Category Archives: Belief

Faith In The Mix

Out of all the children of Israel who left Egypt, only Joshua and Caleb entered into the promised land (Num. 14:30; 26:65). Paul tells us that all the others who were of age failed to enter into the promised land for one reason–lack of faith. Paul wrote, “But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief” (Hebrews 3:17-19).

The good news was preached to them in promise, but it was not mixed with faith in them that heard it (Heb. 4:1,2). When faith is not in the mix, then the gospel cannot do its work (Rom. 1:16,17). Here are some characteristics of faith we should keep in mind as we keep faith in the mix.

First of all, faith is a tangible commodity and produces tangible results. The Bible says that Jesus saw the faith of those who brought the man sick with the palsy (Luke 5:20). Their faith manifested itself when they had to overcome obstacles to get him to Jesus (Luke 5:20). What He saw was their works. Indeed, James says “show me your faith” by your works (James 2:18). Our Lord asked the question, when He comes again will He find faith on the earth (Luke 18:8). Faith, then is something that can be observed by looking at the results it produces.

Second, faith is a living thing. Faith is not just some static object that once possessed, you can keep in your pocket and bring it out whenever you might need it. Faith is something that breathes and grows. The disciples realized that while they had faith that it was not sufficient for them so they asked the Lord to “increase” their faith (Luke 17:5). James again tells us that one can possess a dead faith, one which does not work (James 2:26). The apostle Paul observed that the faith of the brethren at Thessalonica had grown exceedingly (II Thess. 1:3).

In the third place, faith is absolutely necessary. Paul wrote that without faith it is impossible to please God. (Heb. 11:6). Without faith, our prayers would be just mere words spoken into the air (James 1:5,6). It is by faith that we are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8). That is because faith grants us access into the grace of God (Rom. 5:2). That is how we are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1). To be sure, the just shall live by faith (Heb. 10:38). Faith is not all that is necessary, but without it we will die in our sins (John 8:24).

Therefore, in the fourth place, faith is precious. Peter declared that he shared with his brethren a “like, precious faith” (II Pet. 1:1). Knowing that believing in the Lord will eventually win us a crown of life, it is something which we should count very dear (II Tim. 4:7,8). Even a small amount of faith brings great blessings (Matt. 17:20). Faith is a cathartic, purifying our hearts (Acts 15:9). Knowing that not having it could eventually cost a man his life, faith becomes very precious indeed (Rev. 2:10).

Faith is also very powerful. Great things are accomplished by faith. By faith, Enoch was translated that he should not see death (Heb. 11:5). Faith brought sight to the blind (Matt. 9:29; 10:52), cured the palsy (Matt. 9:2), made the sick whole (Luke 8:48), made the lame walk (Acts 3:1-16) and raised the dead (Heb. 11:32-35). Faith is powerful because it has behind it the power of the gospel–God’s power to save (Rom. 1:16,17).

There is also an objective side to faith. People can and do believe anything. But saving faith is tethered to the objective body of doctrine known in the New Testament as the faith (Rom. 10:17). Paul said he preached “the faith” which he once destroyed (Gal. 1:23). Previously, however, he had written that no one was to preach anything but gospel (Gal. 1:6-9). Since Paul preached only the gospel, and he preached the faith, the faith must be the same as the gospel. Paul told the Corinthians to examine themselves as to whether or not they were in “the faith” (II Cor. 13:5). Jude exhorts us to earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 3).

Finally, faith is victorious. John said that this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (I John 5:4). “Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God” (I John 5:5)? It is the unbelieving who will be cast into the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone (Rev. 21:8). “But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Hebrews 10:39).

Put faith in the mix (Heb. 4:2).

Eric L. Padgett

Why Don’t People Believe?

The question often arises in business meetings and in general discussions among concerned brethren why more people don’t manifest an interest in the gospel of Christ. Why don’t more people believe? The question is often asked as if there is one, single, simple answer. But the truth is more complex. While unbelief may well be the thread of thought that underlies all rejection of God, the reasons for unbelief are varied and numerous.

Some do not believe simply because they are fools. “The fool hath said in his heart there is no God” (Psalm 19:1). The evidence is there, readily available to them, if they would be honest with the truth and themselves. “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard” (Psalm 19:2-3). Thus, all are without excuse (Rom. 1:20). Some people, however, simply do not believe because they are fools.

Some do not believe because they are blinded. Paul wrote, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Corinthians 4:3-4). Unlike the atheist who sees the evidence but denies it, these are blinded and cannot see the evidence (Eph. 4:17-19). Naturally, satan is behind all unbelief, whatever the cause (John 8:44).

Some people do not believe because they hold the praise of men to be more valuable than the praise of God (John 12:42,43). Some of the Pharisees believed in Jesus but were afraid to confess Him because they did not want to be put out of the synagogue (John 12:42). Jesus said: “How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?” (John 5:44). The Bible teaches we cannot serve two masters (Matt. 6:24). If we love the praise of men more than the acceptance of God, then we will not believe or our belief will be vain.

Some people will not believe because their hearts are hardened. Israel’s heart was hardened to the point that they could not enter the promised land (Psalm 95:8-11). There are many causes of hardening of the heart but the end result is that the gospel cannot penetrate enough to bring about repentance. On the day of Pentecost, the Gospel was able to penetrate and prick the heart and three thousand souls were saved (Acts 2:36). Unless the heart can be pricked, there will be no faith (Luke 24:25).

Some people will not believe because they do not love the truth. Jesus said, “And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe Me?” (John 8:46). Jesus here implies that we ought to love the truth enough to accept it, whatever it is. Some people, however, receive not the love of the truth (II Thess. 2:10). Because some people do not love the truth, they will change the truth of God into a lie (Rom. 1:25). We have to buy the truth and sell it not (Prov. 23:23).

Some people will not believe because they know that God requires them to change their life and they do not want to give up their sins. In Romans one, Paul described those that reject God and it was for this cause God gave them up unto vile affections (Rom. 1:26). How many people have embarked on a life of unbelief simply because they did not want to give up their sinful life (cf. Matt. 19:16-22)?

Still others do not believe because they do not seriously and purposefully study God’s word. Paul wrote, “So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Saving faith is a product of evidence. God’s word was written so that we might believe (John 20:30,31; I John 5:13). Want deeper faith? Immerse yourself in the word of God.

Thus, we see that there are several reasons given in the Bible that people do not believe. There are also many others reasons people might not believe. Some people might not believe because they have had a bad experience with religion or with the Lord’s people. Some people might have experienced tragedy and they blame God for it. Some people may not believe because their parents did not believe. Some people may not believe just because they have never given any thought about it. Other may not believe because they are rebellious. Still others may not believe and may not even know why they do not believe.

One thing is certain: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16 ).

Eric L. Padgett