Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Nuggets from the Scriptures about Belief and Unbelief

Who is the source of unbelief?
And Satan came among them…and he commanded them, saying: Believe it not; and they believed it not, and they loved Satan more than God. And men began from that time forth to be carnal, sensual, and devilish. (Moses 5:13)
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the flight of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Cor. 4:3-4)
Does physical evidence cure unbelief?
Behold, if they will not believe my words, they would not believe you, my servant Joseph, if it were possible that you should show them all these things which I have committed unto you. D&C 5:7)
Does it matter how fast we come to believe the truth?
Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: (Luke 24:25)
Evidently Christ thinks it is foolish to not immediately believe what prophets say. They’re prophets, for heaven’s sake. They’re on the good side!

Are there penalties for not progressing in belief?
I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. (Jude 1:5)
Evidently believing a prophet in one thing does not mean that we don’t need to also make the effort to believe a prophet in subsequent matters.
I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. (John 8:24)
11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? (John 3:11-12)
Note Christ’s frustration:
And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? (John 8:45)
Now, for the more positive end…
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. (Psalms 27:13-14, emphasis added)
If we’re still hanging on, we haven’t lost belief. There may be doubts, but hanging on in spite of doubts means that deep down there is still an expectation that relief will come.
Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. (Isaiah 28:16)
“he that believeth shall not make haste – This says to me that those who believe the prophet’s counsel the first time it is given have enough time to follow it, so they don’t have to be hurried and worried in their obedience.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
We are so blessed to know who the true prophets are!

As for the spirits, how do we try them to see if they are of God?
37 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
38 But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:37-38)
35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light… (John 10:35-36)
This suggests that when we believe, we are given a window of opportunity to obey, and if we don’t act quickly, we begin to question ourselves and second-guess and then we gradually lose motivation to act and then lose the vision we previously had of what could be.
As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. (Mark 5:36, emphasis added)
The ruler had come to ask Jesus to heal his child and had just received news that his child had died. “Be not afraid, only believe” is about keeping the window of possibility open even while cognizant of life’s hard realities.
18 [Abraham] Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.
19 And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sara’s womb:
20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;
21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. (Romans 4:18-21)
Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (John 20:29)
Long distance belief and belief in what one has not seen is fundamental to the gospel.
13 To some it is given by the Holy Ghost to know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and that he was crucified for the sins of the world.
14 To others it is given to believe on their words, that they also might have eternal life if they continue faithful. (D&C 46:13-14)
That means second-hand belief is just as valid as first-hand belief, and will lead to first-hand faith and testimony.
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31)
…whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost. (3 Nephi 11:35)
Belief in one member of the Godhead will lead to belief in the others.
I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not; but unto as many as received me gave I power to do many miracles, and to become the sons of God; and even unto them that believed on my name gave I power to obtain eternal life. (D&C 45:8)
Belief in Christ leads to an increase in capability and power.
For I am God, and mine arm is not shortened; and I will show miracles, signs, and wonders, unto all those who believe on my name. (D&C 35:8)
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. (John 14:12)
…after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13)
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed… (2 Tim. 1:12, emphasis added)
Our beliefs can save us from feeling shame when we are persecuted.
And thus we see that, when these Lamanites were brought to believe and to know the truth, they were firm, and would suffer even unto death rather than commit sin… (Alma 24:19)
Belief makes us firm and steadfast.
[Charity] Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (1 Cor. 13:7)
For we which have believed do enter into rest (Hebrews 4:3)
…and now, if you believe all these things see that ye do them. (Mosiah 4:10)


Dan Olsen said...

Just wanted to stop in and say hi. We miss the old ward and hope that you're all doing well.