Faith and Works
Religion is no more a way to Heaven than the wrong belief. James 2:19 tells us that though we may believe there is a single God and we do well too; we are warned that this is not all there is to faith. Man can believe in any god he wants to. However, Heaven is not occupied by just any god, but the one true Jehovah. Our natural attitude is to reject this limited, very constricting truth. We want choices. We more naturally desire the things that please us, believe the things we want and do the things that give us greatest pleasure. This is evident in food choices and clothing purchases as well as lifestyle choices, and the worship we do, or do not, participate in.
The fact is that man’s faith in whatever god he chooses will net those very rewards. If man’s god is one of morality, man will generally be upstanding, have standards and be credible in most ways; a moral man will be moral. If man’s god is one of chaos, the man will be chaotic, enjoy chaotic things and probably have a tumultuous life; a chaotic man will live in chaos.
The works of these two individuals are evident in their efforts at life. The moral man’s work is one of integrity and completeness. This individual will frequently take that one step further to ensure their integrity is intact. The chaotic man will not complete work or do only that which is necessary for the work to be acceptable. The normal product from this type of individual is not trustworthy; he often cuts corners and regularly has no panache or style. He simply gets the job done but there is seldom lasting effect.
Regardless, because of their individual faith, they will both do well at what they do. The moral man having faith in morals will be good at being moral. The chaotic man, having faith in the multiplicity of chaos, will be good at chaos.
Both will have an apprehension; both will have fears. The reason for the anxiety they experience is what they have faith in, the object of their faith. They have rested their faith in unsure things. One in morals he knows he cannot maintain regardless how hard he tries. The other in chaos which he knows is constantly shifting, moving and never resting anyway.
In James 2:19 the Bible tells us demons believe in God. It tells us that they also have freedom to believe whatever they want. However, their belief (same word as “believe” in John 3:16 – whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life – “Him” being Jesus, the Son of God) does not get them to Heaven. This means the demon’s true faith lies elsewhere, or more specifically, in someone other than the God of Heaven.
They believe in God because they have literally seen Him. Still, they will not go to Heaven. They do not truly believe in God the way one would to receive eternal life. This means eternal faith is different in some way.
Demonic works in their faith are not oriented toward pleasing God. They work for their own devices, they work for what they truly trust and believe in, they work for themselves or Satan, the fallen angel they follow.
They are good at what they do. Demons are good at disrupting lives, wreaking havoc on the world and tempting man away from God. They are good at doing the things to man that would pull him farthest from God.
Their lack of faith creates a fear in them – they tremble or shudder to think of what they may face without God. You see, they know the whole truth, but still do not believe. Did you know that the Bible tells us that Hell was created for these demons and not for us? They know their future plight. It creates great fear in them.
God’s Heaven is only available to those whose faith is a dependent faith; a faith that produces works for the one true God. A true saving faith rests in the one true God for all things. True godly works stem from this dependent faith in God. True dependent faith will spur those who believe on to works of righteousness. The true dependent faithful fear nothing nor are they concerned with this world’s anxieties. Martin Luther wrote this about dependent faith and works,
“Oh this faith is a living, busy, active, powerful thing. It is impossible that it should not be ceaselessly doing that which is good. It does not even ask whether good works should be done. But before the question can be asked, it has done them. And it is constantly engaged in doing them. But he who does not do such works is a man without faith. Faith is a living well founded confidence in the grace of God, so perfectly certain that it would die 1000 times rather than surrender its conviction.”
Those dependent upon God in faith are:
- Content with their poor spirit because they know theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
- Content as their spirit mourns because they will receive comfort.
- Content to be gentle because they will inherit the earth.
- Content with a constant hunger and thirst for God’s righteousness because they will be satisfied in Heaven.
- Content in their mercy even when abused because they will receive mercy.
- Content to be pure in heart because in purity they see God.
- Content to be peacemakers because they will be counted as Sons of God.
- Finally, they are content when persecuted because like the very Son of God, they will be in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Everyone should come to this personal saving faith in God’s Son. Then truly, you will believe there is one God and you will do well for Him.