From Bad Faith to Saving FaithJames 2:14-26Let’s start here: there’s such a thing as bad faith. That one has faith is not in and of itself laudable. Our text says “even the demons” have faith of a kind, a believing.But not that kind of believing which is a saving believing but a damning believing.This believing brings no comfort, no peace, no repentance and life change, nolight, no excellence, no moral rectitude. It is a faith that does no good, to either the believer or to those in contact with the believer.I think we are all aware that religion makes some people the worse for having. Thelast thing some people need is God “on their side”. It’s then that they truly becomedangerous. Jesus refers to this in Mat 23:15 – “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees,hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and whenhe becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell asyourselves.” Believing can make people mean, arrogant, incapable of community,stiff and unbending, rude, authoritarian, blind to personal faults and all-seeing as tothe faults of others.Religion in the service of self-interest is a terrible thing. And the reality is thatreligion has always been found to be very useful – by kings, prime ministers and presidents; by political parties; by corporations; by entertainers and sports stars; by parents who seek to control their kids’ behaviors; by spouses who want to managetheir husbands and wives; by pastors who want influence and success and security; by church insiders who are threatened by uncomfortable change, by me. It can become simply a way to get my way, a way to get one up and stay one up, a way to build image and keep influence.Believing, as believing, is not a good. The question is dramatically posed to ushere: what good does your kind of faith do? And that is the test: the good. If thereis no recognizable good that flows from it, no alteration of the broken world inwhich we live, no actual life force that arises from that faith, can it really be faithin any meaningful sense of the term?That faith which is commended to us in the Bible is the faith of Abraham. V. 23 – “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness—and he wascalled a ‘friend of God’” This is that kind of faith which brings the company of God, the nearness of God, making my life a temple in which Christ is in me, thehope of glory. It is that faith which lays hold of God, believes his offers, reverses a previous life course.