There are times when I sit to type on topics such as this one, that I feel like shutting down the computer and not even starting, or to start with an apology to all of those who have such a wonderful gift of expressing truth in eloquent words. 'I ain't that way.' Mine will not use such voluminous vernacular, but simpler words from the heart.
We begin a study today on the topic of salvation, or how one obtains salvation. I am Baptist! I am unashamedly Baptist! I become more Baptist with every sermon I study! Being a Baptist, I believe in salvation by grace through faith! I believe salvation is a gift of God! I believe that salvation is obtained not of ourselves, not of works! (Eph. 2:8-9, Titus 3:5) I believe that even the faith that saves me is not mine own, but a faith of God that He gives to me (Eph. 2:8). In other words, I believe that all my good works are filth in the sight of God (Is. 64:6), and that I at my best, fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). No baptism, church attendance, sacrifice, or good deed can earn my way to Heaven. It is totally by His grace and faith! I believe this salvation is free to each and everyone as He died for the sins of the world (John 3:16) and is not willing that ANY should perish (2 Peter 3:9). I also believe that every good Baptist has 'Amened' every word I have typed and we all in one 'baptiminical' voice cry out
"FOR BY GRACE ARE YE SAVED THROUGH FAITH AND THAT NOT OF OURSELVES, IT IS A GIFT OF GOD. NOT OF WORKS!"
But it is then, I pick up one of our many tracts such as this one and read the back after our Gospel message is shared only to read, "If you will accept Christ as your Lord and Saviour, please pray this prayer with all your heart..."
Did we just add a work? Did we just put a standard by which to accomplish this work? Do we not 'assure' people of their salvation by pointing back to this work in saying, "Well, was there a time when you prayed and asked the Lord to save you?" Have we inadvertently added a work and as a consequence confused and robbed people of their assurance or (may God forbid) robbed people of their salvation?