When the Philippian jailer asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Paul and Silas answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:30, 31). What did they mean? To believe means to have faith. In some instances both are defined as trust.

Many kinds of "faith" are mentioned in the Bible. Some by name and definition are
(1) historical faith is to believe in the existence of;
(2) intellectual faith is to believe what has been said is true;
(3) trusting faith is to depend on for deliverance;
(4) the faith is a system of doctrines and practices once delivered to the saints;
(5) faith, named as one of the spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:9);
(6) faith, named as one of the enduring gifts (1 Cor. 13:13); and
(7) faith as a way of life.

Can a person believe in the existence of God and die and go to hell? Can a person believe what the Bible says is true and die and go to hell? Let me answer these questions with a question. Can devils be saved and go to Heaven? James tells us "the devils also believe, and tremble" (James 2:19).

Devils have more faith than most people.

The devils believe there is one God. They also believe what He has said is true. They believe He has prepared hell for Satan and his angels, and they know they are going to be there. That is the reason they tremble. In like manner, a human can believe in the existence of God and believe what the Bible says is true and still die and go to hell.

There is more to salvation than believing that God is and that He will reward them who diligently seek Him.

Let Us See What the Bible Says About This

John 4:46-53 records an account of a man who was saved by grace only after he had experienced three kinds of faith. Note that in verse 47 the nobleman exercised a historical faith; he heard that Jesus had come into Galilee, and he went to Him. Note that when Jesus told him to "go thy way; thy son liveth," the nobleman exercised an intellectual faith in believing the word that Jesus had spoken to him. But now note verse 53. When he knew that his son became well at that very hour Jesus had said "thy son liveth," this man exercised a trusting faith. He was saved right then and there.

Hebrews 11:6 verifies this position. "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." The historical faith is seen in one's believing that God exists. The intellectual faith is seen in believing that God will reward them who diligently seek Him. But a person can believe that God exists and that God will save him if he diligently seeks Him and still not come to Him for salvation.

True salvation requires three kinds of faith.

Romans 10:13, 14 also confirms that true salvation requires the three kinds of faith under consideration. Verse 13 declares that "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Verse 14 then explains that a person will not call on God until he believes in God's existence and that God will answer his call.

My own personal testimony confirms the necessity of three kinds of faith for salvation. I have always believed in the existence of God. I have always believed what the Bible says about Jesus Christ–that He is the virgin born Son of God, that He died on the cross to pay our sin debt, that He was buried and that He rose from the dead. But I was lost and on the road to hell until I was twenty-seven years old.

Why? Because I had never repented of my sin and trusted the saving of my soul to Him. I had never seen myself as God saw me–totally depraved and without any good in me. I had always judged myself in the light of the morality of other people. But the night I saw myself in the light of God's righteousness, I cried out for forgiveness and trusted Jesus to save me. He did; and what He did, He did forever.

Dear Reader, have you ever asked God to forgive you and trusted in Jesus to save you? I do not ask, "Do you believe in God?" Even as the devils, you can believe in God and die and go to hell. I do not ask, "Do you believe what the Bible says about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ?" Even as the devils, you can believe all this and die and go to hell. I do ask, "Have you ever seen yourself as God sees you–lost and condemned? Have you ever asked Him to forgive you and save you according to His gospel? If you have not, please do so right now. You will never be sorry."

Ray O. Brooks