The Demons also believe - and tremble . . .
So - what does the Scripture really mean when it says in that famous John 3:16, "that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life"? There are a lot of folks out there who truly believe they are saved because they believe the facts of the gospel and they point to this verse as evidence of their salvation. They live their lives as "good" folks and one day, they will wake up in the throne-room of God and hear Him say, "Depart from Me, for I never knew you!" What an awful deception they are living in. What a terrible awakening it will be on that day.
Why won't their belief in "Jesus as personal Savior" save them? Because that's all He is to them - the one who took away their sins through His sacrifice. They neglect the greater and more important part of their salvation - Christ did not just die for our sins - He Rose to sit at the right hand of the Father. We cannot just accept Him as Savior, we must also bend the knee to serve Him as Lord.
This is what makes true Christian belief different from that of the demons. They refuse to bow the knee in submission and are, therefore, justly condemned. How can we expect it would be any different for us? Our belief must lead to a humbling of our hearts. He must be Master or He is not truly Savior.
James answered the question this way, "But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" Man does not "want" to know - it means submission - it means allowing God to run our lives, to do with us as He pleases (as is His right). This does NOT mean that we work our way to heaven. That is not what James is gettting at. A person can do all kinds of good works and not be in submission to God (Matthew 7:21-23). And we know from other passages that salvation is solely by the grace of God (Eph. 2:8-9) and cannot be earned by good works. James is declaring a simple fact - that one who is truly redeemed and who has bowed the knee to Christ as Savior AND Lord, will *naturally* do good works. Good works do not prove true faith, but true faith will always result in good works.
I challenge you to examine yourself now - to see if you are truly in the faith. Are you wholly submitted to Christ as Lord? Do you obey and honor Him habitually? Now is the time of humbling - the time to completely submit. "Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart, and lean not to your own understanding: In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."