Demons could beat you in a theology test

Demons could beat you in a theology test

Demons can probably get a better score on a theology test compared to most Christians. That’s a scary thought, isn’t it? We see it in Matthew 8. When Jesus comes across a man afflicted by demons, the demons know who Jesus is, they recognise his authority over them, and they know what his mission is and that he will win. Jesus’ disciples didn’t know all of those things! Yet knowing this information didn’t lead to submission to Jesus as their King, but begging to be cast away.

The townspeople in Matthew 8 who see Jesus’ authority over the demons, and the inciting of their precious pigs to suicide, also know this man is something special. They were terrified of the demon afflicted men, and Jesus is more powerful than they were. They see the authority of Jesus, but instead of bowing down to him as King, they beg for him to leave.

Knowing who Jesus is, knowing what he has done, and being able to score well on a theology test, do not make you a Christian. Else the demons would be fine. No, there has to be more than that. We need to know who Jesus is and what he has done, and then we need to respond appropriately. This is described in many places as repentance and faith. We need to understand that we have not been serving the true King and come to him, trusting that he is able to save us and lead us.

There are many people who know their Bibles well and yet don’t submit to King Jesus. Anyone who has studied theology has read books and journal articles by incredibly intelligent, educated and articulate people who clearly don’t believe that Jesus is their Saviour and Lord. They can read original languages; they understand the gospel, and yet they stand in judgement over it as scholars, rather than submitting to Jesus as servants.

I was like that once. In high school, I knew my Bible pretty well, even scoring subject prizes for it at my Christian high school. Yet it hadn’t sunk into my heart and impacted me. That took time, solid teaching and challenging, and the work of God the Holy Spirit to change my heart. Then the knowledge I already had meant something. It wasn’t just a set of facts like mathematical formulas and geographical information that I knew that didn’t impact my life.

How might you tell if someone just knows information about Jesus instead of trusting in Jesus? Usually, a genuine Christian can be seen in whether this information changes their lives. Two places that are good indicators of true faith are prayer and giving. If you pray regularly and often, you are saying that you need God’s help, and you are actively relying on God. Prayer is not that important if you only know facts about Jesus. The other good indicator is giving. If you are prepared to make sacrifices in order to support gospel work to a significant degree, that shows that your heart has been changed. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. No-one who was unconvinced about Jesus’ claim on their life would give much money to church and mission, but those who trust Jesus would be happy to do this.

God needs to change our hearts. We need to pray often for those we know who have the facts but not faith, including our covenant kids in many instances. God is so gracious to often use these facts to convince people and to gift faith to those who ask.