“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” - James 2:19 NIV
“You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” - James 2:19 NLT
“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!” - James 2:19 ESV
In the midst of sharing about the need to have faith WITH works, James added this pearl of wisdom:
Faith is more than believing that there is one God.
When I was a kid, we didn’t go to church very often. Sometimes at or around Christmas. Sometimes on Easter. Mostly sporadic at best.
Though my parents taught me how to pray as a small child, Church and things of faith were not a big part of our lives. Thus had little bearing in our lives, loves and actions.
So, I grew up with this head knowledge of who God and Jesus were, but I had no heart knowledge. I had no experience with them. There was no relationship.
I knew God was God. I knew who Jesus was and what He did on the cross. I knew about the virgin birth (though I didn’t understand it.) And I knew about the resurrection (but again, no understanding). I had been to church (like I said, sporadically), I had heard the stories.
And that’s where it stopped. I had some head knowledge, but had no heart knowledge.
Even the demons know and believe what I knew and believed... and they shudder.
I mean, think about the depth and magnitude of what James is saying.
How many people come to the westernized church on a weekly basis and attend merely for social reasons, attend merely because grandma did/does, attend merely to gain business and social contacts, attend because it is the socially correct thing to do? They may even be active members of a Sunday School class or may have even assumed leadership positions in the church.
Yet, time and time again, they leave unchanged.
They have a head knowledge of Christ, but no heart knowledge. No belief. No trust. No relationship with Jesus. They may know the right things to say and do, but have not experienced saving grace. Don’t have a saving faith.
Faith, like love, is an action verb.
Faith causes us to draw near to Christ, to strive to know Him more and more, to take up our cross and follow Him, to become more like Him, to treat others like He would treat them.
Faith ultimately causes us to want to live out what we say we believe. It causes us to want to share the good news - the Gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world around us.
Head knowledge, on the other hand, is stagnant and dead, like the demons who shudder at the mention of His name.
Keep the Faith... Carpe Diem.