Turning to the third word that was spoken to the cross we look at Luke 23:39. These words were spoken by the criminal that was on the cross next to Christ and who did not repent. This condemned man spoke an eternal truth by using the word “if.” From time to time we all find ourselves in a place of doubt. That could be about jobs, finances, people, and even God. It is true that we live in a world of uncertainty. When we doubt, uncertainty is amplified. This doubt are chains that bind us, mends no flaws, opens new doors, and marks no history.
Doubt undermines our faith. It distracts our determination. It discourages our ambitions. It has no place in the heart of the believer. If we accept God as the true real God, then we must also step back and let his nature be revealed. By seeing his nature doubt can be washed away.
The nature of doubt is cloudy. To admit doubt is a positive and must be admitted before faith can come. In Mark 9:24 a father brought his son to Jesus. The son i was demon possessed and became physically harmed. The father explained to Jesus the consequences of his son having this demon. Jesus’ reply was that if the father could believe then anything was possible. Here is where doubt is addressed as the father said that he believed, but needed help should there be a time in which doubt crept in. In other words, he had faith in Jesus, but should any element of doubt enter his mind, he asked Jesus to wash it away.
There can be a time in which doubt brings us very low. It is at that time when we admit our need that God can strengthen our faith and lift us up. This is what happened to Elijah in 1 Kings 19. Elijah did many works for God and influenced many people to serve God. But when his own life was threatened by Queen Jezebel, he suddenly doubted. God had to take him on a spiritual journey that ended with an increase in his faith and the discovery that there were many other people in Israel that did not serve false gods.
One of the disciples named Thomas carried a terrible reputation that he did not deserve. After Jesus’ resurrection, he appeared before the other disciples when Thomas was not present. They told him about the appearance of Jesus and he merely wanted the equal opportunity that they had to meet the resurrected Christ. Thomas said unless this happened for him, he would not believe. Surely it would seem this a natural statement by anyone under those circumstances.
Later Thomas was with the disciples and Jesus appeared again. Jesus talked to Thomas and invited him to touch his wounds made by his crucifixion. The doubt that Thomas had was not sin. It was just the request to have the same opportunity as others to relate to the resurrected Christ. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is 28. Can you not see Thomas in amazement fall to his knees and say, “my Lord and my God?”
For God’s purpose and in his own timing, he will explain what we do not understand. To have a relationship with God requires us to except in that he has the higher wisdom and is overseeing everything. Job 40:2 is a good example. It says, “shall he that contend with the Almighty instruct him? He that reproves God let him answer it.” In that verse God draws a comparison between human thinking and God’s thinking. The obvious response is that God’s thinking is superior. That can also include a comparison between God’s motives and man’s motives. Man’s motive is clustered, clouded, and complicated. God’s motives are clear, specific, and without comparison.
When doubt is resolved, new and wonderful results can be discovered. There is no pre-agreed arrangement with God in which he compromises himself for the sake of our doubt. The apostle Paul said in Colossians 2:6 that when we accept Christ as our Savior there is no room and cannot be any room of doubt. We exercise our faith believing that he is the resurrected Lord and will be our Savior who forgives our sins. We are told to walk our daily path in the same way we began our spiritual journey at salvation. Our journey must throw off any potential for doubt. We begin at a fresh point and continue at that same freshness through salvation.
The thief that did not repent was at a point of choices. Those choices were opportunities. He had the same opportunity as the other thief that did repent. He could have thrown off his doubt. They both just needed to see Jesus for the person that he was.
Likewise, it would be wise of us to step out in faith and throw off doubt so that we might walk with Christ and believe in him for all our spiritual and material needs. If there is any bitterness in your heart against God or other people for hurts that you have experienced, those must also be thrown away because they contribute to your doubt. Ask Christ to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart, and help you to live a Christian life through his Holy Spirit.