Does a person have to believe the doctrine of the Trinity in order to be saved? Can a person only believe that Jesus is the Lord and Savior and the Son of God, but not necessarily God and be saved?
What must a person do in order to escape hell and go to heaven? The answer is given in various passages. For example, in John 1:12 we are told a person receives Christ. In John 3:16 we are told that a person must believe in Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 we are told a person must believe Christ died for our sins.
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name . . . John 1:12 (NASB)
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NASB)
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures . . . 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (NASB)
There are many other passages. Collectively, all these verses teach that we must understand and accept as true the statements made about Christ as revealed in the Scriptures.
Jesus makes a statement in John 8:24 that should not be a surprise to anyone since the opening verses of John state that He was and is eternally God (John 1:1-3, 14).
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. John 8:24 (NASB)
Note the word “He” in this verse is not in the Greek text. Therefore, the word “He” should be deleted in the passage and the verse should read as follows,
Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am, you will die in your sins. John 8:24 (NLT)
The Greek words that are translated as “I AM” are ego eimi. Jesus declared that He was and is the “I AM” of the Old Testament (Exodus 3:14). Thirty four verses later Jesus repeated His statement in a different way,
Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” John 8:58 (NASB)
The Greek words that are translated as “I AM” in verse 58 again are ego eimi. Verses 24 and 58 reveal that Jesus taught that He was God. The context of John 7 and 8 also confirms that Jesus declared that He was God. So when Jesus said in the first passage that one must believe that “I AM,” He was declaring that we must believe that Jesus is God in order for our sins to be forgiven and go to heaven.
Therefore, a person must believe that 1) Jesus did everything necessary for our sins to be forgiven, 2) He was resurrected and 3) He is God. The gospels and the writings of the apostles all assume that Christ was and is God.
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