Believing Faith vs. Evil, Unbelieving Heart for the Christian

June 6, 2015 at 9:48 AM 1 comment

You may be wondering about this title. You might even be asking yourself how a true Christian can ever not have believing faith in God. If so, then might I suggest that you are not thinking fourth dimensionally. While that’s a cute quip from Doc Brown in the “Back to the Future” series, I really mean it because God – while He is everywhere at once – is not confined to our three dimensions. He moves and exists beyond our dimensions though He clearly can come and go as He sees fit. Even so, He is everywhere at once.

But let’s talk about this problem of believing vs. unbelieving. We usually relegate that to unbelievers, don’t we; people who do not know Jesus and whom we are trying to convince regarding the truth of Jesus – who He is and what He accomplished for them.

However, based on my previous articles connected somewhat to this article, I fully believe that true Christians can have small to huge issues with unbelief. Having said that, I want to be sure that people know I fully believe the Bible teaches eternal security. I do not believe, like some, that our salvation can be lost. I appreciate the earnestness of those who believe such a position and their desire to prove their love and loyalty to the Lord, but for me, the true reality is that salvation is totally God’s department. He calls, He saves, He secures, He seals, He guards, He will bring those who trust Him for salvation into eternity. He will also judge all believers regarding their works and folks, if you learned one thing from my previous series on salvation, it is this: the works that we do here and now are based on belief or unbelief in God, period.

If you believe something, you will do something that is in keeping with that belief, correct? If you do not believe something, but exercise unbelief in something, you will also act accordingly, correct? Here’s a quick example.

If I am driving and I do not believe that the stop sign up ahead is meant for me, what will I do? I would likely run it without stopping. However, if I am driving and I see a stop sign ahead and believe that it is meant for me (as well as all other drivers), I will come to a stop at that sign before proceeding. Simple, right? That is how our actions reflect our beliefs. If we say we have “beliefs” but our actions do not reflect those beliefs, then we are hypocrites and those “beliefs” do nothing for us. True believing is always followed by some form of action that supports or stems from our set of beliefs.

Let’s take a look at Peter for a moment. In Matthew 14:22-33, we read of one of Peter’s exploits. This one involves walking on water. Let’s read the passage, all right?

“22 Immediately He made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. 23 After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone. 24 But the boat was already a long distance from the land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, “It is a ghost!” And they cried out in fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

28 Peter said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 And He said, “Come!” And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and *said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 When they got into the boat, the wind stopped. 33 And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!”

Interesting passage, isn’t it? Jesus told the disciples to go on ahead of Him, crossing the lake in their boat. He would catch up with them. By the time Jesus deals with the crowds, the disciples and their boat is quite a ways from shore. Jesus then simply walked across the water to the boat and the disciples. By the way, the wind was also kicking up some waves and the disciples were probably already becoming afraid because of that.

To add to their fear, they see this figure walking toward them on top of the water. If that happened to you or me, I’m sure we would do the exact same thing. We would become afraid. It’s a natural reaction to something out of the ordinary or unexplained. Jesus immediately calms their fears by announcing that it was He, Jesus. But Peter wants to be convinced so he asks the Lord to tell him to walk out to him on the water too! Jesus says “Come!” and Peter gets out of the boat and starts walking on the water. However, in a short moment, he is sinking in fear. What happened?

I’m sure it’s obvious to you but let me explain anyway. Peter, unfortunately, doubted Jesus’ Word when Jesus announced that it was He. Peter needed convincing so he determines what Jesus would need to do for him (Peter) to be convinced. “Tell me to join you on top of the water, Lord!” Jesus does and Peter does.

But here is Peter, out on top of the water, the waves crashing around him, when he begins to sink. Even though Peter felt he needed convincing about this robed figure walking across the water (a sin for which we might well understand, but a sin still), as soon as Peter heard the Lord tell him to come, Peter jumped out of the boat! At that point, Peter believed God (Jesus) and based on that belief was able to walk on the water. Had he failed to believe Jesus, Peter likely would have simply stayed in the boat (another sin for not believing and obeying Jesus).

So Peter is out on the water, when he begins to do something that causes him to sink. The common remarks about this include that Peter took his eyes of Jesus and began focusing on the waves around him. Yes, he took his eyes off Jesus, but that was not the actual reason he began to sink. Peter began to sink because he stopped believing Jesus. As he looked around and saw what he was doing, he started to doubt. Isn’t this what Jesus accused Peter of doing (v. 31b)? He doubted and stopped believing in Jesus.

Would you agree with me that Peter came to a point of unbelief? According to the writer of Hebrews, this is the result of an evil and unbelieving heart. In other words, Peter sinned by failing to believe God (Jesus). He chose unbelief instead of continuing on in belief.

Let me ask you this: did Peter lose his salvation? Clearly, no. This is an example of what can happen (and does happen) in the lives of Christians every day when we give into the temptation to exercise unbelief in God. The two choices – belief or unbelief – are always before us, every moment of every day.

Do you think when Peter stands before Jesus at the Bema Seat, that unbelief that He exercised and gave into in Matthew 14 will be ignored by God? No, it will be seen and judged. This is true of all of us; every single one of us.

Either we spend our days and the remainder of our lives believing God or we choose unbelief. For most of us, it’s a combination of both. Christians in America have it way too easy today. We do not know what it is like to be persecuted to our deaths. We do not know what it is like to have a knife or sword held to our throats with the demand that we denounce Jesus or die. We do not know what it is like to be beaten or jailed simply for being a Christian, although for those who choose to believe God’s Word, some are finding that it means going to jail, even in America.

Our faith is at odds with the world. That alone will cause friction and problems. But aside from that, Satan will do what he can to thwart us, to cause us to doubt, to entertain unbelief where God is concerned. This will happen to all true Christians and many will fall because of it.

Like the Prodigal Son, most will come to their senses and move back toward God. Our desire for truth will overcome our giving into momentary unbelief. When we do fall through unbelief, it is called sin. Thanks be to God, He has given us an Advocate in Jesus Christ who is our legal defense. But there are consequences to our actions – the right actions stemming from the correct beliefs and the wrong actions stemming from the wrong beliefs – and those consequences translate to losses for the Christian. Again, not loss of salvation, but loss of rewards, benefits and the like.

True Christians face challenges and choices every day. They may be different from one Christian to the next, but the source temptation is always the same. It is the temptation toward unbelief where God is concerned. Embracing unbelief will place us directly on the path toward sin and away from God every time.

This is what the writer to the Hebrews is encouraging us to avoid, unbelief.

We’ll be back with more examples of how Christians (true believers) can be overtaken by unbelief. While it is usually not a permanent condition, what happens when it becomes that?

 

Entry filed under: christianity, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , .

Yes, Christians CAN Fall Away from God… Christian Suffering to Gain Rewards and Benefits?

1 Comment

  • 1. rutnerh  |  June 6, 2015 at 2:27 PM

    True, any Christian denying or doubting doctrinal truths and Jesus’ words, even one iota, as recorded in Bible manuscripts, that were validated by His words and perfect credentials, hence credibility, will rightly be rebuked or judged by stern Judge Jesus.

    His deity and claims of truthfulness clearly are evident in His words in John 14;6, particularly when read in the far more concise NT Greek, showing Jesus to be the ONE AND ONLY WAY, LIFE and embodiment of absolute TRUTH, not merely “a truth” as translated in corrupted Bible versions of some christian cults.

    In my opinion, this Bible verse is a commonly neglected, but in reality, the MOST revolutionary, consequential and intolerant statement ever made by anyone. It validates His deity and trashes all other ways to God, thereby consigning multi billions of misled religionists, past, present and future, to eternal hell. It is obviously challenged by unbelievers as evident in the nearly universal hatred of Jesus and His followers in a world controlled by Satan and his multitudes….. regrettably also by some lukewarm christians and denominations who see Jesus as merely a loving and forgiving but never stern God and Judge woukd would send anyone to eternal damnation in a real hell (see Luke 16;19-31 for a true story not parable told by Jesus of a man now in Hades for at least 2000 years).

    But such unbelief must never be seen in any “Christian” who would thereby show his unsaved status by, in effect, making Jesus a liar. Such a presumptious sin would surely justify His wrath in condemning this person to eternal damnation. But a truly saved follower or believer of little faith or sinning ignorantly will not lose his salvation, but merely heavenly rewards or crowns when standing before our loving but then merciless Judge Jesus, whom we all will face after death.

    As Christians we are, by definition more than followers of a mere wordly guru. Hence, we must be His obedient followers NEVER denying or even doubting, any word He personally spoke or validated in the divinely inspired Bible, including ALL miraculous events like Creation, Flood, His Birth, Death and Resurrection, etc.

    Furthermore, any “Christian” who believes Big Bang creation, Darwin’s evolution theories, etc., and indulges in Disney and Hollywood fantasy schemes and numerous other worldly satanic fabrications is at best a lukewarm Christian ignoring his appointed missionary duties and may well be an unsaved fool blinded by Satan.


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