(Article for publication week of 1-23--AD 2014)
"Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well; the devils also believe and tremble" (James 2:19).
As we continue our study of the doctrine of saving faith, we see plainly that there is a faith that will not save. Just believing that there is a God will not save you. You are terribly deceived if you think that because you are not an atheist you are right with God. You cannot be saved just by believing in God, or by believing in what some call "a Supreme Being", or "the Grand Architect of the Universe." There are people who believe all these things that will spend eternity in hell. Note well: "the devils also believe and tremble."
Devils believe in God. In fact the faith of devils is a better faith than many professed Christians. The devils believe and "tremble." They fear God, and rightly so, but many who profess to be Christians have no fear of God before their eyes. They wrongly imagine that God loves everybody so much that He just can't bear to send anybody to hell. The devils understand their day of doom is at hand and they "tremble" (see Matthew 8:29).
Although the devils believe in God, they are not saved, and they cannot be saved. The devils are fallen angels who kept not their first estate (Jude 6). The angels who kept their first estate did so because they were elect angels (I Timothy 5:21). Although the devils believe in God, they can never be saved because they are not elect angels. The devils can never be saved, because Christ did not die for them. Christ died for men, and elect men at that. The devils can never be saved because the Holy Spirit does not regenerate devils, only elect sinners. The devils are not atheists, but they can never be saved.
Let us be warned by the fact that there is a faith that will not saved. Why will the faith of a devil never save a devil? What is the problem with this devilish faith? First, a devil's faith will not save him because it is only a natural or historical faith. This kind of faith may be exercised by unregenerate men (See Acts 8:13-23). On the other hand, true saving faith is a product of the quickening powers of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2: 8-9; Galatians 5:22). Secondly, a devil's faith will not save him, because it looks not to Christ. Thirdly, the faith of devils cannot save because it is not accompanied by repentance (Acts 20:21). And fourthly, the faith of devils cannot save because it is not accompanied by all other saving graces (James 2:17).
Now dear reader, I ask you, "how is your faith different from that of devils?" Be honest with yourself and with the Lord. Do you believe in God? Well that is good. It is better that being an avowed atheist. But you are not necessarily saved just because you believe in God.
Now, I have shown you the faith of God's elect (last week's Narrow Way), and the faith of devils. In the coming weeks we shall (with the help of the Lord) show you what saving faith is by its principle acts, and some notable examples. I am labouring for your eternal good. May the Lord draw you to Himself and grant you faith to believe to the saving of your soul.