Updated: Feb 17, 2020
It took me a few years to comprehend that believing in God is not enough. It was when I heard, "even Satan believes in God" that it started to sink in that believing in God is not enough to secure eternity in Heaven with God.
Satan believes in God, but he is defiant to Him too. Satan has put himself on the same level as God or higher. This is the reason he is living in hell (or the lake of fire). He has no love of God and he chooses not to serve God. It is possible to believe in God but not love him. It is possible to believe in God and choose not to serve him. It is possible to believe in God and go to hell.
You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. (James 2:19)
One cannot go to heaven with just a 'mind belief' in Christ with no commitment, no obedience to Him and no personal relationship with Him.
To be saved and assured of eternity in heaven, one does need to believe in God but they also need to believe Jesus was born of a virgin and is the son of God, died and was resurrected on the 3rd day and believe that the Holy Bible is the word of God. In addition to belief, a person needs to be at a point of repentance. Where they recognize they are a sinner and in need of a savior and confess that that they are a sinner and then ask for forgiveness.
When we come to know Christ, he wants us to surrender all of ourselves to Him. Once we do accept Christ as our savior, we should be growing closer to him every day. Our desires to read the Bible and be with other children of God will grow. Our love of others will grow. We will want to share Jesus and His love with others. Once a person becomes saved it is not an overnight change. Gradually the Holy Spirit will work within us giving us the desires and guidance, but we have to be open to listening and receiving the Holy Spirit as a guide.
We cannot profess belief in God and have no change with our old self. If you are still doing everything you did before accepting Christ, you may want to check your belief to see if you only believe that there is a God but haven't yet come to accept God as the one true living God as well as choosing to live for Him.
Is it possible to truly accept Christ and have eternal life but then later through the years, grow away from Him and still have eternal life? This is a question only God can answer, and I've decided I don't want to risk what I have with Him now for the world. I did grow away from him for several years and there was always something 'missing'. Something 'just not right'. I wasn't handling life well emotionally. Thankfully, the Lord brought a very loving church home into my life and I found what I was missing. Even though I still believed in God while away from him, it wasn’t the same. I was telling people I didn't need church because I believed in God and I prayed. I have come to realize, there is more than just belief. I had only a 'head knowledge' of God and not a heart knowledge. I did come to a point of repentance and rededicated my life to Him and I am so thankful God gave me another chance.
Do you have just a head knowledge of God? Or do you have both head knowledge and heart knowledge? If you haven’t gotten to the heart knowledge level, I encourage you to develop a personal relationship with Christ by praying and delving into the Word of God.