Saturday, 20 August 2011

Must a new believer repent?

If you are a Christian, then it’s very likely that you would have said some kind of prayer when you gave your life to Christ. The words you used may well have been something that came into your mind at the time when you made the decision to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord or, perhaps you even said the “Sinners Prayer. The now well known prayer is what many people pray to God when they understand that they are a sinner and in need of a Saviour.

The point is, that it’s really is a pivotal point in a new believer’s life. I am sure that pretty much everyone you asked about when they came to Christ would be able to recall the very moment that they called out to God asking Him to save them.

I suppose that a true “Sinner's “Prayer” really only represents what a person knows, understands, and believes about their sinfulness and need for salvation at the specific time of praying. As we fulfill the command of Jesus to “Go” and witness for Christ it will be likely that you will have the honour of leading someone to Jesus using a form of sinner’s prayer.

It’s the momentous point in a person’s life where they realise that they are headed for a lost eternity, separated from God in a place that was designed for Satan and his fallen angels. The scripture below describes what happens at this important point of realisation. It really is an amazing miracle.

“But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life”. Titus 3: 4-7

Now, when a person says the sinner's prayer, which incidentally cannot be found anywhere in scripture, it is simply a way of the new believer declaring to God that they are making the important choice to rely on Jesus Christ as their Saviour. There are no "magical" words that result in their salvation, because it is only the person’s faith in the death and resurrection of Christ that can save anyone. It’s all about the point where the person first believes and the miracle of salvation takes place.

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Acts 16: 30-31

I have heard many different sinners prayers said over the years, some of which have been long and complicated, to ones that are very short and simple. There are some prayers that cause me some concern because they simply revolve around Jesus giving a person a new start. They don’t cover what I believe is absolutely vital. That is, a prayer of repentance asking for forgiveness from sin. We all need the Lords forgiveness. It is a simple as that. We can’t possibly take any short cuts here, because the person must realise that they are a sinner, understanding that Jesus took their sin upon himself at the cross of Calvary.

Yes of course the Holy Spirit can convict a person of their sin afterwards. In my opinion it is better to get this out of the way at the point where the person makes a decision. After all, Jesus  died to save sinners like us. Knowing the reason that we need a savior is vital. It is about having a new start in life through Jesus but we need a saviour because our sin seperates us from God.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” 2 Corinthians 5: 21

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us Romans 5: 8

Here is a simple sinner's prayer you could use to lead a person to God. You can use your own version. But, as I have said you must give the person the opportunity to repent. Don’t make the mistake of going for easy believism as many are doing now. If you are in any doubt about it, these two scriptures sum it up.

“Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at Hand” Matthew 3: 2 Preached by John the Baptist.

“Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at Hand” Matthew 4: 17 Preached by Jesus.

PRAYER: "God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I deserve the consequences of my sin. However, I am trusting in Jesus Christ as my Saviour. I believe that His death and resurrection provided for my forgiveness. I trust in Jesus and Jesus alone as my personal Lord and Saviour. Thank you Lord, for saving me and forgiving me! Amen!"