Faith Is Not Merely a Knowledge of God - Even the Demons Believe
  • Register

Believing that God is, is not the same as believing in God.


20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. - Romans 1:20


Being aware of God and even His Son Jesus does not necessarily constitute faith. Scripture tells us that all have knowledge of God (Rom. 1:20), and even many know who Jesus is. Yet we know that knowledge of Him doesn't make one saved (Matt. 7:22-23, Jam. 2:19). There is a BIG difference between "believing that" and "believing in" God. Believing that God is, this is good, but as James said, even the demons believe that God is one, yet their knowledge of God makes them shudder (Jam. 2:19). If merely believing that God is brought about being saved then everyone would be saved as everyone has knowledge of God (Rom. 1:19-20). There is a big difference between believing that God is and believing in God.


I believe this is what James is getting at when he states faith without works is dead. In the 2nd chapter of James he explains how faith alone ("believing that") without works ("believing in") is dead (Jam. 2:17). Saving faith is more than a knowledge but rather it's knowledge with a response. It's not that we are saved by works, nor do works play in part in our salvation as it's all accomplished by Christ and what He did on the cross, but works are an indicator of someone who "believes in" rather than "believes that". This is the very thing I believe James is warning us about.


An example of the difference between "believing that" and "believing in" can be seen in Cain and Abel in Genesis 4:1-5. Being present with the Lord in the garden both had an undeniable knowledge of God therefore both believed that God is. In the course of time both brought offerings to the Lord, Cain from his garden and Abel from His flock. Abel's offering was from the most valuable, choice part of his flock whereas Cain's offering was just a portion like all the rest. The bible tells us that God had regard for Abel and for his offering but for Cain and his offering He had no regard. What's the difference? It's neither the food from the flock nor the produce from the garden as God created both and has no need for anyone to supply Him. It wasn't the offering but rather how it was given. Hebrews 11:4 tells us that "by faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain..." Abel believed in God and in His heart was the desire to bless God. Cain on the other hand responded in anger when God did not regard his offering. Why? Because he wasn't looking to bless God but rather be blessed by God.


Many in the church are there culturally. For example, there is what's called the "Bible belt" comprised of a few states in the southern U.S. Here it is culturally accepted at large to be a Christian and many can talk the talk by don't walk the walk. Others who don't live in the bible belt still are raised in the Christian culture, in Christian homes and within Christian circles. They know the lingo, can quote scripture, yet never entered into a relationship with Jesus. Even Satan quoted scripture to Jesus (Matt. 4:6) and the demons believed God that one day He would send them to their torment (Matt. 8:29).


So we know head knowledge of the truth of God does not make one saved. Now in lieu of what James wrote some of you may be tempted to get busy and start working in order to be saved. James is not preaching salvation by works. He's merely saying works are evidence of a true faith, of one who is believing in God, indwelled with the Holy Spirit. To head out and start working in order to be saved is a grave error (Rom. 10:2-3, Gal. 3:3). Works should be seen as an evidence of faith not a prerequisite for it.


So what is the difference between someone who believes that God is and someone who believes in God?


Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. - Revelation 3:20 (emphasis mine).


Everyone hears His voice (Psa. 19:4, Rom. 10:18) but not everyone opens the door (Rev. 3:20). Many are called but few are chosen (Matt. 22:14).


At this point, some who worry about their salvation are wanting me to divulge the secret to opening the door and getting Jesus to come in, but I say, you've made it much harder than it is and your worry testifies to your want. God didn't lock the door and not give you the key, nor is the door stuck and difficult to open. Likewise Jesus is not reluctantly waiting but rather He is eager to dine with any that welcome Him in (Isa. 30:18, Luke 12:32, 15:20).


It's not an issue of knowledge or lack thereof, it's an issue of they don't want God. It's not that they don't know but rather a deliberate suppression of the truth (Rom. 1:18). A deliberate refusal to open the door. Why would someone suppress the truth? Well, why does anyone ignore truth. Have you ever avoided the scale because you didn't want to know how much you weigh? Have you decided to not go to the doctor because you don't want to know what the diagnosis of your symptoms? Have you ever chosen to not ask a question because you didn't want an answer?


These people avoid the truth of God because it makes them squirm. To welcome God is to welcome exposure.


For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” - John 3:21


Godly people are transparent people. It's not that they don't have sin, it's that they don't run from light. It's not that they don't have sin, it's that they would rather have God. These people delight to pray like David prayed:


Investigate my life, O God,
    find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
    get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
    then guide me on the road to eternal life. - Psalm 139:23-24 (MSG)


Some people don't want to open the door. They keep themselves busy to avoid an honest self reflection. Instead of confronting reality they run to anything else even using things like drugs, alcohol, and other addictions as a means to escape reality. Nobody ever perishes for a lack of knowledge but rather they perish for refusing to open the door. We see evidence of this in the story Jesus shared of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Abraham's Bosom (Luke 16:19-31). The Rich Man who has died and is in a place of torment asks if Lazarus could be sent to warn his five brothers so they will not suffer the same horrific fate as he.


27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham *said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 But he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!’ 31 But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’” - Luke 16:27-31



It's not that they don't have the truth, it's that they closed their eyes. It's not that they can't hear, it's that they close their hearts to it. Such people will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.


For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’ - Matt. 13:15


How many times Jesus performed miracles, wonderful heart warming miracles, but some who saw these miracles with their own eyes would rather use the miracles as an excuse to accuse Him because of a perceived technicality than face the reality of the presence of God among them. They don't want God, they don't want a relationship with Him, they are just mad at Him because His holiness stands in the way of their desires. Such state of heart angers God, but it also grieves Him (Mark 3:5).


Today there are people inundated within "Christianese" who exist within Christian circles. Like the Pharisees and Jews looking to accuse Jesus there are those in the "Christian club" that can talk the talk, they know the stories, they believe of God but they don't necessarily want Him. They want His hand-outs, but they don't want Who's attached to the hand. They want the gifts but not the Giver. They're trying to have their foot in both camps. However when hardships arise and believing means giving up their comfort and security they fall away. And when pursuing God means leaving behind the world they hop tracks (Matt. 6:24).


These are the ones I believe James referred to as double-minded (Jam. 1:8). They know God, but they don't want God. They hear Jesus calling, but... they have other priorities on their heart (Luke 14:18-20). It's not merely a Christian struggling with doubts but rather someone who isn't sure they want to be a Christian. They may put their hands to the plow, but they look back as their desires are not there (Luke 9:62, Gen. 19:26). God pursues such people (2 Cor. 5:20), and Jesus reasons with them "for what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?" (Mark. 8:36) but some simply won't be persuaded (Luke 16:31).


So how does one open the door? There's no tricks, no secret, no special prayer to pray, simply if you want Him to come in, ask (period).


Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. - Matthew 7:7


If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” - Luke 11:13


Book Studies

Theological Studies

Study Series

The Gospel of Salvation



Drop Me a Line

Have some feedback, insight, questions, comments, prayer requests, etc? Maybe you just want to share what God is doing in your life (I love praise reports), or maybe you can relate to some of the things here and need an ear. I'd love to hear from you!