Many times a batter has swung the bat in a smooth even swing at what seemed like a sure hit only to miss the ball completely. What happened? The pitcher threw him a curve ball. Likewise in religion many people having heard the gospel message and being desirous of the salvation offered, have nevertheless completely failed in doing God’s will. What happened? Religious teachers have thrown them a curve.
In the second chapter of the Book of Acts we have the record of the first day of Christianity. On that day the apostles received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and began to carry out the commission Jesus had given them to spread the gospel message throughout the world. The apostle Peter was the main spokesperson that day. He explained the outpouring of the Holy Spirit; he spoke of the life, death and resurrection of Christ; he told of the ascension of Jesus back to heaven where He sat down on the right hand of the Father. Then Peter concluded by announcing that “God had made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:26)
Today this same gospel message about Jesus and what he has done for us is heard repeatedly throughout the land. It is proclaimed from a thousand pulpits, heard over the airwaves, written in books and pamphlets, communicated from person to person. But then comes the curve. Today when people desiring salvation in Christ ask what to do, instead of being told: “Repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38) as the Bible says, they are told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer.” This “Sinner’s Prayer,” so often promoted by modern religious teachers as the way to salvation is not found in the Bible. It is rather a deceptive substitute for what the Bible really teaches. And just as many a batter has been deceived by a curve ball, so many good people have been deceived into thinking they are saved by offering the “Sinner’s Prayer.”