Grace Energized Men: Healthy Faith vs. Demon Faith
Beware of Mere Emotional Faith
Emotional Faith is described by James as a form of dead faith that people share with demons. Demons have strong faith that is intellectual and emotional.
James 2:18-19 "But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!" NKJV
To illustrate mere emotional faith that is also dead, James uses one of the most unbelievable comparisons. He explains to us one of the inner workings of the spirit world. Only here do we see applied, what the Gospels so clearly illustrated—the complete intellectual and emotional faith of demons that can never save them. James says—
Demons Have Strong Faith
It may shock you, but God's Word testifies that demons have faith! What do they believe? Demons have a clearly defined faith.
1. Demons completely believe in the reality of God. They have no doubts. They have seen the Lord, seen His Throne, know all about the spiritual world, and have met Jesus Christ personally. Demons could never be classified as either atheists or agnostics. They had an accurate faith in God intellectually, in their minds. You can believe all the correct facts and not be saved.
2. Demons completely believe in Deity of Christ. Demons trembled in Christ's presence while He walked the Earth. They have no doubts about who He really is. Often we hear the demons publicly stating to Jesus, "I know who You are" (Mark 5:7). Mark records Peter's eyewitness report that whenever demons met Christ on earth, they fell down and affirmed He was God the Son (Mark 3:11-12). Demons had an emotional response to their faith, they feared, shuddered, and trembled.
3. Demons completely believe in the Supreme Power Christ held over their destiny. They even would plead for some leniency, or mercy from Jesus Christ as the ultimate Judge who held their eternal destiny in His Hands (Mark 5:1-13). Demons had a firm intellectual faith.
4. Demons completely believed in Hell and the horror of eternal punishment. They knew and testified to people that they believed in the existence of a place of punishment, and knew that they were headed towards torment (Mark 5:7), and said that they didn't want to go there "before the time" (Matthew 8:39). Demons had a firm emotional faith.
5. Demons completely believe in submission to God's Word. They never expressed doubt that His Word was true, and they usually instantly obeyed, though a few did one final shake of their victim, or convulsion just to show their malignant hearts. As Jews testified daily in their Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4 that there was only one Living and True God "Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord!" So as James repeats, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder" (James 2:19 NIV). Believing to the point of fear and trembling does not save. Only a life-changing faith, produced by God within, can save.
Now we need to apply this sermon James has just preached to our lives today.
First, an intellectual agreement or assent doesn't save us. That is James' point; intellectual belief is present in demons.
Second, an emotional response, coupled with an intellectual response is also not sufficient. Demons had regular emotional responses to their faith in Christ as Creator, as Omnipotent Ruler, and as the Ultimate Judge. None of those intellectual and emotional responses prompted by their faith were sufficient.
Saving Faith is faith that is real, faith that has power, faith that results in a changed life.
So what is sufficient, real, saving faith? That is the point James makes. Saving faith goes beyond intellectual assent to facts, and a resulting emotional response to God's Word—and continues into a life-transforming walk. True saving faith shows up over time in a changed life.
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