Did you pray the sinner’s prayer before ?
Here’s why I askâ€¦
No doubt, if you’ve been to church at least once in your life, you’ve heard something along the lines of ‘believe that you’re a sinner and Jesus died for you and ask Him to come into your life and save you.’ You were no doubt, given a scripted prayer that went along those same lines and told to ‘say it and really mean it’.
Immediately afterward (sometimes before the prayer), you may have been presented with the opportunity ‘come down the aisle’ or ‘come to the altar’ and make this a public declaration.
You were probably told that these two things (or any one of them by themselves) may have made you a Christian.
Sometimes, this presentation may have been given to us as children or at very young ages.
I have a few questions to ask you.
No, you don’t have to respond back to me directly if you don’t want to. These are simply questions to help you seriously consider what it means to be a Christian.
But think on them for a few. You can drop me a line if you want to.
Since walking down the ailse or praying the ‘sinners’ prayer’ , what about your life has changed ? Are you simply sufficient to have Him in your memory on the side or do you seek to bring your life into alignment with His word and what it says on every aspect of how the life of a Christian should be lived ?
The reason I ask is because the scriptures say that a person who claims to be a Christian should live a certain way. Their life should be visibly changed (1 John 2:3-6), so that habitual and persistent sin is not their regular lifestyle any longer. Christians are also commanded to think differently (Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 10:5). Their opinions on things like social issues, entertainment, relationships, how to conduct yourself in daily life and how to view the world should be shaped by God’s word and not the opinions of non-Christians.
Do you truly desire and thirst after God and His word ? Do you have a love for God’s people and regularly fellowship with them ? Do you have a desire to see men and women everywhere come to a knowledge of the truth of the gospel ?
The reason I ask (again) is because the scriptures say that a person who is truly a Christian will desire to learn, know and obey God’s word (1 John 2:3-4, Psalm 119:9-16). The scriptures also command believers to do many things to ‘one another’. Among these are live in harmony (Romans 12:16), be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10), love one another (Romans 13:8), serve one another in love (Galatians 5:13), bear with one another patiently (Ephesians 4:2), be kind, compassionate and forgiving to one another (Ephesians 4:32), build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11), admonish one another (Colossians 3:16), spur each other up to good works (Hebrews 10:24) and continuously gather together to encourage and strengthen each other (Hebrews 10:25). All of these are impossible to do and obey outside of a church atmosphere where constant fellowship and interaction with other believers is a regular occurrence.
I won’t lie to you – doing either one of those two things listed above (coming down the ailse to the altar) won’t really make you a Christian anymore than walking into McDonald’s can make you a hamburger.
And sadly, there are many well-meaning folks in ministry today that present the gospel in this fashion, though no such ‘presentation’ is given in scripture. And the major problem with it is simply this: many people have a false hope of a ‘once for all decision’ made somewhere around age 8 or 9 (or older) and their lives have shown no visible change since that time.
The purpose of these questions is not to condemn anyone, but to seriously make you think and consider whether or not you are truly a Christian. If you remember walking that aisle or saying that prayer a while back, then on some level, you realize that being wrong on this issue has eternal consequences for you.
A few things about what it means to be a Christian and I’ll leave you to think.
A call to follow Christ is about sacrifice. You life is no longer your own, but His (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Jesus calls those who claim to believe in Him not just to be converts, but to be disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). There is no ‘following Jesus’ without discipleship. Jesus never called folks to simply be ‘converts’. He always called for folks to be His disciples – and the cost of discipleship under Jesus was high. Jesus said:
Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
Society and many in the church have tried to soften Jesus’s demands here and in other passages, but they remain as high and mandatory as the day He spoke them.
Consider these things and ask yourself â€“ are you truly a Christian or are you a victim of presumption ? If, in your heart, you would answer yes to the question of being a Christian, your heart should be a bit bothered and prodded by the Word of God and the commands it gives believers. There should be a desire in your heart to be well-pleasing to God and bring your life into conformity with His commands.
I invite you not only to look through the resources on this site, but to make your Christianity real and LIVE what you say you believe. I hope to be able to point you to a well-balanced church in your area, not just ‘interaction’ with folks on a message board or an e-mail list.
If you’re unsure about your answer after reading scriptureâ€¦. I invite you to click here and read on some more about the gospel and what you need to do after ‘the prayer’ and ‘the ailse’.