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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The Ups and Downs of Thomas

John 20: 24 – 29, Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe." And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!" Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." NKJV
Thomas has been named “doubting Thomas” by many ministers and believers over the years. However, let’s take the time to consider a couple of truths about Thomas, and we might come to the conclusion that he was a man of faith, after all. When Jesus called Thomas away from his old life to follow Him, Thomas forsook all. For example, there was a time toward the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry when He told His disciples that it was time for Him to return to Jerusalem to heal Lazarus. The disciples warned Jesus not to go because men in Jerusalem were out to kill Him, but Jesus would not relent. In response to Jesus’ decision to go back to Jerusalem, Thomas spoke up and said, “Let’s go that we might die with Him.” I ask you. Does this sound like a “doubting Thomas?” I don’t think so either.
It’s not out of the ordinary for someone to believe in Christ and still struggle on occasion with moments of unbelief when they hear or face something that seems impossible to believe or to overcome. I have been in some seemingly hopeless situations that I believed would not turn out for my good, but God! Have you struggled to believe God “would” or “could” at times? Well, this was the very place Thomas was in his walk. He just wouldn’t allow himself to believe that Jesus had actually overcome death. It was here that Thomas erred. Jesus had promised them that He would arise from the dead after three days, but Thomas refused to submit to Jesus’ Word.  
Because Thomas decided not to submit to Jesus’ Word and believe it until He had appeared, it caused him to revert back to his old ways of walking in unbelief. We know this because he told the other disciples, “I won’t believe what you have said about the resurrection of Christ until I see Him for myself.” Even so, let’s bring this down to where you and I live today.
Thomas was hanging out with other believers, and it appeared that he had faith because he said, “I will believe when I see.” In reality, this was unbelief acting as faith. It doesn’t require faith for us to say I will believe it when I see it, or I will believe after Jesus shows up with proof. God requires us to believe His Word or promises, even though we can’t see any proof that they actually exist. If we absolutely believe in God’s Word as the truth, then we will wait on God in faith until He brings His Word to pass. If we wait until His Word or promises become sight as Thomas did, we won’t inherit the promise or be blessed. We know this because after Jesus had appeared the second time with Thomas present, He said to him, “You have believed because you have seen, but blessed are those who have not seen, yet they have believed.”  
As I stated in earlier paragraphs, Thomas had a degree of faith in Christ. Nevertheless, he had come to a place where he allowed unbelief to keep him from continuing in that faith. God requires the JUST to live by faith! Therefore, Thomas’ lack of faith caused him to be in sin. He had come to a place in his walk with Christ where he wouldn’t remain submitted to the truth of Jesus’ resurrection, and he refused to wait IN FAITH UNTIL…
(This is very important.) When operating in the life of a “Christian,” both faith and unbelief will wait on God. The difference is… Faith waits with hope and expectancy while continuing to obey God’s will. Unbelief waits until after Jesus shows up before believing God or obeying His will. The generation we’re living in is a lot like Thomas. People confess faith in Christ; however, because they’ve hit a hard spot in their faith walk, they’ve put Christ on the back burner until He shows up again and proves He’s still with them. This is not faith; it is unbelief, and it tempts the Lord. Be careful that you don’t fall into the trap where you provoke God, and you miss the opportunity to inherit God’s promises.
If this Word has enlightened your understanding about unbelief, and faith will you contact us with your feedback? email@whcnorth.org
Waiting in Faith,
Pastor Asa Dockery

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