10 Distinct Differences Between Faith and Unbelief


Declaring your belief in Jesus is one thing; exercising it is another. Pastor Colin Smith reflects on John Bunyan's insights from his classic book, "Come, and Welcome to Jesus Christ."

I’ve been thinking about what it means to live by faith. Saying that you believe in Jesus is one thing.  Exercising faith in Christ through the challenges of life is another.  It’s easy to confess faith but then to speak and act in unbelief.  I’ve caught myself doing that a few times recently.  What about you?

John Bunyan has some helpful and pithy insights in his book, Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ.  In classic Puritan style, he lists 25 contrasts between faith and unbelief.  Here are the ten I’ve found most helpful.  Some of them are rephrased or restated from Bunyan’s original for the sake of clarity:

  1. Faith sees more in a promise of God to help than in all other things to hinder.  Unbelief sees more in the things that hinder than in God’s promise to help.
  2. Faith sees love in the heart of Christ when He speaks to reprove us.  Unbelief sees anger in God’s heart when He says that He loves us.
  3. Faith gives comfort in the midst of fear. Unbelief brings fear in the midst of comfort.
  4. Faith helps the soul to wait, when God defers to give.  Unbelief takes the huff if God makes us tarry.
  5. Faith will suck sweetness even out of God’s rod, but unbelief finds no comfort even in His greatest mercies.
  6. Faith makes great burdens light.  Unbelief makes light burdens heavy.
  7. Faith lifts us up when we are down, but unbelief throws us down when we are up.
  8. Faith brings us near to God when we are far from Him.  Unbelief puts us far from God when we are near to Him.
  9. Faith purifies the heart.  Unbelief keeps the heart impure.
  10. Faith finds the ways of God pleasant and admirable.  Unbelief makes them heavy and hard. “Lord, I believe.  Help me overcome my unbelief, (Mark 9:24).

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