What it Means to CALL Upon the Lord:
An in-depth Bible study of the doctrine of calling upon the name of the Lord for Salvation
A comparison of The Biblical doctrine of calling upon the name of the Lord for salvation the old time way by HEARTFELT REPENTANCE, versus the false, modernistic new age gospel of calling upon God by simply uttering a worthless prayer from the MOUTH with no understanding, repentance, or faith in the blood of Jesus.
by Robert Breaker III
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In these last days of apostasy, the meanings of words have been changed, sometimes even manipulated, to teach what they do not. This has led to hundreds of new sects within Christianity all teaching something different, while supposedly basing their teachings upon scripture. The problem is, they do not all define a word the same way as the Bible does. This is why the definition of a word is so important. We should always allow the Bible to define terms to us, rather than assuming a word means something without checking its usage in other passages.
When a person comes to the Bible, the most important lesson he must learn is: THE SCRIPTURES INTERPRET THEMSELVES! A Biblical doctrine cannot and must not be taken from only one verse of scripture.
In order to understand a passage of scripture, one must look at the context, the historical time frame, and to whom the text was written. If the text does apply to us in the Church Age, then we must allow the Bible to define itself, and not erroneously jump to our own interpretation of a word or doctrine without examining the context and/or other passages, which speak of the same subject.
With this in mind, this small booklet has been written with the express purpose of educating those who call themselves Christians about the important biblical doctrine of calling upon the name of the Lord.
Because the word "calling" has gone too long undefined by most Pastors, Preachers, Missionaries and Sunday School teachers, many denominations have altered the meaning of the word, at times even changing its connotation entirely. By not taking scripture with scripture, they have twisted the term to mean that a person can be saved based upon something HE DOES OR SAYS, instead of simple childlike faith upon WHAT JESUS CHRIST DID FOR HIM ON CALVARY.
This blatant disregard for the Biblical definition of "calling" has led to the downfall of Christianity and the damnation of countless millions of souls who think they are owed a place in heaven based upon THEIR WORKS rather than faith in the WORK OF JESUS on the cross.
As you read this booklet, the author asks that you lay aside your preconceived conceptions and ideas of what you might think "calling" means, and accept wholeheartedly what God says about how to call upon Him according to His plan. And may you not be left unfruitful in your study, learning the truth about what it means to call upon the Lord ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF GOD.
This booklet will not set forth any new revelations or private interpretations of the scriptures. Rather, it will endeavor to clearly show what the Bible itself teaches about calling upon the Lord. May this study bring you much knowledge of the scriptures, and more importantly, if you are not saved, eternal life through calling biblically upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
This book will also stress the importance of defining the word "call." And will clearly show how the lack of understanding on how to call upon the Lord can lead a lost sinner to calling upon the Lord the wrong way, leaving him eternally lost.
THE USAGE OF THE WORD "CALLING"
The topic of Calling Upon the Name of the Lord is an important doctrine found throughout the Holy Scriptures. The first mention of calling upon God is found in Genesis 4:26, with the words: "...then began men to call upon the name of the LORD."
The term "calling upon the Lord" is found 27 times in 26 verses in our King James Bible. And the word "call" is found 196 times in 190 verses in the KJV. Surely, the doctrine of man calling upon God is easily found in the Bible.
However, in the last several hundred years, there has arisen a huge controversy among Christian denominations over HOW a sinner should call upon the Lord. Most believe that this calling can ONLY be expressed VERBALLY. Others, believe calling is A MATTER OF THE HEART, and can never be expressed through mortal tongue. While still others believe calling must be by both vocal and heartfelt. So which is it? How does one CALL UPON THE LORD biblically?
THE DICTIONARY DEFINITION OF THE WORD
Before looking at what the Bible says about calling upon the name of the Lord, we must first define the word "calling" in the English language. According to the 1828 Webster's Dictionary, the word call has the following multiple definitions:
1. To name
2. To request to meet or come
3. To invite
4. To appoint or designate
5. To invoke or appeal to
6. To utter a loud sound, To draw into union with Christ, to bring to know, believe and obey the gospel.
To call, then, has numerous connotations. And in the Bible, the word is used in ALL of the above-mentioned ways. Let us look at some examples in both the Old and New Testament.
THE OLD TESTAMENT USE OF THE WORD
The first time the word call appears in the Bible is Genesis 2:19. Here we read, "And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof."
Here, we clearly see from the context the word is used in the verbal form meaning to name, as what Adam called the animals was what they were named.
The second occurrence of the word is found in Genesis 4:26: "And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD."
Here the word is used in the sense of invoking upon the Lord. In context, this invoking was accompanied by offering a blood sacrifice of atonement to God! (We'll see the importance of this later on.)
Skipping ahead to Genesis 24:57, we see the word used again, "And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth."
This time the word refers to requesting someone to come and meet another.
Then in Genesis 30:13, the word call used as in Webster's definition of to appoint or designate someone in a certain state of being, as we read, "And Leah said, Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher." Another example of the word "call" is Genesis 46:33: "And it shall come to pass, when Pharaoh shall call you, and shall say, What is your occupation?"
Here, the word is used in the sense of inviting. Pharaoh desires Moses to accompany him, so he calls for Moses to come before him.
Finally, in 1 Samuel 3:4-6, we read the following:
"That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again."
Here God calls upon Samuel by uttering his name loudly.
Thus, all of Webster's definitions of the word calling are plainly seen in the Old Testament.
THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH AGE USE OF THE WORD
In the New Testament, the use of the word is chiefly used in the same way as in the Old Testament in many places. However, it is oftentimes used more regularly in the Pauline Epistles and the book of Acts in speaking about the doctrine of salvation. Below are a few examples:
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:21)
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Rom. 10:12,13)
These verses speak about calling upon the name of the Lord FOR SALVATION. And, most modern Christians believe for a person to be saved, he must simply call out to God VERBALLY from the mouth, asking for salvation, and God will hear and save him. But is this the Biblical plan of salvation? Or is something lacking? Let us compare scripture with scripture to see.
CALLING FROM THE MOUTH VERSUS CALLING FROM THE HEART
Romans 10:13 clearly states a person MUST call upon the name of the Lord to be saved, but it doesn't tell us how a sinner must call. Exactly how to call is found in a cross reference in 2 Timothy 2:22: "Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart."
This verse plainly teaches calling upon the Lord for salvation MUST BE FROM THE HEART, and not just the mouth. For calling upon God from the mouth only, without any heartfelt faith in Christ Jesus, will save no one.
In the church age, the Bible dogmatically states salvation is by GRACE through FAITH without works! There are numerous verses in the Bible to prove this, including:
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. (Eph. 2:8,9)
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: (Rom. 3:22)
To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.(Rom. 3:26-28)
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Rom. 5:1,2)
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Rom. 4:5)
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Gal. 2:16)
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Philippians 3:9)
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb. 11:6)
Faith comes from the heart, not from the mouth. Thus, in order to be saved, a person must TRUST Jesus from his HEART. This is the biblical definition of calling upon God for salvation!
The reason this is so important, is there are many Christians today who preach salvation by simply calling upon God with the MOUTH ONLY, asking for forgiveness, with NO FAITH in Jesus from the HEART. They claim a sinner doesn't even have to know or understand the Gospel to be saved. All he has to do is simply call upon God orally and ask Him to save his soul. They then proclaim the sinner saved by his very act of verbal invocation. But is a person really saved as the old adage says, "By a wing and prayer?"
What if a sinner prays without trusting solely upon Jesus for salvation? Would not, then, his calling be in vain? Of course it would. And the sinner would be left trusting in his ASKING instead of trusting upon Christ's ATONEMENT?
Clearly, prayer saves no one. A sinner can never be saved by what he says with his lips. Biblically, he must TRUST Christ as his Saviour when he calls upon the name of the Lord from his heart.
Jesus Christ himself explained this important distinction almost 2000 years ago with his following words to the Pharisees in Mark 7:6: "He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me."
According to this verse, the Pharisees gave God lip service, but they did not give him their heart. THIS MEANS IT'S POSSIBLE TO SPEAK TO GOD, YEA, EVEN CONFESS ONE'S SINS AND BEG GOD FOR FORGIVENESS, AND STILL NOT BE SAVED! THE SIMPLE TRUTH OF THE MATTER IS NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES A PERSON CALLS UPON GOD VOCALLY, UNLESS HE ACCEPTS JESUS AS HIS SAVIOUR BY FAITH FROM THE HEART, HE CANNOT BE SAVED!
This is a sobering statement, but an absolute Bible truth. Just because a person calls upon God for salvation from the mouth, doesn't mean God will save him. For, God's not looking at what a person SAYS, rather what a person BELIEVES.
The famous preacher Dr. John R. Rice says the following on this very subject:
"Many people believe that a sinner cannot be saved without a period of prayer, without consciously calling upon God. However, the Bible does not say that a sinner must pray in order to be saved. In fact, immediately following the verse in Rom. 10:13 is an explanation which shows that calling on God is an evidence of faith in the heart and that it is really faith which settles the matter... No matter how long he prays, if he does not trust in Christ, he can never be saved. If he trusts in Christ without conscious prayer, then he is saved already. There is just one plan of salvation and just one step a sinner must take to secure it. That step is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ!"
Clearly salvation is a heart matter. If a person BELIEVES and PRAYS at the same time, he's saved. If a person believes WITHOUT PRAYING, he's still saved! Salvation is by FAITH from the heart. But, NO ONE IS SAVED BY PRAYING WITHOUT BELIEVING!
Prayer without faith is common in our age. Vain religious prayers are repeated in almost all religions. People think God will hear them because of their much speaking (Matt. 6:7). However, God will never save a person who invokes His name or repeats a vain religious prayer outside of TRUSTING in His blood atonement on the old rugged cross! The Bible is clear. Salvation is by heartfelt FAITH ALONE IN THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST!
Even the Prince of Preachers, the great Baptist Charles H. Spurgeon, clearly preached the difference between saying something with the lips, and trusting upon Christ from the Heart. I quote his famous sermon "Our Suffering Substitute:"
"Thou art to be saved by faith in Christ...and in Christ alone. Do not think thou must experience this, or that, before thou comest unto Jesus...Rely not on anything thou canst DO, or THINK, or SAY, or know; rest alone on Jesus only, and thou art saved. Give up all other trusts, and rely on Jesus alone, alone on Jesus, and thou shalt pass from death unto life."
A sinner must ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST BY FAITH ALONE to be saved. Why then is the emphasis in modern Christianity upon the MOUTH instead of upon faith from the HEART? I believe the answer is because we are in the apostasy of the last days, in which people have turned from sound doctrine, and have fallen away from what they once knew and believed. They have forgotten the most important part of salvation, HEARTFELT REPENTANCE TOWARDS GOD (Acts 20:21)!
Even in Independent Baptist Churches (my denominational background), the emphasis has changed from stressing a sinner to REPENT, to pressuring a sinner to simply REPEAT a prayer. A "1,2,3, pray after me," system of soul winning has replaced the Biblical method of repentance and faith in the blood atonement of Christ. And because such important things as judgment, grace, substitution, and atonement are often omitted by the hurried soul winner, (who usually only gives three or four verses in his shallow presentation), sinners are pressured to repeat a prayer before they are ready to trust Christ.
These psuedo-Christians who have PRAYED SOMETHING VOCALLY, without BELIEVING IN ANYTHING WHOLE-HEARTEDLY, are then told they are saved by their prayer. This can, and oftentimes does, leave the poor sinner trusting in the PRAYER HE PRAYED, instead of the PROPITIATION CHRIST MADE. In other words, the sinner trusts the prayer he SAID, instead of the Blood God SHED.
The words of my old Pastor, Dr. Peter S. Ruckman, in a letter to my father dated August 25th, 1993, clearly affirm a person's prayer will do no good until that person REPENTS (gives up trusting in himself and his own goodness, and trusts in Christ Jesus alone):
"I don't teach anybody they are saved until they realize their own righteousness will land them in hell. I believe a man has to be saved from something. And I believe he's saved from hell. And I believe until he sees his own goodness can't save him, THE PRAYERS DON'T AMOUNT TO A HILL OF BEANS... IF HE DOESN'T GIVE UP HIS SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS THE PRAYER IS USELESS. According to Romans Chapter 10, God doesn't save people who are going about to establish their own righteousness."
Sadly, in our modern age of apostasy, this message is seldom preached. Soul winners no longer stress the sinner's need to turn from his own righteousness. Instead they pressure sinners to quickly repeat a prayer, and then tell them they are saved because they prayed. But, no one can be saved until he first realizes he is lost. A sinner must trust Christ's righteousness alone.
With this in mind, the author desires to ask the following question of the reader. In whom are you trusting: in Christ's FINISHED ATONEMENT, or in your own works, your asking, your prayer, or your boasting? If you are trusting anything less than Jesus' BLOOD and RIGHTEOUSNESS (as the old hymn says), then you are not saved!
BIBLICAL EXAMPLES OF PEOPLE CALLING UPON GOD VOCALLY WHO WERE NOT SAVED
We've established the fact that it is possible to call upon the name of the Lord and still not be saved. That is, if a person calls vocally without BELIEVING, then he calls in vain, and God will not save him. To be saved biblically, a person must call upon God from the heart by FAITH in the blood atonement of Christ.
But what about Romans 10:13? It states:
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Modern Christianity takes this verse and twists its meaning to teach that everyone who only calls vocally on God will be saved no matter what; many going so far as to state God will save anyone who calls gutturally, WHETHER THEY BELIEVE UPON JESUS OR NOT. But what does the next verse say? We read the following in Romans 10:14:
How then shall they call on him in whom they have not BELIEVED? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
According to the Bible, the definition of calling on the name of the Lord for salvation is calling through HEART BELIEF, not just a HEAD SPEECH, or something muttered with the lips. A person must TRUST JESUS FROM THE HEART in order to be saved, for without faith, a person's prayer is meaningless. He can invoke the name of God, beg for forgiveness, and even confess all his sins, but until he REPENTS and TRUSTS solely upon the blood atonement of Christ alone, all his prayers are ineffective.
Calling upon God from the heart involves REPENTANCE. The word repent is another word that many Christians don't define. By not explaining the word, much confusion abounds over the subject of repentance. Some modern-day, so-called ministers even going so far as to say such blasphemous things as, "Repentance need not be preached," or "Repentance is the enemy of the Gospel."
Again we must define the word before we can see what the Bible says about it. According to Webster's Dictionary, repent has two different definitions:
To feel pain, sorrow or regret for something done or spoken.
2. To change the mind
Jesus said for a sinner to be saved, he must repent (Luke 13:3,5). In other words, he must feel sorry for his sins, and he must change his mind. But what must his mind be changed from and what should he change it to?
Romans 10:3 gives the answer: "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God."
For a sinner to be saved, he must realize he cannot save himself. He must change his mind from trusting his own righteousness, to trusting the righteousness of God. He must turn from trusting his works to trusting the finished work of Christ.
Those who think calling is only through prayer, without faith, are not turning from their own righteousness. In fact, they are guilty of establishing their own righteousness, by expecting God to save them because they prayed. They think they will receive eternal life based upon what THEY HAVE DONE. But we know salvation is not of works. It is only by trusting what CHRIST HAS DONE FOR US.
They must then have a change of mind before they can be saved. They must come to God the Bible way, and not man's way. They must realize they are not saved because they recite the sinner's prayer, or because they beg for forgiveness. They must understand when they call upon God, their complete faith must be in Jesus Christ, not in their beseeching, asking, or confessing. They must have their mind made up to reject all their doings and trust in Christ alone.
Salvation is more than just a change of the MIND, it's also a change of HEART! And only God can see a man's heart. Jeremiah 17:9 asks, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Verse 10 responds: "I the LORD search the heart..."
Only God knows a sinner's heart. And only God knows why a sinner comes to him. God will never save anyone who comes to Him on his own terms. He will only save those who come to Him the way God said to come—by repentance toward God and faith in the blood of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21)!
The simple Bible truth is: GOD WILL SAVE NO ONE WHO CALLS UPON HIM IF HE CALLS WITHOUT REPENTING, WITHOUT TURNING FROM TRUSTING HIS OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, and WITHOUT TRUSTING SOLELY UPON THE SHED BLOOD OF CHRIST. A sinner's calling is in vain if he calls without FAITH!
We know this to be true not only by the verses we've studied, but also because we find some examples in the Bible of those who have called upon God with the mouth and yet were still not born again. Why weren't they saved? Because clearly they called ONLY FROM THE MOUTH and NOT FROM THE HEART.
Let us now look at some examples of people in the Bible who came to God, and even called upon him vocally, but were not saved. Why? Because they did not come to God truly repentant, nor did they trust His blood atonement to save them.
Esau is a prime example of someone who spoke to God, and diligently sought forgiveness, but found it not. He had no repentance. In Hebrews 12:16-17 we read:
Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
God rejected Esau, even though he PRAYED and even sincerely CRIED! So, why did God reject him? Because Esau held on to his own self-righteousness. He knew no sorrow for selling his birthright. He wasn't sorry for his sin, rather he cried over the circumstances it produced, asking God to change his situation. He did not come to God by faith, for the salvation of his soul.
For a person to be saved, he must first REPENT or feel remorse for his wickedness. Then he must come to God on God's terms and not his own, holding nothing back.
Everyone knows the story of Judas. He was one of Jesus Christ's twelve handpicked men, yet he was a devil (John 6:70). Moreover, he betrayed Jesus after having been with him so long. The method chosen for his betrayal—the kiss of death (Luke 22:47), an act of the LIPS.
But while he brought the soldiers with him to seize Jesus, Judas called upon Jesus with the words: "...Hail, master..." (Matthew 26:49).
Even though he called upon the Lord, hailing Him and calling Him master, God still rejected Judas.
(I make this point, as there exist sects in Christianity today, which cry, "If Jesus isn't Lord of all, he's not Lord at all." They call this doctrine lordship salvation. They further teach that all a person must do to be saved is just verbally call Jesus their Lord, Saviour, and Master with their mouth, and then they'll be saved. They stress that the word Lord means that Jesus is your Master and unless you are living for Him, you are not saved. If taken too far, this teaching makes salvation dependant upon man's works, rather than faith alone upon the finished work of Christ Jesus at Calvary. It can also leave a person thinking he is saved by vocally calling Jesus one's Lord or Master instead of trusting Jesus as his Lord).
We read more of Judas in Matthew 27:3-4: "Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, REPENTED HIMSELF, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, SAYING, I HAVE SINNED in that I have betrayed the innocent blood."
After his betrayal, Judas sought forgiveness. He even repented and confessed his sin. But did he receive eternal life? No, for his repentance was not to God (instead it was to the priests) and he did not trust the blood of Jesus Christ (even though he acknowledged it and mentioned he'd sinned against it). He also expressed a verbal confession, yet he did not come to God to be saved.
This point must be addressed, as there exists those in modern Christianity who teach salvation is attained only by CONFESSING WITH THE MOUTH, and nothing more. They base their false assumption on Romans 10:9,10:
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. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
But these verses don't teach salvation from the MOUTH saves a man, rather BELIEVING UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM THE HEART! Sure confession is something someone does with the mouth! But confession made unto salvation means a person will confess Christ when he is already saved by heartfelt acceptance of Jesus by faith in his blood atonement at Calvary.
Judas might have confessed his sin with his mouth, but he didn't believe upon the Lord from his heart. And he didn't go to heaven when he died. He went to his own place (Acts 1:25).
Judas made confession to a priest, just as every Roman Catholic does. But they do not receive forgiveness of sins because of it, and neither did Judas. Forgivness only comes through trusting the blood of Jesus (Eph. 1:7).
Clearly, the moment a person BELIEVES, he is saved (Eph. 1:13). Paul plainly tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:13: "We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I BELIEVED, and THEREFORE have I SPOKEN; we also believe, and therefore speak."
After a sinner's saved, he will SPEAK, or CONFESS that he is saved! SPEAKING THE CONFESSION itself isn't what saves a man, FAITH is necessary for God to give a man the new birth. But, if a man is saved, he will then CONFESS that he has trusted Christ as his Saviour!
THE RELIGIOUS BUT LOST
In Matthew 7:21-23, we read of people who called upon the Lord, but were never saved:
21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Here we find religious people who are not trusting in Christ Jesus at all. Instead they trust in the fact that they prophesied in God's name, they cast out devils, and did many wonderful works. In short, they are trusting in what they did (their own works they did in God's name) and not what Jesus Christ did for them. Yet they called upon God from the MOUTH by saying, "Lord, Lord!"
Sadly, they were not calling upon God by faith from the HEART, in the finished work of Christ. And for this reason, God replies, "Depart from me...I NEVER knew you!"
Then notice the very last thing God says. He told them they were workers of iniquity. To work your way to heaven, will never get you there. And to call upon God vocally, asking for salvation, without rejecting your own righteousness and trusting in Christ's shed blood alone, is to proclaim yourself more righteous than God. There exists no greater iniquity.
No one is saved by vociferously calling upon God, if he trusts his own righteousness at the same time. He must reject his own good works and TRUST Christ's finished work alone for his salvation.
Many apostate Christians use Luke 18:13-14 for church age salvation:
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.
They take the words, "God be merciful to me a sinner," and instruct a lost person to simply quote or repeat these words and then assure him he is saved because he did so. This has been labeled "The Sinner's Prayer."
Sadly, they fail to realize, this passage is not speaking of New Testament Salvation, as Jesus Christ had not yet shed his blood for the sins of the world! The man in this passage was not calling upon God by faith in the blood of Christ. Nay, he was begging God for forgiveness while still under the law. He did not come to God by faith alone.
To be saved in the church age, a person MUST TRUST THE BLOOD ATONEMENT OF CHRIST, after having HEARD and UNDERSTOOD the Gospel.
The publican in this passage heard no Gospel, as Christ had not yet died. To make repeating, "God be merciful to me a sinner," the plan of salvation today, is to make salvation dependent upon the MOUTH, and what's said from it, and not God's New Testament plan of salvation by faith from the HEART.
Whatever justification this sinner received, it was not church age salvation. For, he was not trusting Christ Jesus alone and his finished work on Calvary. He then, must have received justification in the Old Testament sense.
THE APOSTLE PETER
We clearly see Peter calling upon the Lord Jesus Christ when he yells, "Lord, save me," in Matthew 14:30. But was he saved then? Again, many preachers use that passage to instruct the lost sinner to... "Simply repeat those same words, and God will save you!"
But in the very next verse we read: "And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little FAITH, wherefore didst thou DOUBT?"
Here, Peter did not call upon Jesus for the spiritual salvation of his soul, rather the physical salvation of his life. He beseeched Jesus to keep him from drowning, nothing more. And Jesus rebuked him thereafter for his lack of faith and doubting.
Was Peter saved just because he asked vocally? Nay, he did not call out for salvation from his heart, rather from his mouth to save his hide. Besides, later we find Peter denying Jesus three times.
So how is it that one must call upon the Lord to be saved? We've looked at examples of how NOT TO CALL upon the Lord, or how to CALL UPON THE LORD THE WRONG WAY. Now let's look at how GOD SAYS A PERSON MUST CALL UPON HIM IN ORDER TO BE SAVED, for "whosoever shall call upon the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13).
GOD'S WAY OF SALVATION
We've seen how a person can call upon God vocally and still not be saved. The Bible clearly teaches that Biblical calling must be accompanied by FAITH from the HEART. But faith in what exactly? And how much must a sinner know in order to get saved? The Bible gives us the answer to these questions and more!
For a sinner to be saved, he must first know the truth. What is truth? John 17:17 tells us, "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." Clearly the word of God is truth.
1 Peter 1:23 also explains, "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever."
Thus, for a man to be born again or saved, he must come to the truth–the word of God. Is it then no wonder that Psalm 145:18 states, "The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to ALL THAT CALL UPON HIM IN TRUTH"?
Without truth (the word of God), it's impossible to be saved. Why? Because "...Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Rom. 10:17).
The Bible plainly teaches us for a person to be saved, he must first HEAR the GOSPEL from the WORD OF GOD and he must respond.
Ephesians 1:13 clearly proves this most basic of all Bible doctrines: "In whom ye also trusted, AFTER THAT YE HEARD THE WORD OF TRUTH, the gospel of your salvation: in who also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise."
Again in Col. 1:4-6 we see Christians saved only after having heard the word of truth first:
4 Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, 5 For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof YE HEARD BEFORE IN THE WORD OF TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL 6 Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:
This is noteworthy, for as afore mentioned, most modern Christian sects claim salvation is only by VERBALLY CALLING (i.e. asking, begging, pleading, etc.), rather than by CALLING BIBLICALLY through HEARTFELT FAITH. They further claim a person can be saved without ever even hearing the Gospel one time, as Romans 10:13 means that anyone who just asks God for salvation will receive it (like the publican did). But how can a person TRUST in JESUS' BLOOD ATONEMENT to save him, if he hasn't heard the Gospel? And how can a person's FAITH be in the LORD if he is asking God to save him without TRUSTING HIM to do so?
The Bible dogmatically proves a sinner can only be saved by calling upon the Lord in truth (Ps. 145:18) by faith from the heart (2 Tim. 2:22), AFTER having heard the Gospel (Eph. 1:13), and repented of his sins (Acts 17:30).
Are you saved? Did you only call vocally? Or, have you called whole-heartedly, trusting the shed blood of Christ alone as sufficient to forgive you of all your sins? If you haven't, why not call upon God by FAITH today?
THE BIBLICAL WAY OF SALVATION
Before God will save a sinner, three things must happen after he realizes he's lost and deserves hell. These are:
1. He must first understand the Gospel
2. He must realize Jesus Christ died in his place for his sins as his substitute
3. He must place his complete trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ
Let's look at these in order. First, understanding is key to salvation. Acts 28:27-28 clearly shows conversion is not even possible without understanding in one's heart:
27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.
This is so important, as most sects of modern Christianity say things like, "Oh, a person doesn't even have to understand the Gospel to be saved," and "A guy can get saved by calling (vocally) on God whether he understands the Gospel or not!"
I've even heard ministers say things like, "Oh, a person can be saved and not even know it!" and "It's possible to trick a man into getting saved by forcing him to repeat after you!"
But the Bible begs to differ. Understanding is a principal part of salvation, and the Bible continually teaches salvation can never be obtained without first hearing and understanding the Gospel.
In Acts 8, Philip is speaking with the Ethiopian Eunuch, and asks him, "...Understandest thou what thou readest?"
The Ethiopian responded, "How can I, except some man should guide me?..."
This is the root of biblical evangelism. God chose Christians to preach the Gospel to the lost, helping them understand their lost condition and their need to repent and trust the blood of Jesus.
In Ephesians 4:17-20, we read of those who are unsaved, and how their understanding is darkened:
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. But ye have not so learned Christ;
Here we find lost people who are full of vanity in their minds. That is, they only think of themselves and what they can get out of life. For this reason they are alienated from the Christian life, and are ignorant of Christ. Their hearts are blinded to the truth, because of their lasciviousness, uncleanness, and greed. They have not learned Christ. That is to say, they have not understood the Gospel.
For a sinner to be saved, he must first HEAR and then UNDERSTAND the Gospel. This is made even clearer in Matthew 13:5 by the words of Jesus:
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Speaking of the Pharisees, Jesus says they do not HEAR nor UNDERSTAND, and for this reason, they are not converted. Thus, God choose soul winners to preach the Gospel (Rom. 10:14,15). A person will never be saved until he first hears someone preach the Gospel.
Second, a sinner must see Jesus as the only way of salvation—as his sacrifice dying in his place for his sins—paying his sin debt before God.
Isaiah 53:6-11 shows us clearly the sacrifice of Jesus before God:
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
These verses were prophecy written before Jesus died. Clearly they speak of the crucified Christ. God says our iniquities were laid on Him (vs 6). Like a lamb brought to the slaughter He was brought to the place of sacrifice. (Jesus Christ is the only Lamb of God according to John 1:29 that came to take away our sins in accordance with 1 John 3:5). We then read it pleased the Lord to bruise Him (vs 10), for the Lord is the one that put Him to grief, and made Him the sacrifice for sins (vs 10). Finally, we see God was satisfied (vs 11) with the sacrifice of Christ as the means to justify many.
The question then remains, "If God was pleased and satisfied with the sacrifice of His Son, are you satisfied with it as well?"
This brings us to our last point, the importance of trusting in the finished work of Christ. In Romans 3:22-28 we read:
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. 27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. 28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Clearly men are sinners, unable to come to God of their own accord (vs 23). This is why God chose the way of salvation as JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH (vs 22 and 23). But faith in what? Verse 25 shows us unmistakably that salvation is by FAITH IN THE BLOOD! For without faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, a sinner cannot DECLARE GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS (vs 25). When a sinner understands his own works cannot save him (vs 28), rejects his own boastings, (vs 27) as insufficient, and comes to God alone by faith in the blood of the Lamb, only then will he obtain Christ's righteousness. The sinner must trust in CHRIST'S WORK on the cross, not in his own WORKS to save him.
Thus, we see the importance of a sinner hearing and understanding the Gospel, then realizing Christ died in his place for his sins, and finally trusting only in the shed blood of Christ for forgiveness of sins.
THE BIBLICAL GOSPEL OF SALVATION
The Gospel, as Paul declares it, is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. There we read:
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
Notice the Gospel is not what man can do to find his way to God. The Gospel is what GOD DID FOR MAN! It is the most gracious and marvelous act of God sending His son into the world to die for our sins (John 3:16).
Nowhere in the Gospel are we told that speaking with the mouth is involved. Instead we are told a person is saved by believing (vs 2). That is to say, believing from the heart, for if a person just believes in his mind, he believes in vain (vs 2). A person must trust in Christ's finished blood atonement from the heart.
So where does this modern teaching of salvation by SPEAKING come from? Why is the emphasis so much on the MOUTH instead of BELIEVING FROM THE HEART in the finished work of Christ? The only answer can be that it comes from apostate liberal teachings (from modern-day Pharisees), and not from the Bible.
Sure a person can cry out to or call upon God. But if that person is not trusting the finished work of Christ Jesus—the Gospel—when he cries out verbally, he is not saved! For there is no way to be saved apart from the Gospel, by which the believer stands (vs 1).
Hebrews 11:6 further clarifies that there is no other way to come to God and please him except through faith:
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
IF YOUR FAITH IS NOT IN THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST—his shed blood—THEN YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN, AND YOU ARE NOT PLEASING GOD, no matter how many prayers you might have prayed! It's as simple as that.
ROMANS CHAPTER TEN IN CONTEXT
Most modern soul winners do not clearly present the Gospel to the lost. Instead they quickly show a sinner only Romans 10:13, preaching that verse as though it were the Gospel in its entirety. As we've seen, they erroneously assume that Romans 10:13 speaks of calling with the MOUTH instead of calling upon God from the HEART. They fail to compare scripture with scripture. They further refuse to check the context. Here below, we will carefully study the context of Romans chapter ten:
1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.
2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
3 For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.
5 For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them.
6 But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:)
7 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)
8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;
9 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.
10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
First of all, we must start with the fact that in verse one, Paul is speaking to Israel. Of course the whole passage does not deal with Israel, as much of it speaks of New Testament salvation by faith. However, verse one speaks of Paul's desire to see all Israel saved. He wishes them to obey the Gospel and believe the report (vs 16).
Verse two speaks of those who have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. This speaks of Israel, which claims to love God, and serve God, but they are not saved. They are trusting the law and their own works instead of the blood of Jesus for salvation.
Modern soul winners also have a zeal for God. But if they are guilty of not properly or concisely presenting the Gospel, and instead preach salvation based upon what one SPEAKS instead of by faith alone in Christ's SACRIFICE, then they are those without knowledge.
Verse three is key to the subject of salvation. It speaks of Israel and how they try to establish their own righteousness by their own works instead of submitting to the righteousness of God.
A sinner who thinks he deserves heaven based on something he DOES rather than trusting solely upon what Christ DID for him, does the same. As he declares himself righteous, he is not submitting to God, rather he's guilty of proclaiming himself more righteous than God. But until a person's sees his own righteousness cannot save him, he can never be saved!
If a person calls on God vocally, expecting to be saved because of it, thinking his prayer saves him, then he has made salvation based upon something of his own doing. Until he rejects all his own doings, and by simple child-like faith rests solely upon the atonement of Christ already made upon his behalf, he will never be saved, never have assurance, and never receive Christ's righteousness.
Verse four tells us Christ is the end of the law. Before Christ died, man's righteousness came from the law of God. After Jesus died, righteousness can only come from Jesus Christ. To obtain Christ's righteousness, a man must only believe in Christ's blood atonement as sufficient to take him to heaven.
Verse five and six show a contrast between the righteousness of the law and the righteousness of faith. Notice it is FAITH which SPEAKS from the heart. When a sinner's complete faith and trust is in the finished work of Christ, God sees and hears this. It's a calling upon God from the HEART, and not just the MOUTH (although it might come out of there too!). Faith speaks to God.
Verse eight proclaims: "The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach."
The word of faith comes from the heart. It can even come from the mouth at the same time. But if it comes from the mouth, it must first begin in the heart. There have been plenty of people who have accepted Christ as their Saviour while praying. But the fact is their words or their prayer did not save them. It was their heartfelt faith in the blood of Jesus Christ. They prayed and believed at the same time.
But, if a man asks God to save him and there is no faith from the heart, then that man is not saved. He spoke from the mind, not the heart. He did not believe what he was saying. And he is trusting in his speaking, rather than trusting in Christ's shedding of blood.
Verses nine through eleven must be read together. From Verse nine is where most soul winners try to make salvation dependent upon what one SAYS and not upon what one BELIEVES. They claim the confessing with the mouth is essential to salvation, and no one can be saved unless they speak. But what about a person who is deaf and dumb? Can he be saved? Of course he can. He might not be able to confess God verbally, but most certainly he can believe unto righteousness from the heart (vs 10) and be saved.
There are also those who pervert the passage by making salvation dependent upon both SPEAKING and BELIEVING. This makes salvation into a faith and works set up!
Instead of by faith alone, they claim a sinner must believe and do something to be saved. They maintain he must believe and confess and if he doesn't confess then he's not saved.
To see how foolish this is, let's look at Mark 16:16:
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
This verse says a person must believe and be baptized to be saved. Many false religious sects take this verse to teach that salvation is by water baptism, a blatant heresy according to the scriptures. They fail to read the rest of the verse. It does not say, "but he that believeth not AND IS NOT BAUTIZED shall be damned."
No, the salvation is by believing, as the rest of the bible teaches. Baptism comes after salvation. That is to say, if a sinner is saved by faith, he'll then be baptized too THEREAFTER!
The same conclusion is drawn in Romans 10:9,10. If a person is saved, then he'll confess Jesus as his Saviour, AFTER HE'S SAVED! He doesn't confess to get saved (that's a catholic doctrine). If he truly trusts Christ as his Saviour, the moment he believes he is eternally saved.
If he confesses Christ as his Saviour at the very moment he believes, he is gloriously and wonderfully saved. But no one is saved by believing PLUS something else. If a sinner tries to make salvation dependent upon whether he confesses or not, this makes his confession a WORK, in which he must do to be saved. If a person is trusting in any work, then he is not saved. This is a simple bible truth.
You cannot be saved by faith plus something else. Salvation is either by faith or its not. The Bible says faith is what gives eternal life. Confession then is not a WORK THAT BRINGS SALVATION. Rather, it is what a sinner does WHEN HE IS SAVED!
Verse twelve and thirteen promise us God is rich unto all that call upon him, and will save whosoever calls upon his name. But as we've seen in 2 Tim. 2:22, this calling MUST COME FROM THE HEART.
Verse fourteen reiterates this sound Biblical truth with the words, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?"
That is to ask, "How can anyone call upon God verbally and be saved without first hearing and understanding the Gospel?"
A person cannot be saved until he HEARS and UNDERSTANDS the Gospel, and then BELIEVES upon the Lord Jesus Christ, calling upon him to save him by faith from the heart in the blood of Christ's atonement work.
Verse sixteen shows clearly that salvation is based upon believing and not speaking. It begins by telling us that "not all have obeyed the gospel." How does one obey the Gospel? The answer is a sinner must BELIEVE our report. That is to say, a sinner must TRUST the finished work of Christ.
And verse seventeen reiterates and clarifies the entire matter in saying, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."
Clearly the modern apostate doctrine that SPEAKING or PRAYING gives eternal life is an anti-biblical teaching. FAITH is what saves, and it can only save when a person HEARS and UNDERSTANDS the Gospel, then accepts the blood atonement of Christ from his heart.
CALLING VERBALLY WITHOUT FAITH FROM THE HEART LEADS TO NO ASSURANCE OF SALVATION
Because modern Christianity has so consistently defined the word call as verbally invoking upon God from the lips, instead of the Biblical definition of calling upon God from the heart (2 Tim. 2:22) by faith in the blood atonement of Christ (Rom. 3:25), modern Christianity has become full of pseudo-Christians, or people who have made vocal professions of faith in Christ, but have no real possession of Him. In short, they are lost because they are trusting in the prayer they said, instead of the precious blood which God shed.
Because they trust not in the blood atonement alone for salvation, instead thinking they are saved by their prayer, most Christians are full of doubt as to whether or not they are really saved. Because of so much doubt in modern churches, many pastors have begun saying things like, "It's healthy for a Christian to doubt his salvation!"
But where it this in the scriptures? The truth is, NOWHERE IN THE BIBLE DO WE FIND ANY CHRISTIAN DOUBTING HIS SALVATION! IT'S SIMPLY NOT THERE!
Instead we read thing like:
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I KNOW WHOM I HAVE BELIEVED, AND AM PERSUADED THAT HE IS ABLE TO KEEP THAT WHICH I HAVE COMMITTED UNTO HIM AGAINST THAT DAY. (2 Tim. 1:11-12)
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. (1 John 5:13)
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 FOR I AM PERSUADED, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 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. (Rom. 8:34-39)
Even though the Bible never speaks of Christians doubting whether they are saved or not, the modern church preaches much doubt, saying ludicrous things like, "The best way to know you are saved, is to doubt it sometimes. That shows you really are saved!" or "Every Christian doubts if he's saved or not!"
Why is there so much doubt in modern Christianity today? Could it be that those doubting are not Christians? Could they be those who have vocally called upon God, but never truly called from the heart? Could it be they doubt because they are trusting in themselves or something they've done instead of trusting solely in Christ's blood atonement?
The truth is, doubt comes from wondering if a sinner DID ENOUGH to be saved. While salvation is what a man takes when he realizes Jesus Christ DID ENOUGH to save him from all his sins.
Juan Valdez, the 14th century Spanish reformer, who preached hard on salvation by faith in the blood of Jesus, makes the following confession:
"Were my salvation in my own hands, I might doubt, but since it is in the hands of God, who has predestinated me to eternal life, I have no cause either to fear or to doubt!"
A born again Christian whose faith is in the finished work of Christ has no cause to doubt. Why? Because he's believing God who cannot lie!
Those who doubt, are usually those who are not even saved to begin with. They are those who might have said something with their lips, but never let go of their own self-righteousness. They worry if they said the right words, or prayed enough to get saved. In short, they are trusting in what they did instead of what Jesus did for them.
As we have seen, in modern Christianity today the push is to get someone to pray The Sinner's Prayer as soon as possible. Oftentimes, a sinner feels the peer pressure (or maybe we should call it prayer pressure), and quickly recites a vain entreaty. But what if the sinner didn't hear and/or understand the Gospel? What if the sinner did not repent, and what if his faith was not in the blood of Jesus? Is he saved? No! Will he then have assurance? Of course not!
Albeit, the shallow soul winner who supposedly "won him to Christ" will immediately try to assure him he is a Christian BECAUSE HE PRAYED.
Do you see how the sinner can be confused, thinking the actual prayer he prayed is what gave him eternal life? The problem is modern-day soul winners are giving sinners false assurances of salvation, when they heretically tell them they are saved by their prayer.
Speaking on this very subject, Pastor Doug Schorne, makes the following confession in his book, "Zeal without Knowledge:"
I honestly believe that thousands upon thousands have been deceived into a false profession of faith by well-meaning soul winners who have been pushed and shamed into getting their quota of baptisms for the week.
Because modern Christianity is so numbers-driven, soul winners have compromised the Gospel, and whittled it down their presentation to just a few verses from the Roman's Road (usually only three or four). They then close their presentation with Rom. 10:13, stressing a soul to call upon God by repeating after them. If the sinner does so, they write another name in their Bible and go away bragging on how they led another soul to Christ! But what if the sinner was not ready? What if the sinner did not repent? What if the prayer came from the MOUTH, and not the HEART? What if the sinner is not trusting only in the blood of Jesus for salvation? Then the soul winner has won no one. In fact, he has deceived a soul into thinking he's a Christian, when he really isn't.
Pastor Ron Ralph gave the following counsel in his book, "Bible Basics for Bible Believers:"
"I strongly encourage you to NEVER lead someone in a 'repeated prayer.' If the Holy Spirit of God is dealing with someone about salvation, and that person is serious about being saved, he or she should be able to pray in their own words...allow them to pour their own heart out to God!"
This is good Biblical advice. A person should come to Christ when he wants to be saved. Hey should not be pressured to do something when he is not ready. Soul winners forget their main purpose is to explain the Gospel clearly, so a sinner will not misunderstand. Sadly, in our last days before the rapture, most soul winners put more emphasis on prayer than on Christ, the Passover Lamb slain for our sins.
After having deceived a sinner into thinking he's saved by the prayer he quoted (sounds like a Catholic doctrine, doesn't it?), the soul winner then tells the sinner he is assured of heaven because of Romans 10:13. Sadly, he does not give the context of the whole chapter, and the sinner thinks salvation is dependent upon what is said from the MOUTH, and not by childlike faith from the HEART in the blood of Jesus. The lost sinner who has repeated the prayer then goes away thinking he's a Christian, not because the word of God tells him so, but because the soul winner told him so. Doubt quickly creeps in, and the sinner wonders if he ever was saved to begin with. The problem is his faith was not in God, but rather in man. It's easy to doubt the word of man, but how hard it is to doubt the word of the living God!
Because he lacks assurance, he is then told he must get it back. To gain assurance in most Christian circles, the sinner is told, "Simply repeat the prayer again, and then you'll be assured you are saved!"
This strengthens the anti-biblical teaching that prayer itself saves, and the sinner begins the cycle of doubt anew. Oftentimes, the sinner prayers the same prayer every night, asking God to save him over and over, never coming to a full assurance of salvation.
Churches are full of such people. They are religious but not redeemed. 2 Timothy 3:5 tells us they have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof (the precious blood of Christ). They claim to be something they are not. They need true assurance.
ASSURANCE ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE
The Bible speaks of assurance seven times in the scriptures. Let us briefly look at each verse to see what the Bible says about assurance.
The first reference is Deut. 28:66: "And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life."
In this verse, God himself tells Israel they shall live in fear and doubt, and shall have none assurance, because of their rebellion. Thankfully, this is an Old Testament reference, and does not apply today.
In direct contrast, the second reference of assurance shows the exact opposite. In Isaiah 32:17, we read: "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever."
Here God promises everlasting assurance. It is based upon the work of righteousness. This verse too is written to Israel. But we can certainly apply this verse to salvation. Jesus Christ did the work of righteousness on the cross of Calvary in dying for man's sins. The effects of which bring assurance and peace to all who receive Jesus as their Saviour.
The third mention of assurance in the scriptures is found in Acts 17:31: "Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."
Here assurance is given that Jesus rose again. For a Christian to have assurance of salvation, he must completely trust the Risen Christ. As we've seen, those who claim to be Christians, but continually doubt are usually not trusting in Christ who rose from the grave, but rather in their prayer, asking God to rise them and give them eternal life apart from the finished work of Christ.
The fourth time we read of assurance in the scriptures is found in Col. 2:2. Where we read: "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ."
This verse mentions full assurance of understanding. Again, a person can never be saved until he first understands the Gospel of Christ. The fuller the understanding, the more assurance he has of his salvation.
Our fifth reference is found in 1 Thessalonians 1:5: "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake."
Here we read of much assurance, which comes from Holy Spirit filled preaching of the Gospel. This is truly lacking in Christianity today! Especially when a soul winner fails to preach the blood of Christ (the power of the Gospel). True assurance comes from the Holy Spirit, which a believer receives at the moment he believes upon Christ. No wonder so many who claim be Christians doubt they are saved! It's probably because they aren't! They trust their PRAYER instead of trusting the PRECIOUS BLOOD, and for that reason, they don't have the Holy Spirit inside, assuring them.
The sixth and seventh reference both speak of full assurance. They are given below:
And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end. (Hebrews 6:11)
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb. 10:22)
The first speaks of a full assurance of HOPE. And the verse speaks of a full assurance of FAITH. When one trusts solely and completely upon the finished work of Christ on the cross—his precious shed blood offered to God on man's behalf—his faith gives him assurance of salvation. Why? Because he's trusting in Christ, and not in himself.
Thus, from the seven verses listed in the Bible about assurance, we learn no one is assured of physical life (Deut. 28:66), but they can be assured of eternal life if they accept Christ's work of righteousness on the Cross (Isa. 32:17). Further, the Bible itself assures us Jesus Christ rose again (Acts 17:31), and if a person fully understands (Col. 2:2) the Gospel of Christ (1 Thess. 1:5), and believes, he will be assured a hope unto the end (Heb. 6:11) and receive full assurance of salvation by FAITH (Heb. 10:22) in the blood of Christ. This is sound Bible doctrine.
SALVATION BRINGS PEACE
The Bible further speaks of peace. In Colossians 1:20, the Bible clearly tells us Jesus, "...made peace through the blood of his cross..."
Peace has been made with God through the blood atonement of Christ. Man's sins have been paid for on the cross, when Jesus bore man's punishment in his own body. God was appeased, and satisfied with the price of Jesus' shed blood.
When a sinner accepts Christ's sacrifice for his sins, he receives peace from God (instead of doubt). He's assured he's been born again, because he has God's word he's going to heaven. Isaiah 26:3 shows us clearly how to have this peace: "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee."
Peace comes by trusting in God's sacrificial atonement for man.
And again in Philippians 4:7 we read, "And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Do you have this peace? Or are you one of those effectual doubters who prays the prayer every night before bed, not knowing if you are saved or not?
1 John 5:13 very clearly tells us that a person can KNOW he has eternal life:
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.Do you know you are saved? Do you have peace? If not, why not trust solely and completely on the finished work of Christ as sufficient to wash your sins away and make you whiter than snow. Repent of your own works, prayers, etc. and trust the shed blood of Christ alone to take you to heaven.
When you trust Christ alone, all doubts fall away, and you'll be able to sing songs like, "Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine, oh what a foretaste of glory divine!" and "I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart..."
It's obvious the word "call" has more than one meaning. Thus, to understand how to call upon the Lord for salvation, one must first understand exactly how the Lord wants a sinner to call upon Him according to the Bible.
It's been stated several times in this work that Modern Christianity as a whole has departed from teaching salvation by faith in the blood of atonement of Christ. Instead they have taken Romans 10:13 out of context and changed salvation from REPENTING WHOLEHEARTEDLY and TRUSTING CHRIST FROM THE HEART, to REPEATING QUICKLY a muttered religious prayer from the HEAD. In other words, they have changed the meaning of the word calling from the biblical definition of believing to the heretical definition of SIMPLY SPEAKING FROM THE MOUTH.
This has led to countless millions of souls thinking they deserve heaven because they "PRAYED THE PRAYER." But what if they prayed without understanding? What if they did not REPENT? What if they asked God for forgiveness without giving up their own self-righteousness? Will God save them? Certainly not.
Because the emphasis in modern Christian circles is on the PRAYER FROM THE MOUTH instead of the FAITH FROM THE HEART, Christianity has changed from trusting CHRIST'S Holy word (the Bible) to trusting man's word (who assures the sinner he's saved by his prayer). But shouldn't Christianity be all about Christ? Shouldn't sinners trust Christ instead of trusting man? I believe they should.
There is no verse in the Bible which teaches a person in the church age is saved by prayer. Instead, there are countless verses that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that salvation is imparted only when one trusts the shed blood of Jesus.
Below are a few verses from the book of Romans:
Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 3:24)
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. (Rom. 3:28)
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. (Rom. 5:9)
Clearly, salvation or "justification" is by GRACE through FAITH in God's BLOOD! It is only by faith in the blood of Jesus that a sinner can be saved from wrath (hell)!
Christ's blood atonement on Calvary is the only thing that could pay for man's sins, for "Without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb. 9:22).
And the Bible is very clear in Colossians 1:14, "In whom we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD, even the forgiveness of sins."
Thus, salvation, forgiveness, justification, and redemption only come through FAITH IN THE BLOOD ATONEMENT OF CHRIST JESUS.
A person can ask or beg for forgiveness all he wants, through many prayers, but he'll never find what he seeks until he comes THROUGH JESUS' BLOOD!
The question then must be asked, "Are you trusting in the shed blood of Jesus Christ alone as sufficient to wash away your sins and take you to heaven?"
If not, why not trust the blood today? God will save you. He promised he would!
A BRIEF TESTIMONY AND THE REASON FOR WRITING THIS BOOKLET
As a child of five years old, I remember my mother telling me to pray a prayer of invitation, "asking Jesus to come into my heart." I distinctly remember I didn't even know who Jesus was. I thought he was some guy who sat in the back of the church. But I repeated my mother's words, and she assured me I was saved because of it. Yet every night I lived in fear and doubt.
About the age of 12, I found Chick tracts, and read them through over and over. In the end, they gave a prayer to repeat. I must have prayed that prayer over and over every night for the next six years. Many times two or three times a night. But I never had any assurance of salvation.
It wasn't until I was 18 years old that I heard the Gospel for the very first time. My father took me to the scriptures and showed me my sin, Christ's sacrifice, and my impending judgment. It was right there for the first time in my life that I realized what Jesus had done for me.
He also explained the word "repent." All my life I thought it meant you had to quit sinning to get saved. I knew, that as a sinner, I could never be sinless, no matter how hard I tried to quit sinning. But it wasn't until that day that I realized repentance doesn't mean, "quit sinning to get to heaven." Rather it means, "You want Jesus more than you want your sin, and are willing to feel sorrow for your sins which put Jesus on the cross."
My father further explained repentance means turning from trusting in your own righteousness, to trusting Christ's righteousness. Most of my life I thought if I was going to heaven, it was because I did good works. I had been baptized, I went to church, I tried to live a moral life, etc. I just didn't realize salvation is not attained based upon what I did or could do, rather it comes only through trusting completely in what Jesus did for me.
My father then took me to Romans 3:25 and read it, stopping at the word "propitiation," asking me if I knew what it meant. Not knowing the definition, I went to find a dictionary. He stopped me, and told me it is like a substitute. Jesus Christ died in my place for my sins as my Propitiationary blood atonement.
He then gave the following illustration:
"Son, if you were a murderer and you killed 5 people in cold blood, don't you think you deserve to go to jail for that? And don't you think you deserve to be sentenced to the electric chair as well? But what if when they sat you down and strapped you in, and were just about to flip the switch, I came in and said, 'Hey, let him go! I want to take his sentence on myself. I want to die in his place!' Then, as they let you go, the last thing you hear is me screaming in your place. How would that make you feel? Well, son, that's exactly what Jesus Christ did for you!"
It was like a light bulb went off in my head, and for the first time in my life, I actually understood the immensity of what Jesus did for me.
My father then said, "Now, wouldn't you like Jesus to be your Propitiation? Then read the rest of the verse."
As I read the words "...through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness," the truth sank in. All my life I'd been hoping to get to heaven based upon what I had done. I was hoping God would save me because I prayed and even begged for forgiveness (many times over and over again). But I didn't realize I was asking God to save me without trusting him to do so. I had trusted my PRAYER instead of trusting God's PROPITIATION.
Right there on July 29th, 1992, at ten thirty in the morning, I put my complete faith and trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ, taking God up on his word. I relied no longer on what I did, but what Jesus did for me! That's when God saved me. And I didn't even say a prayer! I simply BELIEVED. I trusted Christ as my Saviour by faith from my heart. I called upon him by FAITH IN HIS BLOOD. And I've been assured of my salvation ever since. I have no cause to doubt it, because it's not what I did or can do to get it or keep it. It's all what Jesus did for me!
I soon went to Bible School and graduated in 1998. As I entered the ministry (as a pastor for a short while, and then as a Missionary), I soon found hundreds of thousands of people who were confused just as I was before I was saved. They had no assurance of salvation, and were continually praying the Sinner's Prayer time and again, hoping each new prayer would take, and they would know for sure they were on their way to heaven. Sadly, they never did know for sure. They were trusting their prayer instead of trusting the precious shed blood.
The more I preached on the blood of Jesus, the more God moved and worked, and the more I saw people's eyes opened to the truth. Yet I did meet much opposition, especially by liberals who said, "The PRAYER IS WHAT SAVES," instead of faith in the blood.
Eventually, I married and took my new bride with me to the Mission Field. I truly thought she was a Christian, and she thought she was too. However, in June of 2006, she woke me up from a sound sleep to tell me, "Honey, I've got to tell you something. I just got saved! I realized from reading some tracts and from your preaching, that I was not saved as a little girl. I just repeated the prayer, but had no understanding, and no repentance. I've been holding on to what I did when I was a child thinking that saved me, instead of just completely and totally trusting Christ alone!"
I rejoiced with her, and thought others would too. However, we found much opposition from many pastors, missionaries, and other so-called Christians who were unwilling to accept my wife's testimony. They all held onto the anti-biblical belief that the prayer saves. One preacher even told my wife, "You were saved when you were a child, you just didn't know it. You're husband has deceived you!"
If this be the case, why did my wife doubt all of her life, and why did she pray the prayer every night? Now that she's truly saved, she will tell anyone who asks, "I'm saved and I know it! I know that I know that I know I'm saved!"
I wish modern Christianity had the same testimony. But they don't. Many preach salvation by praying, not believing. And they put people in a continual state of doubt, telling them the remedy is praying another prayer. If the first prayer didn't take, why would they think the second, or third, or fourth (etc.) would? Only faith in the blood of Jesus Christ will absolve all doubt.
So how about you? Are you saved? When did you get saved? How did you get saved? What are you trusting in to get you to heaven? Do you continually doubt your salvation? Could it be that you are not saved?
The apostle Paul wrote the following words to the church of Corinth:
5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? 6 But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.
Paul commands those who claim to be Christians to EXAMINE THEMSELVES to see if they really are Christians or not. It just might be they are REPROBATES (lost) who have never truly been saved. Instead they are trusting their PRAYER instead of Christ's PAYMENT on the Cross—his shed blood.
Further Paul tells those in Corinth in verse six that he is not a reprobate. In other words, HE KNOWS HE IS SAVED! Do you know you are saved?
Modern Christianity says it's healthy to doubt your salvation. They say things like, "Only the devil makes you doubt your salvation!"
But what if a person who claims to be a Christian is not saved. He is religious but lost, trusting his prayer or his good works, instead of trusting Jesus. Shouldn't he doubt his salvation? And couldn't it be GOD who causes him to doubt, so he will seek Jesus only for true salvation?
The apostle never doubted if he was saved. Just look at his words in the following verses:
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. (Rom. 4:20-22)
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. (Rom. 14:5)
In each of these passages, Paul uses the term fully persuaded. Are you fully persuaded in your own mind and heart that you are saved and on your way to heaven? If so, praise God!
If not, what's the problem? I'm not saying you're saved or you are not saved. I simply do not know. (Only three people know if you are saved: 1. You, 2. God, and 3. The Devil. If you don't know, then you've got problems!)
You must examine yourself. For you'll have to give account to God some day for your sin. How will you stand? Will you come to God in the filthiness of your own self-righteousness, clinging onto your baptism, your good works, your church attendance, etc.? Or will you come to God cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ, because you accepted his free gift of eternal life by calling upon the name of the Lord through trusting solely upon His sacrificial blood atonement on the cross? The decision is yours.
This book was written to reach lost religious people like I was who trust their prayer instead of trusting Christ. You might be one of them. I do not know. But I do know there are countless millions of souls in the world today who think they are saved when they are not. The Bible shows us many examples of people who have called upon God vocally and were not saved, either because they did not understand the Gospel, did not repent, or were not trusting Christ Jesus' blood alone.
If you desire to be saved, you must call upon God. But this calling must come from the heart! Why not go to God now, trusting his shed blood alone to save your never dying soul? He will save you!
YOU MUST CALL UPON THE LORD
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Rom. 10:13)
According to this verse, a person MUST call upon the name of the Lord to be saved! This is a sound Biblical truth. Calling upon the name of the Lord is the only way to be saved. But this book has shown that someone can call upon God the wrong way and still be left lost. So, how does one call upon the name of the Lord the right way? Does a person simply shout out the name of the Lord at the top of his lungs, and by so doing he is saved? If this be the case, then every person who ever used the name of JESUS as a cussword is on their way to heaven.
No, there must be more to calling upon the name of the Lord then by simply uttering his name or calling out to him vocally. As we examine the scriptures, we find this to be the case. To call upon the Lord Biblically, one MUST call upon the LORD with the following conditions:
Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (1 Tim. 2:22)
The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. (Psalm 145:18)
The Bible then describes HOW A PERSON MUST CALL upon God for salvation. To be saved, a person must call upon God according to truth and it must be from the heart. Salvation is a heart thing.
Are you ready to be saved? Then why not come to Jesus now, and from your heart pray something like this:
"Lord, I'm a sinner, and I don't deserve heaven. So right now I come to you and accept you and your free gift of eternal life, TRUSTING ONLY IN YOUR SHED BLOOD AS SUFFICIENT to save my soul, and take me to heaven. Thank you Lord for saving my soul. Amen!"
Remember, it's not the prayer that saves. It's not even the words that save. It's whether or not you are truly repentant and trusting solely in the blood of Jesus! If you aren't, then why not go to God now and tell him you are! If you believe it in your heart, then you are saved. It's not what you say or how you say it. It's whether or not you believe it.
Do you trust Christ's blood or don't you to take you to heaven? That's the main issue!
If you're not saved, GET SAVED! If you are saved, make sure you plainly present the Gospel to lost sinners, being careful never to confuse a sinner into thinking he's saved by what he SAYS (his calling vocally). A sinner can only be saved by calling upon God the Bible way—by faith from the heart in the finished blood atonement of Jesus Christ.
Souls hang in the balance. If you are saved, please preach the blood of Christ as the only means of salvation, and quit telling people they are saved by their prayer! Biblically, a person is only saved by the blood!
TRUST in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
- Proverbs 3:5
BACK COVER OF THIS BOOK READS:
The word "calling" has seven definitions according to the 1828 Webster's Dictionary, and all seven of these meanings are used in the King James Bible. In the New Testament, however, the word CALLING is used more often in the context of salvation, by calling upon the name of the Lord to be saved. But how does one CALL upon the name of the Lord to be saved according to the Bible? Is it by the MOUTH ALONE? Or is it by FAITH from the HEART? Or is it by both?
This book is written to show the difference between calling upon the name of the Lord the RIGHT WAY versus the WRONG way. For the Bible tells us it's possible to call upon God gutturally and still die and go to Hell.
But someone who calls upon God according to his Holy word by heartfelt faith in the finished blood atonement of Christ as CALVARY will receive eternal life and be assured he's on his way to heaven!
Are you saved? Have you called upon God correctly? Why not read this booklet and find out?