“I shall end this postscript with observing, that when the popular preachers can find no other way of showing their contempt of the simple belief of the truth, as the sole requisite to justification, they call it the faith of devils. Yet, however keen the intended reproach be, it can have weight with none, but those who are swayed by sound instead of sense” (Sandeman).
Sandeman here shows his contempt of salvation conditioned on Christ’s work ALONE. Sandeman’s statement that “simple belief of the truth” is “the sole requisite to justification” highlights his ignorance of Jesus Christ being the end of law for righteousness to everyone believing (see Romans 10:1-4). The “SOLE REQUISITE to justification” is the propitiating blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, NOT “simple belief of the truth.” Indeed simple belief of the truth is an immediate and inevitable FRUIT (or result) of a person having been regenerated and justified; it is NOT a “requisite.” Those who believe “simple belief of the truth” is a requisite, ironically, do NOT yet possess this “simple belief of the truth.” Simple belief of the truth is simple belief of the gospel, which is God’s promise to save His people conditioned SOLELY on the cross-work of the God-Man-Mediator, Jesus Christ.
“For, according to the Scripture, the same truth which saves Christ’s people, torments the devils. So we find them saying, ‘What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? Art thou come hither to torment us before the time?’ They believe, they hate, and yet they tremble at that truth which Christ’s people believe, love, and find salvation in. With them are ranked all those of mankind, who know as much of the truth as inclines them to hate and pervert it, but not so much as to make them love and obey it from the heart” (Sandeman).
The devils’ acknowledgement of “Jesus, thou Son of God” obviously includes within it several significantly different propositions as compared with true Christians.
“… for as to all those it must be said, that the spirit which conducts them blinds their minds, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. Yet so much of the evidence of the truth shines into the hearts of many, as to furnish matter of condemnation to them, for their loving darkness rather than the light. In this view the same truth is the savour of life unto life unto some, and of death unto death unto others. In this view the same truth is the object of contempt and chagrin to some, and of love and joy to others” (Sandeman).
Tolerant Calvinists (especially Tolerant Calvinists) and other tolerant religionists of varying stripe, are a PRIME EXAMPLE of those who hate the LIGHT and refuse to come to the LIGHT lest their deeds be exposed and reproved as dead works and fruit unto death. It is customary for Tolerant Calvinists to cast up all kinds of attention-deflecting dust into the air when confronted with Biblical views of true faith in the gospel and true repentance of former God-hating, idolatrous religion.
“Moreover, according to the Apostle James, let a man make ever so sound a profession of the faith, and talk of ever so many illuminations and experiences, if we find him seeking to pass these upon us as proofs of his being a Christian, without showing his faith in the works of love commanded by Jesus Christ, we may safely repel his confidence, by telling him, The devils also believe. We ought, then, to keep our eye on the Scripture, when we hear the popular preachers charging others with the faith of devils and reprobates, lest in agreeing with them, we be found despising the most holy faith, and at the same time obnoxious to the awful censure of the Apostle James; for their acts of faith serve equally to set aside the precious faith of the apostles, and the works of love, by which that faith is evidenced and perfected” (Sandeman).
I think some critics of Sandeman have asserted his doctrine concerning what faith is left out any accompanying works. Clearly this is not the case.
John in his epistle calls “liars” those whose profession of faith is not backed up with evidential fruits of its genuineness. James counters similarly to John by saying “The devils also believe.” The devils believe what? NOT the gospel obviously. Rather, the devils believe that “God is One” (cf. James 2:14-26). James’ point, I believe, is NOT that devils and religious pretenders BOTH profess belief in the gospel, but to say that devils and religious pretenders BOTH profess belief. The difference between professions? The devils’ profession is accompanied by the “work” of shuddering — “the demons believe and shudder” — the religious pretenders “believe” God is One and … what? Nothing. No accompanying works demonstrate that their profession is nothing but hypocritical hot-air. So, no, the demons do NOT believe the gospel as some clueless Calvinists would like to think. They simply believe that God is One and this belief causes them to shudder. Next Page (32)