One of the criticisms leveled against Christians today is that we are “doubtless.” That is to say, we portray ourselves as having answers for everything, understanding everything, and looking at those who doubt as weak. I can see where some might have gotten that perception. However, the perception that Christians never doubt, never struggle with faith, or have difficulty understanding Jesus is far from the truth, and far from biblical.
In Matthew 19, there are three times that the disciples are stunned by Jesus’ teaching; once on marriage, once on children, and again on wealth. In each case they thought they knew exactly what Jesus wanted or would do, and in each case they were wrong.
What does this mean for us as modern-day disciples?
One thing it certainly does not mean is that we should cast doubt on everything we do or believe. Our faith is not meant to devolve into some form of eternal skepticism where we are crippled by questions and unable to make decisions. God has given us His Word and Spirit, and although Christians sometimes disagree on how to understand the Scriptures, on the whole we agree and understand His Word with great clarity so that we can follow it. That is a testimony to the Spirit’s work!
Yet we should humbly acknowledge that there are passages of Scripture that leave us uncomfortable, raise questions and doubts, and make us struggle. What do you do when Jesus says divorce and remarriage are adultery? What do we do when Jesus values people (like little children) that we do not? How do we take it when Jesus views wealth differently than we do? For that matter, how do we handle mysteries like the Incarnation, the Lord’s Supper, Baptism, and the Two Natures of Christ? Do we just gloss them over? Ignore the passage? Are we free to just rationalize it?
A more satisfactory way for Christians is to acknowledge our struggle, confess our sins, and live by grace. We pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us into the truth, for someday we will really be doubtless when we see Jesus face-to-face. In the meantime, we walk by faith trusting that God will keep His Word pure for us to hear, learn and live.
Lord Jesus, help me humbly receive Your Word and Grace. Amen.