How serious is unbelief in Jesus? One reason it is often overlooked is the advance of pluralism in the visible church, which espouses many ways to God - Jesus being just one way. This makes unbelief in Jesus no big deal. Many professing believers regard unbelief as merely an error in judgment or a non-consent of the mind. What does the Bible say?

Unbelief is the most damning of all sins. A.W. Tozer said, “Unbelief is actually perverted faith, for it puts its trust not in the living God, but in dying men.” John 8:22-25 gives four guarantees that people will die in their sins: 1) be self-righteous (v 22); 2) be worldly (v 23); 3) be unbelieving (v 24 “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I [Jesus] am He [the One who I say I am - the Son of God who is equal with God; John 10:30] you will die in your sins”); and 4) be obstinately or willingly ignorant (v 25). Unbelief and disobedience are two sides of the same coin. Those who disobey do not believe and those who do not believe disobey. Unbelief heightens guilt, the violation of a law or standard (the simplest definition). “He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who believes not God has made Him a liar; because he believes not the testimony that God [who cannot lie, Titus 1:2] gave of His Son” (1 John 5:10). Romans 8:5-8 and 6:21 define an unbeliever, whereas 8:15-18 and 6:22 define a believer. “What fruit did you have in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death” (6:21). The unbeliever's life is marked as fruitless and shameful; it leads to eternal death in hell and eternal subjection to God's wrathful presence. Ephesians 4:17-19 gives four characteristics of the walk of the old natural man, the unbeliever: 1) a darkened mind (v 17); 2) a dead soul (v 18); 3) a debauched life (v 19a); and 4) a destitute restraint (v 19b). In Martyn Lloyd-Jones' sermon on Acts 4:13-22, entitled “The Spirit of Unbelief,” his three main points were:  the prejudice of unbelief, the unreasonableness of unbelief, and the dogmatic negativism of unbelief. The hymn writer William Cowper concurred, “Blind unbelief is sure to error and scan His work in vain, God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.”

“The danger of disbelieving in God is not that a person believes in nothing, but that he will believe in anything” (G.K. Chesterton). Believers in Jesus concerned for unbelieving souls must be Spirit-filled and boldly confront unbelief (Titus 1:9; 1 Peter 3:15; Acts 2:14-41, 4:23-31). “When Bible believers take a stand against false doctrine, they are accused of rocking the boat. But it is better that believers should rock the boat than unbelievers should wreck it” (Vance Havner). What is the will of God for all unbelievers? Jesus said, “And this is the will of God who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:40).

© 2010 Ronald A. Snyder All rights reserved