Today, I received tract in my box titled “It’s Time for You to Know.” That’s a great title. It is a beautiful tract. It has a clock on it with the hour glass divided into 12 wedges with nice pictures in each pie. It is very professionally done with a particular church name on the back and a map etc.
In the center of the tract is the message
“The Good News Is that Christ Paid for Our Sins.”
That is definitely true and it is certainly good news.
It is the next section of the tract that is disconcerting. It states:
“We must Personally Pray and Receive Christ by Faith as Our Savior”
Then Romans 10:13 is quoted as the proof text that we must “personally pray.”
This isn’t biblical. The Bible doesn’t say “we must personally pray.”
What must one do to be saved? Acts 16:30-31 answers this question; read it with me.
And brought them [Paul and Silas] 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.
Notice Paul didn’t say “personally pray.” Instead, he said “believe!”
The fact is a person does not have to pray to be saved, but he or she must believe. You can pray without believing. But God knows authenticate belief. A person can trick the preacher or his wife into believing that he or she is a Christian with words, but you can’t trick God. God knows who has believed and who has not believed. God knows who is born again and who is only saying a prayer.
I have already explained what it means to call upon the name of the Lord (in a previous posting) so I will not explain it again.
Authenticate original unsolicited prayer— as an expression of genuine faith—should never be hindered, but that is completely contrary to telling someone that they “must personally pray.”
This sounds like a work. It is something I must do. But my salvation is not based upon something I do.
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;
My response to message of the gospel is belief or faith. And the Bible says faith comes by hearing the Word of the Lord.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When someone says “we must personally pray” he is adding to the gospel.
Some denominations (like the Church of Christ) teach a person must be baptized. Baptists have always taught that that is heretical because it is creating something that man must do. Baptists have always insisted that man is saved by grace though faith—not by words that must be articulated.
For what saith the scripture?
Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
In the past, soul-winning tracts would contain something like “this prayer of salvation” is an expression of your faith.
But not now, this tract (and others) is so bold as to suggest that a person “must personally pray.”
According to the tract titled “It’s Time for You to Know” prayer is no longer an optional expression of faith in Christ—it is now a requirement for salvation.
But this is what Jesus said:
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand:
repent ye, and believe the gospel.
A person can pray after he is born again and he can pray before he is born again, but in either case it is not his prayer that makes him born again. Prayer doesn’t save; therefore, no one should be told they “must personally pray.”
When a person is told that, there is an automatic inference that implies this prayer saves me but it doesn’t!
This tract, “It’s Time for You to Know” is just as wrong as a tract that teaches one must be baptized to be saved.