I was very struck by this verse in our Bible study yesterday.
James 2:19 "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder."
Here James is outlining the difference between true and false faith. It's very striking here that he takes the revered OT and Jewish confession of faith (the Shema) as his example. He shows how even such a great declaration can become a tool of self-deception and spiritual evil. A superficial, dead belief in the one true God is really no different from the kind of faith the demons have. In other words, this kind of belief is not just bad, inadequate, hypocritical - it is demonic! It is a faith that comes from the devil rather than from God. And, one might add, at least the demons shudder, while people may go on full of confidence and self-satisfaction with their dead faith, all the time not knowing they are on a collision course with God. Again, this passage is a good antidote to dead orthodoxy and dry doctrinal correctness. It really isn't enough to have your evangelical theology all sorted without joyful and passionate trust in the Lord Jesus. May God protect us from it!