But it’s really an unnecessary question…a moot point, if you will…in that it has already been answered in the Scriptures…it is written that every knee WILL bow, and every tongue WILL confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, either now or later, to the glory of God the Father! Therefore [because He stooped so low] God has highly exalted Him and has freely bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, That in (at) the name of Jesus every knee should (must) bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, And every tongue [frankly and openly] confess and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11 – AMP)
What is the official Christian method or formula for obtaining salvation? It depends on whom you ask. Some say that it is water baptism by immersion, others say that it is baptism by sprinkling, still others by christening/infant Baptism, or baptism in the name of Jesus, or baptism by invoking the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, or Holy Spirit Baptism with the evidence of Speaking with other Tongues, or “calling on The Name,” or catechism, or receiving Last Rites, or by church membership, or by repentance from dead works, or by sanctification and holy living, or by public confession…the list goes on and on.
In the Gospels, Zacchaeus received salvation simply by restoring, fourfold, all that he had stolen from the people (without baptism or confession of faith), the harlot received salvation simply by washing Jesus’ feet with her hair (without baptism or confession of faith), the thief on the cross received salvation by simply asking for it (without baptism or confession of faith). Paul and Silas told their believing jailer that his entire household would be saved just because they were related to him.
In recent history, the “Sinner’s Prayer” has gradually replaced the traditional role of water baptism in relation to current church concepts of the way to obtain salvation. Though it is touted as gospel today, the “Sinner’s Prayer” is actually a very recent invention, first employed by D.L. Moody (1837-1899) who used this “model” of prayer when training his evangelistic co-workers. But it did not reach popular usage until the 1950s with Billy Graham’s Peace With God tract, and later with Campus Crusade for Christ’s Four Spiritual Laws. The idea of it is based largely on a particular interpretation of Romans 10:9 & 10 about the effects of believing and confessing the Lordship of Jesus. But when Chapters 9, 10 and 11 of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome are read in their proper context, it becomes clear that he is discussing there in that entire passage the deliverance and preservation of Israel as a nation (who, by the way, he declares will “all be saved” – Romans 11:26).
The Jewish New Testament, a translation of David H. Stern, most accurately captures the real essence of what Paul was actually saying in these verses: basically, that believing in the Lordship of Jesus continually brings deliverance in our everyday life (as in David’s words…“I know that the Lord SAVES His anointed”), and that the confession of faith is a lifestyle, not a mantra:
What, then, does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” – that is the word about trust which we proclaim, namely, that if you acknowledge publicly with your mouth that Yeshua is Lord and trust in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be DELIVERED. For with the heart one goes on trusting and thus continues toward righteousness, while with the mouth one KEEPS ON MAKING PUBLIC ACKNOWLEDGMENT AND THUS CONTINUES TOWARD DELIVERANCE... everyone who calls on the name of Adonai will be DELIVERED. (Romans 10:8-10, 13 – Jewish New Testament)
According to the Apostle Paul, all of humanity was “saved” at the same time (1 Timothy 4:10), but all are not yet believers. He also emphatically answered this often-asked question “Does one have to confess the Lordship of Jesus to be eternally saved?” with a definite “Yes!” He said that every tongue in heaven or on earth or “beneath the earth,” according to His revelation of grace, should, and eventually will confess, either now or later! Absolutely, everyone must confess the Lordship of Jesus Christ to be saved, and, thank God, according to the Scriptures, eventually everyone will!
We can set no limits to the agency of the Redeemer to redeem, to rescue, to discipline in his work, and so will he continue to operate after this life.
– Clement of Alexandria