THE SIN OF UNBELIEF
According to Rom. 14:23 the definition of sin is: 'whatever does not come from faith'. Think of all the things we do within the course of a day in which we are not exercising faith in God. Jesus tells us in John 16:9 the world's sin is unbelief in him. Unbelief means you do not trust God. It means you are not dependent upon God. It means you do not put faith in God. And if we do not put faith in God, then the only option left, to Satan's delight, is to put faith in ourselves. Jesus tells us in Matt. 17:20 that we have little faith. If we had the faith of a mustard seed, the smallest of garden seeds, we could remove mountains. Has anyone seen a mountain removed lately?
As humans what comes natural is to put faith in things we can see. I put faith in my car that it will get me to work because it has proven itself to be reliable. I put faith in a chair that will hold me because it too has proven to be reliable. But to put faith in something I can't see is a very unnatural thing to do. There are two main reasons why we, even as Christians, have such a hard time with putting faith in God. The first reason is because of what we inherited from Adam; or to be more accurate, what I inherited from my father before me (Gen. 5:3). I have inherited a life that is completely devoid of the life of God. I have inherited a life that is completely independent of God. That means I have no clue what spirit is. I only know what I see. I only know the physical world. The second reason is what I acquire from the world. And what I acquire from the world that begins with my parents, is reinforced by my teachers, and is rewarded in the workplace, is a performance oriented mindset.
Because of this performance oriented mindset that is so deeply embedded into my psyche, I am prevented from seeing what God wants me to see. Instead of seeing that unbelief is the issue; I have become preoccupied with the fruit of unbelief. Unbelief is the issue, and the individual acts of sin we commit, are the fruit of unbelief. In other words, the individual acts of sin we commit, come from the one sin of unbelief. These would be the sins known as the filthy five, the nasty nine, the dirty dozen or whatever. It is these individual acts of sin that Jesus died for, for all peoples, for all time. These are the sins that the Lamb of God took away.
Picture in your mind a weed growing out of the ground. From the ground upward the growth of the weed is seen. What is not seen below the ground is the root of the weed. What is seen above ground is the fruit that comes from the root of unbelief; such as: stealing, murder, drunkenness, sexual immorality, lying, cheating, slander, etc... etc... It really doesn't matter what the circumstances were that drove us to commit these acts, because is there anything to big for God? What matters, is instead of putting faith in God to resolve the issue , we took it upon ourselves to resolve the issue. I went out and stole because I did not put faith in God to supply my need of having a form of income. I did not trust him, or I quit trusting him, to supply my need of having a job.
And now because I stole, all I have to do is recite the scriptural bar of soap known as 1 John 1:9 to make everything better. This one verse has successfully crippled and distracted the Church for far too long now because it has only served to keep us focused on our sins. Without even knowing that 1 John was also addressed with the purpose of exposing the Gnostics at the time; if you read 1 John 1:9 in context you see it is simply responding to 1 John 1:8; those who are not believers. We have used this verse to spend our time chopping off the top of the weed, over and over again, without any regard for getting to the root of the problem. God doesn't care about the top of the weed. He took all that away. What he cares about is relationship. This is what is going on below the ground; which is based on faith, 'the evidence of things not seen', and 'without faith it is impossible to please God'. If in our thinking we feel we need to deal with what is happening above ground, then the focus will always be upon ourselves and how we are performing. There is no relationship then. We are no different than the miserable Israelites roaming in the desert.
In the book of Hebrews, if there is one word that describes what the whole book is all about, it is the word unbelief. In Hebrews chapter 12 it starts off for us to be encouraged by the great example of all those in Hebrews chapter 11 who exercised faith in God. 'Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles...'
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