Demons believe in Jesus as the Holy One of God (18)

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.

Is there blotting out of names from the Book of Life? (11)

Question #11 –  Is there blotting out of names from the Book of Life?  Some friends say that once a disciple’s name is enrolled in the Book of Life, his name would not be blotted out nor erased by God.  They want this view to support the theory of “once saved always saved.” Is this true? 

Answer:  Observe the verses that are submitted below.  It is clear that the names of the disobedient disciples could be blotted out or erased from the Book of Life. 

1.  The Hebrew people considered themselves special and holy people with a covenant with Yahweh God (Exodus 19:5-10).  During the time of prophet Hosea, several hundred years after Mt. Sinai, idolatrous Israel was rejected by Yahweh: “Call his name Lo-Ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your God” (Hosea 1:9).  There was a falling away.  The idolatry of the Israelites made Yahweh angry so He allowed Israel to be taken into captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonians. Thousands died in the land of captivity as a consequence of their disobedience.  Jeremiah 24:7 says, “Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God for they shall return to Me with their whole heart.”  After 70 years of Babylonian captivity, a new generation was given a new heart that yearned for Yahweh and a part of Israel returned to Jerusalem when Cyrus, king of Persia, became the ruler (Ezra 1:1). 

2.  The Hebrew family kept a genealogy table identifying their tribe and family tree. This gives the idea to the Hebrew mind that there is a Book of Life kept by God where the names of genuine family members are kept. 

3.  There was a group of people who counted themselves as Israelites but they could not produce any genealogical table as evidence of their claim so they were not accepted as genuine Israelites. (See Ezra 2:59, 62; Psalm 87:6; Ezekiel 13:9). 

4.  Moses and the Hebrew people were taught by revelation that Yahweh God kept a list of obedient people in the Book of Life.  The humble and obedient ones are listed in this Book of Life, but the disobedient ones are blotted out or removed from the list is clear from Exodus 32: 32-33, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book” (v. 33).  Psalm 69:28 says, “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.” In the New Testament, we have Rev. 3:5, “. . . I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life. . .” Please read also Philippians 4:3; Luke 10:20 and Hebrews 12:23.

        When does the blotting out or erasing of names happen?  Most likely it is done when a person becomes seared in his conscience when repentance is no longer possible when the Lord’s longsuffering comes to an end during the lifetime of an unbelieving person.  When a person commits the sin unto death where the prayer of saints is no longer effective. It is not at the time of Judgment that the blotting out happens because at the Judgment Day it will be a time of opening the Book of Life says Revelation 20:12. 

5.  Hebrews 3:12-19, the life and journey of Israel in the wilderness, is an illustration of the Christian life. In Exodus 19:5-10, all Israel consented to enter into a covenant with God that made the Israelites a people of God. On many occasions, in the span of 40 years, part of Israel rebelled or murmured against Yahweh with unbelieving hearts. That was a departure or separation from God (Heb. 3:12).  Among Christians, there is an exhortation to hold fast to the end of one’s faith in Christ (v. 14). How many among those who came out of Egypt with ages 20 years and above who succeeded in setting foot on Canaan? Many fell in the wilderness because they sinned or rebelled (v.17). The group of Moses and 70 Elders plus Eldad and Medad, (a total of 73 leaders), even with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, failed to maintain strong belief and obedience to Yahweh (Num. 11:16-30). Only two people among the 73 (Caleb and Joshua) maintained a good record and were able to cross the Jordan River unto the Land of Promise. This is a proof of the possibility and actuality of falling from God’s grace. 

6.  1 John 5:16-17 says, “If anyone sees his brother sinning a sin which does not lead to death, he will ask, and He will give him life those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.”  The one committing a sin is a “brother.” God is long suffering waiting for a time for repentance.  But there is a cut-off date like in the time of Noah. For about 120 years, Noah constructed the Ark and at the same time preached to the people to repent. Then the rains came pouring down 40 days and 40 nights and drowned all except the 8 people in Noah’s family that entered the Ark.

        From the above presentation, it is clear that a disciple who is genuinely converted, if he is not careful could fall from grace and lose his being a child of God.  Let us watch and pray for inner strength.