Galatians 3. The Brand-New Saint’s Prayer.

Posted: December 13, 2011 in Galatians

            Galatians three contains a vast array of theological awesomeness, but there is one key element that keeps popping up in my mind. Those of you that know me know that I often poke a little satirical fun at the popular and historically modern (read “unbiblical and historically non-existent”) practice of altar calls and “asking Jesus into your heart,” a.k.a. the “Sinner’s Prayer.”

            Now I know that this issue is touchy, because many solid men and women of God trace their conversion back to the moment when they first asked Jesus into their hearts, and I’m not intending to cast doubt upon their salvation. There is no doubt that when God began to work in these people’s hearts, their response was to raise their hand, go forward to the altar, and ask Jesus into their heart. It was the only way they knew how to respond to the inward work of the Holy Spirit, and their response was one of faith…exactly what Paul brings to the remembrance of the Galatians.

            This is the cool part, though. Paul is asking his readers whether or not they received the Holy Spirit through “works of the Law.” In other words, were they justified, or “saved” by their obedience to the Law? It’s a rhetorical question. Of course they weren’t, because they were all sinners. Paul then gives them the obvious means of their salvation, which was “hearing with faith.”

            Interesting, that phrase is. There is no public response required (though of course public confession via baptism comes afterwards), there is no “I see that hand.” There is no “leave your seat and come talk to the pastor,” or a “ask Jesus into your heart.” At the moment of faith in Christ through the message of the Gospel, a person is justified and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Believe, and you will be saved.

            Now here’s the kicker…if a man (or woman) is asking Jesus into their heart, they are doing this as the only way they know how to express their faith in God and ask His forgiveness for their sins against Him. This of course would indicate that they are believing the Gospel, and since we are saved by grace through faith, then technically this person at the altar has already been justified by God, even before they begin to repeat a rote prayer asking for said justification. So…the phrase “sinner’s prayer” is nonsensical at its core, because when the person is praying to God, God doesn’t even see them as sinners anymore! It should be called the “Brand-New Saint’s Prayer,” because in reality that’s what it is. It is a verbal affirmation of one’s faith in the Gospel, acceptance of God’s forgiveness, and gratitude for what Jesus did for them.

            Being granted salvation because of speaking? That’s salvation by works. Being saved by grace and sharing it with the world? That’s Biblical.

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Comments
  1. Jeremy says:

    That’s good preaching ! Salvation is lead by God because of what Jesus did and only through Christ can we be saved we didn’t save our selves Eph. 2:8 …….

  2. B.H. Boyce says:

    Enjoyed!

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