The Sin of Unbelief

For this post, I’m defining the sin of unbelief as doubting what God says and/or doubting His power to accomplish what He says.

In short, unbelief is sin because it calls God a liar. Unbelief is an insult to God’s character.

With that in mind, here are some things I am learning about the sin of unbelief in my own life:

When I doubt my Heavenly Father, I bring Him down to my level. I mistakenly believe that He is like me, created rather than Creator. When I am blinded by the circumstances of a trial, I act as if He cannot see. He is weak, like I am weak. Like me, He is confused and doesn’t know what to do. And, even if He could act, surely He lacks the power to do so.

When I am operating under the sin of unbelief, I see my trial in vivid detail. I note its structure, study its components, and give it my rapt and unending attention. I spend a good amount of energy projecting the consequences of the worst case scenario and its effect on my future. Rather than taking my fears to God, I coddle and feed them. My prayer life withers in direct proportion to the growth of my unbelief. In the end, God simply fades from view.

The sin of unbelief breeds impatience. In my restlessness, I conclude that the Lord just isn’t “making it stop” quickly enough. When this happens, I am often tempted to take matters into my own hands. The sin of unbelief gives birth to temptation and temptation gives birth to sin. Sin begets sin.

Failure to believe God can result in disastrous consequences. Most notably, Eve disbelieved God in the Garden of Eden. She doubted that God had only her good in mind when He issued instructions not to eat of the tree in the midst of the garden. She thought God was holding out on her. Hmm… How did that work out?

Yes, it is only human to doubt. Without question God’s Grace is sufficient, even to cover the sin of unbelief. However, I think it’s important (at least for me) to recognize the root problem. It’s arrogance and pride that keep me from believing God. Unbelief looks at God and asserts: “I do not believe you are who you say you are or that you can do what you say you can do!”

In its most elemental form, unbelief is my desire to put myself above God.

God is not man that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Num 23:19)

Thanks to the Holy Spirit working in my heart and mind I am growing in this area, but I have a long way to go! I am learning that it’s best to stay close to the Lord when things are going well.  That way, when the trials of life do appear, I am already where I am supposed to be… beneath the shadow of His wings. Safe in my strong tower which is the Lord.

I believe; help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

By His Grace and for the Gospel,
Terrie van Baarsel

About Terrie van Baarsel

13 responses to “The Sin of Unbelief

  • joycedevivre

    In my faith, I always have that ‘little’ unbelief but God vanishes it away everytime I ask His help to ”help my unbelief”. Love this post from you. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Terrie van Baarsel

    I’m so thankful! God is faithful even when I am not. Oh, how I need Jesus! Thanks for your kind words, Joyce. =)

  • savedbygrace

    i think in revelation, Unbelief and Fear are the first causes of people going to hell

    Paul said, anything done without faith is sin
    James said, anything ought to be good but not done, is sin

    too many sins.. aaaaa.. I cant take it anymore!

    thank you Lord Jesus for rescuing us!

    “When we sin, we have an advocate in heaven, seated at the right hand of God.”
    – Hebrews

    “Blessed are they whom the Lord will not impute sin”
    – Romans, Habakkuk

    now I have peace….

    grace and peace

  • Terra Newsome

    Praise the Lord for grace. It was really good to read this post as you too have shared a bit of your story. Thank you for coming across my post as I have opened up. God is patient. He shows his love and helps us to grow the more we draw nearer to Him. Looking forward to reading and following you and your journey in Christ.
    Blessings and prosperity in Christ Jesus,


  • ssofdv

    Hello Terrie,

    Awesome post! I just wrote about “Unbelief” on my blog, and your post confirms my own struggles. Our free will often fools us into believing that we are “independent” persons – what a lie! Life has shown me that I am very dependent upon my heavenly Father. Peter sank on the water for he focused on the storm and not on Jesus. I am learning.

    If you care to read my post, here is the link:


    Stay strong in the Lord!

    Terry Loving

    • Terrie van Baarsel

      Thank you for stopping by Gospel Apprentice, Terry. Your blog tackles a very difficult subject matter. So blessed to see how you are trusting the Lord above all. Thank you for your comments.

    • savedbygrace

      I love it about Peter walking on water with Jesus

      Even without the storm, No one can walk on water
      Peter walk on water because He was transform like Jesus by beholding Jesus

      ” because as he is, so are we in this world”
      – 1 John 4:17

  • Lisa

    Hi Terrie! For some reason I did not recieve this post, and so I stopped by to see what new writings you may have posted, and so especially gald I did!! I absolutely love the Number 23 reference–perfect. You have been given a gift to write–thank you for your openness and transparency in struggles we all encounter in our journey here on earth. I appreciate you!! Blessings-Lisa

    • Terrie van Baarsel

      Hi Lisa,
      Yes, my goal is to post once a week. Wednesday is writing day. I feel like that is managable and I really have no excuse not to write.

      Thanks for your encouragement, Lisa. I appreciate you, too!

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