It is impossible to go to heaven without believing that there is a God (Hebrews 11:6). But a mere mental assent to the fact that God exists is not enough to save a person’s soul. In fact, the book of James says: “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (2:19).
Once a person accepts the vast amount of evidence available to prove that God exists, that person must follow up belief with a desire and resolve to obey the Creator. An E-mail that came into our office illustrates this point well. After reading on our site an article that defends the existence of God, one gentleman wrote: “For many, many years I began to write off all religions as ‘fake.’ I’m not completely convinced still. However, after reading this article, I was faced with the absolute fact that not only does God exist, but that He is surely angry with me for disbelieving in Him.” Acknowledging the existence of the Creator is the first step toward assuaging His anger, but it cannot be the last. In fact, the term “practical atheist” is applied to a person who technically acknowledges that there is a God, but does nothing about that belief.
What, then, must follow a person’s belief in the Creator? That individual must find God’s message to His creation. An honest search for such communication will bring that person to the realization that the 66 books of the Bible are God’s inspired Word to man (see Butt, 2007). Upon discovering that the Bible is God’s message to humanity, a diligent study of the Scriptures reveals that Jesus Christ is the prophesied Messiah and the Son of God (see Butt and Lyons, 2006). By following the teachings of Jesus, the honest investigator realizes that Jesus has opened the door of salvation to all who will receive it as He has commanded (see Lyons and Butt, n.d.).
At Apologetics Press, it thrills us to hear that a person has left false atheistic views and embraced the idea of a divine Creator. Yet we know that such a mental shift is simply the first crucial step to eternal life. A penitent heart and faithful life of obedience to God’s commands must accompany that belief in order for it to be of any real, eternal value (James 1:22-25).
Butt, Kyle (2007), Behold! The Word of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/ Behold%20the%20Word%20of%20God.pdf.
Butt, Kyle and Eric Lyons (2006), Behold! The Lamb of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/ Behold%20the%20Lamb%20of%20God.pdf.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (no date), Receiving the Gift of Salvation, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/ Taking%20Possesion%20of%20God%20Gifts.pdf.
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