Every person on earth falls into one of only two categories of belief:
1. Those who love God.
2. Those who hate God.
Those that hate God are called unbelievers. But if someone hates God then they must believe that He exists, right? Absolutely, but that is not what unbelief is all about. Unbelief does not mean that someone does not believe that God exists. God Himself says that ALL mankind is aware of His existence, although some may say otherwise through lying lips.
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:20).
It’s not that they don’t believe that God is real, that is “clear” to them; it’s that they don’t believe He is a Holy God. They don’t believe in His goodness, His kindness, His love, His grace, and His mercy.
When the sons of disobedience say things like, “How could a ‘good’ God let such bad things happen to ‘innocent’ people…” they are calling the holy God unholy. That is sickening to me and beyond sickening to our wonderful and sweet Creator.
The wrath of hell is eternal because the extreme hatred of unbelievers toward God and His children is eternal. The wrath of hell is separation because no unclean thing can come near a holy God.
In the following verse, I believe John is making a clear case that no unbeliever, no person who hates God, will ever confess that Jesus came in the flesh.
“By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God” (1 John 4:2).
The complete confession that John is referring to carries much more weight than if someone merely says, “Yeah, so, I believe Jesus was a real guy”. No, what John is saying is much deeper than that.
John is referring to the topic of the deity of Jesus Christ. He is referring to someone who admits that Jesus Christ was GOD who came down from heaven in the flesh.
Absolutely no son of Satan will ever confess that.
When James scornfully said that even the demons believe and tremble, he was wryly pointing out that even those who hate God still know and “believe” He exists. I mean, no one reading this article is going to say that demons do not hate God, right?
“You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” (James 2:19).
You try calling God unholy and see how far that gets you.
If you don’t hate God then the faith that is required to believe in Jesus Christ is free for the taking. Anyone who does not hate God will gladly accept His free gift of faith.
Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). We must accept God’s gift of faith if we want Him to have mercy on us.
For a better understanding of what faith is, let’s take a quick look at Acts 17:31:
“Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:31 KJV).
The Greek word translated as “assurance” in Acts 17:31 (KJV) is “pistin” which is the same word that is also translated as “faith” 238 times in the New Testament.
Here are a few other translations of Acts 17:31; notice faith = proof:
“Because he hath appointed a day wherein he will judge the world in equity, by the man whom he hath appointed; giving faith to all, by raising him up from the dead.”
Aramaic Bible in Plain English:
“Because he has appointed the day in which he is going to judge the whole Earth in righteousness by the man whom he has designated and he has turned everyone to his faith in that he has raised him from among the dead.”
New American Standard Bible:
“Because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
God provides us with the faith to believe what we believe. He furnishes us with the proof we need to be assured in our hearts and in our minds that Jesus Christ was who He claimed to be: God in the flesh.
Faith is always from God but we can only believe in God through faith.
That is why the demons can believe and tremble while they reject the gift of faith from God that is required to accept Jesus as the Son of God.
If you say that you believe then you are affirming that you have confidence in the faith and assurance that God has given to you.
God gave me faith = God gave me proof.
I have faith = I have proof.
I have belief = I have confidence in the proof that God gave me through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, as Acts 17:31 clearly teaches.
I believe = I confide in the assurance of the Lord.
When the definition for the word “believe” is used in place of the word “believe” in John 3:16 we have: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever has confidence in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
And in John 11:25 we would have: Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that has confidence in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.
A believer places their confidence in the fact that Jesus Christ has power over death. They believe that He was the only begotten Son of God the Father who came down from heaven to earth in the flesh of a Man. They believe that He died a physical death and rose from the dead on the third day and that He now lives in heaven at the right hand of the Father.
Without believing in His sacrifice you will inherit eternal death but by believing in His sacrifice you will inherit eternal life. Everything from “a” to “z” is what you place your confidence in through faith to obtain salvation.
God will provide you with more proof of more truth as you further trust and obey Him. Your faith will increase as you grow in your walk with Him. He will teach you things like the fact that it’s the blood of Jesus that washes you and makes you righteous in the eyes of the Father.
You will learn that God always requires the shedding of innocent blood to cover the sins of guilty blood. No man could ever die for the sins of another because every man who has ever lived was guilty. That is why certain animals that were as blemish free as possible were sacrificed for man’s sins before Jesus came to earth.
The Good News is that Jesus was the only perfect and sinless Man to ever live on earth and He died for our sins as the perfect Lamb of God. The requirement for shedding innocent blood to cover the guilty has been removed by Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is so powerful that all who believe His sacrifice will have the result His sacrifice applied to them.
God will teach you through faith that although you may still sin after you believe, your sins are covered by the blood of Jesus, they always were and they always will be. You will still have to face the consequences of your sins but you do not have to face eternal punishment anymore because once you are born again into the family of God you will stay His child forever.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).
When we walk with the Lord, in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way; while we do His good will, He abides with us still, And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.