There is a passage in the Gospel of John that illustrates how the word "believe" can be misleading. In John 2:23, we read, "Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in His name, when they saw the miracles which He did." In this verse, the word "believe" is correctly translated from the Greek word "episteusan." Because John uses the phrase "believed in His name," many connect this verse with John 1:12, which says, " But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name." But notice that it is not believing on His name that saves one; it is "receiving Him!" We are saved when we accept Him for who He is: He is Jesus: Creator (Jn. 1:1-3; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:1-2); God (Jn. 1:1, 14); the only begotten Son of God (Jn. 3:16); and King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16)!
John 2:24-25 clearly shows that "episteusan" (believing) is not enough. John wrote, "But Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for He knew what was in man." In this verse (v. 24), the word "commit" is the same word as "believed" in the previous verse (v. 23). In other words, even though they believed in Him, He did not believe in them! What on earth does that mean?
Notice that the crowd believed something about Him based upon the evidence of miracles (v. 23). What do you suppose they believed about Him? Israel was anxiously awaiting their Messiah, a king who would free them from Roman oppression. They had no clue that Jesus was God, that He came to die for their sins, that His kingdom would require Him to return from heaven. Even the Lord's disciples required the filling of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, in order to comprehend who Jesus truly is. Note the question they ask Him after His resurrection and just before His ascension: "Lord, wilt Thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6). It was after they were filled with the Spirit that they understood (Acts 2:32-36).
In order for us to believe with saving faith, we must be convicted of our sins, believe that Jesus paid for our sins, and that we are saved when we receive Him into our lives for who He is; He is Lord! (Jn. 16:7-11; Rom. 10:8-13).
Confess with thy mouth the LORD Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.