Q. What will happen to a person who worships Jesus as his God but fails to recognize the principle of salvation?
A. Your question applies to many Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians, who worship Jesus as God, but have not placed their trust in Him alone as their Lord and Savior. There are also cults (e.g. Mormons) and religions (e.g. Hinduism) who worship Jesus as one god amongst many, not the one true God. Neither group believes in salvation by grace through faith.
What happens to them? They will present their case before God on the basis of their good works, which are never enough:
• Rom 3:20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight;
• Rom 3:28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
• Gal 2:16 nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.
They will be judged and found wanting:
• Mt 7:22-23 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’
• Mt 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels;
• Lk 13:27 and He will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.’
These folks are especially pitiable because they think they are already saved when they are not. That’s why we have an urgency to share the gospel with all willing to listen.