People often ask the question "what does it mean to be saved, and what am I saved from"?
John 3:16-18 says; "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God".
Reading this you must take a few things from it.
1) If we believe in God we will not perish but have everlasting life.
2) God sent His Son to save the world.
3) If we believe we are not condemned, but if we believe not, we are already condemned.
Now, some will say all we have to do is believe in Jesus and we are saved. They point to Romans 10:9-10 which says; "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation". This scripture is where the "sinners prayer" comes from. However, further study reveals that there is more work that needs to be done than just verbalizing your intent.
Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. (Talking is not enough)
Matther 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (So you mean I have to DO something, the will of the Father)
Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Again, speaking something does not bring it into existence)
We must be born of water and of spirit to enter into the kingdom of heaven. This can not be accomplished simply by stating the "sinners prayer". Look at John 3:5 "Jesus answered, verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God". So then, how do we go about making sure we are indeed saved?
Acts 2:38 says; "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost". We must complete the entire process, repent(verbally making a vow to turn away from the direction you are going). Since we know we are born into sin, and Romans 6:23 lets us know that the wages of sin is death, when we repent, we are turning away from the sinful nature we were born with, and choosing to follow the will of the Father. The next step is to be baptized in Jesus name, not his titles, but his name, then we shall receive the GIFT of the Holy Ghost. We know that a gift is something that is freely given, there are times we may receive a gift that we may not deserve, but most times, we have done something to deserve the gift. In this case, we have followed the will of the Father by repenting and being baptized in Jesus name.
Show me in the Bible any example of someone being saved through the use of the "sinners prayer", there isn't one. So then, what are we saved from?
Read these scriptures: Mark 16:16, Luke 13:28, Revelation 19:20, Revelation 20:15. We are saved from NOT spending eternity in Heaven. We are saved from the weeping and gnashing of teeth of all those who did not follow the will of the Father. We are saved from the lake of fire (which was where we were headed if we didn't repent and turn away from the direction we were going). We are saved from NOT having our names written in the book of life and thereby being cast into the lake of fire.
We are born into sin, and "the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). However, if we follow the scriptures, (Acts 2:38), our sins will be removed, and we will be part of the group that will be saved that Jesus came into the world for. In other words, when we were born we had a ticket to hell. The only way to cancel that ticket is to repent, be baptized for the remission of sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. At that point, we have a new ticket for a new destination, which is heaven, and therefore, we are "saved" from the destruction and eternal damnation of hell.