August 31, 2021 – James 2: 17-19 – What is Faith?

Today we are reading from James 2: 17-19::

17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.  18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder.

We are looking at James today and most likely will be the for some of the following days. I love James.  Romans is probably my favorite book in the Bible, but James is a close second. The reason why I love James so much is that this letter was written for a specific reason – to explain to Christians what the Christian life should look like and motivate them to live it.  James is writing to Christians who say that they are Christians, but when you look at their lives, you see no evidence of that Christianity. They claim to have faith, but by looking at their lives, you would not be able to tell if they have faith or not.  

So thus he says that faith without works is dead. Faith shows itself in our lives, in the faithfulness seen within our lives.  

But then he says one of my favorite verses in the Bible – “you believe that God is one, you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder.”  

This is so important for us to understand. We are not saved by intellectual agreement.  We have faith in Jesus, that He is the son of God, born of a Virgin, lived, died, resurrected, ascended, and will return. We believe in these things. So, we are Christian, right?  

Today’s passage would say no.  Because the demons believe in these things as well. They have seen it.  They were there.  They know them to be true.  If all it takes to be a Christian is to intellectually agree to these statements, then the demons are Christian. They believe in these facts.  

Faith is not intellectual agreement. It is submitting our lives to the Lordship of Jesus. The demons believe, they have “faith” but they have not submitted themselves to the Lordship of Jesus.  

Faith is not intellectual agreement, it is submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. It is a transformed life that will then show itself by works.  We aren’t saved by intellectual belief, we aren’t saved even by correct theology. The demons have correct theology. We are saved by submission to Jesus.  

That is what faith truly is. Today, do we have faith?  

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