The “Sinner’s Prayer” Heresy that is Destroying Millions
Why are we allowing a false gospel to be preached in our pulpits?—the gospel that leads one to make a “sinner’s prayer” and thereby receive salvation, or just accept a list of fundamental beliefs so that they can be baptized. Friends, this is salvation by human works, not what the Lord Jehoshua taught; here is what He taught: “And this is the life eternal: that they should know Thee, the only true God, and whom Thou hast sent, Jehoshua the Messiah” (John 17:3). And how do we know that we have this saving relationship? What is our assurance of salvation—some rote prayer, knowing a list of fundamentals? No.
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments … These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life.
— 1 John 5:2-3, 13
Therefore, salvation—justification and sanctification—is a faith-based experience of intimately knowing God, which involves keeping His commandments. This takes a commitment of much time and meditating and storing up the words of the Torah Law on a daily basis. A short sinner’s prayer will not do, but all through the growing relationship experience faith, through prayer, is to be exercised. The sinner’s prayer did not even appear until well into the 20th century; it can be found nowhere in the Bible.
The apostle Paul instructs us on how we are to receive the Law in our hearts and how its purpose is to not only expose our sins but cause the Messiah, with His saving creative power of righteousness, to be resurrected in us—the seed of the Word springing to life—just as He was initially resurrected from the dead:
For the purpose of the Law is the Messiah, unto righteousness to everyone that believeth, for Moses writeth of the righteousness which is of the Law, that, ‘The man having done these things shall live in them’ [Lev. 18:5], and the righteousness of faith saith thus: ‘Say not in thy heart, ‘Who shall ascend into heaven?’ (that is, to bring the Messiah down:) or, ‘Who shall descend into the abyss?’ ’ (that is, to bring the Messiah up from the dead.) But what saith it? ‘The Word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart’ [Deuteronomy 30:12-14]: that is, the Word of faith, which we proclaim; because if thou shalt acknowledge with thy mouth the Lord Jehoshua, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: for with the heart one believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth acknowledgement is made unto salvation … So then, faith is of hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.
— Romans 10:4-10, 17
The faith experience we need, then, is not independent of His Word but is based on it, as we are hearing, or listening, for God to speak to us personally through His Word; and Jesus says that, “the words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). When we are thus claiming the precepts and promises of the Scriptures, we are really claiming the righteous life of the Messiah which the Law describes, that He may live it in us, according to whatever the Word of God we are claiming says it will do. But it is not enough to believe in the heart; according to the Law itself, in Deuteronomy, we must also express it with our mouth, uttering the mighty Name of our Saviour, which contains the Name of God Himself (‘Jeho-‘) plus salvation ‘-shua‘), and that He is our “Lord.” More information on their Names will be in Chapter 10 of the upcoming book “Seventh Month Revival.”
Some translations have “confession” instead of “acknowledgment” for the Greek word ‘homologeo’. Confession is certainly part of the meaning. We are to confess with our mouth the One we believe in with our heart when we read a precept or promise we are agreeing to; again, the Word, especially the Law, is the context and thus the application of the believing. Salvation is hence from specific sins defined by the Law and not in general. So, this is not a once in a lifetime confession as in the sinner’s prayer, but it is a confession that should be made many times every day for as many Scriptures we are claiming. This is biblical salvation. Jehoshua is the living WORD, so we are acknowledging Him to do for us what the written word says. This Greek word also means to give thanks, and it is translated that way in Hebrews 13:15. In fact, according to Webster, the English word ‘acknowledge’ includes as one of its definitions the following:
5. To own with gratitude; to own as a benefit; as, to acknowledge a favor, or the receipt of a gift.
The equivalent Hebrew root word is ‘yadah’, which also means both confession and thanks. Why these two seemingly unrelated meanings? Because a person’s ability to give thanks is based on his ability to admit he is incomplete; it acknowledges that we are depending on another for the thing we are giving thanks for, which is why it is difficult for prideful people to give thanks. Another element in this Hebrew word is ‘praise’. The word is based on ‘yad’, which means ‘hand’, and has the idea of throwing the hands out, which is done in praise or thanksgiving; this is similar to how the Hebrew word for ‘worship’ literally means to prostrate oneself to the ground, which Christians should be doing before praying so that we worship in spirit and in truth. So, in effect, when we “acknowledge” the Lord Jehoshua, we are thanking Him for the precept or promise we are claiming and for being our Saviour to fulfill it in us.
Do you realize how powerful this generally unheeded practice is? It is the 1888 message of justification by faith in action. Here is how A.T. Jones defined faith:
To expect the Word of God to do the thing which that Word says, and to depend wholly upon that Word itself to do it, this the Lord Jesus pronounces faith. This is true faith.
— American Sentinel, 10/25/1894
So, before we read the Scripture, we can ask God for whatever He promises us in the Word. Asking with a sense of our need is always the first step. Then, with our mouth we can acknowledge the Lord Jehoshua, while lifting out our hands in thanksgiving, and proceed to speak the words of the promise. And, as we do, we believe we are receiving what is promised, as the seed of the Word is springing into life to produce it. The key, activating ingredient is faith—expressed with the mouth in confession, and then believed in the heart according to the precept or promise. We can then finish off by thanking God that we have received it. This will truly revolutionize your spiritual life.
Not because we see or feel that God hears us are we to believe. We are to trust His promises. When we come to Him in faith every petition enters into the heart of God. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it, and thank Him that we have received it. Then we are to go about our duties, assured that the blessing will be realized when we need it most.
— E.G. White, Desire of Ages, p. 200
Here is an example. Say you need wisdom. You can pray something as simple as this:
Father, Thy servant is in much need of wisdom for accomplishing this project. Please give Thy servant the wisdom Thou hast promised. I receive it from the Lord Jehoshua, whom I acknowledge this day in the words of James 1:5: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” I thank Thee, Father, that I have received Thy wisdom.”
But multitudes have replaced this biblical practice with the Sinner’s Prayer, which does not rely on the Word of God for salvation but one’s own words. It presumptuously, but not in reality, receives Jesus all at once, instead of according to the promises of the Word; but the life that generally results is void of Him, having little resemblance of His character. Thus, the Sinner’s Prayer results in a life of continual sinning. Often the prayer is coupled with a prior study of Scriptures, taken out of context, explaining a convoluted plan of salvation. This is not how the Lord Jehoshua comes into the heart. It is another Jesus—one that will tolerate your sins so that you can continue living in them. No one calls Him ‘Lord’ anymore, even though that title is repeatedly connected to His Name in the Scriptures. The popular Jesus is the historical one that was not resurrected—one you can call your buddy and hang out with.
One of the main reasons I use the more accurate ‘Jehoshua’ instead of ‘Jesus’ is due to how prevailing the false Jesus is. But if He is our Lord, He is not a Friend like those we hang out with; He is to be revered and even feared, for He is God to us. When we say His Name, we should generally attach a title of majesty, such as ‘Lord’ or ‘Messiah’ with it as we would an earthly king. And we should be obeying Him no matter what He is commanding us and no matter what the consequences.
How are we to then bring people to salvation? Here is where we have been duped. It is not about giving a single Bible study and asking them to pray a prayer. What they need is to know who the Lord Jehoshua is and develop a relationship with Him. Ultimately, we want to lead people to baptism, where they acknowledge a full commitment to Him, after having come to know Him in His Word and what He commands of them, for this is in the Great Commission:
Go ye, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, (baptizing them into the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:) and lo, I am with you all the days, even unto the end of the age.
— Matthew 28:19-20
Notice that the central part of the commission is to baptize, and that baptizing involves teaching to observe all that the Lord Jehoshua commands in His lessons recorded in the Gospels. It is about doing, not merely believing what a few passages say from the writings of Paul, taken from their context. And He has more recently given us more counsel in the Spirit of Prophecy, such as in matters of how to dress, that ought to be taught, as people generally do not know how to dress modestly anymore.
The disciples must become Hebrew, which means to leave the entire world behind, because they cannot have both the the world and the Saviour from the world. That is the goal. And they also need to be committed to joining the organized Assembly of believers who are workers together with God, saving new souls. Anything short of this is cheap, unbiblical grace. There is no quick salvation. Relationship involves trust and commitment which takes time to build, and knowing God and His only-begotten Son—this is life eternal. Let us never forget this.
Related: The Shabbat Shalom Experience