Six Remedies for Unbelief

Have you found your trust in Christ lacking? Have there been times where you have experienced a loss of love, affection, trust, adoration, and devotion to King Jesus? Does your faith sometimes hobble along, barely able to make any progress or effect much good in your life? Is that where you’re at right now?

You may have been, or are now, sick with unbelief.

What is one to do when such seasons come upon them? What’s the solution for this problem? Where is the help for this weakness? What is the medicine for this sickness?

Petrus Van Masticht (Theoretical-Practical Theology: Faith in the Triune God, Volume 2, p. 24-27) offers six remedies for the sickness of unbelief.

“(These are) the remedies of unbelief that must be applied by the spiritual physician and received by the patient. These are namely…”

(1) Recognize Your Sick With Unbelief

You’ll never seek help for problems you don’t believe you have. You’ll never visit the doctor if you’re convinced you’re not sick. “Know the nature of unbelief” and “compare yourself with it.” Figure out what the symptoms look like (e.g. ignorance of, disbelief in, distrust of, disobedience to God’s Word or “giving the better portions of your heart, care, and labors to yourself, the world, or sin”) and take a hard look in the mirror. Diagnosis must always precede prognosis.

(2) Think About the Evils of Your Unbelief

Colds won’t concern us too much, but cancer always will. The more grievous the sickness, the more urgent our response. So, to rightly remedy your unbelief, do work to learn about how deadly and evil it is. Unbelief attacks God’s glory (Rom 4:20), harms the believer by making him unfit for godly works (John 15:4) and unable to please God (Heb. 11:6; Rom. 14:23), gives birth to all other sins and vices (Heb. 3:12) like ignorance (2 Cor. 4:4), false security (Matt. 24:38-39), apostasy (Heb. 3:12), and atheism (Eph. 2:12), and causes bodily (Gen. 3), spiritual (2 Kings 7:2, 20), and eternal death (John 3:18, 36). The more you understand the danger of unbelief, the more you’ll care to find a cure.

(3) Investigate the Cause(s) of Your Unbelief

Whenever you get sick, you’ll often ask, “Where did I get this from?” You should do the same with spiritual sickness of unbelief. Does my unbelief come from ignorance of God’s promises or commands? Foolish living? Love for worldly riches? Fear of worldly loss, threats, or dangers? Neglect of God’s means of grace such as the Scriptures, prayer, fellowship, pastoral care, or obedience to his ways? If you don’t find the cause, you’re liable to stay sick and get sicker.

(4) Wait Upon God to Remove Your Unbelief

When we’re seriously sick we lack the ability to heal ourselves. The same is true with the sickness of unbelief. Ultimately, we lack the knowledge and strength to heal ourselves so we must learn to patiently wait upon the grace of God while we earnestly give ourselves to his proscribed remedies. So, don’t expect you can change your unbelief overnight by sheer willpower or an onslaught of new resolutions, but determine that God alone can heal you and your job is to follow His Word and wait for Him to do His work. Throw yourself earnestly, as if your life depended on it, to hear and read His Word (John 5:25; Ezekiel 37:4), pray for His ears (Ps. 51:10), live among His people (Heb. 10:25). Say out loud, “I can’t help myself, but God will as I diligently upon my mouth to receive His medicines.”

(5) Don’t Fight Against Or Ignore God’s Help for Your Unbelief

Many patients sometimes disagree with their doctors orders and foolishly think they can do better. Sometimes, human doctors can mess things up, but our Heavenly Doctor won’t. Determine in your heart to “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Don’t fight against His Word. Don’t keep yourself from His people or His pastors (Heb. 13:17). Don’t doubt His counsel and don’t listen to other quacks who diagnose different problems or proscribe different remedies. Remember, beloved, we are idiots and our very joy depends on how much we give ourselves to the Good Doctor. Don’t fight Him. Listen to Him and wait for His way to be proved right as you go His way.

(6) Use the Many Medicines God Offers for Your Unbelief

Throw yourself into what He’s prescribed for you. Determine to hydrate yourself in the waters of His Word (Psalm 1:1-3), feast upon His food (Matthew 4:4), stay under the care of His nurses (Hebrews 13:17), take advantage of His ears (Matt. 7:7), fortify your faith by talking with His other patients who’ve enjoyed His care (Heb 3:12-13), study His success cases (Psalm 111:2) sing of His character and works with His people (Psalm 149:1). God has storehouses filled with food for the hungry, water for the thirsty, and medicine for the sick and He commands you to plunder it and take all you can handle until your full. And then, take more when you’re able. The more we receive the riches of His grace through the means He’s given us, the more His generosity, mercy, kindness, and wealth will be known. He is most glorified when we, through our neediness, prove to the world that there is no rich or gracious like our God.

God created and saved you to be healthy, holy, and happy by His grace as you behold His glory. He isn’t out to kill your joy, but kill the things that do. So, whenever you find unbelief gaining ground in your heart, do everything you can in His strength to follow the light of His Word, fix your eyes on His Son, and be daily filled by His Spirit alongside His people to know, taste, and rejoice in His goodness.

Adopt a heart that genuinely prays, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24) and put it to practice. Then, marvel at his faithfulness to heal you.


About Dana Dill

I'm a Christian, husband, daddy, pastor, professor, and hope to be a friend to pilgrims on their way home.
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