Unsaved Believers

Many say all you have to do is “accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior” (believe in Jesus) to be saved. But if that is true, why do we have New Testament examples of “unsaved believers” – those that believed in Jesus but were not saved? Here are just a few of such cases …

In Acts 26:27-28 Paul said “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”  So King Agrippa was a believer at this point, a believer in what the prophets taught – specifically “that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles” (vs.22-23).  Surely if someone could be saved by “faith only,” it would be Agrippa in this case since the text says he believed in Jesus.  But he obviously was not a Christian, was not saved.  What lacked he yet?  Perhaps Acts 18:8b should clue us in – “many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.”

John 8:30-31,44 “As He spake these words, many believed on him.  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him … Ye are of your father the devil.”  Another example of unsaved believers, right?

John 12:42-43 “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”  These believers were not saved because they were not willing to follow through on their belief – by confessing and following Christ.

James 2:19 “the devils also believe, and tremble” – If all believers are saved regardless, then the demons will be saved, correct?

Acts 9:5-6,9 / 22:16 Saul/Paul was a believer for at least three days before his sins were washed away.  So there is more to salvation than just believing in Christ.  We see from Acts 22:16 (“be baptized, and wash away thy sins”) salvation from sin requires follow through in baptism / obedience.

Obviously then the Bible does not teach salvation by “faith only” (James 2:24).

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