I WANT MY SINS FORGIVEN LIKE THE TAX COLLECTOR by steve finnell
Advocates of having sins forgiven by reciting a sinner's pray use as a proof-text, the parable of the publican and the Pharisee.
Luke 18:9-14 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank You I am not like other men---extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 'I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.' 13 "And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying , 'God be merciful to me a sinner!. 14 "I tell you, this man went down ti his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be abased, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.(NKJV)
This is not a parable about salvation, it is about arrogance versus humility.
There is no indication that the Pharisee nor the Jewish tax collector were believers in Jesus Christ. They were both Jews.
If you want to say a sinner's prayer so you can be saved like the Jewish tax collector; then you believe you can have your sins forgiven without confessing Jesus as the Christ. Do you think you can be saved without believing that God raised Jesus from the dead? Do you believe you can be saved without believing that Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe you can be saved while rejecting what Jesus said when He said he who has been baptized will be saved?
The tax collector (publican) was not a Christian, nor did he become a Christian by praying a prayer of humility.