Factors That Deter: Faithlessness

“Then He said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at My hands. Put your hand into the wound in My side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!’ ‘My Lord and my God!’ Thomas exclaimed.” (John 20:27-28 NLT)

Thomas, a member of the original twelve Disciples, has often been referred to as “doubting Thomas” because of his declaration in John 20:25: “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in His hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in His side.” The above verses record Jesus’ appearance to Thomas and His response to Thomas’ doubt with verification that He did indeed die and was risen from the dead.

Obviously, Thomas’ exclamation that Jesus was his Lord and God settled all doubt in his heart and mind that Jesus was exactly who He claimed to be and did exactly what He told His disciples He would do. Tradition records that Thomas came into conflict with the Hindu priests of Kali, who killed him for insulting their deity – or simply for converting many of their followers.

What can we learn from Thomas’ moment of faithlessness?

First, doubt is not sin and will not in any way hinder God’s love for and devotion to His children. Doubt, for many believers, is a natural response when first walking with Jesus. It’s not unusual to doubt things that are foreign to our mind and heart. Things like the virgin birth, Jesus’ many miracles, His Resurrection, and Ascension. It’s clear to me that Jesus didn’t fault Thomas, rather He addressed his concerns, resulting in Thomas’ full devotion to Jesus as Lord and God.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

Doubt doesn’t necessarily equal faithlessness, in the sense of complete lack of faith. Faithlessness, as I use it in this post, is not a blanket denial of everything we believe about God and Jesus. It’s more an isolated or specific issue with which we wrestle as believers, as a person of faith. Some people, for example, doubt that God could possibly love them for all the wrong and evil things they’ve done.

It still boggles my mind that Jesus would die for me; that He would offer the gift of forgiveness to me, in light of all the ways I’ve despised and rejected Him in and through all the ways I’ve sinned against Him. Yet, based on His example when helping Thomas deal with his season of faithlessness, Jesus specifically addressed Thomas’ concerns. It’s not by accident that even before Thomas had opportunity to give expression to his doubt, Jesus spoke to the very issues with which he wrestled.

The Holy Spirit has on multiple occasions and in varied ways addressed my doubts and given me assurance that, not only is He not upset with me, He invites me to bring my doubts and fears to Him. Yes, of course, our periods of faithlessness can deter us in our walk with Him, but in His mercy and grace, He always gives me assurance that, even though I may not have full understanding this side of heaven, I can trust that one day I will see fully, and have clear understanding.

Hebrews 10:23 says: “Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.” And then in 11:6: “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that God exists and that He rewards those who sincerely seek Him.”

It’s apparent that this is a multi-faceted issue, so let’s look at it from a different perspective in tomorrows’ post.

Blessings, Ed 😊

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