This is a post designed to answer deeper theological questions. I've asked Facebook friends to post questions for discussion. I'll make a humble attempt to explore these questions from a biblical perspective.
Q: Is it possible to believe that Christ died for my sins and was the Son of God, but still not be saved? --Rick Lawson.
Q: I'm always uneasy when I read Matthew 7:22-23: "Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’" How can they have His power if they don't know Him? --Lewis Crow
Rick and Lewis, your questions are related and foundational for understanding the nature of authentic salvation. Both questions are connected because both deal with profession vs. practice. There were many in Jesus' day who were "card-carrying" religious folk. But, their lives failed to correspond with their lips; They didn't practice what they preached.
In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus noted that there would be some who would stand before His judgment seat and be surprised. They will argue that they preached and perform miracles "in the name of Jesus," but Jesus won't give any claim to them. He will call them "evildoers" and sentence them to eternal separation. To Lewis' point, these condemned will feel as if there religious work was substantive [even believing that they had experienced the power of God in their ministry], but they will in fact still be enemies of Christ.
The Apostle James offers the strongest warning in James 2:14-17:
What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Verbal faith without corresponding action is useless. James calls it "dead" faith. It's not that action saves a person. We are saved by grace alone [Ephesians 2:8-9]. Rather, action, produced by authentic faith, is the evidence of faith. So, those who claim to have faith in Christ have no other evidence of the genuineness of their faith except their changed lives. To say it another way, "Talk is cheap" and "Put up or shut up."
To support his point, James writes, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder" [v. 19]. His point is sobering: Demons are good theologians. They have the right answers and can conclude correct answers. What separates them from the rest of creation is their failure to act on what they believe. Thus, the person who claims to be a Christian, but whose life is void of evidence, is no better than demons and is in danger of missing out on Christ's best when they stand before Him.
I hope this helps. I look forward to your comments.