by Matt Slick
Yes, believing in Jesus is enough to be saved. However, for the sake of clarity we must explain a few things. First of all, there are many false religious groups out there who say they believe in Jesus but in actuality do not. The Mormons, for example, teach that Jesus is a brother of the devil, begotten through sexual intercourse between God and his goddess wife who both came from another planet. That is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Jesus is Michael the Archangel who became a man. That is also a false Jesus. Believing in them won't save you because faith is only as good as who or what we put it in. In fact, Jesus warned us about this when He said . . .
"For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect,"(Matthew 24:24).
Paul the apostle also mentioned the concept of there being a "false Jesus." Consider this . . .
"For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully," (2 Corinthians 11:4).
So, believing in Jesus is enough to be saved; but you must be believing in the true Jesus, not a false one.
Who is the true Jesus?
The Bible tells us there is only one God in all existence (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:5) and that God is a Trinity. The true Jesus, the Jesus that is taught in Scripture, is God and flesh (John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 1:8). He is the second person of the Trinity who became one of us. Jesus has two natures. He is both divine and human at the same time. We call this the hypostatic union. Jesus said . . .
"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins," (John 8:24).
It is important to believe that Jesus is the "I am," especially when we understand that when Moses was talking to God at the burning bush and asked God what his name was the Lord said, "I am that I am," (Exodus 3:14).
So, believing in Jesus means you believe that He is God and flesh (Colossians 2:9). In addition, you must believe the Gospel (Mark 1:15) that is defined as the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
What is true belief?
Not only must you believe in the true Jesus but you must also have true faith. In theology we talk about two kinds of faith: ascentia and fiducia. Ascentia is nothing more than mental acknowledgment. The devil, for example, acknowledges that God exists (James 2:19). But he does not have fiducia. That is, he does not have a trusting faith in God. It is fiducia that Christians are supposed to possess. We are to have a faithful independent trust in the work of Christ upon the cross who cleansed us from our sins. We don't just have mental acknowledgment that Jesus lived and died on the cross. We not only believe that, but we also trust in the sin sacrifice that Jesus made on that cross.
Salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone
There are many groups that falsely teach that in order to be saved from your sins, you must believe in God and do good things and/or not do bad things. This is false because we are justified (declared righteous before God) by faith (Romans 3:28; 5:1), not by works (Romans 4:1-5; Ephesians 2:8-9).
Therefore, belief in Jesus is enough to be saved; but you must believe that Jesus is God and flesh, and your belief must be a trustful act of dependence upon Christ and His sacrifice on the cross. Only then is belief in Jesus sufficient to save.