Ever wonder about the process of becoming a Christian? If asked, many Christians would say, “By repeating the ‘sinner’s prayer.'1” They may even quote Romans 10:9: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” With a simple conclusion of confessing and believing through a prayer to God. [reminder]Is this process of finding Jesus the same for everyone or perhaps unique to each individual?[/reminder]
Some things are black and white…
Salvation, for example, is clearly explained by Jesus himself. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Although the only way to Salvation is through Jesus, I believe how we meet Jesus depends on our situation. So does that mean there’s a “grey area”?
As a child, my parents taught me right from wrong. It was wrong to bite another child and it was right to share my toys. Life was black and white. There was little to argue and there was no real grey area. As we get older, and our society embraces post-modernity2, however, grey areas actually become an accepted concept. With a heavy emphasis on justice and fairness, millennials,3 in particular, want everyone to be treated fairly. As a result, the concept of salvation is for everyone, seems to be more important than how we actually attain salvation.
To be clear…
What I am NOT saying, is the truth is changing. The only way to find salvation is through the cross of Jesus and confession of faith. What I am saying, is there may be different ways in which we find and accept what Jesus did. Maybe, just maybe, we can find Jesus outside of the fabricated “sinner’s prayer”. We should start thinking this way, not because of cultural influences; rather, for three biblical reasons:
1. The Bible is clear that salvation is for everyone everywhere.
One of Luke’s major themes was that Jesus came and died for everyone. Similarly, Paul wrote, “EVERYONE who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Romans 10:13).” There are no distinctions. Whether blind, mute, disable, or sick; different race, age, gender, or language, ALL are able to receive salvation. If salvation is attainable by all, then all must be able to find Jesus. Many will say, “You must confess with your mouth!” If that were true, then many people would find it difficult or even impossible to be saved. How we meet Jesus must depend on our particular situation; and that situation, creates a unique grey area where we can meet with Him.
2. Salvation is personal.
When Paul wrote to the Galatians, he clearly made this connection. After explaining himself to them, he switches from “we” to “I”. His theology became his testimony and allowed the reader to see and understand how Jesus collided with his particular situation. Meeting Jesus means to meet Him based on our situation. It’s not always black and white. Our personal situation often creates a unique connection that can be grey.
3. There’s more to the words HEART and MOUTH.
When Paul used the words HEART and MOUTH4, he was primarily quoting and referencing Deuteronomy 30:14. Paul did this to make a connection between the law and grace. What defined the Jews under the law was now changed because of the cross. The heart and mouth symbolized who they were, what they believed, and how they acted as followers of God.5 Paul is not saying one must literally confess with their mouth to be saved. If that was the case, a mute person wouldn’t be able to be saved. What Paul is saying, however, is that salvation is found through FAITH. Salvation is the turning of our heart towards the Lordship of Jesus, realizing we can’t receive life on our own merit, and accepting His ultimate sacrifice for us. How we get to that point, however, doesn’t have to be black and white. There can be a unique experience.
I’ve walked with several people down the road of salvation. Whether they were in their last days, or early in their lives, one thing remains – the “sinners’ prayer” doesn’t always work. I’ve seen many say the prayer and never experience grace, and I’ve seen many who never knew the prayer and experienced life transformation.Because #salvation is for EVERYONE, we must be open for EVERYONE to be able to find Jesus Click To Tweet
Salvation is only accepted through Jesus. How we find Jesus, however, depends on our personal situation and condition. It isn’t biblical to insist that someone must confess with their mouth to be saved. It is, however, biblical to find Jesus through a HEARTFELT CONFESSION OF FAITH. Paul, and many others, repeated that concept over and over again. Because salvation is for EVERYONE EVERYWHERE, we must be open for EVERYONE EVERYWHERE to be able to find Jesus. We can’t change our beliefs, but we must allow for people to find Jesus in their own unique way – within the “grey areas”.
|⇑1||A fabricated prayer (not directly found in scripture) formed mainly by the evangelical movement to help believers form their words around asking Jesus to save us from our sin.|
|⇑2||Post-modernity, for the purpose of this post, means a rejection of objective thinking. If a modern way of explaining a situation is black and white (right or wrong), a post-modern way of explaining a situation includes a lot of grey areas.|
|⇑3||The generation of people after Generation X and who were approximately born between the early 1980s and 2000. As of 2016, this would include ages 16 to 36.|
|⇑5||Douglas Moo, Romans, NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000), 334-336.|