The Kind of Faith God Requires - Greg Laurie


Research has found that contrary to the secularism of modern culture, Americans still believe in God. A 2016 Gallup poll revealed that 9 out of 10 Americans say they believe in God. But as writer Will Herberg observed, "America seems to be at once the most religious and the most secular of nations."


It is of the greatest importance that we know what true faith is. The Bible tells us that "it is impossible to please God without faith" (Hebrews 11:6 NLT). And the book of James tells us what true faith is, the kind of faith that God requires of every person.
True faith, the kind of faith that God requires, is a faith that always will bring results. It is a faith that shows itself in actions. James says, "What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? ... So you see, faith by itself isn't enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless" (2:14, 17 NLT).
Let's understand what kind of faith James was describing. He was saying that a faith that doesn't produce results will not save you, because that is not real faith. The issue here is not whether faith saves you; the issue is whether a phony faith, a pseudo faith, saves you. The answer is no. It cannot, because it isn't real.
It's no more real than an image of a fireplace playing on your television screen. Could you go and stand in front of your TV and warm your hands or roast a marshmallow in that video image? Of course not. It's only a recording of the real thing. It isn't the genuine article.
The faith that James was speaking of is a pseudo faith, an imitation. Any declaration of faith that doesn't result in a changed life and good works is a false declaration. It is faith alone that justifies, but faith that justifies can never be alone.
There are people today who say they are Christians. They believe in God. They believe in prayer. They believe the Bible is the Word of God. But where is the evidence? If it's true faith, then it should impact their lifestyle.
James wanted to jolt out of complacency those who had a false concept of what faith is. Therefore, he used a relatively radical analogy: "You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can't you see that faith without good deeds is useless?" (2:19–20 NLT)
It may surprise you to know that demons, and the devil himself, are neither atheists nor agnostics. The devil and his demons believe in the existence of God. They believe in the deity of Jesus Christ. They believe that the Bible is the very Word of God. They believe that Jesus is coming again. So you could say, in a very limited sense, that the devil and his demons are orthodox in their beliefs. They're orthodox in the sense that they do believe the right things about God. But it is a devil's faith. The devil is never going to be saved or changed in any way. The Bible is clear about his origin, his agenda and his ultimate destruction.
James used this shocking analogy to point out to the religious elite that even correct belief, as important as that is, is not in itself enough. He said that not only did the demons believe, but they trembled. Have you ever been so frightened that your hair seemed to stand on end? That is the kind of trembling James was referring to. The devil and his demons tremble before the Lord because they know his power. They recognize his authority.
You can know the right things about God and not necessarily believe, in the biblical sense, in God. True belief in Jesus Christ is the quality of faith that takes you to him, that commits to him, that rests completely on him and that fully trusts in him, which results in a radical change in attitude and lifestyle.
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