Most evangelical Christians claim that the salvation equation is:
Jesus + nothing = everything
Jesus + sinner’s contribution = nothing
However, if you pay close attention to what they’re actually teaching, it becomes clear that what they actually believe is:
Jesus + nothing = nothing
Jesus + sinner’s contribution = everything
Now, the sinner’s contribution can be anything from praying “the Sinner’s Prayer” to getting baptized in water to confessing with their mouth that “Jesus is Lord,” or it can be something as simple as choosing to believe the Gospel or choosing to have faith in Christ or choosing to “accept the gift of salvation” (whatever that means to them). It really doesn’t matter what you believe their required contribution is, though, because having to do something in order to be saved turns salvation into a transaction between themselves and God, which ultimately makes it salvation by works — even if it’s seemingly as small a work as having to make the right choice — as well as salvation by self (or at least partly salvation by self). If one can’t be saved without having to do something, even if that something is just having to choose to believe the right thing, it’s still something (a contribution to their own salvation on top of what Jesus accomplished) that is required to be done by the sinner in order to be saved. And if there’s something the sinner has to do in order to be saved, it certainly isn’t “Jesus + nothing = everything” since one can hardly call having to choose to believe the right thing “nothing” (if it actually were nothing, we wouldn’t have to do anything).
The truth is, Christians don’t preach the solution to sin, because they don’t realize that sin has already been solved. They think sin is still a problem that each individual has to make sure they get solved before their own death occurs, not realizing that the solution was already implemented and completed some 2,000 years ago, and that sin and death are now both guaranteed to be taken care of for everyone because Christ died for our sins, was entombed, and was roused the third day. The fact of the matter is, even as, in Adam, all are dying, thus also, in Christ, shall all be vivified (made immortal), but each in their own order: First the body of Christ, at the Snatching Away. Then the members of the Israel of God who are resurrected at the Resurrection of the Just, 75 days after Jesus returns to the earth. And finally everyone else, at the end of the eons, when He abolishes death entirely (and for death to be abolished, there can’t be anyone remaining dead, not even those who died a second time in the lake of fire).
As Martin Zender put it in the description for his MZTV 738 video, entitled Sinner’s Prayer Nightmare:
To keep sinners needing them, the Christian religion keeps its penitents bogged down in the problem of sin and death. Being the self-appointed dispensers of “what it takes” to get on God’s side and stay there, evil Christian leaders — few of whom actually believe they are evil — withhold the GOD-APPOINTED solution to sin and death, which is the death, entombment, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Few of these so-called “good-newsers” withhold the solution on purpose, as few even realize the solution themselves.
Standard Christian “evangelists” camp on the condemnation side of Romans (chapters 1:8-3:20), never venturing forth into Romans 3:21 through the end of chapter 8. Why? Because these consequential chapters negate human effort while extolling the virtues of Christ. The negation of human effort is the death knell to those PRESCRIBING human effort. Those making their living holding narrow hoops through which “heaven hopefuls” must jump, cannot even imagine a scenario in which Christ does EVERYTHING.
Of course, any evangelical Christian reading this is already thinking of all sorts of Bible verses that talk about salvation at least requiring faith, and the various passages that also tell us that not everyone will be saved. And they’re absolutely right to do so, because there are passages that teach all those things. That doesn’t mean that what I wrote above, and what Martin taught in his video, isn’t also true, however. It just means that salvation can mean different things, depending on the passage one reads about it in, and that there are certain types of salvation which people without faith will not enjoy (the “especially” salvation that Paul refers to, for example, which is a special salvation on top of the salvation God gives everyone). But the salvation which God gives us because of what Christ won through His cross? That’s a promise, and it applies to everyone equally. So when we preach the Gospel, we need to remember that it’s a proclamation of Good News, not a proposition that it can be good news if only we happen to choose to do the right thing (by choosing to believe the right thing).