In our Wednesday night prayer meetings we’ve been enjoying a study through the book of James (these are all recorded and available at our YouTube channel youtube.com/c/OakGroveBaptistChurch or on our Oak Grove Nac app)
James has plenty to say about Satan, demons and the kingdom of darkness – the gates of hell.
James doesn’t take pains to build a thorough Demonology, but references these concerns simply as a matter of course.
Let’s look at three direct references in the book of James which each contain tomes of very applicable theology.
“You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe — and shudder!”(James 2:19)
There’s a strange conviction among many evangelicals that Satan and demons are plain stupid. James doesn’t hold that belief and it’s imperative that we disregard it also.
Demons are not theological ignoramuses.
Richard Baxter says “The devil is a greater scholar than you, and a nimbler disputant: he can transform himself into an angel of light to deceive: (2 Co. 11:14) he will get within you, and trip up your heels before you are aware: he will play the juggler with you undiscerned, and cheat you of your faith or innocence, and you shall not know that you have lost it; no, he will make you believe it is multiplied or increased, when it is lost.”
It works perfectly within the Devil’s plan to destroy us if we are underestimating him. If we hold false views about the enemy of our souls then it is only a matter of time before we are taken advantage by him and we become pawns to his bidding.
The context of this verse is those who have inactive faith — unproductive faith — false faith.
James is very clear that if our faith doesn’t produce the fruit of righteousness, and obedience, we are lost and our faith is dead.
If all we have is a confession that the Lord our God is One, we have no better faith than the devil’s — and at least they shudder.
The old fashioned description for these so-called Christians was “empty professors”.
Demons know theology, they know the bible, they know God and they even have an appropriate response to this knowledge — they shudder.
Let’s ensure that we never underestimate our enemy. And let’s be doubly sure that we are not lagging behind him in knowledge of God and devotion to God.
The 2nd reference we find in the book of James is,
“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.”(James 3:14-15)
Hell’s Kingdom not only has its agents, it also has its own distinct culture.
The gates of Hell seek to constantly permeate its affects within the church and it does this most effectively by silent dissemination of its ideals.
Wherever you see bitter jealousy and selfish ambition there demons have the culture of their domain rooted and producing fruit —especially in the Church.
There is simply nothing more antichrist than “bitter jealousy” and “selfish ambition”.
- It was in pursuit of these values that Satan fell from heaven like lightning.
- It was in pursuit of these values that Satan convinced a third of all Heaven’s angelic warriors to join him in his rebellion.
- It was in pursuit of these values that Satan tempted to destruction our first parents in the garden of Eden.
- It was in pursuit of these values that Adam and Even took the forbidden fruit and broke covenant with their Creator bringing death and destruction to humanity and the whole created order.
- It is in pursuit of these values that every subsequent sin has its root and cause.
So, whenever we may feel like doing, saying, or even thinking anything that serves or promotes these ideals, James wants us to be reminded that these are always in service of Satan and his diabolical mandate to dethrone God and destroy our souls.
The 3rd reference we find in the book of James is,
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”(James 4:7)
I am not sure about you, but I’m very glad this is where the Demonology in James finds its peak.
So far we’ve learned that the devil is no fool, is bent on our destruction, and has his culture and ideals down everywhere — often even in our own hearts.
By this point it’s easy to feel helpless and overwhelmed at the magnitude of the foe we face.
Yet in this final reference we learn that all that’s needed for our defence against him, is resistance.
All you need to do, for Satan to flee from you, is resistance.
We have no need to fear him. We won’t be intimidated by him, we will never succumb to his control, we must resist.
How do we resist?
Verse 8 offers the answer,
- “Submit yourselves therefore to God”
- “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
If you’re being plagued by the demonic, Satan, a curse, or some other hellish fiend or design you need not, ought NOT, focus on that thing. By giving that demonic thing your focus is surrender.
Turn to God, remove whatever foothold* that’s allowing that thing access into your life and pursue submission to God’s will through growth in personal holiness.
“…and give no opportunity to the devil.”(Eph. 4:27)
This is the unique privilege of being in Christ. While the unbeliever is merely a pawn, utterly helpless, under the devil’s full control, Christians have full authority over all the power of the enemy (Lk. 10:19).
“We know that we are of God, and the whole world is under the sway of the evil one.”(1 John 5:19)
We who are in Christ are powerful in and through Christ to tear down strongholds and resist Satan to where he is the one fleeing and desperate to escape our presence.
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them [apostates and Antichrists], because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”(1 John 4:4)
*footholds may include addictions, offence, bitterness, unforgivness, unrepentant sins, etc. Where these exist; even in a Christians life; the devil has access and opportunity to plague, malign, oppress, and create great ruin for them and their family. Please don’t allow yourself to give a foothold to the devil.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.”(1 Peter 5:8-9)