I’ve been enjoying working with the Junior High Bible study at MUMC that our pastor, Larry Wright, has been leading the last few weeks. ((I get to teach the last lesson on 30 Apr! :D)) Tonight, we talked about belief in God, and one of the questions in the lesson centered on whether or not that it was a sin to doubt. The lesson gave the answer that it’s not a sin, arguing that all believers in Christ doubt, and that doubt raises questions that can be answered through study of the Word. Their argument, then, is that doubt that brings us closer to Jesus is not, in and of itself, sinful.
I think I’d disagree. If we are saved by faith alone [sola fide] in Christ alone [solus Christus], and if doubt is the antithesis of faith, then doubt is, essentially, something that separates you from Christ’s salvation; sin is often defined as anything that separates us from God.
I understand why this might not be considered an age-appropriate discussion—this lesson plan is age-appropriate—but I fear that we tread close to danger when we say that all Christians doubt and say that this is a good thing. I can’t consider faithlessness to be a good thing.
23And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
I think Mark’s telling of Jesus’s healing of the boy with an unclean spirit because of his father’s belief in Jesus is instructive: even in the midst of unbelief, of weakness, we’re given healing as we repent of our unbelief and place faith in Christ Jesus. That’s certainly powerful and instructive to me, a sinner greatly in need of redemption through repentance.