An Unbelieving Mind

And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

–1 John 5:20-21

But if any man love God, the same is known of him.

–1 Corinthians 8:3

It is clear that God has granted His children the power to know Him through His gospel–and therefore, no believer can claim a lack of understanding as a justification for believing a false gospel–as we are without excuse.

Why then do some professing believers later begin to struggle with various tenets of the gospel message?

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

–1 Corinthians 2:9-16

Every form of false gospel exists on the basis of one or both of the following:

  • An unregenerate mind [false conversion].

  • An appeal to the natural mind [which is a refusal to accept the Lord’s words as they are clearly written and revealed by the Holy Spirit], as opposed to trusting in the mind of Christ.

In either case, it’s an issue that an ekklesia must address for these reasons: 

  • A false gospel is always associated with a false spirit (2 Corinthians 11:4).

  • The little foxes spoil the vine (Songs 2:15) [what seems like a small thing can cause much destruction, so that no fruit will bear]:  “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright,” (Hebrews 12:15-16).  

  • We do not want to become partakers of the sin [and its destructive influence in the lives of many].

  • The inevitable consequence of continued double-mindedness is destruction: If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea drivenwith the wind and tossed,” (James 1:5-6).

  • God gives men a space to repent (Revelation 2:21):  therefore, believers who are struggling with unbelief may continue with the brethren under the condition that  they do not teach others to sin or insist upon interfering with the work and leadership of the Holy Spirit (Titus 1:10-11).  In the end, they will make a choice:  “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” (Luke 16:13). 

  These verses apply:

  • Galatians 1:6-9

  • 2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-14

  • 1 Corinthians 5:9-11

2 thoughts on “An Unbelieving Mind

  1. Amen, Amen, Amen & Amen. Anyone who begins to reject a piece of the Truth that begin a slide away from the Lord. That is why He calls us to persevere. We must deal with the hard things in prayer and meditation knowing that the Lord will help us overcome these things as we humble ourselves more and more through sanctification and maturity.

  2. It is certainly true, that those who are spiritual in the assembly are required by God to judge all things. This must include the manner in which the gospel itself is presented as well as the manner in which the gospel is lived out. We all know that bad fruit is most often associated with wrong or misguided beliefs about what has been made scripturally known. My personal concern is not any of the above to which I entirely agree, it is the discovery of the difference between one who (wants to purposefully distort the gospel, which both the passage in Galatians and 2 Corinthians relate to) and those who are misguided or deceived in their thinking. Obviously the latter passage deals with the behaviors of those professing saints who are either not freed practically from their sins or who may be justifying them. In either case, wrong beliefs or a failure to appropriate proper beliefs is at the heart of their sin.

    It appears that those who purposefully distort the gospel should be rejected outright. They are to be given no space, nor voice whatsoever but silenced. Paul’s “you bear this beautifully” in 2 Corinthians 11:4 was not a commendation but a criticism. They were willingly allowing error to remain among them. I agree with Mark’s conclusions about the end results of allowing this.

    There are also others who although not purposefully introducing error, are nonetheless deceived to some degree in their thinking and these are the ones who are “given space to repent” by God. During this time they are not to speak of what is contrary to the whole or the consensus of those who are spiritual. They are not in any manner to influence adversely or cast doubt upon what has been previously revealed by the Spirit as part or parcel of the “one faith.”

    It is wisdom to the spiritual to discover the manner or origin of these thoughts or errors. Has the brother or sister been influenced by someone else, or is the problem one of unbelief or a difficulty reconciling various scriptural truths. All of these affect the manner in which the individual and problem are addressed and in time the individual will reject what is uncertain and embrace what is factual.

    A continual wavering in unbelief can have serious consequences for both the individual and the assembly as a whole. Their is one faith and one practice of that faith. It is the business of those spiritual to hold high that standard and make sure others are conforming to it verses falling short of it.

    Excellent post Mark. This was the complimentary version of what you wrote above.

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