It is not enough to believe in God (Jesus) and it is not enough to be sorry for ones sins in order to be saved. That is a part of the process of salvation but it does not constitute salvation. God’s word is the standard for the salvation experience.
Some who frequent churches and call themselves Christians may only really be humanitarians that have been intellectually converted to the gospel or to a false gospel that does not coincide with the scriptures. They are not real Christians in the true sense of the word.
A true Christian is one who has had the born again experience. Without the regeneration process that is miraculously worked within the spirit of man by the Holy Spirit one cannot be saved.
John calls this miracle the BORN OF GOD experience. This is where a person receives from the Holy Spirit a new birth where the spirit of man is transformed into the new creation.
The Adamic spirit is separated from God because of sin at ones natural birth and must be reconciled to God through the new birth for salvation to occur. How does this happen? By a sovereign work of God called election.
God the Father calls and chooses who he has ordained for eternal life and reveals himself by his word to that person who through the impartation of the gift of saving faith becomes quickened and made alive by the power of the Holy Spirit, unto God. In other words he/she is raised from the dead in sin and made alive unto God in righteousness and true holiness.
“And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48
John 1: 12, 13– But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God
John 3:3 – Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
1 Peter 1:23 – Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
Romans 6:4 – Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
An intellectual conversion to the gospel is not salvation according to scripture. Nor is sorrow for sin. True repentance is a gift that turns one into a disciple of Jesus Christ who lives and acts like his master, JESUS. That is why Jesus said in his word to test the fruit. This is because not all who claim to belong to God actually do.
Even the devils can preach the gospel and even the devils can have intellectual belief in Jesus. Even the devils can give to the poor and do miracles. (All attested to by scripture) but no devil will be filled with the Holy Spirit surrendered to Jesus Christ. No devil will count his life not his own but be a slave to righteousness and no devil will be dead to sin and in submission to God with bended knee.
No devil will care for the salvation of souls and no devil will intercede for souls laying down his life for souls. No devil will be a servant taking last place. No devil will turn the other cheek to oppression, no devil will die to exertion of all rights and be a vessel of honor to live for Jesus and die to self daily. No devil will live as if Jesus is Lord of their life. No devil will glorify Jesus by giving all glory, honor and praise to him not only with the mouth but by the actions of the life of a servant.