I'm a skeptic. Far too analytical and doubting to truly honor the Lord much of the time. I'm more Thomas-like than I wish. I sympathize with Thomas when I read in John 20 him say, "Unless I see...I will not believe." God's working through my doubts though. He's not leaving me alone to struggle. I love that about the Lord. He meets us right where we are and dares to change us from the inside out.
That weakness said, I am extremely skeptical when I hear ministries boast of the number of people saved through their ministries each week. "Thousands saved every weekend." "We had 453.5 people come forward and accept Christ." Really? Really? It sort of makes me mad.
Salvation's not just a prayer. We know that, right? Right?
You should be a different person today than you were on the day you repeated the sinner's prayer. God's saving power should change us. If you aren't different, then you just repeated words. You cannot meet the Almighty God, accept His gift of forgiveness and salvation, and walk away unchanged. It's impossible.
So, does our presentation of the gospel lead people to merely accept Christ as a precaution so they don't go to hell? Confessing our sins and believing in Christ is the beginning of salvation...and yes, we are secure in Christ once we accept Christ as our Savior. The evidence of our salvation comes afterward. We are saved ONCE. But as Paul says in Philippians 2:12 we spend our lifetime working out our salvation. We say the prayer...and then God's saving power works to change us.
I wonder how many people have repeated the sinner's prayer thinking they've secured their salvation? How many think the prayer alone is the means to getting into heaven? Surely they know that the repetition of some words do not save. That's clear, right?
If you are saved...you are changed. It's good to ask ourselves, AM I CHANGED? Am I a new creation?
If you are saved...the Holy Spirit will be working in your life. Does the Holy Spirit whisper to you? Does the Holy Spirit guide you and comfort you and discipline you?
If you are saved...you cannot just sit in your sin. Can you struggle with sin? ABSOLUTELY. Until we take our last breath, we will wrestle with our flesh. But evidence of our salvation comes even through the struggle...it demonstrates that the power within us is in conflict with our fleshly desires. If you don't struggle with sin or even recognize your sin...ask God to have mercy on you and show you your sin. Only through seeing our sin will we recognize our need for a Savior.
So, when I hear of masses of people getting saved at conferences or church services, I always think, "Show me where these people are a year from now and then tell me how many of them are saved."
Salvation changes people.