Failure of Faith

There are six New Testament expressions that trace the decline of faith in an individual. Before a person is saved, he may have:

  1. “vain faith” or belief in the wrong doctrine (1 Cor. 15 v.14-17). “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”
  2. “dead faith”, or belief in orthodox doctrine without personal belief in Christ (James 2 v.19-20). “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
  3. After a person is saved, he can experience the following varieties of faith: a kind of unbelief – experienced by believers who fail to accept the whole work of Christ (Mark 16 v.11-14). “And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.”
  4. “little faith” – a mixture of faith and unbelief (Mark 7 v.26). “The woman was a Greek, a Syrophenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast forth the devil out of her daughter.”
  5. “weak faith” – referring to belief expressed as mere legalism (Romans 14 v.1). “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.”
  6. “strong faith” – faith that is rooted in the promises of God (Romans 4 v.20). “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;”

As Christians mature, they should grow in faith. This was the experience of Abraham. Early in his pilgrimage with God, he could not trust God to protect him in Egypt (Gen. 12 v.10-20). This was weak faith. He was later able to trust God, in sacrificing his son Isaac. This was strong faith (Heb. 11 v.17-19).

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