The Name of Jesus

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Tom Butler, Oct 22, 2011.

  1. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
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    A couple of questions for this thread:

    1. When the scriptures refer to our calling on the NAME of Jesus (I Cor 1:2, Ro 10:13) what does it mean? Is it the same as calling on Jesus? When we tell someone to call on the name of Jesus for salvation, what are we telling him to do? One view is that this is basis of the Sinner's Prayer. But the Sinner's Prayer is not calling on the name of Jesus; it's calling on Jesus.

    2. The other is the use of Jesus' name is at the end of our prayers. Jesus instructed us to ask for things in his name. We pray in Jesus' name. We minister in His name, we help the poor in His name. What does that mean?

    Could it be that we pray to God, and we in essence end our prayer by saying, God we're asking this because Jesus said we could? Or, God, Jesus said we could mention his name when we prayed to you.

    Release the hounds.
     
  2. Dr. Walter

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    When he said to ask anything "in my name" I believe he was saying that we come before the Father not on the basis of our own character, goodness or merits but on the character, goodness and merits of Jesus Christ in our behalf. The Father cannot deny the Son anything and the Son will not request anything not in keeping with the character and will of his Father.

    It is only this way we can come "bodly" before the throne of grace.

    I do not believe "in the name of Jesus" is a magical VERBAL formula that if we repeat scares demons or drives out diseases. I believe it represents the basis of authority, or right to approach God and ask him for anything in keeping with the character and promises of Christ.
     
    #2 Dr. Walter, Oct 22, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2011
  3. Tom Butler

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    That's along the lines of the way I see it.

    Any thoughts about the other question?
     
  4. Dr. Walter

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    You mean concerning the sinners prayer? I don't know any Scripture that says we are supposed to ask Jesus into our hearts in order to be saved. I believe we are to "confess" the gospel of Jesus Christ as the expression of what has occurred in our heart already and as the basis of confidence for salvation. Paul says that when the gospel comes NOT in word only, it comes "IN POWER" and "IN THE HOLY SPIRIT" and "IN MUCH ASSURANCE."

    I have never been a fan of talking somebody into believing that they are saved. If God does not give them that assurance who can? If they "receive" the gospel they will acknowledge it by confessing Christ. To be saved is to experience CHANGE and if you are not a witness of that change then no sinners prayer followed by attempting to convince them will help. Those God convicts of sin and convinces them of the gospel will call upon the Lord.

    When the Lord saved me I did not need anyone to help convince me. I did not need to say any special prayer. I simply trusted in the gospel and knew his promise was true.
     
  5. plain_n_simple

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    Yeah where did the "sinner's prayer" come from? I was told it's about 100 years old and came from men?
     
  6. quantumfaith

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    I have most always been "uneasy" with the "sinners prayer", but I understand the sentiment of it for some. In "simplistic" terms, I like better ABC,

    1. Acknowledge who "I" am, who God is, and where I stand before Him.
    2. Believe on the name, person and message of the Gospel.
    3. Confess Him, both privately and publicly
     
  7. Winman

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    The sinner's prayer is directly shown in scripture by Jesus himself.

    Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
    14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

    This publican simply confessed he was a sinner and unworthy of salvation. But he also had faith and believed God to be merciful. And Jesus said he went down to his house justified, all his sins forgiven.

    It is not the prayer that saves, it is the faith. The prayer is evidence of faith. If you do not believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for your sins and rose again, you would not pray to him. Would you pray to a dead man in the grave?

    Paul shows this in Romans.

    Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    Paul implies here is it impossible to call on Jesus unless you believe on him. An athiest will not call on Jesus, because he believes Jesus was an ordinary man who died 2000 years ago. A Muslim believes Jesus is a prophet, but does not have the power to save, so he will not call on Jesus to save him. A person who believes he can work his way to heaven will not truly call on Jesus to save him.

    So, the prayer is simply evidence of the heart faith the person had in Jesus. This is a person who confesses they are a sinner, and knows that only Jesus can save them, and so they cry to him for mercy. And as verse 13 says, all who call upon Jesus will be saved.
     
  8. Tom Butler

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    I do believe that a sinner's earnest plea for mercy will be heard by God. That said, I fear that the use of the "sinner's prayer" has been corrupted by those who use it as a soul-winning tool. It has been turned into "say these magic words, and if you really, really, really mean them, you're saved."

    winman cited the publican's prayer, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Fair enough. But no one had to say to him, "repeat these words after me."

    I'm convinced that if we have to tell someone what to say, we have not done an adequate job of witnessing to him.
     
  9. Winman

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    Getting a person to pray is often done to help the new believer. I got saved over 46 years ago, if someone asked me what exactly was going through my mind, I can't remember. But I clearly remember kneeling down, confessing I was a sinner, telling Jesus that I believed he died for my sins and rose again, and asking for him to forgive my sins and come into my heart. Now I can say with assurance that I called on Jesus and he saved me.

    As I said, the prayer does not save, but is simply evidence of faith. If a person does not believe in Jesus, they will not call on him.

    There is nothing wrong with leading a person in prayer. If a person truly wants Jesus to save them, and prays to Jesus to save them, he does.

    It is nonsensical to say you give a person who is sincere when they pray a false assurance. If they were sincere, they are saved. If they weren't sincere, they knew it and aren't worried, because they don't really believe.

    Think about that, and you will see it makes sense.
     
    #9 Winman, Oct 23, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2011
  10. Tom Butler

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    My concern with the Sinner's Prayer is not its use, but its abuse. When one tells another to "pray something like this," he is entering dangerous territory. The real danger is that the one being counseled may misunderstand; that the words are a magic formula.

    I have told this story before, and it is an incident like this that confirms my concern about abuse of the SP. My wife once asked a young woman about her hope of heaven. Her response was "well, I said the prayer." Can you say cold chills?

    In counseling my own granddaughter, we came to a point where I felt that she was properly prepared. I told her, "do you want to be saved. Ask God." And I shut up. This little ten-year-old girl, on her own, began to confess her sin and ask God to forgive her sin and to save her.

    With regard to assurance, I have seen that abused as well. I have seen a soul winner, after leading one through the "Prayer" say, "Did you really mean that?"
    "Yes."
    "Then I declare you to be a child of God. And don't let anybody try to talk you out of it."

    It is not my business to make that kind of declaration. And it is presumptious of me to do so. Only time will tell if that conversion was real. And only he can tell me what has happened to his heart.
     
  11. Winman

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    I disagree. I would have asked the woman what she prayed. If she told me she asked Jesus to forgive her of her sins, then I would ask if she was sincere. If she said yes, then I would ask her if there is anything else she has to do. If she says no I would believe she is saved. If she said she had to be baptized, or belong to the church, or do good works, then I would explain that the scriptures teach we are saved by trusting Jesus alone.

    It is not the prayer that saves, the prayer is simply evidence of faith.
     
  12. Dr. Walter

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    Nowhere are evangelists or Christians instructed to lead sinners in such a prayer. The Publican was not being led by Christ to say the sinners prayer. The Publican did not say any sinners prayer but simply made a confession that he was a sinner. We are commanded to preach the gospel but not once in scripture are we commanded by precept or by example to lead any sinner in a sinner's prayer.
     
  13. Tom Butler

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    And I agree with the last sentence. Nor do I have a problem with the questions you would ask. I agree that it's important to make sure she understands what's happening.

    My main point is that I must rely on your declaration of faith rather than my opinion as to the validity of your conversion. I cannot look at your heart. I can't declare you to be a believer.

    Now, I can be a "fruit inspector" and draw some conclusion from it. But in the end I must rely on your own testimony. That's all I'm saying.

    I'm wondering how many believers on the BB never "prayed the prayer." I didn't. When I came under conviction as a nine-year-old boy, and headed down the aisle to the pastor, he asked a series of questions.

    Why are you coming? I want to be saved
    Do you understand that you are a sinner? Yes.
    Do you understand the penalty for your sin? Yes.
    Do you repent of your sin? Yes.
    Do you understand that you must trust Jesus alone for your salvation? Yes.

    Sit down right over there.

    I guess I obsessing about this, but I've seen three of my church's deacons come to the point where they decided they had never been saved. One of them said he walked the aisle as a child only because the other kids did, and he thought it was the right thing to do.

    I saw my own wife come to that same conclusion. I've seen a lot of folks come to believe that their earlier conversion experience was not valid. That's what makes me a bit jittery when I hear some preacher say "repeat after me," or "just pray this prayer."
     
  14. Winman

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    Well, if someone went down for the wrong reason they are not saved.

    But if someone really believes the scriptures that they are a sinner and the wages of sin is death, and if they truly believe Jesus is the Son of God who died for their sins and rose again, and if they sincerely call upon Jesus to save them, they are saved according to the scriptures.

    There might be some who do not question a person, but this is not what we do in our church.

    On the other hand, you do not have to have a PhD in theology to get saved. The gospel is very simple and even a young child can understand it.
     
  15. Dr. Walter

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    That is not the issue. The issue is that the sinner's prayer is presented and used as the instrument in obtaining salvation by another person and then is used later to convince a person they are saved BECAUSE they repeated the sinners prayer. They are then told that either God is a liar or they are saved because they said these specific words. Nowhere can this methodology be found in the scriptures. Nowhere can such instrumentality used by another person be found in the scriptures. It is misleading and can be damning by nature as a person is often led to base their assurance of salvation upon saying a prayer rather than upon transformation of his nature as a new creation.

    If salvation depended upon being led to say a specific kind of prayer we would find repeated examples in the New Testament and repeated precepts to do it. However, it is the gospel which is the power of salvation and confession is but the expression of an expressed faith in the heart (Rom. 10:10). I did not say a prayer in order to beleive the gospel but I made a confession that I had already beleived in Christ. One is causal while the other is consequential and that is a tremendous difference. The sinner's prayer is used as causual, thus manipulative and that is wrong.
     
  16. Winman

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    To add a little more, if your wife was worried about her childhood conversion, this shows she is a believer does it not?

    If you are concerned, you believe. Folks who do not believe are not concerned, they think it is foolishness and a myth.

    God knows the heart. If a
    person believes and wants to be saved, they are. It is as simple as "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."

    Jesus told Nicodemus that as the serpent was lifted up in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up. What did they have to do to be healed of the poisonous snake bites in the wilderness? Simply believe God and look.

    The devil complicates faith so people can't understand. It is looking to Jesus in simple dependence. It is calling upon him, casting yourself upon him and relying on Jesus alone to save you. You don't have to do works, you don't have to persevere, he saves you on the spot, just as he healed those who looked to the brass serpent on the spot.

    The looking was simply the outward evidence that they believed. If you have enough faith to look (or call), then you have enough faith to be saved.
     
  17. Winman

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    Baloney, if the person BELIEVES Jesus saved them, then he did. You are arguing that a person who has faith is not saved.

    A person who believes will sincerely ask Jesus to save them, an unbeliever just goes through the motions.

    We don't change to get saved, we get saved and then the Holy Spirit changes us.

    It is like a leper. He is helpless to heal himself. But when he came to Jesus, Jesus healed him. He could not be whole until Jesus made him whole. All the leper could do was come in faith, Jesus did all the rest.
     
  18. Dr. Walter

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    Several years ago, my wife had a spiritual crisis where she came to think she had never been really saved. I beleived she was saved but no matter how hard I tried to convince her and provide assurance it did not work until I did something. I sided with her and said, ok, you must be lost and I walked out of the room and left her with that conclusion.

    Unknown to me, she spent the whole night in prayer in the bathroom and the very next morning she came triumphantly to me and said "I know that I was saved and am saved." God gave her the assurance.

    When a person is really saved, the gospel does not come in word only but "IN POWER and IN THE HOLY SPIRIT and IN MUCH ASSURANCE." God provides it and if you come to doubt it later only God can provide assurance.

    The sinners prayer is used to replace the assurance that comes by the power of God. Instead of turning the person to God they turn a person to a recipe they repeated.

    I personally believe if a person doubts their salvation then just join them in doubting it. If they are really saved God won't join them in doubting it or leave them in doubt.

    Likewise at conversion, I don't want to talk anyone into salvation because if I can talk them into someone else can talk them out of it. If the gospel is not sufficient to convert the soul by the Spirit of God manifested in much assurance in moving their heart by faith to make their own confession then why do you think someone else may be able to do what God didn't do through the gospel? Is the gospel the power of God or the sinners prayer? Again the subtle distinctin is between cause and consequences.
     
  19. Winman

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    I don't know of anyone who tries to convince someone who is not saved they are.

    Assurance is another matter. A person can be saved and yet doubt. You might have sincerely asked Jesus to save you, but fall into sin and doubt later. This is very common.

    But you can go over it with them. Do they believe they are a sinner and the wages of sin is death? Most will say yes. Do they believe Jesus died for their sins and rose again? They will say yes. Now you show them scripture, does the scripture say if you believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins and that God raised him from the dead you shall be saved? They will say yes. Well, what does the scripture say, are you lost or saved? Most will agree the scripture says they are saved but object they do not "feel" saved.

    Salvation is not a feeling, it is a promise. If you met God's condition and trusted Christ, you are saved whether you "feel" it or not.

    But this is why a prayer is helpful. The scripture says whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. You can kneel down with the person and they can call on Jesus to save them. Then you can assure them from God's word. If they sincerely asked Jesus to save them, he did. When they doubt (and we all do at times), we can look to God's promise for assurance.
     
  20. Winman

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    The problem is that folks think faith is some magical feeling, some continual state of confidence. So when they doubt, they fear they have not believed. The more they try to be confident, the more fearful they become. I know, because I went through this. I had to learn what faith is.

    Faith is a decision. It is simply placing your life in Jesus's hands.

    It is like going to the doctor and allowing him to put you asleep and operate on you. You are placing your life in his hands.

    It is like jumping out of a tall building in a fire to firemen who are holding a net below. You are trusting them, believeing on them to catch you.

    You could be terrified, in fact it is difficult to believe you would feel otherwise, but if you make that decision to jump you have trusted them. You have placed your life in their hands.

    It is the same with Jesus. You might have fears and doubts, but if you come to him in your heart as he commanded, if you call on him, then you have trusted him, you have put your life in his hands. And Jesus will in no wise cast out those who come to him.

    So, faith is a decision, not a magical feeling.
     
    #20 Winman, Oct 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2011

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