I’ve noticed a recent and disturbing trend in the modern church to act like people are saved by their good doctrine. This is far from the case. I wrote the following study to help combat that sort of thinking.
And of course James 2:29
What I hope you’ll notice from these passages is that demons have really impeccable theology. You were of course already intimately familiar with the earlier part of 7 where Satan himself reveals to have memorized scripture.
Now compare that with the disciples.
Matthew 16:22 (also in Mark 8)
Mark 10:35-37 (Note that he’s “teacher”, in that passage. Not “son of God” like the demons, not even “good teacher” like the rich young ruler. Not also Jesus’ reply “yeah you want to obey me, sure, sure, what do you want?” and of course their final desire.)
And my personal favorite: Matthew 16:6-7
Seriously guys? Jesus just fed a huge crowd of people miraculously, YOU passed out the bread! How do you think he has a problem with you now because he got hungry and suddenly he can’t take care of that. I mean Really?
But consistently, the disciples of Jesus demonstrate to us that they just don’t get it. They missed the point, they’re confused, they’re not sure who Jesus is exactly. The scriptures go to great length to communicate this “loserness” to us. At the transfiguration we learn that “the disciples were very sleepy” In the garden at Gethsemane they actually fall asleep when they should be praying. John, when recording the story of the resurrection, sees fit to inform us that Jesus Christ is raised, and death has been defeated, and the world will never be the same, and also that he’s the faster runner!!! (John 20:4)
Peter finally figures out who Jesus is “the Christ, of God” (Luke 9:20) but his revelation comes in a lackluster way. Not only because he completely fails to affirm the divinity of Christ “The Christ, Who is also God in the flesh” but also because immediately afterward (as we learn in parallel passages) he brazenly asserts that Jesus will never be crucified! leading to the famous “get behind me Satan” quote I offered above.
Now do this one on your own.
How many times does Jesus affirm the faith of children? Of Samaritans? Of thieves? Of people who have no idea how or what or who this Jesus character is but they’re sure they want a piece?
Jesus is who saves us.
Not what we do, not what we know, not the information we have about Jesus. Jesus isn’t what saves us, Jesus is who saves us, and he does it by grace, alone through faith alone.