Understanding Baptism

A helpful summary to share with others.

Wisdomforlife

  1. Baptism is an outward symbolic testimony of the inward reality of what God has accomplished in us at salvation. It’s a powerful visual proclamation of what God has accomplished by uniting us or immersing us spiritually into Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.
  2. Baptism is commanded by the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18-20) and practiced by the early church (Acts 8:38;10:44-48;16:31-33;18:8).
  3. Baptism by immersion is the best symbolic means of testifying to our union with Christ in death, burial and resurrection. It was most assuredly the mode practiced in the early Church. Immersion is the mode that most fully preserves  the meaning of baptism (baptizo – to dip or immerse). John baptized “at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism” (John 3:23). When baptized by John, Jesus “came up out of the water” (Mark 1:10). Upon hearing the good news…

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Love is patient and kind

Most of our relationships would improve if we practiced the first two qualities of love from I Corinthians 13:4-8.

Patience and Kindness go a long way. They also likely lead to the other qualities.

1. Love is patient It restrains anger when hurt or provoked. Patience is not passive waiting, it’s active restraint when provoked by circumstances or people (see: Romans 12:17-21; Ephesians 4:26-27). Patience travels closely with self-control.

“Better to be patient than powerful; better to have self-control than to conquer a city” (Proverbs 16:32). “People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness” (Proverbs 14:29). “A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls” (Proverbs 25:28).

The Old Testament repeats a cluster of descriptive qualities for God reminding us that He is: “gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love — and He relents from sending calamity”  (see: Exodus 34:6-7; Joel 2:13, 18; Jonah 4:2)

The New Testament reminds us that God “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). In a passage warning about God’s inescapable judgment against religious hypocrites (i.e. those who condemn others for the very things they do themselves), the apostle reminds readers of God’s kindness and patience: “…do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (See also: Romans 9:22-24).

Jesus showed great patience when He prayed: “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Stephen, a martyr of the early church, showed great patience when he prayed: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” 

Patience is more than passive waiting. It is active restraint that rests in God.

2. Love is kind  It reaches out in good will with acts of care and concern for others. Love not only patiently forebears, it actively pursues with acts of kindness. Loving people are distinguished by their kindness (see: Ephesians 4:32; Titus 3:1-5).

Love is not content with passive restraint. Yes, it patiently holds back retaliation when provoked, but it also reaches out in good will with acts of kindness. 

Romans 12:17-21 brings patience and kindness together in a powerful way. 

Verse 17 – “Do not repay evil for evil,” Verse 19 – “Do not take revenge.” This is God’s right, not ours.

On the contrary, extend acts of kindness and ministry: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink” (Romans 12:20a).

This is more than passive restraint and resentment, it is super-natural, counter-cultural living, based on a refusal to multiply evil. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (v. 21). Doing this “will heap burning coals” on the head of your enemy (Romans 12:20).

Burning coals?

“In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head”? Doesn’t this sound like a way to harm an enemy! Is this a “kill them with kindness” philosophy?  A “so take that” approach?

When a meaning seems unclear, our interpretation should follow the context (Romans 12:21).

5 ways burning coals have been understood

  • Punishment – (Psalm 18:13, Psalm 140:11). But, in Romans 12, anything aimed to hurt our enemy violates the context.
  • Conviction – It’s a symbolic burning in the sense of bringing mental conviction
  • Protection- (Leviticus 16:12-13). Like the high priest on the Day of Atonement who took a censor full of burning coals and incense so the smoke would cover him.
  • Blessing – A near-eastern practice of carrying burning coals to distribute for the benefit of others.
  • Melting – As burning coals melt hard metals, perhaps your kindness will melt your enemy’s hardened heart.

I view this reference as some sort of proverbial saying indicating that our acts of kindness have the potential to powerfully affect others, especially enemies. “Win them with kindness, not kill them with kindness.”

God’s kindness emerges against the backdrop of our sin (see: Titus 3:3-5). To be Christian is to be people distinguished by kindness. Jesus taught us to be merciful as God is by reminding us that the Most High God is even kind to the ungrateful and wicked (see: Luke 6:32-36).  Let’s be sure to model kindness as parents and teach kindness to our children.

Take a moment and pray that your love will grow in patience and kindness.

Discuss this with others.

Steve Cornell

Posted in Broken Relationships, God's Patience, God's Love, Kindness, Love, Patience, Relationships | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The painful cycles of self-hatred

“What if self-loathing has been your story for 31 years?” the young man asked me. “Is that your story?” I responded. “Yes!” he replied with a sneering tone. “What’s the story behind it?” I asked. “My father. A military man. Nothing was ever right or good enough for him!” “So,” he continued, “I learned to hate myself for never measuring up, for never being good enough.”

He’s not alone.

I often meet people who do life with an underlying and destructive self-loathing. They might appear confident and nice on the surface, but for those who try to get close to them, it’s a different story. It’s not uncommon for those who endured childhood abuse (especially constant put-downs and appearance bullying) to gradually develop a case of self-hatred.

Part of the complexity of self-hatred is that it rarely exists alone. It has cousins who keep close company. Resentment and bitterness are not far away – along with a sometimes-veiled desire for retaliation. These poisonous cousins are typically redirected toward those who later in life try to love the person who hates himself or herself. Self-hatred is difficult to dislodge from the heart.

Those who battle self-hatred struggle later in life to believe that others love them. They tend to push caring and loving people away without realizing why they’re doing it. They tend to project the guilt of their childhood abusers onto innocent others. Pain is multiplied when the guilt of the original offender/s is redirected toward those trying to offer genuine love.

How can one overcome self-hatred? I address this matter in my book “The 18 Year Factor: How our upbringing affects our lives and relationships.” The solution I recommend is unexpected. It’s even a little shocking.

Do you have any insights to offer?

Steve Cornell

Posted in 18 Year factor, Abuse, Child Abuse, Childhood trauma, Self esteem, Self love | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Unless you change and become like little children

“The church is a provisional, struggling foretaste of the kingdom of God,… a place where… we struggle to view one another not as competitors, but instead as brothers and sisters all equally beloved of the Father, all equally and graciously bestowed with membership in his family” (Spiritual Emotions, Robert Roberts).

A powerful obstacle

God has created us for fellowship with one another, and we have chosen instead to forsake it for something unsatisfying and despicable. Despite our parents’ love, not one of us is humble, not one is innocent of the crime of spiritual cannibalism.

Cannibalism – This illustration relates to the tendency to use other people (eat them) to nourish one’s own ego or build ones own importance or advantage. This is what the disciples were doing when the were jockeying for positions of honor. People use the expression: “It’s a dog eat dog world out there.” Be careful about entering into fellowship with a person like this. You might end up in his pot.

Jesus asked his disciples, “What were you arguing about on the road?” “But they kept quiet because on the way they had argued about who was the greatest.” (Mark 9:33-34). This was their ongoing issue!

An entrance saying

In Matthew 18, their question about who is the greatest was answered with a powerful “entrance sayings” from Jesus. “And he said: ‘I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'” (Matthew 18:2)

This is similar to what Jesus said at the beginning of the sermon on the mount: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3)

In Matthew 5:20, Jesus shocked his audience with another entrance saying, For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” (cf. other entrance sayings: Matthew 7:21; 18:8,9; 19:17, 24; 25:21,23).

The rest of the sermon on the mount is a commentary on Matthew 5:20. What Jesus meant by this exceeding righteousness becomes clear in Matthew 6:1 – Forsake image management and ego building!

In the psychological structure of the kingdom: Being seen by the father in secret is cherished over recognition and honor from people.

————————————————————————————-

Humility does not come naturally

But none of this is natural to us. That’s why Jesus said, “Unless you CHANGE and BECOME like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” We must be committed to self humbling: verse 4- “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Like this child

Becoming childlike is not a reference to being “innocent as a child” or having the “simple faith of a child”. Jesus is exposing status seeking and children were both a cultural example of non-status and usually exhibited unconcern for status.

A troubling thought

This forceful warning from Jesus raises a troubling consideration: Did their prideful pursuit of greatness call into question the salvation experience of Jesus’ early followers?

Remember – Jesus makes humility and unconcern for social status not only the psychological structure of the kingdom, but also as a basis for entrance into it. And it will do no good to separate kingdom and salvation as if you could have salvation without entering the kingdom. Although kingdom had a future dimension, it also had present implications. (entering life, the kingdom of heaven and God are all used synonymously in the NT.). It could be argued that Jesus is simply emphasizing the attitude of truly redeemed people (cf. Isaiah 66:1-2). “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5).

Present tense

Although he probably had in mind the consummated kingdom, Jesus used the present tense: “whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”–not “will be” one day but “is.” This implies a continuity of disposition between now and a time to come. The disposition of the redeemed.

Additional thoughts about the Kingdom

At the coming of Christ, the kingdom has drawn near. Jesus is born a king (Matt. 2:2) and for this cause He came into the world (Jn. 18:37). Jesus proclaimed that the kingdom of heaven was near (Matt. 4:17) and preached the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; Mk. 1:14, 38; Lk. 4:43). Jesus also rebuked the Pharisees for shutting up the kingdom against men and not entering themselves (Matt. 23:13).

Jesus spoke of the kingdom as something past- Lk. 13:28; present- Matt. 5:3, 10; 11:12; 12:28; 19:23; Lk. 17:21; and future- Matt. 6:10; 21:43; 25:31-34; Acts 1:6-8. The phrases “kingdom of heaven” and “kingdom of God” are equally interchangeable.  Both are used in Matt. 19:23-24, compare also Matt. 19:23 w/ Mk. 10:23.  Entering life and entering the kingdom are also used interchangeably (Mk. 9:45, 47; Matt. 25:31-34, 46).

The spatial realm of the kingdom is treated as secondary and derivative to a personal relation to the King and His rule.

Certain blessings of the kingdom are experienced in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17). At salvation believers experience deliverance from the domain of darkness and are transferred into the kingdom of God’s Son (Col. 1:13; cf. Jn. 3:3-5; Acts 26:18). This transfer involved experience of blessings related to the kingdom in the forgiveness of sins (Col. 1:14; cf. Lk. 1:71, 77).

Expedients of Humility (thoughts from Robert Roberts)

Humility is not itself an emotion, like joy or gratitude or contrition.  A person could be a wonderful exemplar of humility without ever feeling humble; in fact, one who frequently feels humble is probably not very humble.  But humility is an emotion-disposition—primarily a negative one, a disposition not to feel the emotions associated with caring a lot about one’s status.

It is the ability to have my self-comfort quite apart from any question about my place in the social pecking order (whether the criterion is accomplishments, education, beauty, money, power, fame, or position); it is the absence of a spiritually cannibalistic appetite.  Humility is cannibal-anorexia, as we might say.  It is thus a self-confidence, one that runs far deeper than the tenuous self-confidence of the person who believes in himself because others look up to him.

If this is humility, two things follow.  First…our inclination to succumb to invidious comparisons is so great, and the means of making these comparisons are so ready-to-hand, that a necessary part of our defense against spiritual cannibalism will be an equally clear conceptualization of our neighbor as our equal.  And second, we need some basis of self-acceptance other than our success in competition with others.  We cannot escape the need to believe ourselves valuable, nor would we want to lose that capacity if we could.  To believe ourselves worthless is a terrible and unchristian thing; and not to care that we are worthless is perhaps more woeful still.

Christianity offers to satisfy both these conditions, and this is a psychological recommendation for it.

…Christianity is eminently well qualified to engender the evenhanded, deep self-confidence that I am calling “humility.”  For it challenges us to see every person as a brother or sister whom God so loved that he humbled himself to equality with the lowest human being, and to death on a cross, to reconcile with himself.  The equality in terms of which a Christian is equipped to see every other person is not that of inalienable rights…  It is that we are all equally the objects of God’s great love, all equally children (or potential children) of his household, members of his kingdom.

This vision not only levels every distinction by which egos seek a glory that really demeans them.  When it becomes entrenched in one’s outlook, the vision is also the ultimate ground of self-confidence.  The message is that God loves me for myself—not for anything I have achieved, not for my beauty or intelligence or righteousness or for any other qualification, but simply in the way that a good mother loves the fruit of her womb. If I can get that into my head, or better, into my heart, then I won’t be grasping desperately for self-esteem at the expense of others, and cutting myself off from my proper destiny, which is spiritual fellowship with them.”

Steve Cornell

Posted in attitudes of unity, Church Leadership, Community, Disciple-making, Elders, elders in the Church, Emerging Leaders, Humility, Kingdom, Leadership, Love, Poor in spirit, Pride | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who is adequate for this?

The task of spiritual leadership is a continual reminder that God put His treasure in jars of clay so that the power would be from Him and not from us

Wisdomforlife

Here’s another reason to pray for your pastors…

“Few people grasp the preacher’s challenge. Where else in life does a person have to stand weekly before a mixed audience and speak to them engagingly on the mightiest topics known to humankind: God, life, death, sin, grace, love, hatred, hope, despair and the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Who is even close to being adequate for this challenge?” (Cornelius Plantinga Jr.Reading for Preachers: The Preacher in Conversation with Storytellers, Biographers, Poets, and Journalists (Eerdmans, 2013).

The task of leading God’s people can be daunting and overwhelming. It’s not strange to fee that the size of the calling is larger than the one responding to it. The weight of Paul’s question is always present: “Who is equal to such a task?” (II Corinthians 2:16). Even strong leaders battle feelings of inadequacy. But we must be propelled by these feelings to…

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How to keep perspective

All of Scripture was given for perspective formation. Scripture lifts us out of the horizontal and connects with the vertical. It stretches beyond the temporal to the eternal. It calls us away from the mire of a self-centered living into the joy of a God-centered life of love.

Wisdomforlife

Have you ever lost perspective? This happens when we lose sight of the big picture or even some important details of the small picture. 

When faced with trials or setbacks, we can find ourselves struggling to keep a good perspective. Discouragement is another threat to perspective.

One has suggested that, “Despondency has a way of selectively focusing on certain aspects of life and conveniently overlooking others. Despair is always colorblind; it can only see the dark tints” (David A. Hubbard).

Maybe your outlook on life has become dark, complacent or angry. Perhaps the colors of life have lost their strength. Perhaps some dreams have not been fulfilled and the routine of life feels horribly monotonous and without deeper meaning. We must be acknowledge that this kind of mindset can easily lead to trouble. 

When we start looking at things the wrong way, a caring friend might say, “You need to get…

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Blaming God for the evil in the world?

When evil things happen, people sometimes ask why God doesn’t do something about it. Why Doesn’t He stop it? 

We think of God as the one who has the power and resources to change things. We’ve been told that God loves us and cares about our lives.

What exactly do we want Him to do regarding evil?

We certainly don’t want God to run the world on a principle of immediate justice. This would bring judgment down on everyone! Since we’ve all sinned, and the wages of our sin is death, living sinners ought to be grateful for how God’s mercy and grace restrain His judgment. Is it only the evil of other people that we want God to stop?

Here we have a problem. 

Certain risks are involved when God allows the world to go on with sinners living in it. When we sinners are permitted to make choices with real consequences, bad things happen.

Deeper considerations

It’s not entirely strange that we long for a better world. Perhaps even our impatience toward God points to some important aspect of human nature. Pervasive awareness of how things are not the way they ought to be (along with universal longings for a better world), join to testify to something profound about humans.

  • Why do we so strongly oppose evil and long for a world without it? 
  • Why do we cry foul? 
  • Why do we long for a lost Paradise? 
  • Why do we even think in terms of good and evil?

An impersonal evolutionary development of humans does not logically lead to these kinds of expectations. Universal longings for justice, love, and meaning are difficult to explain in philosophy of naturalism. We are beings who think, feel, and choose in profoundly moral and relational ways – with real consequences.

Why are we as we are?

We are beings made in God’s image with God-like capabilities to rule the earth in creative and beneficial ways. But we don’t always use our God-given abilities for good. The same minds that invent life-saving machines and medicines, devise instruments of war and torture. We are paradoxical beings, Jekylls and Hydes; combinations of dust and glory. We have plenty of empirical evidence for the duality of our lives.

We have God-like moral sensibilities that allow us to recognize right and wrong, and to participate in benevolent activities. We are capable of distinguishing justice from injustice; love from hate, and freedom from oppression. Yet our vision of these things is consistently blurred in self-serving and evil ways. Were we made from dust into the glorious image of God, and then sent back to the dust for rejecting our Creator?

Evil is our responsibility

God handed responsibility for conditions on earth to humanity. For example, He gave an ordinance requiring punishment of murderers.

“Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind” (Genesis 9:6).

This ordinance teaches that it’s our responsibility to restrain evil and violence in the world. This does not diminish God’s sovereignty, but is the way He chose to order things. It doesn’t mean God will never use other means for restraining violence, but it’s a wakeup call for those who fail to restrain and punish evil. 

  • What is God’s involvement in the world? 
  • Does God look on evil with deep sadness while being unable to change things? 
  • Does He mean well but lack the power? 
  • Does He arbitrarily pick some people to protect and leave others unshielded? 
  • Is He too busy answering prayers for sunny days to be bothered with the really big tragedies?

Answering these kinds of questions involves multi-layered considerations.

Let’s be clear that (according to Scripture), God “does according to his will in the host of heaven, and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off his hand or say to him, What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35). The God revealed in the Bible is repeatedly recognized as absolutely sovereign over everything. The Psalmist, for example, declared that “the Lord does whatever pleases him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and in their depths” (Psalms 135:6).

We must learn to think of God not only in relation to His sovereignty and benevolence but also in terms of His patience, mercy and grace. And there is also an evil one who is at work in the world. 

Take seriously the advice from Ecclesiastes 5:1 – “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.”

And let us give much more consideration to the stewardship and responsibility God has given to us for conditions on earth (see: Romans 13:1-5). Let’s be quick to ask what we should be doing in the face of evil. God’s will for human authorities is that they would “punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right” (I Peter 2:14). 

Some good news

The greatest demonstration of God’s care and kindness did not come through words but when “God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). 

When “the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy” (Titus 3:5).

God’s final expression of care for us is in the place He is preparing for our eternal home. In this place, “God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4). We long for this home.

Steve Cornell

see also – 7 consequences from the fall of humanity

Posted in Apologetics, Appearance bullying, Evil in the world, Evil One, God, God's control, God's Heart, God's Love, God's power, God's Protection, God's Will, Image of God, Just War, Justice, Problem of evil, Questioning God, Seeking God, Theodicy | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Seven reasons to desire heaven

What do we know about heaven?

Wisdomforlife

  1. Heaven will be a place unhindered fellowship with God. 
  2. Heaven will be a place where we always do what pleases God. 
  3. Heaven will be a place of unhindered fellowship with each other. (No more conflicts to resolve!)
  4. Heaven is eternal — no permanent partings in heaven. (No separation)
  5. Heaven is home to Jesus our Savior, the Holy Spirit our comforter, and the Father of mercies.
  6. Heaven will be beautiful beyond comparison. (It’s architect and builder is God, see: Revelation 4:1-6).
  7. Heaven will be a place of unimaginable and undisturbed joy! (see: Psalm 16:11; Luke 15:10). 

“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with…

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When God teaches worldview

Worldview (at the deeper level) addresses the question: “What is real?” But what causes us to transition from one worldview to another?

Wisdomforlife

A Worldview is a way of understanding the world and your place in it. It’s an outlook on life. A philosophy of life. It usually includes a core set of beliefs and values that control your life.

Worldview on the street level is more of a gut reaction. Ask, “What’s your worldview?” or “What’s your view of life?” and the man on the street will answer,

  1. “Hey, to each his own.”
  2. 
“You only go around once.”

  3. “What’s right for you is right for you.”

  4. “As long as nobody gets hurt, go for it!”
  5. 
“If it works for you, it’s fine with me.”

But these are simplistic and self-serving ways of looking at life. If you care about something more than yourself, and you desire to address the serious issues plaguing society, you’ll need a deeper and more reflective outlook.

What is real?

Worldview (at the deeper level) addresses the question: “What…

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I am not a believer…

When someone says that he or she is not a believer, what does this mean? How does the Bible view belief and unbelief? We can find five ways that Scripture explains unbelief.

  1. Unbelief as an identification – Jesus said, “You do not believe because you are not my sheep” (John 10:26).  Since you stand outside of those who belong to Christ, you do not/cannot believe in Him (Acts 13:48; John 6:44, 63-65; 8:47).

2. Unbelief as a condition – “Since they did not consider it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, He gave them over to a depraved mind” (Romans 1:28). Consider those who love darkness (John 3:19-20; Ephesians 4:17-18) and those who are blinded (2 Corinthians 4:3-4).

3. Unbelief as a response – a choice (John 5:39-40; John 5:42-44; John 7:15-17; Revelation 22:17). 

“The unbeliever has preferred to be by himself, without God, defying God, having God against him, and he shall have his preference. Nobody stands under the wrath of God save those who have chosen to do so. . . . what God is hereby doing is no more than to ratify and confirm judgments which those whom He visits have already passed on themselves by the course they have chosen to follow” (J.I. Packer, Knowing God, p. 139). 

“Why is it that people do not come to Christ? Is it that they cannot, or is it that they will not? Jesus taught both. And in this “cannot” and “will not” lies the ultimate antimony between divine sovereignty and human responsibility. However we state it, we must not eliminate either part. Our responsibility before God is an inalienable aspect of our human dignity. Its final expression will be on the Day of judgment. Nobody will be sentenced without trial. All people, great and small, irrespective of their social class, will stand before God’s throne, not crushed or browbeaten, but given this final token of respect for human responsibility, as each gives an account of what he or she has done” (John Stott, The Cross of Christ, pp. 95-96).

4. Unbelief as a judgment – God’s permissive agency hands some people over to their desired deception (Romans 1:18-26a;cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12; Isaiah 66:3-4 – notice how they “refused” and God ratifies their choice; Psalm 81:11-12). God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 7:3; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:8); Pharaoh hardened his own heart (Exodus 8:15, 32; 9:34-35).

5. Unbelief as lack of appetite – (John 6:35 cf. John 4:14). This understanding of unbelief deserves more focus than it typically receives.

Rarely is unbelief solely or mainly a changing of one’s mind about facts. It is also a turning of the heart away from the Creator and Redeemer. Why do people refuse to believe?

Consider Jesus’ words, “I am the Bread of Life; he who comes to me will never go hungry and he who believes in me will never be thirsty” (John 6:35 cf. John 4:14). From these words, we learn that belief is not merely an agreement with facts about God and truth. It is also a matter of appetite, of longing, of hungering and thirsting and finding satisfaction and fulfillment.

Belief is not merely thinking correctly about God and Jesus. It’s turning to Jesus as the source of nourishment for life (tasting and seeing). Many people think correctly about God without turning to Jesus as the source of nourishment for life. But “man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3-4).

Blessed are the poor, needy, hungry and thirsty.  Augustine prayed, “Hearts are restless until they find their rest in You…”  Hearts are also hungry until they find satisfaction in God; Hearts are thirsty until quenched by God.

Unbelief, therefore, involves a turning of one’s heart away from God to search for satisfaction from something or someone else. 

“Unbelief is a failure to be satisfied in Jesus. It’s a failure to go to him as the living water and the bread from heaven and the light of the world. It’s a failure to go to him as a satisfaction that’s deep enough and strong enough to satisfy me when I am tempted to go in a sinful direction to indulge an appetite” – John Piper

See also 

Steve Cornell

Posted in Agnostic, Apologetics, Belief, Evangelism, Unbelief | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment