You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
James 2:19 (ESV)
Satan is very sound doctrinally. James says he, and the other demons, know God is one. Indeed in the Gospel there are many occasions where demons cry out true statements about Jesus.
No doubt that Satan knows and believes most things correctly. He deceives others, yes. But he himself knows many truths.
The demons recognise Jesus as the “Holy One of God” (Mark 1:24). They recognise him as set apart by God. Yet they are not saved. How can we know who is then?
It is certainly good to believe truth. We don’t want to worship a god of our own invention. We need to worship God in the truth and know we can come to him through Jesus.
But we must make sure we don’t make the mistake many have and check our doctrine before our faith. If we do we could deceive ourselves as to our state before God.
Preaching sound doctrine is essential, this is argued in the Bible itself (Titus 2:1).
Yet that we must also recognise sound doctrine is not enough.
What is enough?
- Faith, faith that the Lord Jesus Christ will save you from your sins. Satan and his human children never have faith.
- Faith accompanied by obedience (see James 2:14-26). This again is something Satan and his children never do. Even if they know God’s command, they do not obey it. They do not repent, they do not call on God, they do not love others. Obedience doesn’t get you justified before God, but it demonstrates you already are justified.
Make sure you have sound doctrine. But most importantly you have faith in that doctrine and obey that doctrine.