Do Christians believe that they can say a prayer for salvation and then sin like hell?
By Eric Johnson
A false stereotype some people outside Christianity may have about Evangelical Christianity is that good works are not important to their faith. Hence, it is assumed that a person merely needs to walk down a church aisle, say a little prayer, and presto, salvation is secure. Now the person can live like hell. After all, if salvation is free, it sounds like good works shouldn’t even be necessary. Please toss this mistaken idea out the door. I have never heard such a message preached at any church I’ve visited. This is not part of true Christian theology or orthopraxy. Yes, “salvation” comes by grace through faith, not by works. (See Eph. 2:8-9.) This is what is known as justification, which is being presented to God as if sin was never an issue. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, a person becomes a new creation in Christ where old things pass away and all things become new. The believer is given a new nature and becomes “born again,” something not caused by a person’ good works. Yet Ephesians 2:10 says that the believer is “God’s workmanship,” created by Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared from the very foundation of the world. And James 2:14-26 says that faith without works is dead. This is called sanctification. As Philippians 2:12 says, Christians are to work “out” (not work “for”) their salvation with fear and trembling. Good works are the fruit of a true salvation; while they are not what a person does to cause justification, it certainly defines sanctification and proves the new spiritual birth to be genuine.