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The Reason We Don't Believe

The Victory of Christ is ours. But why don't we believe it?

by David A. DePra

     The average Christian will probably be able to quote to
you book and verse as to why they believe they are forgiven
in Jesus Christ. They will say they believe the Bible when
it tells us that we have unhindered access to God through
Jesus Christ. Yet when it comes to practicing these great Truths
many of us are dismal failures. We abide under crushing
condemnation. We live in doubt and unbelief. Many of us
fear that God isn't really there. And we can't seem to shake
these terrible feelings.
     Have you ever actually analysed what it is that motivates
you to feel like God has abandoned you? Have you ever said
to yourself, "Why do I feel as if there is something between
myself and God -- something which is keeping me from freedom
in Christ?" If you would put such questions before the Lord,
the answer might shock you. It might be an answer that you
never suspected, yet which was right in front of you the whole
     The number one reason we believe there is something
between ourselves and God is -- yep -- our sin. The common
routine goes like this: We fail. We sin. Then we feel guilty and
condemned. Then we confess our sin to God and beg for His
forgiveness. Then, as if to appease our guilt, we usually
linger under the guilt to "prove" to God we are "really sorry," or
perhaps we try to solve the problem by promising God that we
will do better the next time. But this is not the end of the routine. The
next time we don't do better. We fail again. And since there is
nothing we can say to God or promise to God which we haven't
said before, our words begin to sound quite hollow. In time,
there may come a tremendous gulf we sense between ourselves
and God. We are helpless in our sin and we know it. And
we believe that our sin stands between us and God.
     Of course we don't really believe our sin is between us and
God. At least we don't believe it doctrinally. But in practice,
heaven seems like brass. When we pray, we don't sense
any fellowship. We have lost our confidence. Our works,
performance, and reactions in life may have been so terrible that
we cannot get by them, and the guilt they produce, into the
peace and rest we want to have in Jesus Christ.
     This kind of spiritual situation is not fun. It can describe a
condition in which a Christian lives and moves in for years at a time.
It can be a terrifying condition of confusion, fear, condemnation,
and unrest. We sin, we confess, we pray, we promise. And then
we sin again. And over and over again, we see our sin as a
unbreachable gulf between ourselves and God.
     Can we possibly see what we are doing here? Yes, perhaps
we are sinning. We are not peforming like we think a Christian
should perform. But then what are we doing with our sin? Well,
we are putting it between us and God.
     Get that. WE -- US -- ME -- I am putting my sin between myself
and God. I am looking at MY performance, evaluating my
works, and having seen that I fall short of God's glory, I am
putting my failure between myself and God.
     When we practice this routine, we don't think it is WE who
are putting our sin between us and God. No. We think it is God
who is putting our sin between us and Him. Somehow, someway,
we have managed to take our unbelief and superimpose it
upon God. We think He has put a barrier between us. But it is WE
who have put the barrier there.
     Actually, if you were looking for a clearer definition of unbelief,
you would be hard pressed to find one. If you were trying to
describe what it means to walk in legalism, this would be a good
way. And if you ever wanted to know what it means to live "under
the law," well, there you'd have it. Any time I make my access
and fellowship with God depended upon what I do, then I'm
walking in unbelief. I have forgotten the gospel of grace.
     The fact is, God NEVER puts anything between Himself and
us. NEVER. Not even when we sin? Especially not when we sin.
Indeed, if God's attitude towards us changed when we sinned,
as opposed to when we did good, then there is no grace. God's
favor would depend upon our works, instead of upon the
finished work of Jesus Christ.
     To many of us who have spent our lives trying to solve the
sin problem through the means of religion and religious flesh,
this Truth sounds too good to be true. In fact, to many, it is
such a departure from the pattern of guilt, condemnation, and
failure that they have lived in, that they won't believe it at all. They
tenaciously cling to the error that sin MUST come between
them and God. Anything else, they reason, and it means that
God takes sin lightly.
     God does not take sin lightly. Not the tiniest sin you commit. In
fact, God takes sin so seriously that the only way in which He
could deal with it was by sacrificing the life of His Son. The
eternal holiness, justice, and righteousness of God mandated
that sin be dealt with. In Jesus Christ it was. For all time. In Christ,
God has done all the forgiving He is going to do. He has dealt
with sin all He is going to deal with it. It is finished. No, perhaps
not all worked out in every way we can experience, but never-
theless, it IS finished and complete. There is nothing which can
change, undo, or waterdown the finished victory over sin which
God has wrought in Jesus Christ.
     That is why is it certain that God does not put our sin between
us and Himself. He doesn't insist that we purge ourselves of
sin before He will walk with us. He doesn't demand that we
do something about ourselves before He will grant us His
grace, favor, and freedom. To the contrary, God takes the
initiative to continually seek us out, and to fellowship with us. It
it only when we won't believe this, and insist that our sin must
come between us and God that there is a problem. It is a problem
caused by our unbelief, not by God.
     Do you realize what this means? It means that all of those
terrible patterns which have us convinced that our sins and
imperfections separate us from God are LIES. They are lies
because everything they suggest is contrary to the very Truth
of the gospel of grace. They are lies no matter how real and
convincing they seem. No matter how strongly they have
wrapped themselves around our emotions and religious thinking.
They are "strongholds" and "imaginations" which exalt themselves
against the true knowledge of God. God tells us that we must
cast these down by faith. (see II Corinthians 10:3-5)
     What this means is that there must come a point at which we
refuse to put our sin between us and God, and begin believing
that despite our sin, we have full and unhindered access to God
through Jesus Christ our Saviour. It means we have to stop
believing lies, and begin believing the Truth. And we have
nothing less than the power of the Holy Spirit to show us how
to accomplish this task.
     There is a verse in the book of Hebrews which can help
us see these things. First read Hebrews 3 and 4. Now focus
in on 4:1. This verse is interesting in it's wording. It says,
"Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of
entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short
of it."
     What is interesting here is the admonition to fear. God
always tells us to "fear not." But here He says, "Let us fear."
     Getting the correct translation helps. The KJV quoted
above muddles the true meaning. The verse should read,
"Let us therefore fear. lest, a promise being left us of
entering His rest, any of you should distrust it." In other words,
the thing "to fear" is NOT that we fall short of qualifying for
the promise of God. No. Rather, we should fear that we
won't believe we are qualified in Christ. God is telling us that if
there is one thing to fear it is unbelief. If we won't believe God,
we aren't giving Him much to work with.
     This speaks directly to the habit of putting our sin
between us and God. To do that is to believe the lie that
we don't qualify for access to God because of our sin. God
says to refuse to obey that lie. He says, "Despite your sin,
which I know all about, believe and practice unhindered
access to Me through Jesus Christ." That is what faith is all
     We need to understand that if God is not there for us
despite our sin, then He isn't there at all. Either the
redemption of Jesus Christ is deep enough to deal with the
darkest sin of all, or it is no redemption at all.
     "But, " someone might exclaim, "If I believe that I have
fellowship with God despite my sin, am I not creating for
myself a license for sin?"
     This has always been the argument of legalists against
the grace of God. But it is the result of not having tasted
of that grace. The grace of God never results in license to
sin. If I have believed God and embraced His grace,
standing firm in the Truth that my sin cannot hinder my access
to Him, the result will not be license to sin. It will be a growing
hate of sin. A growing aversion to it. An eventual freedom
from it.
     God's forgiveness for our sin is finished and complete.
There is nothing we can do to change that. Certainly our
sin can't change it, for God's forgiveness IS for sin! But
there is more. Even if we won't believe we are forgiven for
sin, God has still forgiven us! It's just that His forgiveness
won't do us much good if we won't believe it. If we won't
pull down the barriers we have erected between ourselves
and God and let His forgiveness reach us, then what other
way out of sin do we have?
     There is absolutely nothing which can come between us
and God! Nothing. Not sin. Not failure. Not ignorance. Not
the worst mistakes imaginable. Nothing, that is, but unbelief.
     Yet the solution to unbelief is clear: Believe God. Stand
by faith against all that contradicts the Truth. Refuse to be
moved by everything in you that tells you something other
than the Truth. Stand if it kills you. If you do, you will find that
the old saying proves to be correct: HE WHO TRUSTS HIM
says, can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus
our Lord.

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