I enjoy reading books. Telephone Baptist Church has a wonderful library with a wonderful librarian that keeps everything organized and in most cases current. Lately, I found one of the current books written by a well-known Southern Baptist pastor in 2005 that would be similar reading to The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I saw that I could tackle this book in a week or so, and found that I was the first one to check it out. Oh boy!!
Until I got to the first chapter or "principle" if you will. I have found that throughout the years, I have tried to train my senses to throw up serious theological flags if I hear or read something against God's Word. In some instances I have been successful at it, then at other times, things can whiz by me or completely take me surprise. I am still working on that!!
The place I read when I slammed on the brakes is: "Three days after the Crucifixion, He rose from the grave. Today He lives within those who pray a simple prayer like this: "Father, I confess that I need the Savior........."" I was okay with the first sentence, but read the second one carefully.....He lives within those who pray a simple prayer. Whoa!! Where in the Bible is the reference for this? I read Romans 10:9-10: "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting with salvation."
A couple of questions that comes to mind: What is the response to the gospel? Is Paul explaining a two part response to the gospel message? Did Paul put them in a particular order for a reason? Douglas Moo states that belief in the heart is clearly the crucial requirement. Confession is the outward manifestation of this critical inner response. The gospel, then, is "near" to us because it requires only what our own hearts and mouths can do; and when we respond, it brings near to us God's salvation. So, salvation is a result of confessing and believing.
But confessing what? Neufeld writes in Confessions that early Jewish Christians would declare "O Lord Come!" Lord had great meaning as the one shows surrender, associates Jesus closely with God just like 1 Cor. 16:22, "Maranatha!" What we label as the sinner's prayer may come as a result of the belief and confession, but it is not the immediate response of the gospel. It would come after believing with your heart and then confessing "Maranatha!". This is a great reason we have false converts today....they say a prayer and think they are saved. Never have they believed in their heart and confessed "O Lord Come!!"
I welcome your responses and comments. Sleepy Disciple