It is impossible to go to heaven without a belief in God. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). Contrary to popular beliefs, just believing that there is a God is not enough for one’s soul to be saved. James 2:19 says, “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble!” Even those who are against God, even Satan himself believes that there is a God. If belief alone got us into heaven, Satan would be there too! In the Bible we read that Satan is in fact not in heaven. “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels’” (Matthew 25:41). The demons even tremble; from this we know that they believe God’s existence and they know how powerful He is. “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).
If just believing that there is an all mighty and powerful God isn’t enough for Satan to get to heaven then why would we think that it will work for us? Some people believe that they can just pick and choose what parts of the Bible they want to follow. The Bible isn’t a buffet, you have to obey every command in the New Testament (James 2:10-11). We, as New Testament Christians, aren’t bound by the Old Testament. We don’t have to offer animal sacrifices for our sins (Hebrews 10:1-4), we don’t have to circumcise eight day old baby boys, we don’t have to avoid eating pork. We don’t have to do these things for two reasons. One being that the Old Testament laws were written for the Israelites and we are Gentiles. The second is that the Old Testament was “nailed to the cross” when Jesus sacrificed His life for our sins. (Colossians 2:14-17). See also Galatians 4:21-31 and Hebrews 8:7-13.
If belief alone can’t save our soul and get us into heaven, then what must we do to be saved? The Bible tells us exactly what we have to do. First we must hear the gospel preached, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). We must believe what God tells us, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). We must repent from our sins, “Then Peter said to them,’Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38). We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). We must be baptized, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). We must live a faithful Christian life until death, “…Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10c).
The Bible clearly states that we cannot be saved by belief alone. In order to be saved from an eternity in hell, we must obey the plan of salvation, including the other commands God has given us (i.e. partaking of the Lord’s supper and meeting as a congregation every first day of the week, showing love, being kind, spreading the gospel to others, etc.). We can’t add to or take away from God’s word and make our own way to save ourselves. “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19). We can only be saved if we follow the plan God has provided. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).