What kind of faith do you have? How can you know? Let’s put it to the test with this short Bible study. Our previous lesson discussed James 2:19, where James says:
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.James 2:191
James, in this verse, is writing to those who would object his statement in the previous verse:
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.James 2:18
James is emphatic in this chapter that faith alone without work is dead (v. 17). In verse 19 he uses some literary sarcasm in order to make this point clear. Believing that there is just one God—you do well to have this belief, but it is not enough.
He uses the demons as an example to bring out this point: “Devils also believe and tremble.” Using this kind of language is the same that is used in Isaiah 1:3:
The ox knoweth his owner, and the donkey his master’s crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.Isaiah 1:3
The ox and donkey are considered to be the least intelligent of domesticated animals, and even they know their master and pay him respect, but Israel didn’t. Israel knew who God was, but they didn’t show it in their works.
We would all agree that just because demons believe God exists—and even the fact that Jesus is Lord, the Son of God—it does not make them saved. We know they are very wicked in their ways. What exactly do the devils believe? Well, they believe in one God. Therefore, they believe the Father is God (1 Peter 1:3), the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3–4), and Christ is also God (John 1:1, 14, 17).
This is exhibited on several occasions throughout scripture. The unclean spirit says, “Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24). And In Mark 5:7, a demon “cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.” The demons had to obey the authority of the Lord, as “he cast out the spirits with his word.”
We can see clearly that there must be different kinds of faith. Something must set us apart from the demons. You would be correct to think so. There are three kinds of Faith.
- There is dead faith. Dead faith touches only the intellect. If you know your house is on fire, what good is that knowledge if you care and do nothing about it?
- There is demonic faith. This faith involves both the mind and the emotions. The demons not only believe the truth about God, but they are actually fearful. They tremble.
- As James exhorts, there is living faith. Living faith involves the intellect, the emotions, and the will.
Clearly, we need to have a living faith. Living faith causes us to act out in our lives that which we believe. The mind understands the truth. The heart desires and rejoices in the truth. The will acts upon the truth.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.Ecclesiastes 12:13
- Scriptures from this lesson are from the King James Version. ↩︎