From James 2 – what does real, genuine, authentic faith in Christ look like? #4. REAL FAITH IS NOT JUST SOMETHING YOU BELIEVE
“You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that — and shudder!” There are a lot of people who have strong beliefs in God, the Bible, about Christ. They can recite creeds to you and catechisms and talk about doctrines of the Trinity, quote bible verses. James says, “big deal!” Just saying I believe in God is not enough to get you to heaven. Even the devil believes that. The Bible says in Proverbs, “The fool has said in his heart, there is not God.” It’s foolish to be an atheist and the devil is no fool. The devil believes in God! The devil is a great theologian. He knows a lot more about the Bible than you do. He’s been around a whole lot longer. He knows theology backwards and forwards. He believes. His demons believe and shudder. The Greek word is “to bristle” — their hair stands up on end. It’s the kind of word you’d use reading a Steven King novel. Why? Because the devils understand the majesty and awesomeness of God. They believe in God and they tremble.
The word believe in Greek means “to trust in, to cling to, to rely on, to commit yourself completely.” I believe in Hitler but I’m not a Nazi. I’m a Christian because I believe in Jesus. But it’s more than just a head knowledge. A lot of folks are going to miss heaven by 18 inches. They’ve got it in their head but not their heart. They say “I believe in God.” James says, “Big deal. Everybody believes in God. How do you have a creation without a Creator? But that’s not enough.”
Real faith is not just saying “I believe”. There is so much easy believism in America. Article in USA Today: “Many people in America today believe but don’t practice.” They did a survey and asked people all over America and they found a high degree of belief. “Sure, I’m a believer. I’m a Christian.” Do you attend church? “No.” “Do you donate your time?” “No.” “Do you tithe?” “No.” James would say that’s a phony belief. You’re just conning yourself. A lot of people are doing that.
If real, genuine, authentic faith is not just something you say or think or feel or believe, what is real faith? That’s what we’ll look at tomorrow.