Belief: Its Power and Limitations Part 2

E. That man’s unbelief thwarts the will of God in such examples as given above must be qualified. 1. The thwarting is not of God’s sovereign will to do as He pleases on His own terms. In that regard, God’s will is never thwarted. ISA 46:10-11. 2. The thwarting is only of God’s promises of favors towards men which are conditioned upon their belief. Such promises carry with them a caveat that God is Belief, Its Power And Limitations 2-5-23 Page 2 therefore not obliged to extend the favor in the case of unbelief. a. His will is still done. His government of men and situations is unfazed. b. The thwarting, therefore, is really the individual thwarting his own welfare by unbelief which discharges God of any responsibility to keep His promise. HEB 3:19 c/w NUM 14:34. c. Our problems are our own where we refused to hearken to promises of good. MAT 23:37. d. The “all things” which work together for good (ROM 8:28) definitely don’t include sin like unbelief. JER 5:25; ROM 3:8. 3. The flip-side of many of God’s promises of good and favor is that the same unbelief which thwarts one’s own good also invokes the judgment of God against us. 4. Unbelief both deprives us of a blessing and brings a curse, and this applies in spiritual things. Example: a. Active belief of the gospel is rewarded with the gift of the Holy Ghost: the Spirit baptizes one into the local church where He abides to teach and comfort. ACT 2:38-41 c/w 1CO 12:13. b. Inactive response to the gospel (unbelief) doesn’t just cause one to miss out on spiritual blessing, it puts one under judgment as an informed sinner. LUK 12:47-48 c/w JAM 4:17 c/w 2TH 2:10-12. 5. Unbelief both deprives us of a blessing and brings a curse, and this applies in carnal things. Example: a. Faithfulness in giving is promised blessings. PRO 3:9-10; LUK 6:38; ACT 20:35; HEB 6:10. b. Infidelity in giving is promised cursings. HAG 1:5-10. c. Unbelief is the root cause here: you don’t believe God will honor His word to bless and reward, or that He is really watching your heart and actions, or that He won’t chastise you for delinquency, or you falsely believe that you somehow have a special exemption, or (worse!) that you are prospering in spite of your disobedience and this is somehow to you a proof that you are good and right when God’s word says otherwise. This latter is the error of “gain is godliness” where prosperity is self-destructive. 1TI 6:5 c/w PRO 1:32. 6. Unbelief in those promises of good that are conditioned upon your personal faith in action has incredible power: power to deny yourself good, power to invite to yourself trouble, power to justify God in dealing with you negatively. Such cases make us to be straitened in our own bowels. MIC 2:7 c/w 2CO 6:12. 7. This is a critical area in which your belief that you truly have God’s word (1TH 2:13) will be tested. It should have an effectual working in you to do what Scripture says is pleasing to God for the blessing, for the avoidance of a missed blessing, and for the avoidance of a curse. LUK 14:15-24. F. Active belief can turn God from His determined destructions whereas unbelief only justifies His destruction. JON 3:10. 1. Nineveh had a forty-day window and they made the best of it. JON 3:4-9. 2. Had they not believed and acted accordingly by repentance (MAT 12:41), God would have overthrown them according to His word or He would be a liar. 3. Had they determined to make no changes until Day 41, changes would have been impossible. Once God shuts doors, too late. LUK 13:25-27. 4. We do not know the length of our space of repentance so why tarry? REV 2:21 c/w HEB 3:7-9. Belief, Its Power And Limitations 2-5-23 Page 3 G. In conditional promises of God, belief has power to move God in your favor according to His promise of blessing. Unbelief has power to move God against you according to His promise of cursing. So choose wisely. DEU 30:19. IV. Remember, though, that unbelief has no power in unconditional matters in which God has declared certain things in His word. A. It cannot change the past. B. It cannot negate a truth/fact. C. It cannot negate a lie/error. D. It cannot make God a liar. 1. John twice says unbelief makes God a liar. 1JO 1:10; 5:10. 2. God cannot lie. TIT 1:2. 3. Unbelief rather is tantamount to saying that God is a liar, a false accusation. This was and is Satan’s tactic. GEN 3:4-5; MAT 3:17; 4:1-3. E. It cannot thwart His purpose and prevent Him from doing what He has promised. F. It cannot dethrone Him. G. It cannot in any way damage Him. H. A failure to distinguish between God’s promises which are conditioned upon belief and God’s doings and promises which do not depend on the sinner’s belief is the source of much confusion concerning eternal salvation. V. Consider some things that God’s word says about natural man and ask yourself whether man’s belief or unbelief of these things has any bearing on their reality. A. All men are made sinners by Adam’s sin. ROM 5:12. B. All men have sin and have sinned. ROM 3:23. C. All men are by nature dead in trespasses and sins deserving wrath. EPH 2:1-3. D. All men by nature are depraved (corrupt, wicked). ROM 3:9-19. E. All men by nature cannot receive/believe spiritual things of God. 1CO 2:14. F. All men by nature are condemned before God and cannot dwell with Him, no matter how good they are. PSA 5:4-5; ISA 64:6; GAL 3:10. G. These are hard realities about sinful/natural man which are declared by God’s word. 1. If you believe them, you are on the same page as God concerning natural man. But your belief of these things is not their cause nor does it validate them. 2. If you don’t believe them, they do not therefore cease to be realities. 3. Ironically, there are professing Christians who hold that not believing these things actually negates their realities while also holding that belief of the gospel is the only way to negate them. H. Do not forget this: belief or unbelief of a reality does not negate nor alter a reality and belief in a lie does not purify the lie to make it profitable. JER 7:8. Belief, Its Power And Limitations 2-5-23 Page 4

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