In Mark chapter 9 a man brought his demon-possessed son to the Lord Jesus Christ to be healed. He approached Jesus and said, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help.” Jesus replied, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
The man’s response is truly remarkable: “I believe; help my unbelief!”
That is the confession of every Christian. “I believe; help my unbelief!” A Christian is one who believes, who trusts in Christ, but also one who knows he is a sinner and is filled with unbelief as he comes to Jesus in faith. So with that statement in mind, I want us to remember three things today.
First, even in a believing heart there exists unbelief. We, like the man in Mark 9, are all a complex of belief in the promises of God and self-sufficient unbelief as well. Our faith is the root of every good thing in our lives that we apprehend by God’s grace. Unbelief is the root of every sin. Our posture is to root out the unbelief, by the help of God’s Spirit, and thrust ourselves toward Christ at all times in faith and obedience.
Second, the graciousness of Jesus reminds us that we can come to Him even though our hearts have unbelief in them. We come to Jesus like this man, believing. We do not come to Jesus presenting a perfect heart to him; indeed, that is impossible and would keep us from Him. It is the proud that Jesus rebukes and rejects. But for the humble – that is, those who acknowledge their unbelief even while they believe – Jesus holds no rebuke. Instead, He receives sinners. He welcomes believers who acknowledge their unbelief and heals them and delivers them and embraces them in the arms of His love. So in the humility of this cry of “I believe; help my unbelief!” is where we meet the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally, the cry of this man seeking the healing of his son reminds us how truly precious faith is. The man came to Christ believing, and seeking to believe more, and as a result he was given the great gift of healing. Faith, likewise for us, unites us to Christ. Faith is precious because of its object. Faith does not save us. God’s grace coming by the cross of Jesus Christ saves us, but faith is the empty hand that receives the grace of the cross. Faith is therefore very precious. It is a good thing to come to God desiring for our faith to grow and expand and apprehend the promises of God.
So come, believing sinners, as you enter worship. If your heart’s cry is “I believe; help my unbelief!” then there is a place for you in worship today. Do not settle into an uneasy truce with your unbelief. Come confessing it and rooting it out.
Come and draw near in the strength of the faith given to you as a gift from God. Come to the Father trusting in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and exalt His glory with great joy.