What Believers Will Be In The Lake Of Fire?
Believing in God, and recognizing that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, are vital starting points for salvation. But those who do not repent and obey God, by means of that knowledge, are no better off than demons. The demons, and Satan himself, all believe in God, and recognize Jesus as the Messiah, but they will have no salvation because their believing alone is worthless.
"2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?" (James 2:19 KJV)
The purpose of the ministry of John the Baptist was to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah. Does that mean that his purpose was only to announce the imminent coming of the LORD so that people could "believe on Him"? No. As we read in the verses quoted above, those who merely believe are no better off than Satan. John preached repentance and obedience to God.
"3:1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
"He will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire"
The Christ is the Saviour of repentant sinners. Unrepentant sinners, regardless of how much they "believe," are going to be cast into the lake of fire. That is what John was warning.
"3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
The Messiah delivered the same warning ("every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire") as John did in the verses quoted above ("every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire").
"7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 7:19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Believing isn't just a state of mind. It's also a way of life, The Way to Life.
"3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. 3:28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Fact Finder: John the Baptist was the originator of the term "baptism of fire." What was John describing?