How important is saying a sinner’s prayer in relation to salvation? Does saying a sinner’s prayer transform a person into a born again Christian?
The religious belief among various churches or denominations is that a person’s salvation is incomplete unless he/she has said a sinner’s prayer. However, what does the Bible teach? Can a person be saved by saying a sinner’s prayer?
To answer these questions, it’s first important to understand how a person becomes a born again Christian. According to the scriptures salvation comes through believing or putting your total trust or faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Saviour.
There are at least 166 Bible verses that speak of believing in Jesus Christ in relation to salvation or justification through Christ. For example John 3:16; John 1:12; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8,9.
Therefore the condition & understanding of a person’s heart in relation to salvation or being born again is very important.
When a person says that he/she is born again:
1. Does that person know that he is a sinner (Romans 3:23) and does he believe that Jesus Christ is the way the truth and the life (John 14:1-6)?
2. Does that person believe that Jesus Christ paid for all his sins and that salvation is freely given by grace and not by his works or personal merit (Ephesians 2:8,9)?
3. Has that person in his heart GENUINELY put his total trust and faith in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour (John 1:12,13)?
We are not saved by praying a special prayer. We are saved by having faith in the Person of Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26).
The prayer is only an expression or declaration of the faith that is already in us as a result of believing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It is absolutely possible that a person can come to the front of the altar in a church and recite a “sinner’s prayer” or “prayer of salvation” but NOT have a change of heart & remain unrepentant and unaffected by the gospel. Therefore the sinner’s prayer can be empty words to a person who has recited the prayer but yet has not understood the gospel or truly believed & repented in his heart to desire Christ to be his Lord & Saviour even though he spoke the prayer.
Therefore for salvation to occur, a person must BELIEVE in the Person of Jesus Christ and he must put total FAITH or trust in Jesus Christ as his Lord and as the only Person through whom salvation is possible (John 3:16).
Reciting a sinner’s prayer is NOT a magical way to become saved.
There is also nothing wrong with saying a sinner’s prayer. Prayer after all is spiritual communication with God.
However, when a person says a sinner’s prayer it must be said with the realization that salvation is FREE and that salvation only comes by grace through BELIEVING & trusting in the Person of Jesus Christ and believing in His death and resurrection on the cross that our sins may be forgiven.
Bible Verses About Salvation Being Through Faith In Jesus Christ
John 1:12-13 NKJV
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Galatians 3:26 NKJV
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.
Romans 5:1-2 NKJV
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
If you understand that you are a sinner and in need of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ, and if you wish to express your faith or total trust in Jesus through a prayer – you can either express it with your own words or here is a sinner’s prayer you can pray to God:
This prayer is only an EXPRESSION of your faith, belief & trust in Jesus. Salvation is by FAITH or BELIEVING in Christ Jesus as your Lord & Saviour.
“Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your love. I thank You that You died on the cross for me and resurrected so that I may have life through You.
I confess Lord that I have sinned against You and today I ask You to forgive me of all of my sins, past present and future.
I repent of all of my sins and I ask You to cleanse me Jesus.
Thank You for forgiving my sins.
From this moment, come into my life Lord Jesus & take full control of my life. I want to follow You Jesus and I want to follow Your ways. Save me and from today, make me the person You want me to be.
I receive You Lord Jesus right now by faith. I trust You as my Lord and Savior – Amen”
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