As one ventures out into the public space, they will find themselves surrounded by a sea of masked shoppers making their way through the stores. As I was recently picking up some things at a local hardware store, the sight seemed to be a vivid illustration of many people today in an eternal sense. Just as report after report from doctor after doctor emphasizes that the vast majority of masks being worn are useless against COVID-19 (when you understand the science behind it) giving people a false sense of security, so goes many in an eternal sense regarding their salvation. Likewise, their “mask” is false security caused by them trusting the legitimacy of their salvation to how sincere they were when they prayed a prayer one time in their life with no other tangible evidence of truly being born again. A false conversion masks their eternity; let’s call them “prayer masks.” And as the title of this article implies, they come from Satan himself. The clever adversary that he is offers people peace and assurance with God when in reality there isn’t any.
So where are these folks getting these prayer masks? Flip through your local TV stations on Sunday morning, and it’s easy to find a distributor. Many offer up some sort of prayer at the end of their service that isn’t necessarily bad until you hear words like these, “…friend if you’ve prayed that prayer, I want to welcome you to the family of God.” With just a little bit of thought, it’s easy to understand the problem with this type of “evangelism”.
First, it’s not evangelism. Nowhere in Scripture do we see anyone evangelizing by affirming one’s salvation based on their sincerity of repeating a prayer. That friend is witchcraft. God has only blessed one way for lost sinners to come to saving faith and that is the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:17)! Asking someone to simply “repeat a prayer” reeks of what’s called “decisionism” (see how it opposes the Gospel HERE).
Second, how does the pastor know? Only God is omniscient. Do we suppose these pastors and evangelists have some extra-Biblical revelation that allows them to supernaturally see into someone’s heart? Of course, they don’t. Ergo, how reckless is it that they give someone such assurance? Only God can “search the mind and test the heart” (Jeremiah 17:10).
Third, a person’s sincerity emanates from a wicked place – their heart. When the Bible refers to the “heart” it is referring to the control center of the very thing that drives our intents and thoughts. So many times when I ask someone on the street why they are going to heaven, they reply, “…because God knows my heart…” Yet the Bible also tells us that the heart is “more deceitful than all else, And is desperately sick;” (Jeremiah 17:9).
One last consideration is how people wear these prayer masks. The prayer masks are attached much more securely than the ones being worn in a futile attempt to guard against COVID-19. Whereas they are not just fastened by some elastic band that can be easily removed. No, these prayer masks have been fastened to many for years. They have been worn for so long, some are nearly impossible to remove.
By God’s grace, we can help our lost neighbors remove these prayer masks. But there is only one way, through the telling of the Gospel of Christ. Any other attempt will only secure the prayer mask even tighter, guaranteeing eternal death. The lost soul must realize the wrath that hangs over their head apart from Christ, see that He is their only hope, and cast themselves upon Christ and Christ alone that He may grant them repentance and faith unto eternal life.
So get out there today and love your neighbor enough to tell them the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and help them remove the prayer mask of the beast.
Soli Deo Gloria!