James 2:18-19: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.”
Warren Wiersbe has described the faith mentioned in these two verses as demonic faith. Are demons real? YES! Paul talks about fighting spiritual battles all the time. Check out Ephesians 6 for the spiritual armor a Christian is to adorn to fight this battle.
Belief is to “accept as true.” There is a difference between believing that God is real (v. 19) and believing in Christ for salvation. Acts 16:31 says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” Over and over again in Scripture, we see Jesus confronting demons, and each time they respond by admitting who Jesus is and what He had come to do, but never once do they accept it and apply it to their life.
For example, in Luke 4:34, the demons respond to Jesus’ presence: “‘Go away! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!’” This shows that knowing the facts about God as revealed in the Bible is one thing, trusting in Him and depending on His son Jesus Christ for salvation is another.
Notice the demons never do anything about what they believe other than shudder. They know what is coming for them, or more importantly, who.
Good works are simple, practical outworkings of the Christian life since demons aren’t Christians, the only thing they can do is shudder.
The absence of good works in a professing Christian’s life means one of two things. First, perhaps they weren’t saved but only gave intellectual assent to God; Maybe they were even able to fake an outward emotional response, but there was no internal change. In reality, only God can judge this. If no works are accompanying a Christian’s life, the second possible explanation is they have backslidden and are living in disobedience. In this case, they need to repent or face God’s discipline.
Some questions to consider:
-In what ways are you living out your faith in Christ?
-How are you accepting and applying belief in Christ in your life?
-How can you lovingly encourage a professing Christian who isn’t displaying works to begin to live out their faith?