On Unbelief

In John 9:13-34 we see an amazing demonstation of the Lord Jesus Christ’s manifest deity as He literally and spiritually fashioned “new eyes” for a congenitally blind man. This was a miracle par excellence that was unheard of in all Israel and which proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus Christ was Lord and Messiah, the very light of the world. It’s also worth noting that Israel was arguably the most religious people group living in the world at that time just as the argument could be made that ultra-Orthodox Jews are the most religious people group living in the world today – outwardly religious that is.

The Jews of Christ’s day benefitted from having primary access to the very oracles of God (Romans 3:1-2), and thus they ought to have recognized Jesus as Messiah, yet the scripture record is clear and indisputable in its teaching of what the Jews thought of Christ.

They hated Him.

They feared Him.

They rejected Him.

They murdered Him.

As Christians we can understand that all these things constituted the unfolding of God’s own foreordained prophetic plan of the ages, and we rejoice in the fact that Jesus Christ was crucified, dead, buried, and resurrected on the third day as a propitiation for the sins of all those who would believe on Him by grace through faith alone, being thereby miraculously translated from spiritual death unto spiritual life to the praise of God’s magnificent glory forevermore! His resurrection is a sure and trustworthy promise of a future resurrection for those who are found in Him. His eternal life is the assurance of our future eternal life as we abide in Him. His glorification is our glorification as members of His mystical Body – the bride of Christ, the church invisible which is comprised of living stones that Jesus Christ has redeemed through His atoning work, bringing salvation to every kingdom, tribe, tongue and nation under heaven.

Yet why was He rejected by His own? Why did the vast majority of Jewry conspire and consent to murder their King? The short and ugly answer is UNBELIEF. From his study bible John MacArthur well said:

The story of the healing of the blind man in John 9:13-34 reveals some key characteristics of willful unbelief: 1.) unbelief sets false standards; 2.) unbelief always wants more evidence but never has enough; 3.) unbelief does biased research on a purely subjective basis; 4.) unbelief rejects the facts; and 5.) unbelief is self-centered.

Willful and fixed unbelief is the hallmark of the unregenerate heart. The unredeemed cannot and will not assent to the hard truths and hard commands of Jesus Christ. Through their a priori rejection of the truth claims of the Holy Bible and their stubborn hard heartedness unrepentant sinners will gladly commit epistemic suicide in order to avoid a confrontation with the One True and Living God of the Holy Bible, the infinite Creator and Judge of the universe. The unregenerate will allow for any number of explanations from the mundane to the wildly absurd, just so long as the explanation isn’t the God of Christian theism. The unregenerate will entertain ideas that man was placed on earth by a terraforming alien race, but they won’t accept the truth that they are morally accountable to a Holy and Righteous God. The unregenerate will allow for any number of deaf and dumb idols to be worshipped and adored, but they can’t tolerate the fact that they are in bondage to their own depravity and wickedness and that they abide under the wrath of God Almighty and are utterly hopeless apart from the finished work of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, upon a rugged and sinister Roman cross nearly 2,000 years ago.

The heathen rage and howl at these unspeakably glorious truths, but I fall down on my face in awe and praise before the King of Glory. What love is this? What God is this? What hope is this? It is the hope born in a heart that was once in unbelief. It is evidence that Jesus Christ rules and reigns from heaven, doing as He pleases that He would condescend to save a wretched lump of sin like me. My limited human capacity for words to describe what He has done in my heart fail me. I can’t sum it up and I can’t spell it out. I’m at a loss except to say that He is everything to me. He is my all in all. There is no desire He can’t fill, there is no grief He can’t comfort, there is no hope He can’t exceed, there is no want He can’t meet, there is nothing He can’t do and without Him I can do nothing.

Friend, do you know the true Jesus Christ as He has revealed Himself uniquely within the Holy Bible? Does your guilty conscience constantly wag an accusing finger at you crying out “GUILTY! GUILTY!! GUILTY!!!” wherever you may go or attempt to flee? If so, then hear the words of the Savior, the only One who can cure your fatal disease known as sin:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. – Matthew 11:28

Hell

by R.C. Sproul, excerpted from Essential Truths of the Christian Faith (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House, 1992), pp. 215-218.

We have often heard statements such as “War is hell” or “I went through hell.” These expressions are, of course, not taken literally. Rather, they reflect our tendency to use the word hell as a descriptive term for the most ghastly human experience possible. Yet no human experience in this world is actually comparable to hell. If we try to imagine the worst of all possible suffering in the here and now we have not yet stretched our imaginations to reach the dreadful reality of hell.

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