“ . . . receiving the END of your belief—the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:9
How many people are there who “got saved” by making a decision to be saved? Whether it was on their own somewhere, or they were in a meeting of some sort—and there was an emotional appeal about their possible impending death and where they would go for eternity, it’s likely that most who are in christianity made a decision, or prayed a prayer, to be saved.
So, what could be wrong with that? Well, the most important thing wrong with it is that it is NOT salvation.
Growing up in christianity, I have seen my fair share of revivals, evangelistic services, and crusades in which an “invitation” or “altar call” was given. I have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of people going forward and being told that, if they will pray a prayer and ask to be saved (“accept Christ,” or “give their heart to Christ,” or “ask forgiveness for sins,” or any of the many christianese euphemisms for salvation), then they will be saved on the spot.
I have even witnessed preachers telling folks who prayed such a prayer, “Now you are saved—don’t ever let anyone tell you that you’re not.” How in the world does a preacher see inside someone’s heart?
I personally know pastors who believe that, at the moment someone believes, or makes a decision, the Holy Spirit enters into him. There is not a single passage of scripture that states such a thing—and, why is that? It’s because it’s not true. In fact, the false salvation that is taught by christianity (the counterfeit of the true faith) stands in direct contradiction to what the scriptures tell us.
So, which should one believe—christianity or the truth?
You see, as is stated in the opening verse, 1 Peter 1:9, salvation is the END (the result, or the goal) of belief, but christianity teaches that belief itself IS salvation. Hmmmm . . . both cannot be true.
Christianity teaches that, if one believes, and then does something according to that belief (asks forgiveness for sins—something that is not a part of salvation, or accepts Christ—something shown nowhere in the scriptures, or gives his heart to God—again, not part of salvation), he is saved. That would make salvation the BEGINNING of one’s belief, which essentially means that scripture would be false.
No, scripture is true, and belief is but the first step on the path TO salvation, as salvation is NOT something that man can decide. Only the Father can give salvation, and He does so by HIS will and in HIS time. Man does not have the power to declare himself saved—and, some preacher definitely does not have the authority to declare that someone who came forward and prayed a prayer is saved!
We are taught throughout scripture that if someone believes (present tense) in Messiah Yahoshua, he SHALL BE saved (future tense). But, christianity falsely teaches that if someone believes, he IS saved. That is a counterfeit of the truth.
The Israelites were led out of Egypt by the Passover (belief), and were then guided by the Holy Spirit to the mountain (enduring in belief). Once they arrived at the mountain, they still had to wait (endure in belief), and then they received the covenant. That is a picture of those who are of Messiah’s bride being led out of the world by their belief in, and identification with, Messiah’s Passover sacrifice, and then being led by the Holy Spirit to endure in that belief until they receive the covenant.
Once one receives the covenant, the Holy Spirit Himself will testify directly and personally to that person that he has been made a child of Yah. And, how does the Holy Spirit do that? He does it in the same way He always has. Just read the books of the prophets to see how the Holy Spirit testifies to the spirit of man—in dreams, visions, and even audibly. The confirmation of salvation will be given by the Holy Spirit in a manner that cannot be counterfeited by demons—in a dream (Genesis 40:8, Acts 2:17, Romans 8:16, 1 Corinthians 1:6-8).
So, if you think you are saved because you made a decision or prayed a prayer, you have been deceived by the counterfeit. Belief (repentance from unbelief) is necessary to BE ABLE to be saved, but it is not salvation, for salvation is the END result of belief, not the beginning of belief, or the existence of it.
Messiah Yahoshua explained in Luke 8:13 that some will believe with all joy for awhile, but then, during the period of testing of their belief (James 1:2-4), they will fall away because they have no root (they never received the source of life, who is the Holy Spirit). We also see in verses like Hebrews 10:39, that the people who receive salvation are those who do not shrink back from their belief, but believe all the way to the saving of their souls.
If belief alone were salvation, then why would the scriptures tell us that we must believe all the way to the salvation of our souls? And, if we must endure in belief (confess Messiah Yahoshua before others) to be saved, how could someone merely walk to the front of a building, say a prayer, and then declare himself saved? That is probably the most damning lie in all of christianity. It is a bastardization of the true Gospel of Messiah Yahoshua.
Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able (Luke 13:24). If salvation is merely by a decision or a prayer, why would many seek to enter and not be able to?
For more information: Between Belief and Salvation