Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 11

Unbelief and faith

Romans 11:20

Faith is the opposite of unbelief.

Faith means our attitude when we believe and trust God. By faith, we receive the benefit of Godís promises. Many of those promises are for the future, and we cannot know them fully now. That is why we must stand in faith. In other words, we must continue to trust God (Hebrews 10:36-39), even when Godís promises seem impossible (4:18-21). So, we depend, not on ourselves, but on God.

With that attitude, we cannot be proud. It is impossible for us to save ourselves from our troubles in this world. We might hope that other people will help us - but that hope may be in vain. Instead, with faith, we wait for God to act powerfully on our behalf. We know that we are weak - but we depend upon his strength (2 Corinthians 12:10).

On the other hand, unbelief is the attitude of someone who refuses to believe God. It is not wrong to ask questions, as Nicodemus did in John 3:1-16. It is not even wrong to have sincere doubts, if we are willing for God to teach us. However, it is very wrong if we refuse on purpose to accept Godís message to us (Hebrews 3:7-19). Such an attitude makes it impossible for us to receive the benefit of Godís promises. God cannot do what he wants in our lives because of that evil attitude.

People develop an attitude of unbelief when they do not respect God properly. They choose not to listen to his words because they do not want to accept his authority over their lives. They do not want to trust his promises, because they prefer to depend on themselves. However, they forget how weak they really are. We all need God to work powerfully in our lives.

Next part: The kindness of God and the danger of unbelief (Romans 11:21-22)

 

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© 2017, Keith Simons.