Unbelief is really the mother and father of all sins. Every other sin that we feel bad about is our futile attempt to earn the things that God has already freely given us. God said to Adam and Eve: “I give you everything in abundance. It is all good.” Then the serpent said, “God is withholding something from you. If you really want to live, then in addition to all that God has given you, you need to take this forbidden fruit.” Taking the fruit was not Adam and Eve’s first sin. Not believing what God had told them was their first sin. Unbelief was the first sin and the cause of almost every other sin!
Ephesians 1:5-6 “In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons and daughters through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will – to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”
There is no more that we need. We just need to believe what we are told and step out and act as if it were true. We have ALL we need for life in Jesus Christ; ALL we need for godliness; ALL we need for happiness,; ALL we need for an authentic life; ALL we need for our Church to become the Church Christ promised to build. If we have prepared good, rich, open, receptive soil; if we meditate on the fact that we already have everything in Christ and act as if that fact were true, then we will begin to experience what the Word promises to us. If we don’t, we won’t – it’s that simple. Our lives are full of all kinds of sins and we tend to put them in different categories, and we repent of them as we feel convicted, but until we repent of the primary sin of unbelief, our lives will never work, and we will go on committing many other sins which flow from unbelief. God told Abraham that he and Sarah would have a son. Abraham’s unbelief caused him to try to help out by having a son with Hagar. He then had to repent of his second sin as well as the sin of unbelief.
Throughout my ministry I have endeavoured to demonstrate our complete freedom in Christ; that we are ok with God; and that His life is given to us freely, and we never have to earn it. Why have I done that? Why has this seemed like a cracked record? There are a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s New Testament truth, and we all need to hear it often. Secondly, I love you as brothers and sisters and I want you to become increasingly more free, full of joy and confidence, experiencing more and more of the abundant life which is yours in Christ. The third reason is that we you really believe and act on these truths, sin won’t be an issue. Romans 6 says we are no longer slaves to sin. Hebrews 10 tells us that we have been made holy and presented to God, perfect in Christ. Paul sums it up well in his letter to the Romans.
Romans 4:13-16 “It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace. “
The promise comes by faith so that it may be in accordance with grace. Grace says, ‘You don’t have to work for it – you get it free.’ If it’s by faith, then anyone can do it. Religion says: ‘You reach God’s highest purposes if you are a good pray-er. You need to live a life of holiness and purity to reach spiritual maturity. You will only stand in the end-times army of God if you clean up your act.’ No, no, no!! You get it by believing what you’ve been told and acting on that, according to grace. Anybody can believe, you don’t need super intelligence, you don’t need the right connections, you don’t need to be wealthy or good-looking. Anybody can believe God’s Word. Jesus had a way of making it so simple that it hits us in the face. For example:
John 6:28-29 “The disciples asked Him: “What must we do to do the works of God?” Jesus told them: “This is the work of God – to believe in the One He sent.”
This is our primary work – to believe in Jesus.
If you want to work hard for God, let that belief be translated into action: become the person you already are in Christ. Belief without action is not belief at all. Part of that work of faith is repenting of those actions by which we are trying to achieve for ourselves that God has already given us. That is why it is so crucial that we understand the full implications of God’s grace and all that we have been given freely in Christ. We need to know deep in our hearts that we are OK not because of our own behaviour or our performance against a set of laws or requirements. We are OK because Jesus made us OK. ‘Jesus plus nothing’ is our salvation and our life. That is the only solid foundation for building the Church. God will remove any other because anything built on a wrong foundation cannot last.
In the final analysis, if our life is not working, if we are struggling, hurting, suffering physically, emotionally or spiritually, it’s not because of our mother or father or employer or the Government or anyone else’s sin against us – it’s not even ultimately because of the secondary sins in our own life. Our problems arise from one primary sin: the sin of unbelief. When we finally believe that we are totally, unconditionally loved, accepted and made holy before God and empowered by His free grace as given to us in Christ, then we will no longer be intimidated by anything, either from without or within – even our own sins and shortcomings. We can hand them all over to God, once and for all. We may identify many sins in our lives which need to be dealt with, but the sin of unbelief lies at the foundation of all those sins and when we decide to truly believe all that God has said to us, done for us and promised to do in us and through us, then everything else in our lives will fall into place. That’s a promise!