In Acts chapter 9, Saul of Tarsus, who later was named Paul, was struck blind when he met the Lord on the road to Damascus . Then we read in Acts 9:6 about Paul, “So he, trembling and astonished said, ‘Lord, what do you want me to do?’ Then the Lord said, ‘Arise and go into the city and you will be told what you must do’”. Notice, Paul would be told “what you must do”. Then we read “But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus . And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank” (Acts 9:8-9). Did Paul have faith in the Lord? Yes. Was Paul saved by “faith only” at this point? No; as we will see, Paul still needed to be baptized to wash away his sins.
The Lord sent a man, named Ananias, to tell Paul what he must do. The Lord told Ananias to “Arise and go to the street called Straight and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying” (Acts 9:11). Paul had been praying, but he did not receive forgiveness of his sins through praying. Paul still had all of his sins. Paul was told by Ananias “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Paul was not saved and his sins were not forgiven until Paul did what he was told he must do; that is to “arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.”
Today men have come up with the idea of “accepting Jesus as your personal Saviour” and saying the “sinner’s prayer” in order to be saved. This is a ploy of Satan which will cause many people to be eternally lost by not obeying what the Lord says that we must do in order to have our sins forgiven and to be saved. Satan knows people are not saved by saying the “sinner’s prayer”. “Accepting Jesus as your personal Saviour” and saying the “sinner’s prayer” in order to be saved is foreign to the Bible. Why wasn’t Paul’s sins forgiven by his praying before he was baptized? Paul’s sins were not washed away until after he was baptized. Paul was not told to pray the “sinner’s prayer”, but to “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins”. I cannot think of a more flagrant crime against God and man, than to tell lost sinners who want to be saved something different than what God says in the Bible.