The following was taken from my denomination’s main website under the topic of ABC’s of salvation. I admit it is a little simplistic, but I assume it is meant to explain to a non-Christian. I highlighted the part about believing in Jesus. It involves having a life that is transformed thru Christ, not just a mental acknowledgment that Jesus is the savior of the world.
Most Christians know that salvation is an ongoing process and not just saying “I believe in Jesus”. This includes living for Christ in our daily lives and living a life that is pleasing to God through a life that bears fruit through good works and service to others as well as thru repentance of our sins. In other words, if we were taken to court and accused of being a Christian, there would be enough evidence to convict us.
Believing in Jesus is more than just mental acknowledgement of Jesus as Savior, because the Bible teaches that even demons believe – and they’re not Christian. .
Taken from tpe.ag.org/Salvation.cfm :
To know God and be ready for heaven,
follow these steps:
A. Admit you are a sinner.
“There is no one righteous, not even one … for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
Romans 3:10,23. (See Romans 5:8; 6:23.)
Ask God’s forgiveness.
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
**B. Believe in Jesus
(put your trust in Him) as your only hope of salvation.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (See John 14:6.)
Become a child of God by receiving Christ.
“To all who receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (See Revelation 3:20.)**
C. Confess that Jesus is your Lord.
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 (See verse 10.)
In my case, I believed mentally in Jesus ever since I was kid growing up in the Presbyterian Church, USA. However, I didn’t believe in Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior until I accepted Him into my life while watching a Billy Graham Crusade on TV as a teenager.
In Spanish, there are two words for “know”. One is
‘Saber’, which means head knowledge, like I know things about Jesus".
The other word is “Conocer” which means to know someone. I used to know “about” Jesus, but when I accepted him as Savior I began to personally know him and not just know about him, if that makes any sense.