THE ALTAR CALL

Most of us have heard or read some of these "altar call" verses, verses like the ones shown below. They are referred to as altar call verses because they are often quoted by Ministers and others to invite or "call" us to the altar to repeat a simple prayer in order to be saved. Such verses are used to substantiate the concept that to receive salvation we just need to believe God is real, that Jesus is His Son, that He died on the cross for our sins, confess that we are a sinner, and ask Jesus to come into our hearts to be our Lord and Savior. Unfortunately during these "saved" events most often the emphasis is placed on 2 things; that salvation is a free gift from God and that we need only to believe. These verses supposedly validate that if we accept and believe these things as true, and confess them in a prayer, we will be saved and will spend eternity in heaven with the Lord. All we have to do is believe, repeat one simple prayer, then receive. That's it, that is all there is to it, or is it? Let's take a closer look because there is more, much more....

First it will be helpful to read some definitions of the words Believe and Faith. When we know what  believe and faith really mean we can more fully understand what these verses are actually saying.  Notice how believe and faith are often the same thing.
                                                        

Some of the definitions of BELIEVE taken from
dictionary.com 

Some of the definitions of FAITH
taken from
dictionary.com

1. To accept as true or real. 2. To have confidence in the truth or value of something. 3. to have faith in the reliability, honesty, benevolence, etc., of someone or something. 4. To have faith, confidence, or trust. 

1. The trust in God and in His promises as made through Christ and the Scriptures by which humans are justified or saved. 2. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing. 3. The obligation of loyalty or fidelity to a person, promise, engagement, etc. 

John 3:16 KJV  

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

John 6:29 KJV  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him
whom he hath sent.
 

John 6:47 NKJV Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. 

John 11:25 KJVJesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.    

Acts 16:31 KJV And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
  
Romans 1:16 KJV  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  

John 1:12 KJV But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. 

John 3:36  KJV He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. 
 
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Yes these verses are in the Bible but they are only a part of the larger message. It is interesting that some verses say "believe on" rather than "believe in." As we begin to fully comprehend what it really means to believe in Jesus, to receive Him, and to place our trust and faith in Him, these verses should take on new meaning for us. It is true that salvation is a free gift from God through Jesus, available and offered to everyone, but that does not mean that God has no expectations of us if we accept this gift.

Imagine a wealthy man giving you ten million dollars, putting it into your bank account as a gift. The money was freely given but if you never spend any of it would it actually have been received? The ten million could and should change your life but ONLY if you use it. If it were not used then it really doesn't matter that is was given because it wasn't really recieved.  Just as ten million dollars if recieved would change your life, salvation if recieved will also change your life and salvation is priceless! God expects us to change from His free gift of salvation and the evidence that we indeed recieved it will be the changes that occur in our life as a result.

 

There is much more to being saved than  saying a prayer. The truth is that if our "here" hasn't changed our "hereafter" hasn't either. In the verse below Paul says that there is more to salvation, things that "accompany" it. 

Hebrews 6:9 NIV 

Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case—things that accompany salvation.  

Again, receiving genuine Salvation requires more than just repeating a simple prayer. It really isn't that easy in fact, it isn't easy at all. Just as Jesus said in Matthew 7:14, here Peter says that it is not only not easy to be saved but that it is actually hard!

1 Peter 4:18 NIV  And, If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? 

 

Speaking of when He returns in the verse below, Jesus said that some who think they are saved really aren't; those are who He is referring to here. These are people who believe they have salvation which is why they call Him "Lord, Lord," but sadly they got it wrong. Perhaps they did say a simple prayer asking for salvation but then did not turn to Him, submit to Him, abide in His word and do His will. 

Matthew 7:21 NIV

Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

How tragic it would be to believe that we are saved yet to be turned away by Him when He returns or at the time of our death. Jesus made it very clear, ONLY those who do Gods will can enter heaven.
If we expect to inherit eternity with our Lord in heaven we better be in His WILL!

  
 

The next page will make clear how receiving salvation requires more than just words said in a prayer.  Words are just words if not backed by action, as the saying goes "words are cheap." Believing isn't accomplished with mere words and neither is salvation. Pauls tells us in Romans:

Romans 10:10 KJVFor with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.



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