"And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, 'Lord I believe; help thou mine unbelief.' " (Mark 9:24)
Here we have a marvelous account of our Lord casting a foul spirit out of a youngster, for whom the father pled. When the Lord told the anxious father that his son would be healed if he believed, the man cried, "Lord I believe; help Thou mine unbelief"!
We learn from this passage that true faith is often mixed with doubts and fears. None of a Christian's graces are perfected in this life, including faith. True believers are not cock-sure like false professors. True believers struggle with remaining corruptions within themselves, including the awful sin of unbelief. The believer in Christ looks forward to the Great Day of the Resurrection when he will be perfected in glorification in soul and body. Then he will be perfected. As long as we are in this flesh we will struggle with sin, including unbelief as the dear saint in our text this week.
Now, believers have no doubt as to Christ (although the world and the devil will tempt us so to do), but our doubts are concerning ourselves. We often doubt as to the genuineness of our faith. After all, the Lord often exposed many who claimed to believe as imposters. And we know that at the Final Judgment many who profess to believe in Christ will be cast into hell. Sometimes dear children of God fear that they have deceived themselves and the Church and are not truly saved. Now again, false professors seldom have such doubts and fears. They will tell you quick ,"I know I am saved." So I want to comfort the struggling child of God who is painfully aware of the corruption within himself. If you are trusting in Christ alone for salvation you are truly saved, though your faith be mixed with unbelief. Faith in Christ will save even if it is mixed with doubts and fears.
But note well, a true child of God hates the sin remaining in him, including (maybe I ought to say 'especially') the sin of unbelief. As the man in our lesson this week, we cry out in tears when we detect unbelief mixed with our faith. A child of God is always repenting of his prayers, and praying over his repentance. The children of God have a strange course. Though their faith is mixed with doubts and fears, they keep on trusting in Christ, and doubting themselves.
What should we do in such a case? First of all keep trusting Christ and keep clinging to Him by faith. Never think of giving up your hope though it be small and mixed with unbelief. Cry out to the Lord to increase your faith. He Himself has said though it be small as a mustard seed, it will move mountains, if it be true faith. Secondly, despise the sin of unbelief. Resist it and cry to Christ for help to be rid of it. That is what the man in our lesson did.
Finally, we can rejoice that Christ does not despise us nor reject us when are guilty of unbelief. The man's son was healed though the father's faith was imperfect. And we may learn from this that saving faith mixed with unbelief still joins us to Christ. May the Lord help our unbelief.