I am a tad bit busy this afternoon and also a wee bit short on inspiration due to being up with kiddos all night and feeling quite tired. So I hope you will forgive me, instead of writing a new post right now I'm just going to refer you to a post from one of my other blogs for your daily dose of fresh reading material. ;)
Some believe that once you're 'saved' you're saved no matter what you do afterward. I just read a comment on another blog that said the person didn't get, "...how Jesus would allow someone who committed unthinkable crime and denied Him all their life, get into heaven JUST for saying a simple prayer when he was 8." Well I agree- that pretty much sums up why I don't believe the once-saved, always-saved philosophy. But on the opposite end of the spectrum I don't believe that God yanks your name out of the Book of Life every time you make a mistake and you have to say the sinners prayer again to get put back on the nice list. I also don't believe loss of salvation has anything to do with you getting snached away from God, but that you leave Him of your own accord. So here's what I get out of my Bible on the subject;
Saying a prayer in and of itself will not get you to heaven. Good works will not get you to heaven. For by FAITH through grace we are saved, not by WORKS lest any man should boast. That means just being a good person won't get you to heaven. Why? Because ALL people have sinned. Every one. The wages of sin is death - that means any sin - but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus. The wages of robbing a bank is death. The wages of murdering is death. The wage of thinking a lustful thought is death. The wage of sassing your mama is death. All sin is sin. Sin cannot enter heaven because God is holy and sin cannot be in heaven with the holy God. So if you sin, even an eensy weensie bit, you cannot go to heaven. And obviously everyone on this earth has sinned at some point whether they realize it or not. So the only way to heaven is to have Someone pay your way in for you, since the price of a ticket to Paradise is one pure and blameless, sinless human life. And there is only One who can pay that price for you - Jesus. So you have to believe that Jesus is who He says He is because if He's not, then He can't afford your ticket either.
And if you truely believe that Jesus is Who He says He is, then you will want to please Him. You will be thankful for him paying the price you could never pay so you could get into heaven.
Say you're waiting at the gates of the Superduperbowl, and the tickets are so expensive that there's only one man on the planet rich enough to buy tickets- the only son of the owner of the Superduperbowl arena. If you try to go through the gates without a ticket, you would be arrested. So say someone comes up to you and offers to pay for your ticket. He says he's the son, the only man on earth who can afford your ticket and he wants to pay for your way in. You won't accept the gift if you don't believe he is who he says he is, right? You would mock him and laugh and say, "Hey no way dude, I have a plan to sneak in or bribe or beg or whatever because you can't possibly be THE SON! Haha! You're probably just trying to make me look like a fool!" But if you DO believe he is who he says he is, you would feel so grateful that he would do this for you asking nothing in return that you would make conversation with him, try to get to know him, try to please him, try to express to him somehow how very grateful you are! You would want to tell everyone you met about how wonderful this son is! You would want your friends to get into the game with you! You would be so happy and excited! You would not leave his side and if you did, if you stumbled or forgot yourself and acted like an ingrate or were rude to him, you would apologize, ask forgiveness, and keep trying to do better, thankful all the way that he did not go back on his offer every time you messed up!
Now lets try a different hypothetical. Let's say you didn't really believe he was the one he said he was, but you pretended to. You might have even convinced yourself at the moment that he was the one, but then you got to doubting and overthinking it and decided to go your own way. Or you did believe at first but then decided that making nice was too much trouble, you'd rather go off with your friends and do what makes you feel good and hang out with people who like to bash the son with words and actions. If you are not with HIM at the gate because after accepting his offer you decided to go your own way, how can he pay for your ticket? He can't! You left him! Or what if someone tells you he can pay your way but they are not the son. Maybe they claim to be, maybe they claim to be someone else of power who can get you through the gate. Well no matter how much you believe in them, how good and nice you are, and how far you follow them, if they can't pay the price of one sinless, 100% pure human life for your ticket, then you're not getting in that gate.
Does that make sense? If you believe in Jesus, you will want to do what is right to please Him. If you fall he's not going to change His mind and leave you there alone of course. He'll hold out His hand to you to help you back up. But if you decide to stay on the ground and not get up, or go your own way, or follow someone who cannot pay the price, then you're not going to be able to get in that gate! The sinner's prayer isn't a wristband for the county fair. The event IS HEAVEN; the *journey* there isn't what we're buying a ticket for! The journey is for getting to know the One who is paying our way. Because if you don't know Him by the time you get to the gate, you won't have a ticket.