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The Daily Word of Righteousness
A Fatal Interpretation, continued
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. (James 2:19—NIV)
What do we mean by "believe"? Do we mean we believe Christ died on the cross for our sins? Do we believe there is a God? Do we believe there is a Heaven? Do we believe there is a Day of Judgment (many Christians do not believe there is a Day of Judgment that applies to them because this would mean their behavior is at issue)?
Do you know the demons understand all this? They know only too well that these are facts. Are they saved by their belief? Do they have eternal life?
If belief is our salvation, why, then, did Christ, when warning us of His return, never mention our belief but only our behavior—whether we beat our fellow servants and so forth?
Why does Christ, in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation, speak only of our works, never our belief, if belief is the primary aspect of our redemption?
We must learn the difference between belief and faith. Belief is our recognition and acceptance of facts of the spirit realm, such as the blood atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Faith, on the other hand, is our grasp on God's character. Faith is the assurance that what God has promised us will take place. Faith is always moving forward in God, pressing the battle. Faith is a race. Faith is a fight as we enter the rest of God, the place where we are doing God's perfect will from the heart.
Belief is static. It really is mental assent and there is not a drop of salvation in it except as it leads us to daily interaction with the living Lord Jesus Christ.
No human being who has ever lived, from the time of Abel, has pleased God by any means other than faith. The Law of Moses itself was of little value except as the believers approached the Law in faith.
No one has ever pleased God by merely believing the facts concerning God.
It is sometimes stated that the only reason God gave us His commandments is that we might see we cannot keep them and thus have need for a savior.
Perhaps this strange idea came from such passages as the following:
Now we know whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. (Romans 3:19—NIV)
But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. (Galatians 3:22—NIV)
I suppose someone could get this wild notion from the above two verses, but if he would read the remainder of the Bible he would soon discover God means for us to keep His commandments. He did not issue them just to frustrate us and drive us to Himself.
Do God's holy requirements drive us to Christ? Yes, they do; not for perpetual forgiveness but for deliverance from sin and change into His moral image.
The idea that God does not expect us to keep His commandments is ridiculous.
To be continued.