Q. I heard a lesson recently from a Bible teacher whose topic was “Are you saved?” He said belief doesn’t equal automatic salvation. It’s the quality of the belief that determines salvation. He said not everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved, but only those who “do the will of my father.” He said whoever just talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk is not saved no matter how many sinner’s prayers they pray. It’s the doing that’s the proving. He said even demons believe in Jesus and tremble. This has created quite a conflict for me. Can you help?
A. Here’s a perfect example of why we need to search the Scriptures daily to prove that what we’re being taught is true (Acts 17:11). In this case it shows that this pastor misquoted the Bible repeatedly, and contradicted clear statements by Jesus and Paul as well.
For example, Matthew 7:21 actually says:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
In Matthew 7:15-23 Jesus was talking specifically about false prophets, saying even though they called Him Lord, He will deny ever knowing them.
In John 6:40 He explained what His Father’s will is concerning our salvation:
“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Jesus also identified belief as the single condition for our salvation in John 3:16, John 5:24, and John 6:28-29. He will deny knowing the false prophets because of their unbelief.
Jesus also said everyone who asks for salvation will receive it (Matthew 7:7-8).
And in Romans 10:13 Paul said “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
The pastor also misquoted James 2:19 which really says:
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.”
Demons believe there is one God because they’ve seen Him, but that doesn’t prove anything. It’s believing that Jesus died for our sins and rose again that saves us.
James was right in saying true belief will cause behavioral changes. But how and when they occur is between the believer and the Holy Spirit. They are not a requirement for salvation.