James 2:19 (NIV): "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder."
Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV): "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock... But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand."
John 13:34-35 (NIV): "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know you are my disciples if you love one another."
I. The Illusion of Belief (James 2:19) James tells us that even demons believe in God and shudder! This stark imagery is a caution against simple intellectual assent. The belief we're called to is more than just agreeing with the truth of God's existence or the integrity of Jesus's teachings. Merely agreeing with the facts doesn't reflect a transformed heart or life. A head full of belief is useless without a heart filled with faith. Just as the demons believe but remain in rebellion, we too can believe yet live lives contrary to God's will.
II. The Action of Belief (Matthew 7:24-27) Here, Jesus tells us about two types of people: the wise and the foolish. Both hear the words of Jesus. They know the teachings, and they understand them. However, there is a critical difference. The wise person acts upon the words of Jesus, while the foolish one doesn't. Faith is not passive; it demands action. It's not enough to be allowed to believe Jesus's words; we must apply them to our lives, to be the doers of the Word, not mere hearers. True belief in Christ is marked by a life that reflects His teachings.
III. The Evidence of Belief (John 13:34-35) In this passage, Jesus commands us to love one another as He has loved us. This is not merely a suggestion but a direct command from Jesus. Love is the ultimate evidence of our belief in and commitment to Jesus. By loving each other, we show the world that we are Jesus's disciples and have internalized His teachings and allow them to shape our actions. We witness our faith, not just in our words but in our acts of love toward each other.
Belief in Jesus goes beyond the intellectual acceptance of His teachings. It requires living according to those teachings. It means building our lives on the rock-solid foundation of His Word and loving others as He has loved us. Only then can we say that we truly believe what Jesus says, not just in words, but in action and truth. Believing and living, as we think, are two sides of the same coin. We can't indeed have one without the other.