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“Believe in Jesus”​—Is Belief in Jesus Enough for Salvation?

The Bible’s answer

Christians believe that Jesus died for the sins of humankind. (1 Peter 3:18) However, salvation requires more than believing in Jesus as Savior. The demons know that Jesus is “the Son of God,” but they face destruction, not salvation.—Luke 4:41; Jude 6.

 What must I do to be saved?

  • You must believe that Jesus sacrificed his life for our sins. (Acts 16:30, 31; 1 John 2:2) This includes believing that Jesus was a real person and that all of what the Bible account says about him is accurate.

  • Learn what the Bible really teaches. (2 Timothy 3:15) The Bible says that the apostle Paul and Silas told a jailer: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will get saved.” Then, after that, they began to teach “the word of Jehovah” * to the jailer. (Acts 16:31, 32) This indicates that the jailer could not truly believe in Jesus unless he had a basic understanding of God’s Word. He needed accurate knowledge based on the Scriptures.—1 Timothy 2:3, 4.

  • Repent. (Acts 3:19) You must also repent, or feel deep sorrow, over previous wrong attitudes and conduct. Your repentance will be obvious to others as you stop practices that offend God and do “works that befit repentance.”—Acts 26:20.

  • Get baptized. (Matthew 28:19) Jesus said that those who become his disciples would be baptized. The jailer mentioned earlier was baptized. (Acts 16:33) Similarly, after the apostle Peter taught a large crowd the truth about Jesus, “those who gladly accepted his word were baptized.”—Acts 2:40, 41.

  • Obey Jesus’ instructions. (Hebrews 5:9) Those who “observe all the things” that Jesus commanded show by their life course that they are his followers. (Matthew 28:20) They become “doers of the word and not hearers only.”—James 1:22.

  • Endure to the end. (Mark 13:13) Jesus’ disciples “need endurance” in order to be saved. (Hebrews 10:36) For example, the apostle Paul maintained strict obedience to Jesus’ teachings and loyalty to God, and he endured in this course from the day he became a Christian until he died.—1 Corinthians 9:27.

 What about the “Sinner’s Prayer”?

In some religions people say certain prayers such as the “Sinner’s Prayer” and the “Salvation Prayer.” Typically, those praying acknowledge their sinfulness and express belief that Jesus died for their sins. They also ask Jesus to come into their heart or life. But the Bible neither mentions nor recommends a formulaic “Sinner’s Prayer.”

Some people think that after expressing a “Sinner’s Prayer,” a person is assured of eternal salvation. But no prayer in itself guarantees salvation. As imperfect humans, we continue to make mistakes. (1 John 1:8) That is why Jesus taught his followers to pray regularly for forgiveness of sins. (Luke 11:2, 4) Furthermore, some Christians who were in line for eternal salvation lost that prospect because they fell away or turned away from God.—Hebrews 6:4-6; 2 Peter 2:20, 21.

 Where did the “Sinner’s Prayer” originate?

Historians disagree regarding the origin of the “Sinner’s Prayer.” Some suggest that the tradition started to develop during the Protestant Reformation. Others believe that people began to say the “Sinner’s Prayer” during religious movements of the 18th and 19th centuries. In any case, the practice is not supported by Scripture—it actually conflicts with Bible teachings.

^ par. 3 Jehovah is the name of God as revealed in the Bible.