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   TO PRAY OR NOT TO PRAY?
   THAT IS THE QUESTION



Copyright 1994 - 2011 Endtime Prophecy Net

Published On : April 4, 1998

Last Updated : January 3, 2009

A Discussion On Salvation Prayers, Repetitive Prayers
And Chants, Confessional Boxes, Private And Public
Confession Of Sin, Forgiveness And Grace And Works




As many people who live in the western Christianized world
are aware, passing out Gospel tracts is a popular and an
effective means of sharing God's Word with the masses. In
the case of Salvation tracts, these almost always contain
some kind of short prayer to lead the repentant sinner to
Christ. However, the question arises: Is a Salvation prayer
really necessary? In fact, is even the practice of verbally
praying with someone so that they might accept Jesus Christ
as their personal Saviour based upon Scripture? Or is it
just a ritual created by modern Christianity?

I believe that most of us can agree that Salvation is a
matter of personal belief in and acceptance of the atoning
Blood of Jesus Christ on the Cross. It is not simply a
physical act of praying a certain prayer prescribed by a
priest, preacher or evangelist, or included in a Gospel
tract. It is you making the personal decision that you
believe in the Good News found in the Bible; that you
believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins,
as well as for the sins of all men everywhere. Salvation is
based upon your conscious acknowledgment that you are a
sinner in need of a Saviour; and your acceptance of that
Saviour once you understand and realize who He is. This is
the true essence of Salvation.

In a sense, saying a Salvation prayer is similar to the
Disciples baptizing in the Book of Acts. It is just an
outward manifestation of a personal decision and an inward
spiritual change of mind, heart and spirit. As the Apostle
Paul tells us:

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
old things are passed away; behold, all things are become
new." (2 Corinthians 5:17)

"That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old
man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And
be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on
the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and
true holiness." (Ephesians 4:22-24)

Saying a Salvation prayer simply serves as a landmark in a
person's life so that they can look back and say with
confidence, 'This is the first time I really remember
believing in who Jesus Christ is, and in what He did for me.
This is the first time I remember truly acknowledging Him as
my personal Saviour.' This idea of being certain of our
Salvation is clearly expressed in the following words from
the Apostle John:

"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, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son
of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him,
that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth
us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we
know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
(1 John 5:13-15)

In other words, John is saying, 'If you have accepted Jesus
as your Saviour, then you must now believe with all
confidence that you have been forgiven for your sins, and
that you have been born into the Kingdom of God by faith,
even if you never see any kind of physical confirmation that
it is so. You must simply know and believe because of your
faith, or confidence, in God's Word, that God has granted
you your petition for Eternal Life'.

In addition to serving as a landmark and giving us
confidence in our moment of Salvation, I also believe that
saying a Salvation prayer adds a tone of seriousness to a
person's decision to accept and believe in Jesus Christ.
Throughout the Bible we find examples of the different
covenants or agreements that God has made with His people.
Saying a Salvation prayer is similar to a verbal covenant
made between the person saying the prayer, and the Lord.
Such an agreement adds a degree of finality to a person's
decision to accept Jesus Christ as their Saviour. It is
somewhat like signing a rent contract because you are asking
God's Spirit to come and dwell with and within you, just as
the Disciples received the Holy Spirit in Acts chapter two.
In this sense, I believe that saying a Salvation prayer is a
good positive practice. The main thing to remember is that
it is only meant to serve as a symbolic act of acceptance.
Any prayer you read or are taught should only serve as a
guide or an example. This is exactly what Jesus did when His
Disciples asked Him how men ought to pray:

"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain
place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him,
Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."
(Luke 11:1)

Jesus then proceeded to give them an example by saying what
has come to be known as the 'Lord's Prayer' or the 'Our
Father'. He wasn't being particularly adamant saying that we
MUST pray those exact words or else it isn't effective; He
was simply providing an example of HOW to pray, and not
necessarily WHAT to pray. Prayer is not meant to be some
vain repetition as some religions practice. It is not a
matter of repeating a certain prayer or chant over and over
again to achieve some spiritual benefit. Consider what Jesus
had to say concerning this matter:

"But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen
do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much
speaking." (Matthew 6:7)

Frankly, I personally believe that these types of prayers do
very little good for anyone. I don't believe that praying a
prayer over and over again, such as in a rosary, absolves
anyone of their sins. A person can pray the 'Our Father',
the 'Hail Mary', or chant some mantra as much as they want,
but it is not going to absolve them of anything. Doing such
a thing might make them feel better, and help them to accept
themselves afterwards; it might even make them feel a little
more righteous; but that is about all it does. There is
absolutely no Scriptural basis for this practice that I am
aware of. Praying repetitive prayers are merely works of
self-righteousness, trying to EARN our Salvation through our
own good deed of praying and chanting something over and
over again. As I will explain more fully in a moment, true
repentance isn't found in repeating a prayer or chant, it is
found in asking forgiveness from those whom we have
offended, and in making a positive change in our lives for
the better. This whole idea of repetitious prayer as a means
of EARNING forgiveness is totally contradictory to what the
Scriptures tell us:

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but
according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of
regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;" (Titus 3:5)

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of
yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Additionally, I have no doubt that such repetitive prayers
as chants, mantras, and rosaries, as well as practicing
yoga, breathing exercises and other Eastern techniques, are
extremely dangerous. Those poor people who do such things
have absolutely no idea what they are opening themselves up
to. When someone is not protected by God's Divine Spirit,
instead of being an invitation to Christ, these things can
actually be an invitation to ungodly spirits coming in and
possessing their being! Demonic oppression (negative
influence from without), and demonic possession, (negative
influence from within), are real things! They are a result
of people yielding themselves to ANY spirit which might want
to come in and take over. I am reminded of something the
Apostle Paul said regarding yielding to sin in his epistle
to the Romans:

"Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to
obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin
unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?"
(Romans 6:16)

Sadly, today the spiritual reality of demonic possession or
oppression have been given nice little scientific or medical
names to keep people in the dark regarding their true nature
and origin. Both the Old and New Testaments contain a number
of examples of people who yielded themselves to the wrong
spirits. In the Gospels we find the following example:

"And when he was come to the other side into the country of
the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils,
coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man
might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying,
What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art
thou come hither to torment us before the time? And there
was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.
So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out,
suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. And he said
unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into
the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran
violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in
the waters." (Matthew 8:28-32)

We aren't told exactly how these people became possessed by
devils, but it certainly wasn't through worship of the one
true God. Somehow they had opened up their lives to the
forces of Darkness. Could it have been through some of the
ritualistic practices described above? Simply put, prayer is
meant to serve as a connection between your heart and God's
Eternal Spirit. It is you making intimate contact with your
Heavenly Father and Creator in Heaven. How can you be
accomplishing this if all you are doing is repeating some
prescribed prayer ordained by the religious body you
associate with? God wants to hear you speak from your heart,
and not just repeat some vain babble which He never
commanded. I don't doubt that God is sick of hearing twenty
'Our Father's' and ten 'Hail Mary's' and two 'Glory Be's' or
your 'Om' chants or whatever your religious preference
happens to be. Consider what Jesus said about personal
prayer:

"But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and
when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in
secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward
thee openly." (Matthew 6:6)

Unfortunately, some churches have interpreted this verse in
a literal sense instead of in the way Jesus really meant for
it to be understood. Jesus is not talking about going into
some manmade confessional box and praying to a priest. He is
talking about closing your eyes in the privacy of your own
home and praying to your Father in Heaven DIRECTLY, in the
name of Jesus Christ. You don't even have to close your
eyes, but sometimes it helps to block things out around you
so you can really concentrate on what you are saying. This
is what is meant by going into your closet. We must remember
that Jesus is our ONLY High Priest. I have written an
article entitled 'Jesus Christ: Son Of God, High Priest of
Melchizedek' which you might also want to read. Some of the
verses included in that article are the following:

"Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly
calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our
profession, Christ Jesus;" (Hebrews 3:1)

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is
passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold
fast our profession." (Hebrews 4:14)

"Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made
an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec."
(Hebrews 6:20)

There is absolutely no mention of a third party in the
previous verse from Matthew. It is just you and the Lord
talking together. Jesus said to do it in SECRET between
yourself and your Heavenly Father, and not with some earthly
ordained father of some church. In fact, Jesus also said:

"And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your
Father, which is in heaven." (Matthew 23:9)

How can your prayer be in secret between you and the Lord
when the priest knows, and everyone else sitting on the pews
waiting their turn also know what a lousy sinner you must be
for even showing up there? While this sign of humility on
your part is a good thing, it doesn't negate the fact that
this false practice is not ordained of God. It is based on a
false and twisted interpretation of the following verse:

"Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them;
and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained."
(John 20:23)

The Catholics in particular have taken this verse to mean
that they are to set up their ecclesiastical hierarchy, and
that people are to come to them to obtain forgiveness of
sins, as well as Salvation. This whole idea of confessionals
is a well-thought-out plan to keep people in bondage to the
church. As a former Catholic myself, I can speak from
firsthand experience. It is about power and control over
people's lives. Confessional boxes are a means of forced
humiliation to keep people in subjection. By falsely making
their members believe that their Salvation is based upon
their adherence to the church's teachings, instead of upon
the sacrificial Blood of Jesus Christ, these poor people are
coerced into going to confession to make their dirty deeds
known to a priest. It is simply something which I cannot
understand. If I were a priest having to endure such things,
I think I would go crazy. I don't see how they can sit there
week after week hearing people's sins and shortcomings. It
must make some of them feel really proud and self-righteous,
and glad that they aren't as bad as those they are listening
to. I am reminded of something Jesus said in one of His
parables:

"And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in
themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee,
and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus
with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men
are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this
publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all
that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would
not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon
his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell
you, this man went down to his house justified rather than
the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be
abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
(Luke 18:9-14)

Aside from the fact that this parable is a lesson in
humility, notice also to whom they are directing their
prayers. Are they praying or confessing to a temple priest?
No! They are praying DIRECTLY to God. It is a one-on-one
contact with no third party mentioned whatsoever. This is
the very same example Jesus gave us when He said:

"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art
in heaven, Hallowed be thy name." (Matthew 6:9)

What we also see is that these two men did not pray some
kind of ritualistic prayer pre-determined for them by the
temple priests; they prayed directly from their hearts; at
least the second one did. What I find interesting is
that over the years, as some churches have drifted further
and further away from the Lord themselves, they have become
more lenient concerning hearing confession. When I was a
young boy, weekly confession was a must, or else you were
not supposed to partake of the Eucharist, something else
which has become another idol with the Catholic Church. From
what I understand, confession is now only required several
times a year, and in some religions, only once a year.

The Apostle James made it clear that we are to confess our
sins to each other, to forgive each other, to forgive and be
forgiven by those whom we have offended, or who have
offended us. This is what brings about spiritual healing of
the soul. It also heals personal relationships. This is what
is meant by a true confession, and not going to some priest
who has absolutely nothing to do with the matter. It is only
then, after clearing things up with the person we have
offended, that the Lord tells us that He will hear us and
forgive us:

"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for
another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer
of a righteous man availeth much." (James 5:16)

Notice how in the above verse, confession is a two-way
street. Each party is confessing their faults to each other.
They are both forgiving each other. Is that what you see
when you go to your confessional booth? Does your priest
also tell you what a lousy sinner he is, or does he just sit
there quietly on the other side of that partition waiting to
dole out your pennance like some magical formula which is
going to save your soul due to the good graces of the 'Holy
Mother Church'? I don't know how many of you have ever seen
the film 'Brother Son And Sister Moon,' but if you want to
see a real expose on the Catholic Church, that is a movie to
see. It caused quite an uproar when it first came out
several decades ago. It exposes the hypocrisy of organized
religion, and the Roman Catholic Church in particular. That
is the only church I have ever heard of where you can
literally pay for forgiveness of sins and bribe your way
into Heaven. What a film! The director, Franco Zefferelli,
must be a real iconoclast. His lengthy 'Jesus Of Nazareth'
is another film I highly recommend.

I can recall times in my childhood when I would have a
really hard time trying to think of something to say to the
Catholic priest, some dirty sin I had committed during the
week, even if there really weren't any. As I mentioned
above, you were expected to go to confession every week if
you wanted to feel worthy of communion on Sunday. Now tell
me, how many serious sins can a little kid commit in one
week? Trying to think of a venial sin was hard enough, but a
mortal sin? Forget it! I am sure those priests must have
gotten some good laughs out of some of the things we kids
would tell them in all our childish seriousness. As I have
alread said, it was a complete bondage trip topped off with
having to repeat the 'Our Father', 'Hail Mary' and 'Glory
Be' so many times in order to EARN forgiveness and show
repentance.

I remember times when we would just race through our
pennance prayers or even cheat just so we could get out of
there. It was easy to tell who had the biggest sins by
watching who had to stay to pray the longest. What
humiliation! What embarrassment! As I have already shown,
this is NOT what the Bible instructs us to do. In the
previous verse from the Epistle of James, James was basing
his teachings upon the words of Jesus Himself who said to go
directly to your brother whom you have offended:

"Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there
rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave
there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be
reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy
gift." (Matthew 5:23-24)

"And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that
is indebted to us..." (Luke 11:4)

"For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly
Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men
their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your
trespasses." (Matthew 6:14-15)

In the above verses, Jesus is clearly saying that before we
can expect God to forgive us, we must first be reconciled
with and forgive others we have been offended by, or whom we
have offended. There is no mention here of a repetition of
some established prayer to somehow merit forgiveness or
atonement for our sins. Forgiveness and atonement only comes
through forgiving others, and through accepting Jesus'
overall Atonement for the sins of mankind by shedding His
Blood on the Cross. If we forgive each other, God will then
forgive us through the Death of His Son on the Cross.
Consider what the Apostle John tells us in one of his
epistles:

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive
us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
(1 John 1:9)

As I said earlier, if we are really sorry for our sins, it
is through change in our lives that we show our repentance,
and NOT by saying some prayer over and over again just to
fulfill the church's requirement. There is no place in the
Bible where we are told to engage in such practices, and I
challenge anyone to prove otherwise. The Scriptures I have
shared thus far make this very clear.

Much like some churches today, the Scribes and Pharisees of
old used the oral and written Law to place themselves over
the common people. Their many traditions were the tool they
used to control the masses. While everyone else was guilty
of sin, they did their best to present themselves as the
perfect examples of sinless perfection. It is for this
reason that when Jesus, the True Son of Righteous arrived,
they had to constantly judge and criticize Him in order to
cover their own sins. But, as Jesus later said, once He had
revealed The Truth to them, they no longer had a cloak for
their sins:

"If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had
sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin."
(John 15:22)

I am reminded of the time they dragged the woman before
Jesus whom they accused of being caught in the very act of
committing adultery. Consider their words:

"And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman
taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery,
in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that
such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said,
tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus
stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as
though he heard them not. (John 8:3-6)

This was a deliberate act of entrapment. Have you ever
stopped to consider how they caught her in the very act? Did
they plan it? Did they go in there and pay someone to
solicit her services like we have in law enforcement today?
It's a very common practice. A law officer will solicit the
hooker, and then arrest her when she takes the bait. In
other cases, undercover agents will make a drug deal, and
then bust the traffickers when they hand over the drugs. The
whole reason the Scribes and Pharisees did this was to show
how righteous they were in keeping the Law, while at the
same time accusing Jesus of being a dirty Lawbreaker, a
gluttonous man and a winebibber, a companion of sinners:

"The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say,
Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of
publicans and sinners! But wisdom is justified of all her
children." (Luke 7:34-35)

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus completely turned the tables
on them when He said:

"Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say
unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say
unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the
kingdom of God before you. For John came unto you in the way
of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans
and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it,
repented not afterward, that ye might believe him."
(Matthew 21:31-32)

Between their many rules and regulations, their
confessionals, intimidating system of tithing, etc., some
modern churches have become just as corrupt as the religious
rulers of Jesus' day. Contrary to what they teach in their
systems of bondage, the only One who can forgive us for our
sins is our Heavenly Father through the Sacrifice of His Son
Jesus Christ. He is the only One who can grant us Salvation,
contrary to the false teachings of modern religious
institutions like the Roman Catholic Church.

Let me say again that we are NOT supposed to go to some
priest who we have not offended. We are supposed to go
DIRECTLY to the person whom we have offended; and that takes
a lot of humility. Once we know we have their forgiveness,
or at least have tried to obtain it, THEN we can present
ourselves before the Lord; for He is our only High Priest.
By now, you the reader should understand that confessional
boxes and repetitious prayers like pennance and rosaries are
a cop-out and a cheap way for trying to find forgiveness
with God. They just aren't scriptural practices in the New
Testament Church. They are rituals which were added and
instituted later by organized religion, particularly by the
'founding fathers' of the Roman Catholic Church, to maintain
a hold on church membership. I have already presented
sufficient Scriptural evidence which clearly shows that we
are to go directly to God, through Jesus Christ, to seek
forgiveness for our sins. King David is a prime example of
one who knew how to approach the Lord directly. Psalm
fifty-one is an excellent example of a prayer of confession
from a sincere and repentant heart. In that psalm he said in
part:

"Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness:
according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out
my transgressions. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and
cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions:
and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have
I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou
mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when
thou judgest. (Psalms 51:1-4)...Create in me a clean heart,
O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away
from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with
thy free spirit. (Psalms 51:10-12)...For thou desirest not
sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in
burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a
broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."
(Psalms 51:1-4, 10-12, 16-17)

In the above verses, the 'burnt offering' King David is
referring to are animal sacrifices. Up until the time of
Jesus' Sacrifice on the Cross, building altars to God and
offering up a variety of animals was the primary means of
worship and atonement. This was practiced by Abraham and the
early Patriarchs, by Moses, Aaron and the Levitical
priesthood during the time of the Tabernacle, and then
continued with the first and second Temples as well. These
animal sacrifices served as a foreshadow of the Final
Sacrifice to come through Jesus Christ. As I have shown in
other articles, with His Death on the Cross, God entered a
New Covenant with His people, not based on the keeping of
the Law, or on other works of the flesh like sacrificing
animals, but rather based on placing one's faith in the
final Sacrifice of His Son as the ONLY means of forgiveness,
atonement and attaining Salvation. As Paul said in part in
his letter to the Hebrews:

"...for this he did once, when he offered up himself."
(Hebrews 7:27)

Thus, what we see in Psalm Fifty-One is David's realization
that animal sacrifices are meaningless if one does not truly
have a repentant heart. They are self-righteous dead works
if there is no change of heart and attitude. This is the
true sacrifice to God. The Apostle James also delved into
similar issues when he explained how faith must be backed by
works, not because the works are what save us, but rather
because they are a manifestation of our faith:

"Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew
me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my
faith by my works...For as the body without the spirit is
dead, so faith without works is dead also."
(James 2:18, 26)

While the Roman Catholic Church outwardly claims to teach
its members to have faith in Jesus Christ for their
Salvation, anyone who is familiar with their doctrines will
know that what they really teach is that the 'Holy Mother
Church' is the only one who can forgive sins and grant
Salvation. In other words, contrary to the Scriptures, they
are placing themselves between man and God, thus nullifying
the one-on-one relationship I described previously. In
essence, they are saying that one cannot approach God
directly through Jesus Christ, but must go through the
Catholic Church and its priests. If you are not a Catholic,
then you are lost and cannot possibly be saved. But what do
the Scriptures really say?:

"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus;" (1 Timothy 2:5)

If this isn't bad enough, as I have already shown, even if
one is a member of the Roman Catholic Church, the road to
Salvation is still not an easy one. Similar to the Law-bound
Jews of old, today's Catholic must keep and observe a
multitude of church laws, sacraments and practices. If one
does not do these things, then he may not be found worthy of
forgiveness and Salvation. Because his faith is not directly
in the Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, but rather in the 'Holy
Mother Church', he falls under the bondage of having to
fulfill all of these ecclesiastical obligations. In light of
these many requirements, most Catholics are never quite
certain of what their standing is with God. This uncertainty
regarding one's Salvation is another clear example of how
the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church are in conflict
with the Scriptures. As I showed earlier through the verses
found in the Epistle of John, God wants us to be sure of our
Salvation. He wants us to have no doubt about it whatsoever.
Sadly, with the Catholics, Salvation becomes a nebulous
issue because one is never sure if he has said quite enough
'Our Fathers' and 'Hail Mary's', or done enough other good
works to merit what the Bible clearly teaches is a FREE gift
of God:

"Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over
them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's
transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if
through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace
of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus
Christ, hath abounded unto many...Therefore as by the
offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation;
even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon
all men unto justification of life." (Romans 5:14-15, 18)

A free gift is a free gift. If any other requirements are
added to it, be they keeping certain laws, or observing
certain practices, or belonging to a certain church, then it
is no longer a free gift. It then becomes something which
must be earned and worked for. Through such corruption of
The Truth, a religion of faith can easily be converted into
a religion of works. In short, the Roman Catholic Church,
and other churches and organizations as well, have simply
replaced the animal sacrifices of yesterday with a new set
of rules and practices which can't save anyone no matter how
often they are kept, or how frequently they are repeated.

Returning to the issue of confession, there is one example
in the Scriptures where public confession of sin may be
warranted. By public confession, I am not referring to
entering a confessional box to reveal your sins to a priest,
but rather to admitting your errors before the congregation
of believers with whom you may happen to be in fellowship.
This belief is based on the oft-quoted phrase 'They that sin
before all, rebuke before all.' This phrase has been
adopted from a statement made by Paul in his letter to
Timothy:

"Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may
fear." (1 Timothy 5:20)

Notice that the verse does not actually say, 'they that sin
before all'; however, that is what it is usually understood
to mean. After all, if it is just something between you and
another brother or sister, or between you and the Lord, then
why make a bigger issue out of it than it really needs to
be? Most people don't care to hear about your personal sins.
They already have enough of their own if they are being
honest with themselves. On the other had, if your sin is
something major which has affected a lot of people in a
negative way, then as Paul states, a public rebuke may be in
order. A public rebuke should result in public confession
and public repentance. As Paul says here, the whole purpose
of a public rebuke is not only to let everyone know that
these things have not been done in secret, but also to
strike godly fear and reverence in those who might be
following the same wrong path, or at least who might be
contemplating such things. The attitude I am referring to is
one that says 'Well, if that person can get away with it,
then maybe I can too'. Public rebuke helps to put a stop to
this type of behavior, or at least it should if those who
are involved are sensitive to the Spirit of God. As I have
shown in other articles, in these Last Days, some have
already hardened their hearts against God and are past
feeling the conviction of His Spirit:

"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye
henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of
their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being
alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is
in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being
past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness,
to work all uncleanness with greediness."
(Ephesians 4:17-19)

Jesus followed this same practice of public rebuke on a
number of occasions such as when He publicly rebuked the
moneychangers in The Temple. In Matthew chapter twenty-three
we find another example where He totally exposed the
hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees. Notice though that
these rebukes, like those of John the Baptist, were not
always followed by public confession of sin as would be
expected if just one person were being rebuked and dealt
with. The idea was to hopefully prick the public conscience
so that some would come to repentance. That is why we are
told that John preached a baptism of repentance:

"John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism
of repentance for the remission of sins." (Mark 1:4)

John's whole purpose was to help people acknowledge their
sins, and thus repent in preparation for He Who would come
to give them full Salvation. Paul confirmed this in the Book
of Acts when he said to the Ephesian Disciples:

"...John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance,
saying unto the people, that they should believe on him
which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus."
(Acts 19:4)

The Prophets of the Old Testament did the same thing and
were constantly rebuking Israel because of her sins and
rebellion against the Lord. Unfortunately, despite the many
Prophets the Lord had sent unto her, many of which she
persecuted and killed, by the end of the Old Testament, we
find that Israel is still just as hardhearted and rebellious
as ever. It is for this reason that the Lord had to send
forth John in the Spirit and Power of Elijah as I have fully
explained in other articles on this topic.

Returning then to the topic of Salvation prayers, I am not
certain how the practice evolved. However, if we consider
some of the verses commonly found in Salvation tracts, some
of which I use myself, we will begin to understand why
praying a Salvation prayer has become a commonly accepted
practice amongst those who preach the Gospel. Some of the
following verses emphasize an act of accepting and believing
in the Lord as our Saviour. Other verses show us that in
order to receive anything from the Lord, such as the Holy
Spirit, we must ask for it. Whether this requires a verbal
prayer or just simply a mental thought or desire is not made
clear. Still others show that we must personally open the
spiritual door of our hearts and enter into Communion with
the Lord. I am not referring to the practice of the Roman
Catholic host or Eucharist, but rather entering a spiritual
relationship with the Lord. Finally, other Scriptures seem
to indicate that confessing the Lord before others verbally
is also a condition of Salvation. Taken as a whole, these
verses seem to be saying that, while not absolutely
necessary, a Salvation prayer sure couldn't hurt; and it
strengthens the Faith of those who have prayed it:

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to
become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his
name:" (John 1:12)

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that
asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him
that knocketh it shall be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8)

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer,
believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)

"And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we
ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if
we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we
have the petitions that we desired of him."
(1 John 5:14-15)

"Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained
you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your
fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the
Father in my name, he may give it you." (John 15:16)

"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto
your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give
the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13)

"Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my
voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will
sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20)

"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him
from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man
believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession
is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:9-10)

As can be seen, asking is a very important part of our walk
with the Lord. Granted, the Lord already knows that we have
need of these things, particularly our physical needs, but
it seems that this manifestation of our Faith by asking Him
seems to be pleasing to Him:

"Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth
what things ye have need of, before ye ask him."
(Matthew 6:8)

"(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your
heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these
things." (Matthew 6:32)

"For all these things do the nations of the world seek
after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these
things." (Luke 12:30)

As Romans 10:9-10 seems to indicate, the very act of
verbally confessing and telling others about Jesus seems to
be another requirement for our Salvation. Could this be why
in some places the Lord said that 'he that endureth to the
end, the same shall be saved.'? Could this be referring to
those who continue to manifest their Faith by witnessing to
others right up to the end in spite of ungodly antichrist
persecution? This is the price the first Disciples had to
pay. Why should we be any different? Allow me to clarify
that this is NOT working for our Salvation; but rather it is
a manifestation that we are truly saved, just as I pointed
out earlier. On the other hand, what if we don't confess the
Lord before others? Again, the scriptural answer is very
clear:

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I
confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But
whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny
before my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 10:32-33)

"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words
in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall
the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of
his Father with the holy angels." (Mark 8:38)

"Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men,
him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of
God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied
before the angels of God." (Luke 12:8-9)

What is very interesting about this act of publicly
confessing Christ, is that the reason many people don't do
it is simply because of pride. They have a personal image to
uphold. They are AFRAID of what people will think of them if
they start talking about Jesus and the Bible. In other
words, they are manpleasers instead of God pleasers. As true
Christians know, more and more each day, we are being made
to look like fools in the eyes of the modern world. A
typical response from the enemies of Christ might be: 'With
all of the 'truths' modern science has discovered in recent
decades, how can you possibly be so foolish as to continue
to cling to your ancient texts and religious 'myths'?' This
type of reaction is nothing new. Satan has been using these
same tactics to try to neutralize Christians for thousands
of years. It all comes down to peer pressure and a fear of
public opinion. Consider the following verses:

"These words spake his parents, because they feared the
Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did
confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the
synagogue." (John 9:22)

"Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on
him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him,
lest they should be put out of the synagogue:" (John 12:42)

What a paradox! The very ones who are supposed to be
representing God's presence on Earth, are the same ones who
fight against Him and His children who attempt to confess
His name! Not only that, while non-Christians and atheists
accuse us of believing in and serving our God out of fear,
they are guilty of these very things themselves. They are so
afraid of being considered a little odd, a little abnormal,
afraid of not being accepted by their peers, that they bow
down in fear to their false god Satan. If they would just
take a step of Faith and believe, they would be liberated
from their bondage and lives of darkness. In his perverted
way of seeing things, Satan has twisted everything around
and made the Lie appear as the Truth, and the Truth as the
Lie. The Prophet Isaiah uttered a strict warning regarding
such things when he said:

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put
darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter
for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20)

Sadly, these stupid foolish people fall for his lies, because
they are guilty of the very same sins of pride and vanity as
he is. In the book of Acts we find other examples where the
enemies of Truth persecute those who would dare to shine the
Light into their world of darkness. Here is one example:

"And when they had brought them, they set them before the
council: and the high priest asked them, Saying, Did not we
straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name?
and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine,
and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. Then Peter and
the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God
rather than men...and when they had called the apostles, and
beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in
the name of Jesus, and let them go." (Acts 5:27-29, 40b)

If you think the same thing isn't happening today, guess
again. Some of the large popular denominations just love to
persecute the smaller ones, accusing them of being cults and
sects. They will go after any smaller church, organization,
group or individual who dares to defy or question their
established beliefs and man-made traditions. I know because
I have experienced my share of persecution in my days. As
the old saying goes, 'When you do it right, the devil will
fight!' Or, as the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy:

"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall
suffer persecution." (2 Timothy 3:12)

Of course, to keep things in balance, we should also
recognize that there are such things as cults which do
gather around and exalt someone and/or some doctrine other
than Jesus Christ and the Bible. As Jesus warned us in
Matthew chapter twenty-four, there are many false christs
and false prophets in the world today:

"For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets,
and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it
were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."
(Matthew 24:24)

Therefore, we must indeed be wary of them. If you would like
an excellent list of Scriptures which refer to these types
of false teachers and doctrines, please see the article
entitled 'Endtime Witnessing: Winning The Sheep And Waging
The Warfare'. What we need to realize is that some of the
larger denominations use the fact that there are cults in
the world today as a catch-all to harass and persecute other
sincere Christians whose views may be different from their
own. The point is, the minute you make a confession of Faith
in Jesus Christ, either through a simple thought, desire, or
a verbal prayer, and then begin to publicly witness the same
to others, you should expect some degree of persecution from
the enemies of Christ, even from some of those who claim to
represent Him. Persecution is simply part of God judgment
process. Until the wicked have filled their cup of iniquity,
God cannot judge them righteously. Such is the case with the
judgment of Babylon The Great Whore in the Book of
Revelation:

"Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her
double according to her works: in the cup which she hath
filled fill to her double." (Revelation 18:6)

If you are interested in my views regarding this mysterious
woman, please read my article 'Revelation's Babylon The
Great Whore'.

In conclusion, perhaps we can regard a Salvation prayer as a
means of priming our spiritual pump, or as a means of
legitimizing our new relationship with Christ. If a
Salvation prayer helps to bring more peope to Jesus Christ,
I personally see nothing wrong with it. It certainly can't
hurt anything. Rather than getting technical and arguing
over the method which is being used to bring lost souls to
Christ, let's all be thankful for the fact that good fruit
is being born in the lives of millions of people all over
the world. After all, that is what being a Christian is all
about. It isn't just a matter of our own Salvation, but
rather of sharing the Message of Salvation with others by
whatever means the Lord puts at our disposal. Let's not get
so hung up with the method, that we forget the Message. It
is through belief in the Message that we are saved, and not
through the manner or method in which that Message is
delivered. I pray that this article has been a help and a
blessing in your life, and that The Truth it contains will
liberate many from their current bondage. As Jesus said:

"...If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples
indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall
make you free." (John 8:31b-32)

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