I know what you’re thinking: salvation is simple! After all, just look at John 3:16: God loved the world so much he sent his Son so that whoever believes in him will be saved. Surely that is simple, right?
It might seem so, but the closer you look, the more that initial veneer of simplicity dissolves into an unsettling complexity.
What do you need to believe to be saved?
Let’s start with this question: what does it mean to believe in Jesus?
At first blush, Paul appears to provide a simple answer to that question in Romans 10:9: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (NIV) So believe Jesus is Lord and God raised him back to life: that’s what you need to believe to be saved.
Simple? Actually, no, it isn’t.
Here’s the problem: there are many groups outside of historic, orthodox Christianity that affirm those two claims. Mormons, for example, profess to believe that Jesus is Lord and that God raised him from the dead. Does that mean that Mormons are saved?
Many Christians believe the answer is no: Mormons aren’t saved. The reason is that while they may accept the claims of Romans 10:9, they also accept many other claims that are incompatible with orthodox Christianity. For example, Mormon theology asserts that God was once a human being who evolved to become God and that human beings can themselves become gods.… [Read more…] about If God Wants to Save Us, Why Isn’t Salvation Simple?