First of all, I want to thank you for coming to our website. It means a lot to us.
Secondly, I want to ask you the most important question that can be asked of you. Are you saved?
You may wonder, why would he ask that? Of course I’m saved. I agree that you are likely very religious, and you love God’s word. But that doesn’t answer the question, Are you saved?
Here’s the deal. I’ve picked up tons of books in my life, and I’ve been amazed at how many of them throw a section in at the end which claims to tell you how to pray a little prayer, and then congratulates you on being saved. Maybe you’ve seen those before.
They’re promising a false hope.
I hate to say it, but in essence, they’re lying to you. I don’t say that with any sense of joy, but you need to know the truth. It is only the truth that will set you free (John 8:32). Salvation through prayer won’t save you. Why do I say that? Plenty of reasons. If you’d like to know some of them, keep reading.
Not one single person in the entire Bible was ever told to pray in order to become a Christian.
Go ahead, read the gospel accounts, Acts, all the letters, and Revelation. You’ll read a lot of things, but one thing you’ll never read in the Bible is that someone was saved, made a child of God, by saying a prayer. If not one person in the entire New Testament became a Christian by praying, shouldn’t that tell us something about how someone becomes saved?
But what about Saul of Tarsus (aka the apostle Paul)?
Let’s talk about him for a moment. You can read just as well as I can. Look at Acts 9. There, Saul is blinded (he literally saw the light) on the road to Damascus. But Jesus told him to go into the city, and there it would be told to him what he must do. That’s a very important point to remember.
Saul—now blinded—went into the city, with the aid of his friends, and spent the next three days fasting and praying. If any person in the history of Christianity could have been saved by praying, it was Saul. But he wasn’t. You might ask, How do you know he wasn’t saved? I know because the Bible says so.
In Acts 22, Saul (who now goes by the name of Paul) is standing up in front of some people, explaining his conversion to Christ. To put it in modern-day language, he was testifying about how he got saved. It was in this speech of Paul that he revealed the rest of the story. Here’s what he said:
Since I could not see, because of the glory of that light, those with me led me by the hand into Damascus.
Ananias, a devout man according to the law, of good reputation among all of the Jews living there, came to me, stood by me, and said, “Brother Saul, look up.” In that instant I could see! Ananias continued, “The God of our fathers has chosen you to know his will, and to see the Righteous One, and to hear his voice, because you will be a witness for him to all people of the things you have seen and heard.”
“Now, why do you delay? Get up, call on his name, be immersed, and wash away your sins!” (Acts 22:11-16).
Do you notice what I notice? It’s there in the last paragraph. “Wash away your sins!” If he was saved on the road to Damascus, why weren’t his sins washed away? The answer is because he wasn’t saved on the road to Damascus. What about the three days he spent fasting and praying? If you’re saved by saying a prayer, then shouldn’t that have saved him? The fact is that Saul wasn’t saved through prayer either. If you don’t believe me, look at that passage again. Saul was still guilty of his sins—he hadn’t been forgiven yet—because he was told to stop delaying and get up and wash away his sins!
No one—not even the apostle Paul—was ever told to say a prayer to be saved.
The idea of being saved from your sins by saying a prayer contradicts what the Bible says.
The gospel was preached in its fullness for the very first time in Acts 2. This was the Day of Pentecost, a celebration in Jerusalem when all the faithful Jews would come to worship God. It was there, in this big crowd of people, that the apostles of Jesus stood up and began to preach.
After explaining that they were speaking in foreign languages by the power of God, the very next thing that Peter said to them was:
“Men of Israel, hear these words.” (Acts 2:22)
Now make sure you understand this. Peter’s entire mission in preaching was to save people. When he preached this sermon, his entire purpose was to save people. So, if we look at his sermon, it should give us a pretty good idea about what saves people. After all, he was given the words to speak directly from God.
The first thing that Peter said they needed to do was to listen.
But what did they need to listen to? What was it that God wanted them to hear?
“Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God among you by the miracles, wonders, and signs that God did by him in the midst of you—and you know this—Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands, you have crucified and killed Him. But God has raised Him up, having loosened the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” (Acts 2:22-24)
They had to hear about Jesus, His death, and His resurrection.
But hearing about it wasn’t enough. They had to believe it. That’s why Peter went on to prove it. Peter and the apostles were working miracles, speaking in foreign languages that they didn’t know before. Miracles were a sign that what the messenger was saying was truly from God (Mark 16:20). So, when Peter and the apostles were doing miracles, it proved what they were saying was the truth. Peter expected the people to believe what he was saying, because God was backing it up!
They had to believe in Jesus, His death, and His resurrection.
Perhaps you’ve heard a preacher for some big religious group say “all you have to do is believe, and you’ll be saved!” It’s also called “faith-only” salvation.
And it doesn’t match with the Bible.
Remember what Peter’s entire mission was: to save people. Now look back at Acts 2 again.
This group of religious, God-fearing, and God-believing men were listening to Peter preach this sermon. They heard about Jesus. They realized that He was the Christ, the Messiah, the one the Old Testament had told about, the one they had been waiting for. And the Bible says this:
And when they heard this, they were cut to the heart. And they said to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles, “Men, brethren! What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).
If all you have to do is believe in order to be saved, then Peter’s answer should have been, “Nothing! You’re already saved because you believe!” After all, they wouldn’t have asked the question if they didn’t believe what Peter had been preaching. But that’s not what Peter said. Peter—the man who was receiving his sermon directly from God—said this:
“Repent, all of you.” (Acts 2:38)
The Jews had murdered Jesus less than two months earlier, and Peter stands in the midst of them and tells them all to repent. God was the one speaking through Peter, so God obviously thinks there more to being saved than just believing. But that’s not all Peter said.
“Be baptized, every one of you, for the forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 2:38)
God, the one with the power to save people, had Peter preach to hear about Jesus, believe in Jesus, repent of their sins, and be baptized to have their sins forgiven.
Do you remember what Saul was told?
“Now, why do you delay? Get up, call on his name, be immersed [baptized], and wash away your sins!” (Acts 22:16)
If Peter’s job from God was to save people, and he commanded them to repent and be baptized, what do you think that means for us today?
So many people today are under the delusion that baptism is unimportant. They teach that baptism has nothing to do with salvation.
The Bible says they’re wrong.
You’re a smart person. If the Bible says one thing, and a preacher says something else, who’s right? Of course, the Bible is right. Well, take a look at what the Bible says about baptism.
“Therefore, go, and make disciples of all nations: baptizing them…and teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
“The one having believed and having been baptized shall be saved. The one not believing will be damned.” (Mark 16:16)
So many people say, You’re wrong. It doesn’t say “he that is not baptized shall be damned!” Since baptism isn’t mentioned in the last part of the verse, then baptism isn’t important! Let me ask you a really common-sense question. If someone doesn’t believe in Jesus, are they ever going to be baptized? Honestly, did Jesus have to spell it out? If they didn’t believe, they wouldn’t be baptized. End of story. There wasn’t any need to mention it in the second part of the verse. It’s like saying “he that gets in his car and drives 100 mph will be ticketed, he who doesn’t get in his car won’t be ticketed.” There’s no need to mention the driving 100 mph in the second part of that statement, because it’s already obvious that if you don’t get in the car, you wouldn’t drive 100 mph in the first place. It’s already implied. But let’s continue.
You are all the children of God by the faith, in Christ Jesus, because as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. (Galatians 3:26-27)
Don’t you know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? (Romans 6:3)
Can you be put into something if you’re already in it? That may seem like an odd question, so let me ask it a different way. Can someone put you into a room if you are already in that room? Or how about this: can you put your straw into your cup if it is already in your cup? Think about that for a moment. Do you realize how dumb someone would sound if they told you to go into a building when you were already standing inside that building?
The Bible says plainly that when one is baptized, he is baptized into Christ. You can’t be baptized into Christ if you were already in Christ. Just like you can’t walk into a building if you’re already inside the building.
In the entire Bible, there are only two verses that say something puts you into Christ. And both of them were just given for you: Galatians 3:26-27, and Romans 6:3. And if you’ll look at those verses again, you’ll see that both times the Bible says that it is baptism into Christ.
But let’s assume that you’re still not convinced. The words of Jesus in Matthew and Mark, and the words of Paul in Galatians and Romans aren’t enough to convince you. You want something that comes right out and says “baptism saves you.” Ask and ye shall receive.
…eight souls [Noah and his family] were saved by water. The antitype of this is baptism which does also now save us. It’s not the putting off of the filth of the flesh [aka, taking a bath], but asking God for a clean conscience, through Jesus Christ. (I Peter 3:20-21)
By now, perhaps it’s clear. God says baptism saves. The question is, have you been baptized in order to have your sins forgiven? In order to be saved?
The sinner’s prayer is not in the Bible. The true plan of salvation, given by God, is in the Bible.
Hear the gospel of Jesus Christ (Acts 2:22, Romans 10:17)
Believe the gospel of Jesus Christ (John 8:24, Romans 10:9)
Repent of your sins (Acts 2:38, II Corinthians 7:10)
Confess Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:32-33, Romans 10:9)
Be baptized so that your sins will be forgiven (Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, I Peter 3:21, Colossians 2:11-13, Romans 6:3-5, Galatians 3:26-27).
After doing these things, the Bible says Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
If you’ve not done these things, I beg you to do so now. Don’t delay. God’s waiting for you.