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Archive for June, 2012

 

The True Marks of the Spiritual Man or Woman

 

Going back over my archives, I was reminded of an article from Milk & Honey: the Marks of a Spiritual Man by Bob Gesner. I remembered posting it (with permission) while planning t to interact with it.

Essentially the article highlights seven marks of a spiritual man: (1) hunger for God’s word; (2) dependency through prayer; (3) humility and obedience; (4) compassion for the lost; (5) longsuffering and forgiveness; (6) love towards the unlovely; (7) endurance and faithfulness. These seven marks are supported by various passages and are predicated on looking a certain way.

A hunger for God’s word is evidenced by daily devotions on God’s word. Putting away desires of the natural man evidences a spirit of humility and obedience. An overwhelming concern for the lost (like being moved in the spirit or weeping like Christ) is evidence.

Now, it’s great to encourage someone to read the Word and meditate on it—the Bible itself illustrates this in say Psalm 119, for instance. Unfortunately, I think the list winds up giving us a bunch of requirements that we all fall short of and, ultimately, can cause lost hope if we don’t cheat our way to attaining it. I find myself in agreement with the article where it says “most of us must conclude that there is much to be done in our spiritual life” but then don’t feel like I should be aiming to do anything. After all, I can’t.

 Gesner agrees when he states that the spiritual man is quietly growing and maturing in Christ with no attempts to self-improvement.

And there’s now dissonance within me.

I look at myself and find that I don’t see this whole quiet growing in maturity. I find myself struggling. Sweating. Fighting. Gritting my teeth. Not because Christ’s bond isn’t easy (it is) but rather because I know myself. I totally identify with Romans 7 (Article one and two).

And then, when I see a list of rules like this, I find myself knowing (wrongly) that I can be spiritual just by doing these things. I’ll read my Bible every day and think about it, and I’m finally a better Christian than you. I neglect everything around me to give out tracts or something and I find myself a better Christian than you.

I am then “Spiritual”.

An all too common abuse of the Spiritual. I can almost hear the most obnoxious group in Corinth, the ones who thought themselves as The Most Spiritual, puffing up their chests and saying “We’re not of Paul or Peter: we are of Christ!” and Paul immediately snapping when they speak up. Martin Luther is so right: The Law is for the proud and the Gospel for the brokenhearted.

Which is why I love 1 Corinthians 12-14.

English Bibles open the section saying something like “concerning spiritual gifts”. But that’s not what Paul says.

Obviously the question they were asking in Corinth was about the spiritual gifts, lest Paul wouldn’t spend the rest of the three chapters talking about them. But Corinth didn’t have a problem with having Spiritual Gifts. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1 that they do not lack any of them.

But that couldn’t have been the extent of the question in light of the sharp divisions in the assembly and Paul’s constant complaint about those who thought themselves spiritual and even not being able to speak to them as spiritual at all (1 Cor 3:1).

Don Carson points out that it would seem to be a double-edged question: one group, say the Spiritual Group, asking “Are spiritual gifts the mark of the Spiritual?” and another group asking a similar question as a complaint.  So when Paul answers “regarding The Spiritual” it happily covers a nice range: from the gifts to those who are The Spiritual.

Which has direct bearing on these sorts of lists.

I see my confession of “Christ is Lord” in the first few verses and happily note that I didn’t do that alone: God’s Spirit made it possible. No struggling in the A.M to read the Bible. No rejection of everything natural with unwavering focus on the invisible: God worked.

I see that my abilities (be they weak or not) are on a spectrum which is all God given. And by here I don’t mean a gradating spectrum where some people’s gifts are more and more useless; rather I mean that God himself is giving gifts for specific purposes to individuals for the sake of the body. Sure there should be an aiming at doing better and more effective things, but that’s not the best.

The best, says Paul, is love. God’s grace lavished in us in love now reflected in us loving. He paints what it looks like and then quickly bolsters us by pointing out that we’re not there yet and won’t be there until when that is Perfect finally comes.

Love always remains.

That tells me something. This whole hunting for actions that The Spiritual Do is of a secondary importance. Paul spoke in tongues, which in Corinth was surely a Mark of the Spiritual, but he didn’t give two figs about it. He would rather speak five intelligible words for the edification of all than speak 10,000 words as a mark of a Spiritual.

So mess up. Grit your teeth. Struggle with the jealousies in you. If you’re anything like me, you’re a screwed up and messy person. But look to the freeing hope found in God’s Gospel that interrupted our lives with extravagant grace and love. Reflect that love to others, even when you feel unlovely, and you’ll find that you are walking in the very steps of the Most Spiritual, Christ Jesus.

Because the Marks of the Spiritual Man aren’t Bible Reading or weeping when Christ or Paul might have. The Marks of the Spiritual Man look like the God-Man, who was once pinned to a tree, coming back in a physical and marked up body to encourage his brothers saying “We’re family. I’ve conquered. You are conquerors with me. I’ll come back for you.”

It’s love revealed in action, no matter how ugly our marks.

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Totdeauna pe-a Domnului cale

http://youtu.be/A7ZJnPRXLEk

Uploaded by on Mar 4, 2011

Totdeauna pe a Domnului cale

Au fost lupte  si au fost spini destui

Caci acei ce-au urmat voiei Sale

Trebuit-au sa-I semene Lui

 

N-a iubit lumea, nu ,nicodata

pe acei  cati  i-au urmat Lui cu zel

Ci cu-o ura mereu neimpacata

I-a primit pe pamant ca pe El

 

Dar cu ochii atintiti la rasplata

Prin rabdarea Golgotei privind

N-au cartit cei alesi nicodata

Ci au trait si au murit biruind

 

Nu-i la fel pentru toti incercarea

Nici nu-i vremea la toti intr-un fel

Insa toti  intru-un fel au chemarea

La un pret de dureri pentru El

 

Cei ce fug sau fricosi la-ncercare

L-au lasat si-au vandut pe Isus

Rusinati se vor pierde-n uitare

Alungati de blestemul de Sus

 

Tu fi tare ca-n ziua incercarii

E alegerea ta pentru Har

Stralucit esti in haina ocarii

Cand te urci rabdator pe Calvar

 

Tu catusele atunci le saruta

Rugator pentru cei ce le-au pus

Ca-n cereasca rabdare tacuta

Semana-vei atunci cu Isus

Iar prin moarte inmiit vei culege

Rasplatirea cerescului zel

Caci mereu astfel Domnul si alege

Pe acei  ce imparati-vor cu El

 Oastea Domnului – Totdeauna pe-a Domnului cale – Mizies

http://youtu.be/flbsxv2Nxew

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LIVE IT – THEN SHARE IT

 

 Evangelical Christians are always talking about winning the lost to Christ.  Committees are formed, programs are developed, materials are printed, and motivational speakers convince believers to become workers in God’s Great Commission.  It all sounds so good.  The only problem is, most often, it is a waste of time, money, and effort.  And because it nearly always leaves out the most important “ingredient,” character, one might even call it unbiblical.  

 

The Word of God tells us what it takes to win the lost.  Proverbs 11:30 says, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.”  The word “fruit” has more that one meaning to the born again believer.  First, it is the outworking of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers, and the fruit includes:  “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23).  I believe this is what the Lord meant by connecting “fruit” with winning souls in Proverb 11:30.  When a believer is filled with the Spirit, he shows forth fruit that is “pleasant to the eye,” and causes the lost to hunger for what he has.  The lost are drawn to a Spirit filled believer like a bee is drawn to a beautiful flower.  This opens the door for the believer to share the Gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4), which is the “power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16).

 

A second understanding of the word “fruit,” is that of reproduction.  A physical birth requires “seed” which grows into the likeness of the progenitor.  Created plants, animals, and human beings all produce “seeds” which have the potential of producing “after their kind.”  An apple tree produces apples containing seeds, which, when planted, produce more apple trees.  For both animals and humans, insemination results in offspring “after their kind.”  

 

The Spiritual birth also requires “seed-bearing fruit.”  Salvation is the result of faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:8).  Faith in Jesus Christ is the result of hearing the Word of God (Lk. 8:11; Rom. 10:14-17).  When a believer is filled with the Spirit, he shares his faith, and the lost get saved.  Luke wrote that the believers were “Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47).  But notice it was their behavior which opened the door for the proclaiming of the Gospel, and souls were saved (Acts 2:42-46).

 

 

I have included the “Romans Road” below.  It is an excellent way to share God’s Word, but in order to share it, one needs those who will listen.  Pray, be filled with the Spirit, and then share it.

 

The Romans Road

 

*  “All have sinned” (Rom. 3:23).

*  “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23a).

*  “But God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8).

*  “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23b).

*  “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17).

*  “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

*  “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.

 
PASS IT ON !

n.

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Fanny Crosby BB 101910.mov

http://youtu.be/YEyPXMcd0ng

Uploaded by on Jan 22, 2011

Blessed Assurance, To God be the Glory, Praise H, Praise Him the list extends into thousands, songs from the heart of the blind poetess Fanny Crosby.In this Feature length motion picture the life and testimony of Fanny Crosby unfold from her days as a teacher at the New York Institute for the Blind until she becomes the most influential woman in evangelical history. You may have sung her songs a thousand times.

Running Time 87 minutes. A Ken Anderson Films Presentation.

English: A picture of Fanny Crosby. Rationale:...

English: A picture of Fanny Crosby. Rationale: The subject died in 1915, prior to 1923, making this image public domain in the USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Publisher's Advertisement in Fanny Crosby's Li...

Publisher’s Advertisement in Fanny Crosby’s Life-Story (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Fanny Crosby

Biography – Composer of over 8,000 hymns

 

 

http://youtu.be/Jfu_PQjQlI8

 

Uploaded by on Feb 11, 2012

 

Fanny Crosby, 1820-1915
Fanny Cros­by was prob­ab­ly the most pro­lif­ic hymn­ist in his­to­ry. Though blind­ed by an in­com­pe­tent doc­tor at six weeks of age, she wrote over 8,000 hymns. About her blind­ness, she said:
It seemed in­tend­ed by the bless­ed prov­i­dence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dis­pen­sa­tion. If per­fect earth­ly sight were of­fered me to­mor­row I would not ac­cept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been dis­tract­ed by the beau­ti­ful and in­ter­est­ing things about me.
In her life­time, Fan­ny Cros­by was one of the best known wo­men in the Unit­ed States. To this day, the vast ma­jor­i­ty of Amer­i­can hymn­als con­tain her work.
Read more and listen to over 400 of her hymns here http://cyberhymnal.org/bio/c/r/o/crosby_fj.htm
Fanny’s most famous hymn (music composed by her friend Phoebe Knapp

Blessèd assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Refrain

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Refrain

Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

 

 

Fanny Crosby's Life-Story (1903)

Fanny Crosby’s Life-Story (1903) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Fanny Crosby

    Fanny Crosby (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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12 Ways To Be Sure You’ll Go To Hell

 

1. Consider the Bible to be out of date and unworthy of your intelligent consideration, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18).

2. Never read the Bible, because “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

3. Never attend a gospel preaching church or Sunday School. If the Church comes together and “all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all. And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you” (1 Corinthians 14:24-25).

4. Never pray or call on God for forgiveness, “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved'” (Romans 10:13).

5. Never listen to a gospel message, “For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21).

6. Continue to live a sinful, selfish life without ever thinking of future judgment, because “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

7. Never admit you are a sinner without hope, because Jesus said “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Matthew 9:13).

8. Never admit that there is life after death, because the Scripture warns “Prepare to meet your God” (Amos 4:12).

9. Never allow a Christian to explain the gospel to you, you might get saved like the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:35-37. Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?’ Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.'”

10. Never read an explanation of the gospel. Like the gospel of John, “these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:31).

11. Declare freely that the message of salvation is for the birds and don’t try to understand it. Be one of the “scoffers [who] will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts” (2 Peter 3:3).

12. After following these suggestions, just wait – time will do the rest. “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries” (Hebrews 10:26-27).

P.S. While waiting, if you still have any inclination to go to Heaven, just dispel any thoughts on this matter. adapted from evangelicaltract.com

http://www.theupwardcall.net/2012/06/12-ways-to-be-sure-youll-go-to-hell.html?showComment=1340595994173#c8339282242555678166

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The Dangers Of The Sinners Prayer

 What I am referring to as the “sinners prayer” is the “repeat after me” method given at the end of a gospel presentation which is supposed to lead someone to accept Christ. I have no issue with a repentant sinner calling out to God for forgiveness.

 

I have two problems with the “sinners prayer.”

My first problem is that it is not found in scripture. Christians should be leery of using anything that’s not found in the Bible, especially when it’s dealing with the gospel. People are saved through faith in Christ. Some may say the sinners prayer when they put their confidence in the Savior, but it is in spite of the sinners prayer, not because of it.

Reason number two: It has led many into false professions of salvation. Many people, myself included, have been led in a prayer which resulted in a false profession. I believe that the number one cause of false professions today is the sinners prayer. Part of the problem is that it gives people an action to perform. They can easily end up trusting in something they did, instead of what Christ did for them. They look back to the prayer instead of looking to the cross for assurance. In calling people to perform an action we are jeopardizing one of the main points of the gospel, which is that there is nothing that we can do to be saved. We don’t think we are giving an action to perform, but repeating a prayer can mislead them into thinking they had a part in saving their souls. 
 Leading someone in a prayer often ends up with the person only mentally acknowledging their sinful state and mentally assenting to a formula. While it’s good to acknowledge those things, that won’t save you, it’s believing in your heart, not in your head. It’s like leading someone half way down a trail to your house in the woods, then declaring that they have arrived, when they are obviously lost.
In all of the salvation accounts found in scripture none of them involve saying a prayer, saving faith is what is shown again and again. John 3:15-16 make it clear that it is belief in the Son and nothing else.
In Acts 10:44 it says “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.” Peter was preaching and all who were listening that believed what he said were saved. They didn’t say a prayer. They just recognized that they were sinners and that Jesus had died for their sin and risen again, and if they didn’t believe on Him they would be under judgment.

Real Christian have a desire to see people saved. Unfortunately many try to rush the work of the Holy Spirit by leading unbelievers in a prayer. This can interfere with the work of the Holy Spirit. If we interfere with that work and it ends up leading someone into a false profession then we have a lot to account for, and personally, I don’t want to run that risk. All we need to do is give people the gospel and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Rushing someone into a prayer could be a lack of faith that the Holy Spirit will do His part. Our job is not to open hearts, our job is to shut mouths, and let the Holy Spirit open the heart.

In all of the salvation accounts in scripture no one was ever led in a prayer, not even once. Seriously, go look it up. I would suggest that leading someone in a prayer could be considered adding to the gospel, which is very dangerous. If you only based your evangelistic method on the bible you would not come to the conclusion that saying a prayer is the way to receive salvation. Rather you would see repentance and faith (Acts 20:21).

The Ethiopian Eunuch

 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 8:35-37).

The Philippian Jailer

And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house (Acts 16:27-32).

 Often people say that they will lead someone in a prayer if they feel that they have arrived at a point where they are ready to accept Christ. In both situations above, the evangelists (in this case Paul, Silas, and Philip) were presented with opportunities that many modern day evangelists would use to lead someone in a sinners prayer. The Philippian jailer was ready to be saved, but Paul did not lead him in a prayer, instead he tells him to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ”. From what we see in scripture this is what we should be telling people, not “Would you like to ask Jesus into your heart? Okay, say this prayer with me…”

Children and the sinners prayer

Children are extremely susceptible to false professions due to the sinners prayer. The gospel needs to be presented in simpler terms with children, but it does not need to be dumbed down to “Ask Jesus into your heart” or “Talk to God about your sin.” Talking to God about your sin is not what saves people, neither is asking Jesus into your heart (whatever that means). What child wouldn’t “ask Jesus into their heart” when they’re told that God will come live inside of them and they will go to heaven? Far too often the child has no grasp of what they are doing or why they are doing it. It is often a mental “salvation” instead of an honest realization that they are sinners and that only Jesus, and what He did for them on the cross, can save them. I was led in a prayer when I was a child and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. It’s far too easy to manipulate a child into saying a prayer and professing salvation.

 A new breed of the sinners prayer

Recently I’ve seen a new trend in the way people are led in the prayer, it goes something like “Saying this prayer is not what saves you, praying is simply how you tell God what you are doing”. This disclaimer doesn’t dismiss the fact that the people still did something that they are liable to trust in, instead of only trusting in the all sufficient work of Christ on the cross. The logic behind using this disclaimer doesn’t even make sense. Why do we need to tell God what we are doing? He already knows. If you offer me a gift would it be normal for me to give you a commentary on what I am doing? For example, as I take the gift from your hand it wouldn’t make sense for me to say “I am taking the gift from you”, you would already know what I was doing. Even with this disclaimer the prayer falls short of being a solid part of the gospel.

 You said the prayer, are you saved?

 The purpose of this paper is not to cast doubt on anyone’s salvation, but instead to (unless you’re not saved), it is to show the dangers of the sinners prayer. Being saved has nothing to do with a prayer. If you said a prayer you could very well be saved, but don’t base your salvation on your prayer. I know a lot of people who I believe they are saved, and they repeated a prayer after someone. God sees your heart, and if your heart was truly repentant and believing then you are saved. Psalm 51 well describes the condition that a heart should be in, in order to be saved.

 Examine it for yourself

 I would encourage all of you to examine this matter for yourself, especially if you are involved in any type of gospel or childrens work.  Don’t just take my word for it, seek out the matter with an open heart and God will show you what is right. Keep this question in mind: should we use an extra-biblical, or possibly an anti-biblical, practice in our gospel outreach? Study it out…someones eternity just might depend on it.

3 comments:

  1. Excellent work, glad you brought it to public light. As one who said a prayer at a young age, and then realized 19 years later that I was never truly saved, I caution others to examine themselves. If the testimony of the Holy Spirit is evident in your heart, it will only serve as a confirmation. If, however, you were still dead in your sins, this self examination followed by true repentance toward God and new birth in Christ will change your eternal destination, and you will be given the gift of eternal life.

    Reply

  2. Thank you for posting this Caleb. A difficult issue for I am sure many who read this, hold to or know someone who holds to encouraging people in praying a prayer.
    I have heard of those who, when they recognized their sinfulness, their need for the Savior and believed, prayed a prayer of thanksgiving and praise. They had prayed without any encouragement from others with the desire to simply thank the Lord for His abundant grace and love.
    I myself, for years assumed that praying to God for salvation was the means that I had been saved. Of course, I believed in Jesus Christ and that He died on the cross, but my faith was in what I did- I PRAYED. Someone asked me, “Are you SAVED?” and my reply was yes. But when I was challenged (Thank the LORD for that dear brother to challenge me!) on what my faith was in and how I knew I was saved, it was because I prayed. Because of my prayer, I had a sense of security. It is interesting the terms that we find in the Scriptures are RECEIVE, TRUST, BELIEVE even to OBEY in that God commands all men everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). I had never believed in my heart. I had placed all my stock in my knowledge of God and the Scriptures that I had assumed I MUST be saved. Concerning the line above- “Often people say that they will lead someone in a prayer if they feel that they have arrived at a point where they are ready to accept Christ.” I may step on toes here, but if I were to lead someone in a prayer for salvation because I feel they have arrived at a certain point, isn’t that too many ‘I’s? I don’t know the condition of ‘this’ soul or that soul. Even in speaking the Truth to someone, we don’t know their hearts. We should be perceptive in knowing if the soul we are speaking but the LORD does not expect us nor would He take pleasure in us discerning another person’s heart. This is the Holy Spirit’s. The Holy Spirit can apply the conviction to the soul through the Word of God. We need to preach the Word of God, and allow the God’s Spirit to convict. This was my problem- I said to myself I KNOW MY OWN HEART, I KNOW GOD. Yet, Jeremiah 17:9 states it so plainly. My heart is just like everyone’s heart- DESPERATELY WICKED. It was when my heart was challenged that I realized my dire need, and I believed God. I trusted Him and that it was on Christ that all my sin was laid. Praise God for His long-suffering towards me.

    thanks Caleb!

    Reply

  3. JoshMay 10, 2011 3:32 AM

    Good Morning Caleb,

    I stumbled across your blog through Mark’s blog. I really enjoyed reading this post. I believe the biggest problem with the “sinner’s prayer” (and I think you mentioned it too) is that there is no real repentance involved. I’ve been to churches before where the people just seem to “live” the sinner’s prayer every Sunday. The mindset it that the sinner’s prayer is sort of like a “get out of jail free card.”

    Verbal acknowledgement of who Christ is means nothing without faith and true, genuine repentance. Even the demons know who Christ is (Luke 4:41). Those who are saved will not only acknowledge that Christ is Lord but will also live in obedience to Him, like a wise man who built his house upon a rock (Matthew 7:24-25)

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    God Bless,

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