One of my philosophy professors told me about an exchange he witnessed in a philosophy of religion class he took many years ago. While speaking on the topic of the New Testament, the teacher was asked what the Apostle Paul believed about salvation and the afterlife. My professor said he was surprised to hear his teacher give one of the most theologically accurate and moving presentations of the gospel that he had ever heard.
In fact, it was so good that many in the class became uncomfortable. Finally, one student raised his hand and asked, “Professor, you don’t believe that do you?” The teacher paused and then said, “I was not asked what I believe; I was asked what Paul believed.”
Is knowing the facts about God, Jesus, and salvation enough for a person to be saved and born again? Or is it something more than that?
The Litmus Test of James
In the book of James, Jesus’ half-brother makes a very sobering statement that everyone needs to hear. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, James discusses what real saving faith looks like in chapter two of his epistle. Midway through his arguments he says, “You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder” (v. 19).
James reminds his Jewish readers about the Shema, which tells Israel to hear and know that God is one (Deut. 6:4). But then James goes on to say that just knowing about God is inadequate as evidenced by the fact that even the demons acknowledge God and greatly fear Him.
James’ point is that mere mental assent to the facts and truths of God won’t save anyone. The faith that saves is one that accepts God’s truth and then acts accordingly, with the transformation being evidenced by the changed affections and actions of the individual.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Robin Schumacher