believe not saved

Question: “Can a person believe in some sense but not be saved?”

Answer: There are different levels of belief, and different objects of belief, and not all that’s called “belief” is actually saving faith. James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” So, if a person simply believes that there is a God in heaven—and that’s the extent of his faith—then he has exactly the same faith as the demons of hell. That’s not saving faith, even though it involves a measure of belief. Therefore, yes, a person can “believe” in some sense but not be saved.

Simon the sorcerer in Samaria is said to have “believed and was baptized” at the preaching of Philip (Acts 8:13). But later, when Simon offers the apostles money to have their ability to impart the Holy Spirit (verses 18–19), he is rebuked sternly by Peter: “May your money perish with you. . . . You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God” (verses 20–21). Was Simon saved, based on his “belief”? Before we answer that, we should acknowledge the difficulty of building a doctrine on a narrative passage in Acts. Such passages were never meant to be extrapolated into foundational teachings, and we are not necessarily given all the facts we need to make a doctrinal determination. Concerning Acts 8, some would say that Simon lost his salvation (a view that contradicts other passages, such as John 10:28–30). Others would say that Simon’s initial belief was not genuine—he was never saved to begin with. And others might say that Simon was truly saved but, having a deficient understanding of the Holy Spirit, made a horrible suggestion. After Simon was rebuked, he seems to have some measure of repentance (verse 24). We are not told how the story ends. Our conclusion is that Simon did not lose his salvation; either he had made a false profession or he offered a horrible suggestion out of ignorance and greed.

It is quite possible for a person to have an initial positive response to the gospel without being saved. He may feel his heart stirred at the stories about Jesus. He may even identify with Christ through baptism and church membership and get involved in ministry—all the while not being born again. We see instances of this in Scripture (Matthew 7:21–23; 13:24–30) and in everyday life.

We can illustrate the disconnect between some kinds of “belief” and saving faith this way: many Americans are overweight, and at the same time there are thousands of weight-loss products available. People will see an infomercial about the latest home exercise equipment, and they say, “That’s just what I need!” and they buy the equipment. They receive their purchase and eagerly use it—for a couple of weeks. Six months later it’s back in the box packed away somewhere. What happened? They believed in a product, but it wasn’t the type of belief that led to lower body weight. Nothing really changed in their lives. They had an initial positive response, but rather than possessing genuine “faith,” so to speak, they were merely indulging a passing fancy. People do this with Christ as well (see Matthew 13:5–7).

In Matthew 7:21–23 Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Notice here that the people Jesus condemns were actively involved in ministry, but they were not genuine believers. They had faith of a sort—they acknowledged who Jesus is—but they had no relationship with Him. Jesus does not say that at one time He knew them, but then He later rejected them. He says, “I never knew you.” They were never saved to begin with.


GOT QUESTIONS.ORG  A PERSON KNOWS AUTOMATICALLY when they are breaking Gods laws, aka sinning!  Our  tells   spirit     tells us so!!




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