Maybe this story will show you what I mean. Imagine for a moment that you are on a cruise in the Carribean. (Kind of sounds good right now, given the temperatures we’ve been having around here!) All of sudden, in the middle of the night you hear a huge explosion. You leap up and get your clothes on as the emergency sirens begin to sound. By the time you make it to the main deck, you feel that big ship beginning to list to one side, and you realize that this thing is going down. You get on a life boat, and are eventually rescued along with your wife. But on board that boat are three other groups of passengers. The first group somehow do not know about the life boats, so they go down with the ship. The second group of passengers know about the life boats, but because they are petrified by fear, or perhaps because they lost their mates in the initial explosion and are so despondent, they refuse to get on the boats. The third group of people are folks like you who actually get in the boat. Now watch carefully. In the case of the first group, they do not know the truth, so they cannot get on a boat. In the case of the second group, they know about the life boats and they even know that the lifeboats can save their lives. They can mentally assent to truth, but they still drown. It’s only the third group: those who don’t just know and believe the truth, but who actually act on the truth and getting into the boat; only these are actually saved.
That’s a picture of saving faith. It’s more than just knowing the life boat will save you and agreeing with all the facts about life boats. You have to actively trust the boat, if you are to be saved.