Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dial Daily Bread: Is It Possible to Believe but Not Obey the Truth?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"

Someone asked: "Is it possible that some people might believe and yet not obey the truth? James says 'the devils believe and tremble' (2:19). Is that word 'believe' the same one?"

Yes, it is. But the problem with the devils' "believing" is that they "tremble" ("shudder," Greek). Their motivation is fear or horror or hatred. The "love" (agape) which they have seen does not "constrain" them to selfless living (2 Cor. 5:14, 15), but they dread the final judgment and hate those who do appreciate agape. That's why James says their "faith" is "without works" (2:18)--they have gone the utter length of hard-heartedness.

Isaac Watts describes faith: "When I survey the wondrous cross / On which the Prince of glory died, / My richest gain I count but loss, / And pour contempt on all my pride." The devils "believe" their doom is coming but they "pour" hatred on Christ. They don't "survey" the cross with appreciation but with bitterness.

Is it possible for us humans for whom the Son of God died (please remember, He did not die for the fallen angels!)--is it possible for us to "believe" and not obey? No. That's the point of John 3:16, Romans 1:16, Galatians 5:6, etc. One can't "believe" and continue in sin.

Those who at last enforce "the mark of the beast" and seek to destroy God's true people will claim that they "believe," but at that time "Babylon" will have "become a habitation of devils," and thus the epitome of a presumption that has replaced biblical faith (Rev. 18:2). Today, let's look l-o-n-g at that cross!

--Robert J. Wieland

From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: March 7, 2005.
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