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THEOLOGY > Sin > The Character of Sin > Unbelief


Whatever is not of faith is sin (Rom. 14:23); therefore, faith or belief is a requirement that God has placed on man. Belief in God, His Christ, and His Word are indispensable. Lack of faith, or unbelief, has dire consequences in this world, but especially in the next.

Constantly in the New Testament, especially in the Gospel of John, belief and unbelief are set in contrast. And the object of faith is always the God of the Bible, His Son, and the words He speaks. Rejection of Him is the essence of sin, so the unbeliever is constantly admonished to believe, to accept, to confess.

Among other consequences, lack of belief brings condemnation and the wrath of God:

He who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jo. 3:18);

He who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him (Jo. 3:36);

If you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins (Jo. 8:24);

You do not believe because you are not of My sheep (Jo. 10:26);

Therefore they could not believe (Jo. 12:39);

If anyone hears My words and does not believe . . . the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day (Jo. 12:48).

Not only are the consequences of unbelief presented, but the blessings of belief are stated:

He who believes is not condemned (Jo. 3:18);

He who believes in the Son has everlasting life (Jo. 3:36);

He who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life (Jo. 5:24);

This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent (Jo. 6:29);

Everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day (Jo. 6:40);

He who believes in Me has everlasting life (Jo. 6:47);

He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live (Jo. 11:25);

Whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die (Jo. 11:26);

Whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness (Jo. 12:46);

You believe in God, believe also in Me (Jo. 14:1);

Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves (Jo. 14:11)

Since belief brings the removal of condemnation and wrath, coupled with the gift of eternal life, unbelief assures that one will be judged and will die in sins, resulting in eternal death. So the character of sin and the consequences of sin are exhibited in unbelief.

In asserting the necessity and the priority of belief, the believer must be careful not to give undue emphasis to the act of belief at the expense of the object of the faith. The former draws attention to what man does, while the latter gives prominence to the person and work of Christ. And salvation resides in Him not in my response to Him; faith is the medium by which salvation is realized, but individual faith is not the Salvation of the individual.

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