Whose Ways Are You Going To Live By: God or Satan?

In the Old Testament most people on earth, including many Israelites, denied the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They worshipped all kinds of Idols. Many were possessed by demons. Evil filled the world with wars and fear of the enemy. Cities built huge walls to surround each city for protection. People stood on the wall 24/7 in case an enemy was about to attack.

Prophets were sent to the people to tell them how God wanted them to live. The people ignored God’s prophets and lived committing detestable sins. As a result, God continued to punish them by allowing their enemies to destroy them.

Hopefully, everyone will understand that we are constantly being influenced by demonic forces. If we are not living by God’s ways, we are living under the influence of Satan and his emissaries. Most cannot accept what the Bible teaches. Not everyone, according to the Bible, who professes to be a Christian, is one. Not everyone who is an evil person is possessed by demons but many are.

Christ cast out demons and Paul confronted demonic forces in his ministry and taught the church to recognize the spiritual forces of wickedness. Do you believe demons have faith? Do they believe in the existence of God? Yes and they believe Christ is the Son of God. Luke 8:31 says demons also recognize there is a hell.

James 2:18 – 24 – “Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.” 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? Don’t you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith. He was even called the friend of God. So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.”

James again is saying, we can have the knowledge and even have stirring in our hearts and be lost forever. To professing Christians and not committed Christians, demonic forces will convince them salvation and faith is all that is needed to be a Christian. Works and deeds are not necessary. Saving faith involves more, it requires a changed life and James says, I will show you I have faith by my works and deeds. Being a Christian involves trusting Christ and living for Christ and as we receive life we must reveal life.

James describes true ‘saving faith’ as follows: It is based on the Word of God. It is different from being confidant. It is a saving faith that results in a true-life change. It is faith that causes one to repent or change their complete direction in life from self-centeredness (worldliness) to Christ centeredness (Godliness). No matter how much faith a person has, if it is not directed on God it will accomplish nothing spiritually. Faith takes more than believing, it requires action, even demons believe.

Faith without works, even though it is motivated by love and obedience, is not a saving faith. Faith requires a positive action of serving. It may be no more than witnessing and the willingness to help others. Scripture says, you do not light a candle and then put a lid over it. You light it that you might see. Once we receive the Holy Spirit into our lives our response is to share with others. (Our light is to shine so other may also see.)

A person could deceive themselves by intellectually agreeing with a set of Christian teachings but do not have the faith to allow the Holy Spirit to transform their lives. A person whose life remains relatively unchanged does not practice the truth they claim to believe and can be deceived.

Is James contradicting Paul’s teaching that man is not saved by works or deeds but by faith and grace?
1. The Judaizers believed you had to become a Jew first and follow the laws to become a Christian. Paul rejected this teaching and emphasized that salvation is a gift of grace received by faith. He never said that you should not put your faith into action by doing deeds.
2. James is not talking about working to become a Christian; he is saying the faith that saves you will produce deeds, works of faith.
3. The devil tries to convince people that once saved, it is o.k. to continue living as you have been. There is no need to change. How are we to measure change and our faith?
4. Does our walk measure up to our talk? Do we reach out and respond to the needs of others?

Our faith in Christ and how we live makes a difference where we end up in eternity. I once learned the difference between heaven and hell. Picture hell as every prisoner in the U.S. was released from prison. At the same time all police departments were shut down. All the people’s guns were taken away. What kind of life would you be living and that would be like living in hell. Heaven is where everyone lives by the Golden Rule. There would be no prisons needed and police enforcement would not be necessary. Where do you want to spend eternity?

Having spent 29 years helping people Plan financially for retirement, I find most do not have the discipline to prepare adequately for retirement. Most will find themselves having a much lower standard of living. It seems to most, preparing for heaven, is more difficult that planning for retirement. It is so hard for most to prepare for the future. It is all about what is best for me TODAY?

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