Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
One thing I hate is dealing with broken freight. Broken freight wastes time and can cause serious injuries if mishandled, never minding that it was already mishandled at some point. I confess, I often wish I could do something to cause the damage to have never happened. In the video game “Ni No Kuni”, that can be done. However, it is via the agency of magic and the spell “rejuvenate”. In actuality, there is no magic and the game is a simple case of the inconveniencing of a few million electrons at the press of a button. However, it would be nice if that were possible. Too bad, suck it up, not happening.
Oddly, magic has found its way into the church. Not as a mainstay of doctrine. However, it is there and many do not even seem to recognize it. Indeed, the particular item of magic, a very interesting spell in particular, would likely go unrecognized by the pastor. Even more disconcerting is that this particular spell is even encouraged in the church. Truthfully, as practiced, it is a one time use spell and the church otherwise proceeds in accordance with its particular understanding of the Bible. Sadly, it is violating the second commandment by encouraging this spell, as it requires us to call upon God to do something for us at our whim.
The Bible makes it clear that we are saved by grace. It is also apparently clear that grace comes by faith and faith comes by hearing the word of God. Such being the case, it is very odd that there are many churches that talk about how “I made a decision for Christ” or “I chose Christ”. Considering the traditional view of salvation, such statements should be regarded with skepticism and considered heretical. However, it is within this context that the previously mentioned spell makes its home. Specifically, that spell is known as the “Sinner Prayer”.
In a nutshell, the “Sinner Prayer” consists of calling upon God, confessing to being a sinner, repenting of prior sins and asking Jesus to come into your heart. Even Joel Osteen, whom I have never heard preach about sin, teaches this prayer. It sounds very innocent and perhaps scriptural, but it is not. Simple truth, there is no place in scripture where it says to ask Jesus to come into our heart. For that matter, the only prayer in scripture that remotely resembles the modern “Sinner Prayer” is found in Luke 18, where we read of a man who beat his breast and prayed “God, be merciful to me, a sinner”. That is as close as we get. Jesus commended the man’s prayer, as he recognized who he was in God’s sight.
In all honesty, Jesus never once said that we had to pray that prayer. In fact, Christ Jesus taught an entirely different prayer, the one commonly known as “The Lord’s Prayer”. Some may say it is only a model for prayer while others say we should pray it verbatim. Regardless of which way you believe regarding it, this is the only prayer that Jesus specifically taught to his disciples. Jesus never taught any other prayers and the only thing his disciples preached was to repent, be baptized and believe. Never once did they say to pray for Jesus to enter your heart.
The “Sinner Prayer” is pretty. However, it is the magic spell of the salvation by works church. In this prayer, salvation becomes something you do. Sorry, but its not true. Salvation is not and will never be about you. You may gain the benefit of salvation, but it is ultimately about Christ Jesus and what he did for our salvation upon the cross. We are, as fallen creatures, are in bondage to sin and can not save ourselves. This is the standard, honest, confession of the church for nearly two thousand years. I’m sorry, but that prayer won’t get you into Paradise. It is only be faith in Christ Jesus and believing that he died upon the cross for your sins, and rising up from the dead three days later, that we may walk with him in paradise.
There is no magic spell to restore broken freight. There is no magic spell to bring us salvation. Any “prayer” that makes salvation something we do is merely a magic spell. We are not saved by praying a special prayer. We are not saved by doing good works. Even unbelievers can do good works, but that won’t save them from their sins. Only faith in Christ can save us. Magic doesn’t exist, except in movies and video games. Salvation belongs to God alone.