You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. ~ James 2:19
Saving faith is not merely intellectual assent. To say we believe there is one God is no more proof of our salvation than that of the demons.
“According to James, even if I am aware of the work of Jesus—convinced intellectually that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died on the cross for my sins, and that he rose from the dead—I would at that point qualify to be a demon. The demons recognize Jesus, and the devil himself knows the truth of Christ, but he doesn’t have saving faith.” ~ RC Sproul
Regardless of how much a person may know about God and the Bible, it is not assurance of salvation. So, how do we know if we belong to God? Knowledge is necessary for salvation. No one can be a Christian and not believe in the One True God of the Bible. But what is the evidence of our salvation?
“You say you are a Christian and you are in God’s favor. You think God will let you into heaven, and the proof of it is, you believe in God. But that is no evidence at all, because the demons also believe, and they are sure to be punished in hell.” ~ Jonathan Edwards
Demons believe God exists. Demons know that God is a holy God that hates sin and declares Truth. Demons know that God will carry out his judgment upon them. It’s the reason that they shudder. They know God more intimately than most humans, yet they are not saved…they will perish. (Matthew 8:29)
Demons have clarity about God and the Bible but they do not have a holy knowledge, they can’t, because the Holy Spirit is not in them. They are unclean children of their father the devil seeing to his evil desires. This clarity produces such strong anguish that they shudder, but they are not holy. (John 8:44) There is no Redeemer for fallen angels. (Hebrews 2:16) Demons belief is unable to produce good works acceptable to God. Rather it produces the fear of their present and future judgment, “And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”” (Matthew 8:29)
The devil is a better theologian than any of us and is a devil still. ~ AW Tozer
How do we know we belong to the Lord? Do we have saving faith? What separates us from believing like the demons?
Thankfully, God has given us ample instruction to be assured that we have eternal life.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. ~ 1 John 5:13
Though the demons have knowledge and content of God, what they lack is true, saving faith that responds in obedience, out of love for the Father, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) It is trusting that Christ is Lord of your life and you have surrendered it to Him unlike the demon who continues to act apart from the Spirit of God in rebellion unable to perform works pleasing to the Lord.
“Knowledge without repentance will be but a torch to light men to hell.” ~ Thomas Watson
Your saving faith is a gift of the Lord through the work of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-8; Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Timothy 2:24-26; James 1:16-18) which produces the ability to repent (Romans 2:4, 1 Corinthians 7:10) and believe in the Gospel. (1 Corinthians 15:1-5)
Your God-given faith produces the desire to do the good works prepared by Him for those He called as you acknowledge His lordship and submit to His authority. The good works that we do as part of our sanctification are produced by the same faith which justifies without works. The good works contribute nothing to our justification for we are saved by faith alone and that faith is a gift of God. Yet our good works are the evidence of our true and saving faith and an essential part of our salvation.
“…faith alone saves, but saving faith is never alone; it completes itself in deeds.” ~ John Owen.
Do you live in fear of God’s punishment and wrath as the demons or do you live in His peace of who you are in Christ?
“Let us not flatter ourselves with the empty title of faith, but let every man seriously examine himself, that at the final review he may be pronounced to be one of the lawful guests…for the words of Christ mean nothing more than this, that the external profession of faith is not a sufficient proof that God will acknowledge as his people all who appear to have accepted of his invitation.” ~ John Calvin
Trust in Christ for your salvation.
“At this moment God commands all men to repent and believe…that today is the day of salvation. That you are to flee from the wrath to come. To flee from the law of Moses that condemns you…into the city of refuge who is Jesus Christ our Lord. Run to Him. Repentance is simply giving up. To stop fighting against God and to stop attempting to gain your own salvation through your own works. To literally give up and fall upon Christ. That is salvation. So that you say nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling. And when that seed grows in you to the point where you know that you are standing before God is one hundred absolutely percent based and founded upon the perfect work and merit of Jesus Christ then you stand before Him with confidence knowing that all of your sins have been atoned for and that you are righteous in Christ…Come to Him…” ~ Paul Washer