Demons BELIEVE and tremble – faith without deeds is dead

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Faith alone is not enough for salvation

When Paul told the Philippian jailor in Acts. 16 that he must BELIEVE to be saved, he didn’t have an empty faith in mind but a faith that is the same as ”loving God with all your heart and all your soul”. If we truly believe in Jesus and love him with all of our heart, then we would like to obey him and this is what saving faith means. We can read that Paul and Silas afterwards spoke with this jailor and those with him in his house, and at that point they likely explained the meaning of a prosperous life together with our savior Jesus Christ – who is son of God and God in flesh.

Acts. 16:27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.—29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?31 And they said, BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.-21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

What demons (devils/evil spirits) believe

James makes it clear that also demons (devils/evil spirits) believe (see verse further down below) so a faith without deeds is dead, which means that we can’t be saved without works. It’s true that angels and demons can’t be saved in the same way as human beings because they are messengers of God, but once upon a time Satan and 1/3 of his angels were expelled from heaven due to their behavior – and not due to lack of faith in the only true God. The point James is making is that demons don’t have good fruit to go with their faith, and he also gives examples of various DEEDS one is expected to do as a truly saved person. James is not impressed with a person who says he believes in God, unless the same person shows good fruit to go with his faith.

If you think you’re saved if you only

  • believe in Jesus Christ
  • believe he is the son of God
  • believe he is the Holy One of God
  • believe he is the Messiah (the Christ)
  • believe he is from Nazareth
  • believe he has power over heaven and earth, and tremble by this awareness
  • believe he is able to punish you for your actions
  • believe there is ONE God only
  • believe the first christians (like Paul, Silas, Luke, etc) were true servants of God and individuals who showed mankind the way of salvation (which they constantly claimed to be through Jesus Christ only)
  • fall down before Jesus
  • confess out loud that Jesus is the son of God and the promised Messiah
  • have good Bible knowledge

then you must keep in mind that also demons/devils also accomplish all those things on that list, as the below verses will show:

James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Mat. 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Mark 1:23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Yeshua of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

Mark 3:11 And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. 

Mark 5:7 And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do with thee, Yeshua, thou Son of the most high God? I adjure thee by God, that thou torment me not.For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit.

Luke 4:33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,34 Saying, 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.35 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.

Luke 4:41 And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Messiah the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ

Luke 8:27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.

Acts. 16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

Matt. 4:And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Read more about James 2, and faith/works, in this blog article

3 tankar om “Demons BELIEVE and tremble – faith without deeds is dead

  1. When I argue for justification by faith alone what I seek to defend is the notion that it is faith plus our good works that saves us. The Scripture is clear that we are justified through faith (Romans 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9) and apart from works (John 6:29; Acts 13:38-39; 15:11; Romans 4:5, 24-25; 10:4; Titus 3:5-7) but I would argue that works and obedience flow from being justified through faith (Romans 6:1-4). Faithfulness flows from justification (James 2:14-26).

    Good post. I appreciate your passion for the Lord Jesus.

    Gilla

    • Hey there

      <<— what I seek to defend is the notion that it is faith plus our good works that saves us.

      Good approach! Sometimes we christians might express ourselves differently, but we might still have similar views. I phrase myself by saying that we are "not saved by faith alone", because this is what the Bible (James 2) says.

      It says in a verse that we are saved by faith "apart from works", but the subject is circumcision and the ceremonial laws. Paul makes the point that Abraham was considered righteous BEFORE he circumcised himself. There were commandments to obey also before Moses (albeit not the Jewish ceremonial laws) and the same commandments apply for us today – commandments that we are never "free" from. We are not saved "apart" from our sins to murder, steal, cheat and being adulterous. If we do such sins we are not saved and one of those sins is enough to be separated from God if we haven't repented for it.

      Paul sometimes made a difference between the Jewish ceremonial laws and the commandments of God:

      Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God (1 Cor. 7:19).

      GBU

      Gilla

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