When I became a new-born believer in Christ, it was a shocking experience. I had no idea it would be like that when becoming a Christian. I remember thinking, when a teenager, that one day perhaps I would become a Christian, but it would have to be as an old guy who could only sit on a front porch in a rocking chair and watch the world go by. Otherwise, I could never make it work, to live without fault.
But when I finally was brought to realize that I was really an ungodly person and Christ had died for me, in my place, the peace of God that came upon me was astounding. It really felt great. Then came the enemy with his whispered doubts for which I had no answers.
My feelings were no longer sufficient for that.
God had brought a mentor to me, a couple of them, in fact. And what a total blessing that was for me! I began to get some key verses of Scripture memorized, and the warfare began to shift to my advantage. The truth of the Word overcame the “on and off” reaction of my feelings, and a measure of stability began to take effect. I relate all of this to assure the reader that the promises of God are the foundation of our assurance of salvation and not our feelings.
That truth is documented in 2 Timothy 2:13, “If we believe not, yet He abides faithful; He cannot deny Himself” (KJV). This relates to one person, who, in his frustration with me, challenged me, saying, “If you can’t believe the Word of God, I don’t know what to tell you!”
Two examples of doubting are recorded in the gospels by John the Baptist and Thomas, both having to do with their being alone and away from the fellowship of other believers. John had been imprisoned for his unrelenting witness against the immoral activity of the Roman leadership, and Matthew 11:2-3 tells us this: “And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples who said to Him, ‘Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?’”
John was the one who was baptizing at the Jordan River and saw Jesus walking nearby and exclaimed, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) and later, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Imagine yourself in a dungeon and knowing your days were numbered. How easy doubts would swarm into your thoughts and try to take over.
Then there was Thomas, one of the disciples. He was somewhere off alone, perhaps, but at least not with the other disciples when Jesus met them after His resurrection. Eight days later—imagine how long those days must have seemed to Thomas—he was with the disciples when Jesus appeared again. Thomas had said to the others during that time, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe” (John 20:25).
When Jesus appeared in the room when all the doors were closed, Thomas only had to see Him to exclaim, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
It is one of the many tricks of the devil, to get a believer alone, isolated, where he can mess up his mind with questions and doubts. So it is important that we do not forsake opportunities to be with other believers, especially where there is fellowship in the Word. In these last days, Hebrews 10:25 points that out: “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
A new Christian once made what I thought was a very mature observation: “The way to get new Christians to stand up for Christ is to lean them against each other.” I would add to that also, doubting Christians.
Doubting the inspiration of the Scriptures is a fault that will shipwreck your faith with a subtle, creeping dullness that comes upon your heart and soul, it seems to me. Let alone the fact that Satan is gleefully urging you onward. Many facts point to the complete inspiration of the Bible, but Paul’s declaration in 2 Timothy 3:16 stands out: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.”
Then, Peter testified of the reality of what he had witnessed on the Mountain of Transfiguration, then affirmed Paul’s declaration with more detailed revelation of how those words were received:
“For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory when such a voice came to Him from the Excellent Glory: ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ And we heard this voice which came from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
“And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:16-21).
But you may say, “Well, what about the New Testament? All they had was the Old Testament, and the other had not been written yet, for the most part.” Peter also has this to say about that argument:
“And consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
“You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked” (2 Peter 3:15-17).
What reason would Peter have to lie? He writes in that epistle that he was soon to face death, so this could be called his “death-bed confession” without marring the validity of authenticity it portrays as from the hand of God. Just how far does this statement of Paul, in Romans 14:23(b), penetrate into our lives, for it does say “whatsoever”: “…for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.”
The place to start overcoming doubts about God and His promises is right there—start with God. Who is He, what are His credentials, where else is there any real truth with adequate substantiation? Peter seems to have summed it up rather conclusively, at least for himself:
“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we believe and are sure that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God!” (John 6:68-69).
Are we to believe that? Yes! The scriptures do not lie, and God is not a liar, nor can He change:
“God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19), and:
“But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:24-25).
Doubt classifies as a temptation, not a sin. Just don’t act on it. We need to have the attitude that father had, as told in Mark 9:24, “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!’”
Jesus made His promises to be believed, and John wrote to that point in John 20:30-31, admitting that he had not exhausted the total wealth of all of them in his writing:
“And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
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