Bunyan on Faith vs. Unbelief

John Bunyan, in his book Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ, gives 25 particulars wherein he contrasts the qualities of faith and unbelief.  Consider the following:

1. Faith believes the Word of God; but unbelief questions the certainty of the same (Psa 106:24).

2. Faith believes the Word, because it is true; but unbelief doubts thereof, because it is true (1 Tim 4:3; John 8:45).

3. Faith sees more in a promise of God to help, than in all other things to hinder; but unbelief, notwithstanding God’s promise, says, “How can these things be?” (Rom 4:19-21; 2 Kings 7:2; John 3:11-12).

4. Faith will make you see love in the heart of Christ, when with his mouth he giveth reproofs; but unbelief will imagine wrath in his heart, when with his mouth and Word he says he loves us (Matt 15:22-28; Num 13; 2 Chron 14:3).

5. Faith will help the soul to wait, though God defers to give; but unbelief will take huff and throw up all, if God makes any tarrying (Psa 25:5; Isa 8:17; 2 Kings 6:33; Psa 106:13-14).

6. Faith will give comfort in the midst of fears; but unbelief causeth fears in the midst of comfort (2 Chron 20:20-21; Matt 8:26; Luke 24:26-27).

7. Faith will suck sweetness out of God’s rod; but unbelief can find no comfort in his greatest mercies (Psa 23:4; Num 21).

8. Faith makes great burdens light; but unbelief makes light ones intolerably heavy (2 Cor 4:1; 14-18; Mal 1:12-13).

9. Faith helps us when we are down; but unbelief throws us down when we are up (Micah 7:8-10; Heb 4:11).

10. Faith brings us near to God when we are far from him; but unbelief puts us far from God when we are near to him (Heb 10:22; 3:12-13).

11. Where faith reigns, it declares men to be the friends of God; but where unbelief reigns, it declares them to be his enemies (John 3:23; Heb 3:18; Rev 21:8).

12. Faith puts a man under grace; but unbelief holds him under wrath (Rom 3:24-26; 14:6; Eph 2:8; John 3:36; 1 John 5:10; Heb 3:17; Mark 16:16).

13. Faith purifies the heart; but unbelief keeps it polluted and impure (Acts 15:9; Titus 1:15-16).

14. By faith, the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us; but by unbelief, we are shut up under the law to perish (Rom 4:23-24; 11:32; Gal 3:23).

15. Faith makes our work acceptable to God through Christ; but whatsoever is of unbelief is sin. For without faith it is impossible to please him (Heb 11:4; Rom 14:23; Heb 6:6).

16. Faith gives us peace and comfort in our souls; but unbelief works trouble and tossings, like the restless waves of the sea (Rom 5:1; James 1:6).

17. Faith makes us to see preciousness in Christ; but unbelief sees no form, beauty, or comeliness in him (1 Peter 2:7; Isa 53:2-3).

18. By faith we have our life in Christ’s fullness; but by unbelief we starve and pine away (Gal 2:20).

19. Faith gives us the victory over the law, sin, death, the devil, and all evils; but unbelief lays us obnoxious to them all (1 John 5:4-5; Luke 12:46).

20. Faith will show us more excellency in things not seen, than in them that are; but unbelief sees more in things that are seen, than in things that will be hereafter (2 Cor 4:18; Heb 11:24-27; 1 Cor 15:32).

21. Faith makes the ways of God pleasant and admirable; but unbelief makes them heavy and hard (Gal 5:6; 1 Cor 12:10, 11; John 6:60; Psa 2:3).

22. By faith Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob possessed the land of promise; but because of unbelief, neither Aaron, nor Moses, nor Miriam could get thither (Heb 11:9; 3:19).

23. By faith the children of Israel passed through the Red Sea; but by unbelief the generality of them perished in the wilderness (Heb 11:29; Jude 5).

24. By faith Gideon did more with three hundred men, and a few empty pitchers, than all the twelve tribes could do, because they believed not God (Judg 7:16-22; Num 14:11, 14).

25. By faith Peter walked on the water; but by unbelief he began to sink (Matt 14:28-30).

John Bunyan, Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 2004), 202-05.

Explore posts in the same categories: 2008 Puritan Challenge, Excerpts, John Bunyan

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6 Comments on “Bunyan on Faith vs. Unbelief”

  1. Alex Chediak Says:

    Hi Timmy,

    We’ve never met, but I’ve heard about you over the years. I was at T4G in 2006, but missed the Band of Bloggers meeting (I had never yet posted – so I wasn’t legit), and I missed T4G in 2008. Anyway, I enjoyed reading about you in Collin Hansen’s book on the growing reformed movement. Many blessings to the new work to which the Lord has appointed you.

    Your fellow servant,

    Alex Chediak

  2. Actually, Alex, we have met. 🙂

    It was the day of registration at T4G 2006. We were standing next to each other, and you were holding a copy of your recent book in your hand, explaining that to me that you had just completed (I think) the TBI program at BBC. It was brief moment, but I certainly remember nonetheless!

    Thank you for the comment, brother, and the kind words. It would be great to meet again sometime soon. Only this time I will do something really weird so that it will stick out in your mind. 😉

  3. Jerry Says:

    I was going to post this self-same section later today, but since you beat me to it I will just link to you. (Lazy, very lazy, but efficient.)

  4. I thought faith and unbelief were the exact same thing. (Maybe I’ve been reading too many emergent authors.)

  5. Erik Says:

    Thanks for the insightful contrasts of faith and unbelief. After passing up many an opportunity to read Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress, I’m FINALLY diving into it.

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