Timeless truths about demons. Some seem to be impressed that they have an orthodox view of God. For the Jewish people orthodoxy is rooted in the Shema – The Lord your God is ONE. So, James pulls out all the stops and compliments those who have such a great orthodox theology. Then he adds: “The demons also believe, and shudder. The word “shudder” means to have the hair on the back of your neck stand on end because of the fear that grips you! Demons BELIEVE!
Ever since the beginning of the church age people have declared themselves to be “believers.” Today, it is amazing how many “believers” there are in America. Yet, there is a tremendous separation between a declared belief in a Holy God and the Lordship of Jesus compared to a dedicated life to Him. Quite frankly, it is frightening!
Believing facts about God makes one no different than the demons in hell. Oh, they believe and even shudder! At one time in my life I was a church member. I believed in God! I believed in everything a “Christian” is supposed to believe – the deity of Christ, substitutionary atonement of Christ, the resurrection of Jesus. I believed the Bible to be the Word of God. And yet with all my belief, I was LOST. Headed to hell. I joined the league of demons in believing and the group James compliments in chapter 2 verse 10. I was a hellbound, baptized church member.
Believing that doesn’t change behavior is useless. My belief was head knowledge. My heart hadn’t changed. I believed facts about Jesus the way people believe facts about Abraham Lincoln. But I didn’t know Christ personally. Only after being convicted by the Holy Spirit and realizing that Jesus died for MY SIN, did I realize I was lost and needed to be saved. When I trusted Jesus, He changed by heart and my behavior. Perfect? Far from it! But now that Christ rules my heart, when I sin I am deeply convicted. Christ changes the heart which is seen in a change of behavior!!
“But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God.” James 2:18-23 NASB