You believe that God is one You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.James 2:19(NASB)
James did not sugarcoat the gospel of God, nor did he pull his punches when teaching the truth... because he knew the serious and eternal consequences of rejecting the gospel of grace, or of feigning faith in Christ's finished work. Indeed, incredible, satanic deceptions, which distorted the truth of biblical salvation, started to flood into the Church in those early days, and has continued, unabated, into these end times.
One lie that continues to be perpetrated today, is that knowing about the Lord Jesus... is the same as trusting Him as the only sacrifice for sin. There are many people who accept a historical Jesus that lived on earth and was crucified on a Cross... but they do not trust Him as Saviour and remain under God's eternal condemnation. Knowing about Him does not equate to salvation. Unless intellectual assent or a mental agreement is mixed with saving faith in the person and work of Christ - that faith is false and remains fruitless.
There are many that like to try to apply His teachings in their lives, or recognise Him as a good and ethical Man... but reject His offer of salvation. Unless head knowledge of His life and teaching is transferred into a heart belief in His sacrifice for sin, and His death defeating Resurrection - that knowledge is ineffective for salvation, the forgiveness of sin, and life eternal.
In this verse, James is specifically referring to the belief that God is One. Indeed, the Bible clearly teaches that the Lord our God is One, and believing in One God, rather than many false gods, is vital for salvation. Polytheism, (the belief in many gods) and pantheism, (the belief that god is in everything) are recognised as false teachings... but there are many who hold to a monotheistic faith (the belief in one God) who are still deceived, because the object of their trust must be secured in the shed blood of Christ for salvation.
There are many that profess faith in one God which is a teaching that not only dominates Christianity but also Judaism, Islam, and other religious groups and certain cults. But as James points out, "you believe that God is one... and you do well - the demons also believe, and shudder." Yes, even the fallen angels and unredeemable demons, believe in the existence of God... but they tremble at the coming judgement and final punishment, which they know awaits them.
Belief in One God is a step towards biblical faith, but believing in the wrong God is an unbiblical faith that leads to condemnation. True faith must be placed in the One and Only, True, Living, and Eternal God, "and His Son, Jesus Christ, Whom He has sent."
God the Father sent God the Son to be the propitiation for humanity's sin. God alone is good, and He alone was good enough to pay the price for the sin of the whole world. But God is Spirit and man is flesh. God is immortal and man is mortal. God is incorruptible and man is corrupt. God is sinless and man is a sinner... and in order for God to forgive the sin of mankind, a perfect Man had to be willing to be the sacrifice for the sin of humanity. A Kinsman-Redeemer Who was a descendant from the first man, Adam, had to die as the payment for humanity's sin. But ALL men are sinners, so no man is good enough to pay that price. And so God Himself had to come to earth, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and be born into the human race - and He came as Emmanuel, the incarnate God, the Word made flesh.
Yes, Jesus is the incarnate God. Jesus is God - made man. Jesus is the eternal Son of God Who became the perfect Son of Man. Jesus is the God-Man Who was born to become our Kinsman-Redeemer. But it is no good simply believing in the historical FACT of Christ's life and ministry. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone in the Person of Christ and His sacrificial work on the Cross. He alone is the incarnate Son of God - and we are saved by trusting in His redeeming blood for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. The life of man is in the blood, and the Man, Christ Jesus, had to shed His lifeblood to redeem the fallen race of man.
Let us examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith - for even demons, many cults, other religions, and Satan himself, believe in the existence of God, but they do not know Christ as their Saviour - and so they remain under God's eternal condemnation. Jesus died to pay the price for humanity's sin - and not the sin of fallen angels or demons - and only faith in HIM brings salvation. For there is no other name given among men (not angels or demons) whereby MAN must be saved.
Heavenly Father, help me to examine myself to make sure I am in the faith. Lord, I believe that Jesus died for my sin and that He rose again, the third day, to pay the price for my sin and the sin of the whole world. Lord, I am not worthy to gather up the crumbs under Your table, but I believe that Christ came to pay the price for MY sin, when He died on the Cross and I believe He broke the power of sin and death in my life and has imputed me with His own righteousness, by faith, for which I am eternally thankful. I praise and thank You for Your goodness and grace towards me. Thank You, in Jesus' name, AMEN.