Listening to most any evangelical christian preacher teaching about salvation is like attending a timeshare presentation, but instead of getting a lovely vacation each year, the preacher promises that, if you’ll join his club—club christian—then you will have an eternal vacation in heaven.
The false preacher will tug at the emotions of his audience, and will tell them that all they have to do is come forward and pray a sinner’s prayer—accept “jesus” into their heart, repent of all their sins, ask forgiveness for all their sins, give their life to Christ, and myriad other euphemisms christianity has invented describing its false path to salvation.
Nowhere in scripture is anyone told that praying a prayer makes someone saved. Nowhere in scripture is anyone told to “accept” anyone for salvation. Nowhere in scripture is anyone told to ask anybody into any body part as the path to salvation. Nowhere is anyone told that salvation is by repenting of all sins (your English bibles that say repentance of “sins” is a false translation, as the word in the Greek refers to a singular condition, not multiple acts, so the word would more properly be “sin,” and the only sin that condemns is unbelief—which is not having the Holy Spirit).
And, there is nowhere in scripture that says asking forgiveness is part of salvation.
All of these false paths to salvation are the works of man. They make man the final arbiter of his own salvation—either he joins the club, or he goes to hell. And, some flavors of the counterfeit salvation teach that, once one receives his club membership, he can cancel it at any time. That continues to place the power of salvation on man, which is exactly what Satan wants people to think.
The scriptures tell us that those who believe in Messiah Yahsoshua SHALL BE saved. Christianity falsely teaches that those who believe ARE saved. They replace what scripture states about a future condition, and claim that it is immediate—in the present. So, there are literally billions of unwitting people who think they are saved, because the preacher falsely told them that their human decision meant they were saved, and they followed his instructions, repeated what they were told to say, and were falsely declared to “be saved.”
No, the scriptures plainly state that those who believe SHALL BE saved. It is something that occurs in the future. Now, when is that? What is it that determines someone is saved? Well, Romans 8:9 tells us that those who are Messiah’s have the Holy Spirit, but those who don’t have the Holy Spirit aren’t His.
1 John 5:10 tells us that those whom the Father sees as believers have the witness (Greek: “evidence”) in them. So, what is that evidence? How is it obtained? How does one know he has obtained it? If you fall for the false teachings within christianity, then you believe that your decision—your prayer—asserted authority over the Holy Spirit, causing Him to enter you. That is just not possible. Man does not have any power over the Holy Spirit.
Those who peddle the notion that salvation is a choice that man makes don’t actually know what salvation even is, or how it is obtained. Salvation is something that is received AFTER someone has believed—it is not belief itself. Satan and his demons believe, but they are not saved, which is to have the Holy Spirit.
As James teaches, the trying (testing) of one’s faith produces endurance, and endurance in one’s belief (faith) is what produces completeness—being spiritually whole—which is to have the Holy Spirit.
Hebrews 10:36-39 also explains that it is those who endure in their belief, confessing Messiah Yahoshua before others, willing to take the slings and arrows of the world (very often from christians) who deride and mock the Spirit’s truths and reject the true path to salvation, who are saved. They are those who did not shrink back from the hatred and ridicule of the world (again, which includes christians), but who believed all the way to the saving of their soul (receiving the covenant, which is the seal of Holy Spirit).
Those who think their choice to “join club christian” saved them are exactly who we see in Matthew 7:21-23. Why doesn’t Messiah Yahoshua know those people? Again, it’s what we’re told in Romans 8:9. They never actually received the covenant—the Holy Spirit. They did all those spiritual-looking things, but chose to believe that they were the ones who administered their own salvation—by their own decision and their fleshly works.
Moreover, without the Holy Spirit’s illuminating instruction, they pervert and bastardize the words of scripture, making them say things they have never stated—and, it’s all because Satan has deceived them with his false teachings of salvation. He has convinced them that they don’t actually have to be told they are Yah’s children—that they are the ones who get to decide that, and then declare they have been adopted.
At their judgment, they will be just as shocked as those folks in Matthew 7, for they are the ones who can often be heard saying, “I know that I know that I know.” But, they didn’t actually know. They just thought they did. They were deceived.
For more information: Between Belief and Salvation