Demons and Us
James 2:14-20, 26
For those of us who are Christians, it is somewhat difficult to understand that some people live their lives without believing in God. Yet, the ranks of atheists, agnostics and skeptics have never been empty and, according to many polls, are increasing these days. We, however, could not begin to fathom life without our Lord Jesus Christ since He is so much a part of us, and we are so much a part of Him.
James, however, provides those of us who believe a much needed warning about our faith. He says (2:19) that it is a good thing to believe that God is one (or “there is one God”). But he then balances that with a word of caution: “... the demons also believe, and shudder.” In other words, simply believing in God still leaves us in the company of wicked and rebellious underlings of the devil! Having faith alone is to have the same death sentence as the demons!
What, then makes faith alive? Faith comes alive when it comes alive in a person’s actions. Faith lives when a life is changed to demonstrate that belief. James uses the illustration of seeing a brother or sister in need of food and clothing. Some believers (note carefully that they are believers) who have dead faith offer a very nice sounding word of encouragement: “Go in peace, be warmed and filled.” What a lovely little speech!
The only problem is that they did not provide what these naked and hungry people needed. Their “faith” lacked any substance whatsoever. It is dead and lifeless since nothing was accomplished to alleviate the suffering. We can study and study and study. We can discuss and discuss and discuss. We can worship and worship and worship. But until we TAKE ACTION, faith is lifeless! The faith of platitudes and good intentions dies on the vine.
Whether individual Christians or entire congregations are in view - if it’s about feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, sharing the gospel, etc., it’s all the same. Those who don’t live out their faith are no better off than the demons. That’s pretty horrible company.