“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” James 2:19.
There are many today that have this type of faith. As I have stated before, years ago if you would have asked me if I was a Christian, I would have emphatically said “Yes”! At that time however, I was no more a Christian than those demons in James 2:19. I knew God but He did not know me.
“But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” Galatians 4:9.
The defining difference in these two scriptures is God’s saving grace. Galatians 4:9 refers to knowing God the only way He can be known and that is through Jesus Christ. While James 2:19 refers to the mere belief that there is one God does not bring justification, for the demons believe and are not justified. It is our belief in Jesus and what He did at the Cross that allows us to know God and moreover, God to know us, in a saving way.
Believing who Jesus is and what He did is the only way we are redeemed to God the Father. More often than not, after salvation we continue to believe in Who Jesus is but tend to forget what He did and “…turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” Galatians 4:9. Bondage that is rewrapped in 21st century chains is still bondage. Our symbols and sacraments that the Cross of Jesus abolished are not progress but ignorance. In our attempt to become Christlike, we begin to seek His power to overcome our problems instead of seeking Him because He has already overcome. Instead of abiding “in” Him we want to abide “with” Him; shoulder to shoulder instead of submitting. Our religion becomes more about rejoicing in His power than rejoicing that our name is written in the Book of Life. We no longer pray “Your will on earth, even as it is in Heaven” but our will on earth.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23.
God knows every hair on our head but does He know you through Jesus’ saving grace? Will Jesus know you because you have abided in Him all of this time and He has taken care of you like a parent takes care of their child? Or are you the one that was always showing Him a better way? You know, the one that was enlightened through the Holy Spirit then stepped away from the light to go spread the light? Aren’t we all guilty of that? Isn’t it easy to reach that certain level of spiritual maturity that we feel we no longer need the Cross of Jesus because we are now in a relationship with God ourselves? This is the first sign that we need to go back to the Cross of Jesus…we can’t go past Jesus’ Cross. It is not that it is improper to do so but that it is impossible to do so, period.
“And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.” Matthew 24:8-12.
Has religion taken you past the Cross of Jesus? Will you be out buying oil when the bridegroom comes? In season and out of season be determined to know nothing but Christ and Him Crucified (1 Corinthians 2:2). Keep your lamp oiled. – Donna Warren