You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
What is True Faith and the results of the true faith
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
We all have faith in God. We believe that there is a true and just God exists. And we know that we should follow his will. We all know his will too through the Bible. We also believe that God will punish those who do not obey him. That is great. But the question is that whether your faith yield any difference in your behavior?
Demons also believe that. We know, in the book of Job, Satan also went to stand in front of God along with the angels. That means, I suppose, Satan also has seen the God. He not only believe that there is a God. He also trembles at the presence of God.
But there is no use of his belief or faith or knowledge of God. He believes but never said that "I repent". He is not into following God and doing God's will. He always does things that is against the will of God. Satan's knowledge or belief or faith in God is of no use. Because his faith does not yield any fruits. That is what James is trying to tell us. Our faith should yield some difference in our work.
If we examine our deeds closely, we would be surprised to note that many of our knowledge or faith or belief has of no use. Because it is not producing any positive results. We all are just like Demons or Satan. We know the truth. We read the will of God from the Bible. We know what is right and what is wrong. We tremble at the thought of Judgment day and God who appeared Moses in fire. Still we are not changing. We continue in what we were doing in the past. Then there is no difference between us and Satan. There is no positive change.
Just like Satan is not repenting and turning away from his bad ways, we are not repenting and turning away from our old bad ways, there is no use with our faith or belief or knowledge.
Faith of Abraham and Rahab
In this context we look at Abraham. He has a good relationship with
God. He accepted the supreme authority of God. He feared God. He
trembled at the presence of God. He was fully obedient even to the
extent to give up his only son who born to him in his old age for God. And his faith is
justified through his work.
James continues with another example of faith of the Rahab the prostitute. She has the belief that one day Israelites would overpower Jericho and rule. She saw the opportunity and act quickly. She hide those who came to her. She did not fear the King of Jericho who was powerful to do whatever he wish to do. She feared someone who is more powerful than the king of Jericho. She could have fear the king and hand over the spies to king. But she feared the people of God more than the king of Jericho. Her faith justified by her deeds only. Our knowledge or faith or belief must produce the positive results.
Knowingly or unknowingly, we fear Satan and do many thing to please him. But there is a God who is more powerful than Satan. We must fear God and obey him. Just like Rahab feared the Israelites rather than the king of Jericho. If you fear God and walk in his ways, then there is nothing which can stand against you. Fear God and do right. That is the most rewarding thing one can do in this world.
Faith and work
We must understand the importance of having great faith. By faith
we are saved. Not by our deeds. If we are saved by our faith in
Jesus, we need to continue in that faith. The moment we loose our
faith, we loose our salvation. That is what happened with Charles
Templeton, who once was a great evangelist sharing platforms with Dr.
Billy Graham. Charles Templeton started to doubt about the Genesis
account of creation. If we are saved by faith, if we are saved by the
grace of God, then what would be the result of our lack of faith? What
would be the result of doubt? Obliviously we'll lose our Salvation.
The reason for doubting our faith is our own deeds originated from the lack of faith. Sin and faith are inter related. When sin goes up, faith goes down. When faith goes up, sin goes down. Where does sin comes from? (Luke 7:21-22) For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.
When we allow our heart to enjoy the thoughts of evil, at the other end, doubt started to grow. Our heart is like a garden where we plant seeds. But along with the seeds, weeds also start to grow. We need to carefully watch and purge out the weed when it is small. It is easy to uproot a plant when it is in its initial stage of growth. After growing it as a big tree, it is very difficult for us to uproot it from the garden.
We, as gardener of our heart, must carefully watch and weed-out regularly to yield good fruits. It is difficult with man, but possible with the help of our dear loving God.
We do many things for the momentary escape from troubles, without thinking about its consequences. Let me explain it to you.
Ebin the only child of Tom and his wife Kate were living happily. Ebin's mother Kate got an opportunity to work abroad. She left for UK leaving Tom and Ebin in Delhi. Now, Ebin is an eleventh grade student and leave home for his school in the early morning 6.00am and return at around 2.30pm every day. Tom who work as a accountant leave home at around 11.00am and return around 9.00 pm. Whenever Tom get time, he used to advice Ebin to study well and get good grades in his studies.
Recently Ebin's Mom who is working in a foreign country send money to buy computer and mobile phone and a bicycle. After getting all these new thing, Ebin could not find time for his studies. Ebin was good at his studies till the tenth grade. Every evening Ebin went out to play with his friends. After returning from play ground, he used to spent time with his new computer. He borrowed video games from his friends. He avoid his studies. When the result of the eleventh grade exam came he has failed for two subjects. School authorities gave another chance to improve. Then he cleared one more subject. But did not get enough mark for the subject Chemistry. His teacher called Tom and told him that she would give another chance to Ebin to improve his marks.
From his office Tom called up Ebin and pass on the bad news and asked him to study Chemistry and informed that the teacher will be giving you one more chance to clear Chemistry. Ebin, hearing the news of his failure got disappointed. He was sure that if he fail this time he would not get promotion to the twelfth grade. He wanted to avoid his father. He wanted avoid his school and examination. So he decided to leave his home forever. He wrote a letter to his father saying that he is going away from home and wanted to live by himself. In his letter he expressed his desire, not to waste money of his father and mother.
In the evening when Tom came home, he couldn't find Ebin. Later, in the bed, he found the letter written by Ebin. Tom called up Ebin's friends and asked about Ebin. They informed him that Ebin has been talking about leaving home but they did not take it seriously. They all were surprised to know that Ebin left his home. Immediately they went out and done a search for Ebin, in the nearby areas where Ebin could possibly may go. They returned at the midnight without any information. Tom called up his friends and all were present there to help him to find Ebin. They went to police station and lodged a missing report. They took necessary steps to advertise in the newspaper. The missing report published in the Newspaper. Ebin's father spent night along with his friends searching for Ebin in the Bus stops and railway stations.
Next day Tom informed school authorities about Ebin's disappearance. They all shocked to hear the news. It was announced in the school and asked children if they see him, report it to the school authorities. Then next day also the search for Ebin continued. They visited Police station again and again without any result. Ebin's mother also got the news and she was crying. She was earning money to give good food, education and shelter to Ebin. Her hope was in Ebin. She also made repeated calls to Tom to inquire about Ebin.
Following night at 2.30 am Tom got a phone call. Ebin was there at the other end. Ebin told Tom that "Dad, do not worry about me, I will return to home tomorrow" and disconnected the phone. Tom call back in that number and found that Ebin used the mobile of a catering employ at Railway station. Tom along with his friends rushed to Railway station. By the time they reached the railway station, Ebin slipped from there and they could not find him. Tom requested to the Railway catering employ to inform him if he find Ebin again.
One more day passed. In the third day morning Tom again got a phone call from the same Railway catering employ and told him that Ebin is there in the custody and asked Tom to rush to Railway station. Immediately they reached the railway station and got Ebin back home. Ebin also was tired and hungry. He could not find a way out to live by his own.
Ebin never thought about the consequences of leaving home. His father had to report at the police station. Tom's friends and relatives spent sleepless nights searching and praying for the safe return of Ebin. When Ebin returned, everyone who knows him, came to see him. He was ashamed and never wanted to face them. His missing only provide loss of money and energy for the rest of the family and friends.
Ebin never wanted to face the reality. He tried to escape from his exam and studies. We are also like Ebin. We do not want to face the reality. We want to escape from problems. We try short cuts without thinking about the consequences.
Our every action will produce equal and opposite consequences. When we do evil, knowingly or unknowingly we are hurting others. We have to bear the consequences. Satan also has to bear the consequences of his wrong doing.
We are like Ebin. Even though we know what is right and good, often we find ourselves doing wrong. We waste our time and energy on things which are of no use. Then we want to avoid bad situation. We try to run away from reality. We cannot live without God, still we try to live by ourselves. Why we should take the pain to know that without God we cannot live.
Before we think or act, we should examine the consequences. Because the bible says that But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”
If you believe God and have true faith in God, then you need to be cautious about all of your thoughts and actions. It should produce positive result. When murderous thoughts come in to your heart, you need to overpower it. The slightest thought of sexual immorality comes up, you need to watch your thoughts. That is what James wanted remind you by saying "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder."
If there is no positive results, then our faith and Satan's faith are the same. There is no use with that faith. In short, True faith should produce its results.
Power of faith
True faith holds great power. Luke 17:6 He replied, “If you have faith
as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be
uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
Jesus commented the faith of the centurion: In Capernaum, there a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue.” So Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.” Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.
The Faith of a Canaanite Woman: Leaving that place, Jesus
withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that
vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on
me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.”
Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.”
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”
The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said.
He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”
“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”
Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
There are many people who have great faith. Let us have true faith which produce positive results.