Matthew 13:58, “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”
Could the sin of unbelief be a problem that plagues the American church today? I think so. In the context of this verse in Matthew 13, the people rejected the words of Christ as well as the works of Christ. And aren’t those the same two things that even God’s people will sometimes attack, though maybe not as blatantly or overtly as they did in Matthew 13? Let me focus on just one of those two aspects, though.
Christ’s words, and by extension, the words of the entire Scripture, are not to be doubted or ignored, but believed. Belief demands submission. If we Christians say we believe the Bible, then we must submit ourselves to what those Scriptures teach. We say we believe the Bible, but our beliefs are displayed through our actions. And when our actions go against the teachings of the Scripture, we reveal our lack of true belief in those Scriptures which we claim to believe so much. Jesus said in Luke 6:46, “why do you call me Lord Lord and do not the things that I say?” The claim of belief without the actions of belief reveal a lack of belief. And because of this, Christ’s mighty works are not seen because of unbelief.
Christians must live out their claimed belief in Christ by submitting themselves to the teachings of the Scriptures. Reading the Bible alone does not meet that standard. Memorizing the Bible doesn’t even mean we have submitted ourselves to its truth. Every one of us as Christians, if we are going to claim full belief in the Scriptures, must yield the entirety of our minds, our hearts, and even our wills to the truth and teaching of Scriptures. Anything less than this reveals a lack of true belief.
Our belief in God’s truth is put to the test when we do not understand or cannot comprehend that truth? Our belief in God’s Word is not dependent upon our ability to comprehend God’s Word. There are many things that are hard to understand, but which we must believe nonetheless. Our belief in God’s truth is put to the test though we cannot physically see God. Yet Christ told Thomas that those who believe without seeing are blessed (John 20:29). Our belief in God’s truth is based on the source of this truth: God Himself. Therefore, whatever God says we must believe. And, subsequently, we must yield our wills to those same truths, no matter how difficult or counter-cultural they may be.
What could Christ do in His church today if His people truly believed? By God’s grace, let’s find out.