FAITH AND UNBELIEF
THE FAITH SERIES: 10a
Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17:19-21 KJV)
In this capsule we would look at the interplay between faith and unbelief. This is a concept that is not commonly appreciated, we are taught that faith and unbelief cannot co-exist, however that is not what the scriptures teach. The truth is that they can coexist and counterbalance each other so much so that it makes your faith of no effect. Imagine a tug of war where the forces pulling on either sides are equal and opposite, the net effect results in no movement either way. I can almost hear you say 'how can this be, to have belief and unbelief at the same time? Because this seems so far out it will take 2 or 3 capsules of God's pills to debunk the commonly held view that faith and unbelief are mutually exclusive.
We would use Matthew 17:14-21 as our text, this is probably one of the most misunderstood and misapplied text in the bible (at least in my own estimation). The popular teaching is that Christ was showing that there are some demons that you can only get rid off by only by prayer and fasting. Let me just quickly say this, prayer and fasting affects only you, it neither affect God or demons. If a demon does not respond to the name of Christ spoken in faith. It definitely will not respond to any prayer and fasting (Mark 16:17, Philippians 2:9-11).
In Matthew 17:14-21, a curious thing happened to the disciples, try as they may, they could not cast out a demon from a boy. This is particularly significant if you remember that in Matthew 10 Christ had sent them out to preach the gospel and their testimony was that even the demons obeyed them. Against this background they were shocked when they could not get rid of the demon in the boy. The fact that they were shocked that the demon did not leave speaks loads. This was not their expectation because they knew they had faith. Consider this, those who don't have faith would not be surprised if the status quo remain, they would just shrug their shoulders and move on. But these disciples knew that they believed but something had prevented the desired result hence they wanted to know what it was that was hindering the deliverance.
In verse 19 they asked the question 'Why could not we cast him out?. In verse 20 Christ told them the reason 'Because of your unbelief'. He told them the reason they could not cast out the demon was because of their UNBELIEF period! Not that this demon requires prayer and fasting. In fact to emphasise His point He went ahead to stress that even if their faith is as small as a mustard seed it will get the job done as long as there is no unbelief. So what they need to get rid of is their unbelief and this type of unbelief can only be resolved by prayer and fasting! In case you are still in doubt and need clarification check the same story in Mark 9:17-29, in verse 23, Christ said 'If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth' See the response of the father of the boy in verse 24 'Lord, I BELIEVE, help thou mine UNBELIEF'. This shows that there is an unbelief counteracting his belief and he needed help with this.
Except you understand and grasp this concept there will be occasions when you will lose the battle of faith that you ought not to. We all have seen instances when we know the individual is in faith and yet died of sickness, this might be the reason why......to be continued
THIS TYPE OF UNBELIEF DOES NOT GO OUT EXCEPT BY PRAYER AND FASTING