And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples, And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another? Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.Matthew 11:1-6
And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent [them] to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight. Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.Luke 7:19-23
Doubt is a fact of life. It does not go away in the new birth. It is a part of our old human nature that hangs around and haunts us. The devil loves to use doubt to discourage us and to lead us away into temptation.
There are also many Christian denominations that use doubt to coerce behavior from their congregants. I will not deal with this aspect other than to say, they are using the same tactics as the devil!
John the Baptist was a devout man of God that was not concerned when so many spoke against him throughout his ministry. However, there came time, when he was wrongfully imprisoned, that even John had doubts about Jesus. The one who had first declared that Jesus was the Lamb of God now doubts about his own testimony.
So, how should we view doubt? How should we deal with it in ourselves and in others?
We should do the same things Jesus did. He did not rebuke John in his doubting. He had pity on him. Then, Jesus returns to the facts of the gospel message. The blind see, the lame, walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the gospel is preached to the poor. These are facts. These are historical events that actually happened.
We do not need to repackage the gospel mixed with philosophy. Nor do we need to scare the doubt out of people. In love, we need to show one another and ourselves the wonders of Jesus Christ in the gospel. Verse six in Matthew, Chapter 11 speaks of the condition of being offended. This was the condition that John was in. His persecuted situation brought doubt to his purpose and this offended his mind. The only solution is to return to belief. John believed before and it blessed him with peace despite the troubles of life. John needed to believe again. When we doubt, we need to do the same thing, again, and again.
Incidentally, if our salvation is based upon our own testimony or decision, then when we doubt, we will think we have lost our salvation. This is a miserable state. We need to remember that doubt goes only as far as our mind goes. Whether we remain faithful or not, Jesus is faithful! Our eternal security is not based on our ability to maintain our testimony or decision. It is based on the blood of Jesus Christ alone. Belief helps us to remember these facts and be saved from doubt.
When we doubt, we need to flee to the Rock of Ages! When overwhelmed with doubts and fear, Great God, do Thou my spirit cheer; Let not mine eyes with tears be fed, But to the Rock of Ages led!John Kent “When Overwhelmed with Doubts and Fear”