The Work of the Holy Spirit
“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” James 2:19-20
Wow! What a statement. You believe what the devils believe, yet the devils tremble. What was James saying?
Well, the devils were, at some point in history, originally angels. They had fallen, being cast out with Satan when Satan rebelled against God. This means that they know Who God is, and have, in fact, stood in His Presence. They know what the wrath of the One True God is, and the thought of what He can and will do to those (like they did and are doomed) who reject Him. It’s anything but pleasant. Devils, who are ever stronger than we, shudder at the thought.
Yet, as man, we don’t even bat an eye when we sin. We continue on trucking down the road, oblivious to God. This is by choice, of course, but we still do what we want without fear of what the Creator God can do. That is, unless we’re saved. Once we accept Jesus, that fear which was revealed becomes a reverence for Him. It is a respect of Who He is. This leads to the inevitable outcropping of us living life according to God’s will.
When we are submissive to the will of the Father, our lives will demonstrate it. “Works” will be evident in our lives as being those things we do for God, according to His Word. Not a single one of us, without God the Holy Spirit within, would do any of this by our own will. He authors the faith we have within, and He inspires and guides us into doing things which glorify the name of Jesus. That is how we know our faith is active and alive.
If, however, we merely profess the name of Christ, but do not submit to Him, then we truly haven’t the faith we claim. If we do not submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, then we cannot possess the faith we claim. The faith we do have is a dead work of the flesh. We are following our own thoughts, our own desires, and own path. The Holy Spirit is not in us, more than likely, and remains without, still calling us to repent, and turn to Christ, for until we do that, all He will say to us is Repent! Repent! Repent!!
If, however, we at some point did repent and accept Christ, yet this day we have no works that evidence our faith, then we should consider that there is a law by which the Holy Spirit must abide. It is a law which God Himself came up with and by which He holds Himself, because He is good all the time and He must do what is good and right and true at all times.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2
The entire passage that explains this law begins in chapter 7, verse 21 and goes through to chapter 8, verse 7. Basically, it is by faith we are saved, so that we cannot boast of ourselves (Eph 2:8), therefore our faith must remain in what Christ did for us (Rom 10:9). When our faith remains in what Christ did (in Christ), the Holy Spirit will then do the work which only He can do. Our faith in the Cross is like fuel to the Holy Spirit. When we remove our faith from there and place it anywhere else (i.e. our self, our Bible reading, our prayers, our church attendance, our natural abilities, our spiritual giftings, anything we are doing – though good things themselves, if we have faith that God will love us more because we do them, that faith is not properly centered) then the Holy Spirit must stop the work of growth within us and return to His original message of Repent! Repent! Repent!!
He will do everything He can to place our eyes back upon Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Our faith must be grounded there, because if it is not in Him, then we place ourselves outside of Him. Everywhere outside of Him puts us back under Law. And if we are under any part of the Law we come subject to all of the Law. Our school master goes back to task and does it’s job of reminding us we cannot do it. The longer we remain outside of Him, the more the things we are doing evidence our hearts because they are works of our own hands, and not His. We have no works that are done through us, and it will demonstrate our faith not being alive in Christ.
If we indeed find ourselves in this position, we should tremble as the devils do, for there we have placed ourselves in their midst. We need to stop our course of action and return to Jesus. Jesus paid it all, and nothing we do brings us any closer to God than believing. Just believe and let the Holy Spirit work in us and through us, and see the work done by His hands using ours. Submit to Christ, and we’ll be submitting to the Father. In that, we will submit to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, working because of our faith, to work through us and prove that our faith is alive!