Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Warning Against Unbelief

As I was reading  this morning I found this quote by J.C. Ryle and thought was worth sharing. The passage that I was reading was Matthew 13:51-58, which says:
“Have you understood all these things?” They said to him, “Yes.” And he said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.”

And when Jesus had finished these parables, he went away from there, and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?  Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.” And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.
Matthew 13:51-58

Notice that in this last verse Jesus talks about the unbelief of those who lived in His home town, and that He said it was because of their unbelief that He did not perform many mighty works there. Of this verse Ryle wrote:
The last thing which we ought to notice in these verses is the ruinous nature of unbelief. The chapter ends with the fearful words, "He didn't do many miraculous works there, because of their unbelief."

 Behold in this single word the secret of the everlasting ruin of multitudes of souls! They perish forever, because they will not believe. There is nothing beside in earth or heaven that prevents their salvation. Their sins, however many, might all be forgiven. The Father's love is ready to receive them. The blood of Christ is ready to cleanse them. The power of the Spirit is ready to renew them. But a great barrier interposes - they will not believe. "You will not come unto me," says Jesus, "that you might have life." (John 5:40.)

May we all be on our guard against this accursed sin. It is the old root-sin, which caused the fall of man. Cut down in the true child of God by the power of the Spirit, it is ever ready to bud and sprout again. There are three great enemies against which God's children should daily pray - pride, worldliness, and unbelief. Of these three, none is greater than unbelief.

J.C. Ryle
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Volume 1 (2007 Baker Books Reprint) Pg. 157

How often do we actually think about unbelief being an issue in our lives? But just as we need to fight against pride and worldliness in our lives, we need to also be fighting against unbelief. The truth is that every time we sin - every time - there is an element of unbelief present; what we are saying, in essence, when we sin is "God, I don't believe what You said about ________."

Remember, Abraham believed God and it was counted as righteousness (Genesis 15:6, Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6, James 2:23). And I don't know about you, but I think if God tells us something 4 times it must be important.
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