Must one believe that there is only one True and Living God to be saved? Obviously the scripture states in various places that God is one (Deut 6:4, Isaiah 45:5), and I do believe this and I am fully convinced by it, but would it be possible for a new convert not to know this truth and still be saved?

The reason I ask this question is because I am trying to examine presuppositions that I have, and how they influence my interpretation of certain texts.

Please note I would appreciate answers based on Scripture.

  • If you are a Christian, I believe you already know that Salvation is received by believing in Jesus Christ who died for our sins. Your question is hard to understand. Do you mean to ask about Trinity? – Mawia Feb 17 '13 at 13:53
  • @Mawia No I do not mean to ask about the Trinity. I am wondering if I person could believe that there is not only one God, but still be saved. I don't think that question is unclear. – Cloud9999Strife Feb 17 '13 at 13:59

When a person recognizes his sinfulness and flees to Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, they believing in God. It is this belief alone that saves:

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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.” (Romans 10:9-11, NIV)

The basic formula for salvation, faith in Christ, might seem to allow the possibility of faith in more than one God, but properly speaking I do not think it does. Here is why.

First Christ, which we believe is represented as a single mediator to the One God:

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5, NIV)

Second, faith in Christ is not to be understood as based on our human apprehension of Christ, but a knowledge that the Spirit reveals to us that we are enabled to believe. We can see this is the very first and famous confession of Christ by Peter.

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. (Matthew 16:15-17, NIV)

As faith is obtained not from human reason but revealed by the Father it only makes sense that the Father reveals this knowledge truthfully, that is the one mediator between man and the one God.

Third, it goes without saying that Jesus is the mediator sent from the God of Israel. This means God the one and only who created all things.

Fourth, faith in Christ is faith in God.

That is why we labor and strive, because we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all people, and especially of those who believe. (1 Timothy 4:10, NIV)

And we notice Peter's exact confessions was “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Peter did not say your are a savior of some God, but the long awaited Jewish Messiah, who was the Son of God.

It seems a basic understanding of Jehovah in man, i.e. the Christ, must be believed in to be saved. However faith in One God without trusting in Christ can never save anyone (James 2:19)

  • Yes, you make good points. Also, I was just thinking about Acts 20:21 and Hebrews 6:1. These two passages would seem to indicate that Paul's foundation teaching was repentance toward God and faith in Christ. But if Paul taught faith in Christ and repentance toward God, he must have explained who that God is. So, a person, even a new convert should know who this God is to which they must repent. – Cloud9999Strife Feb 17 '13 at 14:28
  • But I would ask how you would respond to the following: 1 Cor 8: 1 - 13. Focussing on verses 4 - 7. Paul says that there is only one True God (verses 4 - 6). But in verse 7 he says: "However not all men have this knowledge;" (NASB). It seems as though Paul is saying that not all men have the knowledge that there is only one true and living God, and that these persons, if you look at verses 8 - 13, are in fact brothers in Christ. So, it would seem to indicate that new converts could perhaps not understand this truth. – Cloud9999Strife Feb 17 '13 at 14:34
  • @Cloud9999Strife - I think this is where you have to accept that while people believe in the one true God they might also believe that idols represent something real and are not just wood, or stone. I also thought of this and it does start to almost get grey, but not enough to change the fundamental position. I think a believer could in some sense think other gods exists but that they are not the True god. Maybe demons, maybe something else, but not the 'only God' one needs to be right with. Also Israel may not have always known the gods of other nations were not real, just not the True God. – Mike Feb 17 '13 at 15:39

Mike's answer was good, but I'd like to post a complementary answer.

  • Per the doctrine of Sola Fide we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
    • We can hardly be said to have faith if we don't believe what Jesus Christ believed and taught.
  • According to those Churches that teach that, in addition to salvation by grace through faith, we need to follow the teachings of the Church (whatever the "one true Church" is that's making the claim)
    • We can hardly be said to have faith or to be adhering to the teachings of the Church is we believe contrary to what those Churches teach.

Since Christ taught, and the major denominations teach that there is one God, not many, simple logic is all we need to say "No, according to the majority of Christian denominations you can't believe in multiple gods and be saved. By definition, salvation is to those who have faith and adhere to the beliefs of either Christ or Christ and the Church, and if you think they are wrong, or liars, then you're not adhering to their teachings." You don't even have to get metaphysical to address that one.

This does, of course, exclude all of the fringe groups that hold non-orthodox beliefs, such as "christian atheists" and "universalists".

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