Rather than quote Scripture, I'd like to tell you a true story that happened to me that is a very good analogy for God's Salvation and why Faith is required.People have one short shot at getting to heaven, so why does God hide himself and require faith rather than speak in a way that is clear and can be understood by each individual?
Do you believe that God would burn someone in hell forever for simply not believing in him? I'm amazed at how many Christians and Muslims actually believe that.
It is such a depressing belief, I don't think I could love a God who would do that.
Would you mind telling me what is so horrible about not believing in an invisible entity, that it merits eternal agony?
Eternal suffering for not believing in someone who is invisible and hides himself? Are you kidding? Such a belief is so strangely prevalent. Why?
I love God, but the God I know isn't the epitome of cruel and unjust. God is love. The God I know said to those who crucified him, "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do".
I was Chief Mate on a tanker off the US East Coast in charge of the navigational watch on the bridge. On radio channel 16 I heard the US Coast Guard and a vessel in distress trying to communicate with much difficulty. I could hear them both clearly, but they could only catch bits and pieces of what each other were saying. After confirming that each could hear me clearly, I relayed the information. It was a sport fishing boat with 6 people on board that hit a submerged object and was sinking. After also giving the sinking vessel's position, the USCG asked what our position was and whether we could assist them. As I gave them our position, I realized they must be less than 10 miles away and quickly spotted them. Calling the Captain to the bridge, I was relived from my duties there and organized the deck crew to get a pilot ladder over the side. The sport fishermen had to abandon their vessel and paddle to us in a rubber raft. They climbed up the ladder and were, yes, "Saved". Shortly afterwards a USCG helicopter came by, just in case, but were not needed.
So let's look at the situation and the decisions of the fishermen. 1. They knew they were in danger. 2. They knew they could not survive without help. 3. They believed (had Faith) that someone would help, otherwise they would not have pick up the radio. 4. They called for help but weren't understood. 5. Another vessel could understand, helped with the communication. 6. They then had Faith that not only we could help, but we would help (there is a difference) otherwise they would not have abandoned their vessel and paddled over in a rubber raft.
Isn't that much like God's plan for Salvation? We can't be Saved unless we know we have a need for it, have Faith that God can and will Save us, ask for a way to be Saved (which might not come directly from God, but from someone that is directed by God), abandon what is destroying us (repent), and accept the Saving Grace.
Unfortunately there are those that refuse to see the danger they are in and decide to stay on their sinking boat, or refuse to believe that God wants the best for them and will do whatever it takes to Save them if they will only ask Him and accept His help.