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Reading Through The New Testament – October 18th, 2016 – Hebrews 3 Unbelievers vs doubters


What’s the difference between a doubter and an unbeliever?

In Hebrews 3 the author tells us this:

See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. (hebrews 3:12)

Does this mean it is wrong to have doubts?

As I write this I am struggling with some doubts. I’ve been through a few situations that makes me question whether or not God is still going to be faithful, and it’s pretty hard to be honest.

Am I then committing a sin when I doubt?

Well, no.

All throughout our scriptures we have songs of worship where people are questioning God and having doubts.

Jesus himself cries out “Why have you forsaken me?” on the cross.

The book of Lamentations lets God have it for the pain Israel is going through.

What then is this about in Hebrews?

Notice the author doesn’t say doubt, but says unbelief. What’s the difference?

Unbelief is “turning away from the living God”. Unbelief is giving up on God and giving into despair.

Unbelief is saying: “I don’t care anymore! I’m doing this my own way! I don’t want to follow or trust this God anymore!”

Doubt is carrying the questions and the pain and giving it to the Lord in saying “This is hard. I don’t understand it. I wish you weren’t like this and I can’t see your point. But, I will still trust you. I will not let you go. I will hold onto you through this no matter what.

Doubt is absolutely ok.

Unbelief is not.

Faith can only exist hand in hand with doubt. Faith is only real when we doubt. Faith is the act of not hardening our hearts even though we may have some reason to.

Without faith it is impossible to please God, our author of Hebrews will say later. Faith is the act of trusting God through your doubts. Faith is the act of holding on even when your not sure where you’re being taken.

Unbelief is hardening our hearts.

So, as our chapter repeats twice

Today, when you hear his voice

Don’t harden your hearts.

Today, when God calls your name one more time to trust Him, to hold his hand, to walk with him, don’t turn away. Don’t shut the door.

Take all your doubts and bring them to His feet.

This is what all people of great faith have had to do.

Abraham when he marched up mount moriah to sacrifice his son.

Sara when she was told she would have a child in her old age.

Moses when he was promised the promise land but spent a lifetime in the desert.

They all had to trust, hope, and hold on through their doubts. They all made mistakes and sinned. But they didn’t walk away. They didn’t give up.

So, this one is for me today. Today, don’t harden your heart. Trust. Hold on. God is faithful.


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