Demon Faith--the ultimate oxymoron and insult, perhaps. James, the brother of Jesus, stated that many believe in Jesus without trusting him. The demons do that. Hence, demon faith. In an extended definition of genuine faith, James said, “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. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless?” (James 2:19-20 NLT, but see verses 14-26). But could we possibly have some elements of demon faith in our lives? Not that our faith is demonic, merely that we may possess some similarities.
Simply put, if the faith we say we have doesn’t change how we live, then we have no more genuine faith than demons do. But most of the readers here do have changed lives. So did some that Jesus said didn’t measure up, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).
What makes us genuine faith, one we can trust in? Relationship. Knowing him. Loving him. And, actions that express and build that. Eight times in John 14:15-15:14, Jesus affirmed that saving faith combines loving him and obedience. Just one, “If you love me, you will obey what I command” (verse 15, see also 21, 23, 24, 31, 15:10, 13, 14). Honestly, the linkage between love and action amazes me. And when I intentionally and knowingly choose to not obey, then I share with demons much more than I desire.
That doesn’t mean whenever I disobey, which I do often, that I become a demon. I know Jesus. I love him. I strive to obey him. My life now aligns with his desire much more than earlier. And I have full confidence, based on all these verses, that I know Jesus and well spend eternity with him.
But falling short is a serious act that damages me in a multitude of ways. My own character weakens. I receive consequences of the act. Relationships with others suffer. And most importantly, my intimacy with God decreases. Because in that moment, I choose to not let Jesus be my Lord. Forgiveable? Absolutely. Restorable? Without a doubt. But wrong. With consequences.
The purpose here isn’t to increase our guilt, but our awareness of how serious choosing to sin is. And then, to do less of it.
Kick Starting the Application
How serious do you consider sin? Do you lean to the grace or truth end of the spectrum? Should you emphasize one or the other? Both are true, so can you see that? Think a bit, if you increase the wrong of sin, does that increase the goodness of grace?