I was watching a YouTube video the other night and a self-proclaimed agnostic said something about not being able to accept the fact that you could “lie, cheat, steal, murder, and all you had to do is accept Jesus into your heart and that was that.” The person filming stated, “Can I tell you something? That’s not Biblical. That’s just the American gospel.”
Now, I’m not Baptist or Southern Baptist. I believe the gentleman in the video was referring to the Sinner’s Prayer, a prayer commonly used as the initial expression of salvation when a non-Christian decides to repent and follow Christ. (Please correct me if I am wrong. This is my understanding.) Of course this Sinner’s Prayer has come under scrutiny from both Christian and non-Christian circles as the perception is that once a “sinner” prays this prayer, the person can basically live their life as they please without any real remorse for their sins and without any real change. This is perceived as a perversion of the Word of God.
I am not Baptist, I will say again. However, I believe that the original idea of the Sinner’s Prayer was to give an outline, maybe for repentance. As many struggle with knowing how to pray. Jesus gave the example of how to pray in Matthew 6:5-15 and Luke 11:1-4.
The thing about repentance, true repentance, is that it leads us to change. Inviting God into our hearts allows Him to come in and change us from the inside, out. We cannot, on our own – of our own accord, nor of our own strength or will, change. It takes His Spirit to change us. This is the mark of true repentance. I do believe that somehow this has been lost somewhere in translation for some, not all. I also do not believe that we can mark all Baptists or Americans as having a tainted or perverted gospel or belief in God.
The truth is, all denominational beliefs aside, we serve a mighty God. We serve a God who loves, who forgives, who is coming back soon. If we continue to look at people for our excuse as to why we are not/can not/will not serve God, we’ve missed it. We’ve missed the whole point. As Paul said: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39 KJV
*Original Image by Yours Truly