“And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.” ─Luke 4:41
“Simply believe” has become prevalent among many evangelicals today. It is born out of that reductionist philosophy and pragmatic “gospel” that has been the two-fold ruin of many a carnal soul thinking they have attained unto something when they simply have not. Yet, “simply believe” are two words that have also amounted to the ruin of ministers of the gospel, who are undoubtedly saved by God’s grace; nevertheless, they have been unwittingly duped into thinking that they need only tell someone those two little words and regeneration takes place. Hey! Presto chango! It is so easy, a caveman can do it.
This ease of evangelism, however, has only caused the minister who holds to such naïve and erroneous views of God’s justification to forsake the more important work of earnest prayer, agonizing before God over the souls of the lost. The gospel preacher’s work is his private intercessions in the closet of prayer. That he has resorted to such whimsical notions to tell a soul to “simply believe” is evidence that the preacher has missed the mark in giving due diligence to the study of God’s Word, which is his daily bread, the very nourishment of his soul.
In our text, the devils simply believed. They believed the very truth of eternity, that Jesus was “Christ the Son of God.” Although they simply believed, they trembled in horror (James 2:19). Although these devils believed, they did not; neither could not, nor would not believe unto saving faith.
Biblical saving faith is the gift of God: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
It is also the work of God. At Capernaum, when the gluttonous people asked Christ what they must do to do the work of God. Jesus answered, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29).
Biblical saving faith is the grace of God upon an individual wherein he or she has a personal certainty of and submissive reliance upon the power and sufficiency of God to save completely in, by and through Jesus Christ.
The sanctified faith of the believer saved by God’s grace is basically the same thing. That faith is the fruit of the Holy Spirit of God: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Biblical sanctifying faith is the certainty of and reliance upon the faithfulness of God. He has declared, and by God’s grace and the power of His Spirit, we trust and obey; we respond when He calls; we repent when we sin; etc.
The grace of true belief has bypassed every fallen angel and many, many fallen descendants of Adam. They will be judged unto the praise of God’s glorious justice. That He has saved any at all, as all are worthy of His consuming wrath, is to the praise of His glorious grace.