Question #18: Do demons / evil spirits believe in God and believe in Jesus Christ as the Holy One of God?
Answer: YES, they do, but there is no faith in them; there is no trust and obedience in their relationship with God and in Christ.
Explanation – First, we submit to you Bible passages copying (from ESV) only part of verses that express how these spirits consider God and Christ:
- James 2:19, “You believe (pisteuousi) that God is one, you do well, even demons believe and they shudder.”
- Ephesians 2:2, “. . . following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”
- Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
- Ephesians 6:16, “. . . take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one. . .”
- 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.”
- Matthew 8:29, 31, Two demon-possessed men of Gadara shouted to Jesus, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time? x x x If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.”
- Matthew 13:19, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart.”
- Mark 1:24, An unclean spirit cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God.”
- Mark 1:34, “And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak because they knew him.”
- Mark 5:7, An unclean spirit cried with a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.”
- John 8:44, Christ said, “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth because there is no truth in him.”
- Luke 4:33, 34, An unclean spirit: “Ha! What have you to do with us Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”
The word “believe” in James 2:19 means mental knowledge but without trust, no surrender and no humble obedience to the authority of the Triune Godhead.
Below are some passages that tell us the true shade of believing and faith that leads to salvation:
Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like.” And Jesus tells the parable of the Wise Builder who built upon the rock foundation.
John 14:15, 23, “If you love me you keep my commandments x x x If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
1 John 2:3-5, “And by this, we know that we have come to know him if we keep his commandments. Whoever says ‘I know him but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this, we may know that we are in him.”
In the discussion about the verb BELIEVE and FAITH, we should define what kind of BELIEF or FAITH we talk about. Is it BELIEF that recognizes God’s sovereignty or BELIEF with mere knowledge or information about God Almighty without surrendering to God’s authority? Like the demons in James 2:19. They believe but they do not love and obey God. There is FAITH that is small like Peter’s faith which brought him down in the waters of the Sea of Galilee. Christ told Peter, “O you of little faith.” That small faith might be incomplete like those who discard baptism from the Great Commission. They know the Great Commission. They know that being baptized is a command but they say the command needs not to be obeyed. That small faith might be there, but like Peter, they sink into the Lake of Fire.
People saying “Faith alone saves” are walking on dangerous ground. Those who disregard many instructions found in the Bible have little faith. They fail in several things like the following: Lord’s Supper every first day of the week, baptism for the forgiveness of sin in the initial Christian journey, belief in the deity of Christ, belief in the Triune Godhead, belief in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the disciple, the NT church is the same as the Kingdom of God on earth, vocal music in church worship, congregational autonomy with Christ as the head of the universal church, no national church hierarchy, women’s silence in the corporate worship of the church, continuity of the church established by Christ, male-only eldership, and many more doctrines.
Some Bible students declare that salvation is all God’s work and nothing is done by one who has been elected to eternal life. Then that person adds, “we are saved by grace only plus faith only.” So we ask: “Are grace and faith the saviors or the saviors are God the Father and Christ the son?” They surrender their first position by saying that we should also add God and Christ in accomplishing salvation. So they hasten to say: “Saved by grace only + faith only + Christ only.” Why limited to three items only? Yet the scripture cites many more.
We further ask: “Does a person need to believe? Does he need to repent of his sins?” Quickly, they say that belief and repentance are needed. So where is the meaning of the term “Only”? The safest interpretation of salvation, therefore, is to sum up all the persons and items that are mentioned in the Bible so that the fallacy of partial view will not be committed.
Please continue to study with us. Thank you.