinner. Right now, wherever you are, repenting, lift your heart to God in prayer. [*Where does God ever tell anyone to do that? Here’s their answer to this:] In Luke 18:13, the sinner prayed: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” *Before we go on, can anyone prove or say that this publican was praying for salvation? Did he pray for salvation, or was this man who had come to the temple praying for mercy through forgiveness? Was the Pharisee praying for salvation? NO. The reason why I bring this up is for context. In Luke 18, the Lord is teaching on prayer. With this parable of the Pharisee and Publican, the Lord Jesus gave this parable “unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others” (vs9). God was teaching on Pride vs. Humility in prayer! This is the context! Jesus said in vs14, “for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” This was the outcome of the Lord’s teaching – not on “how to be saved”.
But what good men will do is ignore the many, many verses on “repent and believe” only for salvation, and they’ll take this one poor publican’s words, connect them with Romans 10:13 that they’ve taken out of context, and follow with this:
Just pray: “Oh God, I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus was my substitute when He died on the Cross. I believe His shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection were for me. I now receive Him as my Savior. I thank You for the forgiveness of my sins, the gift of salvation and everlasting life, because of Your merciful grace. Amen.”
*I don’t know how many times I’ve talked with people who’ve doubted their salvation because they were fretting over, “Did I pray the right prayer” or “Did I say the right words“. SALVATION IS NOT IN THE PRAYER!!! A prayer is not like a magic incantation that makes you saved!!! ONLY JESUS SAVES!!! And the only way Jesus can save a soul is if that soul, after being brought through godly sorrow and repentance, believes on Him for who He is and for what He says He can do…He says He’s God the Son – that means no one can be saved if they believe Jesus Christ is a created being or a god; and He says that His Precious, Priceless, and Pure Blood that was shed can be THE PAYMENT, THE SATISFACTION for a person’s sin-debt before the Father. Salvation IS NOT in a prayer…in fact, they “change back” to the first [right] way in their next paragraph:
Just take God at His word and claim His salvation by faith. Believe, and you will be saved. No church, no lodge, no good works can save you. Remember, God does the saving. All of it! *Right on target! That’s good! No good works can save you – not even the good work of prayer! “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)
*Did you read 2 ways given to be saved? Is this contradicting or confusing to you? Which way is it – by believing or by praying? As I’ve said, many a good Independent Baptist Church websites and their church’s tracts use as their standard the “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation” text.
Why? Do we really believe this? Maybe there are those who never fully read the text. And maybe there are those who’ve read it, took the text’s word over THE WORD, and never really studied it out. PREACHERS: We are expected to expound, or to lay open the meaning of the Bible. Are you really sure the Bible says you must pray to be saved? Did the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 pray to be saved? Did Saul of Tarsus pray to be saved between verses 5 and 6 of Acts 9? When the Philippian jailer and his family were converted in Acts 16, did they pray to be saved? [Not according to vs31 & 34!]
Pray to be saved / Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…
WHICH WAY IS IT?