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Testimonies

Are we saved by prayer or by faith?

by Theodore Wright.


When I was on a retreat at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Hudson House during my early years of being a new Christian, I was asked about when it was that I prayed to Jesus to ask Him to save me. I told this couple who asked me that I did not actually pray to receive Jesus as my Savior. I mentioned that I just simply received Jesus by faith. For some reason this couple was not settled about what I had just said.
 

During one of the sessions later, the leader asked us all to make the “Sinner’s Prayer” to receive Jesus as our Savior. I had no objection to this, since I already believed in Jesus, so together with everyone else, I did. To which, afterwards, the couple’s wife diagonally behind me said, “O.K., NOW you are saved.” So did I start to be a Christian when I first believed or is was this woman right that I was not saved until later when I made the “Sinner’s Prayer”?
 

So I ask you the question now. Are we saved by prayer or by faith in Jesus? Some will say that we are saved by both since it says clearly in Romans 10:9 (NKJV), “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” However, if that were true, then there are a number of other Bible verses that mention works surrounding the message of faith salvation. So then are we saved by faith and also by works including perhaps also the work of confession?
 

The Holy Bible makes clear that we are not saved by works since it says in Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV), “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Romans 11:6a also makes this clear by saying, “And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace.” Therefore, we are not saved by “faith and works” nor by “grace and works” because we are saved by “faith which works”. As Galatians 5:6b says “faith which worketh by love”.
 

You could ask Jesus Christ to be your Savior and still not be saved if you do not have a real trusting faith in Him. Yet again, you could have a real trusting faith in Jesus to be saved and have not confessed Him as yet. It is true that Romans 10:9 (NKJV) says, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” However, a few verses later it says in Romans 10:14a (NKJV), “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?” Confessing Jesus, therefore, is the result of salvation, not the requirement.
 

The “Sinner’s Prayer” does not save. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It may be, though, the initial works of turning to saving faith may be demonstrated through the act of making this prayer. Do notice also that we do not find this prayer in the Bible. For more about this topic and examples of what other Bible verses are misunderstood as meaning that we are saved also by works, please see our page titled “Repentance: The Living Faith to Justification”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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