The Difference between Doubt and Unbelief
The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”
So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25)
G. Campbell Morgan said, “If you believe in God, you sometimes wonder why He allows certain things to happen. But keep in mind that there’s a difference between doubt and unbelief. . . . Unbelief is an act of the will, while doubt is born out of a troubled mind and a broken heart.”
I think sometimes we confuse doubt and unbelief. Doubt is a matter of the mind. We don’t understand what God is doing or why He is doing it.
We like to call Thomas, one of the Twelve, “doubting Thomas” because he didn’t believe the other disciples when they told him Christ appeared to them in the Upper Room. He effectively said, “I’ll believe it when I see it. If I can put my hand in the wound in His side and touch the wounds in His hands, then I will believe.”
The next time the disciples met, Thomas was there. And who showed up? The risen Christ. Loosely paraphrased, He said, “Thomas, go for it, buddy. Here I am.”
But Thomas simply replied, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
In his defense, Thomas didn’t ask for any more than the other disciples had experienced. He wasn’t willing to believe something just because someone told him it was true. He wanted to know for himself. There is nothing wrong with that. When presented with the evidence, the doubter turns into the believer. That is doubt.
Unbelief, on the other hand, is a choice. Unbelief says, “I hear what you are saying, and I choose not to believe it. I reject what you are saying altogether.” Unbelief is a matter of the will. It is refusing to believe God’s Word and obey what He tells us to do.
It is not necessarily bad to have moments of doubt. Sometimes we need to go through the foyer of doubt to get into the sanctuary of certainty.
Copyright © 2016 by Harvest Ministries. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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