THE WAY OF SALVATION NOT BEING PRAYER
We come now to the fifth "not being." There are many people who will add another condition to salvation. It is not law-keeping or good behavior, nor is it repentance or confession. They say that a person must pray in order to be saved. They base their claim on Romans 10: "Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (v. 13). As a result, some believe that they must beseech God before they can be saved. On a number of occasions I have encountered some people who wanted to be saved. They said, "Daily I plead with God to save me, and I still do not know when He will do so. I have been praying for three months without any inward sensation. I just do not know if God will see fit to save me." I have also met some others who said, "I am waiting for the Holy Spirit to come and move me to my knees to ask Jesus to save me. I am not saved as yet. I must wait for the Spirit to inspire me to pray before I can be saved." For this reason, we need to see whether a man needs to pray before he can be saved.
First, one seeks to be saved through praying and begging because he is entirely ignorant of God’s love and God’s grace. He thinks that God hates man, and therefore he must pray for God to change His mind before He will save him. He gives himself to pray, without knowing how much he has to pray before God will hear him or listen to him. Remember how Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel? He challenged them to ask their god to send down fire. The prophets "cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them" (1 Kings 18:29). They supposed that Baal would listen if they would only inflict more pain upon their own bodies. Today there are those who also think that if they bring distress upon themselves and plead enough with God, He will have compassion on them. These kinds of people have never seen the gospel. Because they have never seen God in the light of the gospel, they believe that their begging before God will turn His heart towards them. Actually there is no need for God to turn His heart. His heart has long been turned. We are the ones who need a turn of heart, because we rejected and opposed Him, and we did not believe in Him.
Second Corinthians 5:19 says, "God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself." God did not wrong man; it is man who has wronged God. There has never been a need for God to be reconciled to man. Rather, man has to be reconciled to God because it is man who is totally at fault. The problem is not with God, but with man. Everyone who desires to understand the gospel ought to know that God is love and that He loves the world. He has no problem with us, and neither do we need to plead with Him.
(Gospel of God, The (2 volume set), Chapter 12, by Watchman Nee)