DEFINITION: The phrase “unpardonable sin” is not actually used in the Bible, but the term is based on Matthew 12:30-31 where Jesus mentions a sin that cannot be forgiven, a transgression that is deemed “unpardonable.”
FACTS ABOUT THE UNPARDONABLE SIN:
The unpardonable sin is a scriptural concept. Although the actual phrase is not used, it is drawn from an event recorded in Matthew 12:22-31. When Jesus cast a demon out of a blind and mute man, the Pharisees claimed He had cast it out by the power of Bellzebub, the prince of demons. From this reference comes the concept of the unpardonable sin. The Pharisees were attributing the work of God to Satan and Jesus said this was an unpardonable sin.
The unpardonable sin is attributing the work of God to Satan. This results in a reprobate mind that does not desire or seek repentance: “Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28).
Satan often uses this to torment those seeking forgiveness from sin. They think their case is hopeless because they have committed the unpardonable sin. When a person truly has committed this sin, he will not have any interest in spiritual things, nor will he have any desire to repent because he believes that the work of God is actually that of Satan.
DEALING WITH THE UNPARDONABLE SIN:
Distinguish between other sins and the unpardonable sin. People who have murdered or abused a child, etc., may believe they have committed the unpardonable sin. Their guilt and shame may make them think their transgression is unpardonable. Do not minimize the seriousness of sin–whatever it is–but know that even such vile things as these are not unpardonable.
Recognize that because you are concerned, this indicates that you have not committed the unpardonable sin. It is God that draws men to repentance (John 6:44). You would not be concerned about repenting and being forgiven, nor would you desire absolution for sin if you had committed the unpardonable sin.
Realize that God is willing to forgive all other sins. He forgives all your sins (Psalm 103:3). Aside from the “unpardonable sin”, the only other sin that cannot be pardoned is sin which is not confessed: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (1 John 1:9-10)
Pray a prayer of repentance. Confess your sin to God, ask forgiveness, and He will forgive you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.
Bind the torment of Satan. If Satan returns with thoughts that you have committed the unpardonable sin, bind these thought sin the name of Jesus. Command them to go!
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT THE UNPARDONABLE SIN:
Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.
He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. And so I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.”
He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him… (John 6:44)
Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1:28).
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:9-10)
(See also the topics of “Assurance” and “Doubt” in this database.)
DEFINITION: Unfaithfulness means to be untrue to a duty, obligation, or promise. It means being untrustworthy or acting as a traitor. The Bible speaks of several types of unfaithfulness: Unfaithfulness to God and His work, to friends and family, and to a spouse.
FACTS ABOUT UNFAITHFULNESS:
Unfaithfulness to God. When you accept Jesus as Savior, you are promising to make Him the Lord of your life. When you violate your promise and do things your own way or turn your back on God or His Word, you are being unfaithful. Without faith, it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). The parable of the talents in Matthew 5 confirms the importance of faithfulness.
An unfaithful spouse. Unfaithfulness to a mate–adultery–is biblical grounds for divorce (Matthew 19:9), but you are not required to divorce an unfaithful mate. The alternative is to seek to restore the relationship if both parties are willing. The erring party must be forgiven, both by God and their spouse. The unfaithful person must be absolutely discreet and honest about any dealings with the opposite sex in the future in order to rebuild trust. (See also the topics of “Divorce” and “Adultery” in this database.)
An unfaithful friend. An unfaithful friend can be a source of great disappointment. Perhaps they reject you or expose your confidences. The Bible says “Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble” (Proverbs 25:29).
DEALING WITH UNFAITHFULNESS:
Acknowledge unfaithfulness as sin. Whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). Acts of unfaithfulness, unbelief, iniquity, etc.–anything that is not of faith is sin and must be acknowledged as such.
Confess your unfaithfulness to God. Confess and ask forgiveness: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives” (1 John 1:9-10).
Confess unfaithfulness to your spouse and seek forgiveness. Ask forgiveness from your mate, seek reconciliation, and break the adulterous relationship. If reconciliation with your spouse is the goal, then the incident must be forgiven and never again brought up. When Satan tries to bring up the past, these thoughts must be rejected.
Confess unfaithfulness to friends and family. Ask those affected by your unfaithfulness to forgive you.
Forgive an unfaithful friend. Forgive your friend, then go to them according to the pattern described in Matthew 18:15-17. If he rejects you, then let him remain an acquaintance instead of a close friend. If he accepts you, pray together for restoration of the friendship. If a friend is abusive or leads you into sin, addictions, or violence, do not attempt to reconcile. (See also the topic of “Friends” in this database.)
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT UNFAITHFULNESS:
A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter. (Proverbs 11:13)
Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble. (Proverbs 25:29)
Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. (Proverbs 27:6)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)
He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much. (Luke 16:10, KJV)
…everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Romans 14:23)
Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. (1 Corinthians 4:2)
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2, KJV)
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)
(Hebrews 10:23, KJV)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives. (1 John 1:9-10)
Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. (Revelation 2:10)
Read the parable of the faithful servant in Matthew chapter 25.
(See also the topic of “Adultery” in this database.)
DEFINITION: The biblical meaning of unbelief is refusing to believe in God and His Word. Unbelief is a lack of faith.
FACTS ABOUT UNBELIEF:
The Bible says you are a fool if you do not believe in God. “The fool says in his heart, “‘There is no God'” (Psalm 14:1).
Some people refuse to be convinced. Jesus said that if people would not listen to the Moses and the prophets, then they would not believe even if someone rose from the dead to confirm the reality of God and His Word (Luke 16:31). Even supernatural miracles will not convince someone who refuses to be convinced (John 4:48).
If you do not believe in God, you are condemned. Jesus said, “Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:18).
Unbelief hinders you from receiving God’s promises. You may believe in God, but if you are filled with unbelief regarding the promises in His Word you will miss many great spiritual blessings. God promised Israel their land, but their unbelief kept them from claiming it for forty years! They could not enter in because of their unbelief (Hebrews 3:19) .
Unbelief hinders the work of God. Jesus did not do miracles in Nazareth because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58).
If you deny Christ, He will deny you. “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).
DEALING WITH UNBELIEF:
Examine reasons for unbelief. What caused you to reject God and His Word? Perhaps it was disappointment because of unanswered prayer or a great tragedy you experienced. Perhaps you received false teaching. Go to the root cause of your unbelief.
Recognize the vital importance of believing in God and His Word. Your eternal destiny is at stake: “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36). Revelation 21:8 says those who refuse to believe will be separated from God for eternity.
Confess unbelief as sin. Whatever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). Confess your unbelief to God and ask forgiveness.
Ask God to help you believe. As the father who brought his ailing child to Jesus, cry out by faith: “Lord, I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
Study the Word, pray, and fellowship with believers. These three basics will strengthen your core beliefs in God and His Word. Faith comes by the Word of God, and fellowship with other believers strengthens it (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 3:12-13).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT UNBELIEF:
The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” (Psalm 14:1)
Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the Lord, the spring of living water. (Jeremiah 17:13)
Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)
Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief. (Matthew 13:58)
Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ” (Matthew 17:19-21, NKJV)
“Lord, I believe. Help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24).
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. (Mark 15:14, NKJV)
If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead. (Luke 16:31)
If you are the Christ,” they said, “tell us.” Jesus answered, If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. (Luke 22:67-68)
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12-13)
Whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:18)
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. (John 3:36)
Unless you people see miraculous signs and wonders, Jesus told him, you will never believe. (John 4:48)
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (John 5:39-40)
The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe. (John 6:63)
For even his own brothers did not believe in him. (John 7:5)
I told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins. (John 8:24)
Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? (John 8:46)
Even after Jesus had done all these miraculous signs in their presence, they still would not believe in him. (John 12:37)
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)
Yet he (Abraham) did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:20-21)
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10)
Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. (Romans 10:17)
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. (Hebrews 3:12-13)
So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Hebrews 3:19)
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1 John 3:23)
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. (Revelation 21:8)
(See also the topics of “Doubt” and “Faith” in this database.)
DEFINITION: Trust is believing in the integrity of someone, that they are who they say they are and will do what they said they will do. It is believing with confident expectation. Biblically, trust is a firm reliance, assurance, and belief on God and His Word. When someone has “trust issues”, it means they lack trust in a person, a relationship, or God.
FACTS ABOUT TRUST:
Trust can be misplaced. When dealing with others, your trust can be misplaced and you can be disappointed. This can result in what is termed “trust issues”, where you have difficulty trusting someone because of disappointments in the past.
Trust in God is never misplaced. The Psalmist said: “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God” (Psalm 20:7).
Trust is actually an expression of your faith in God. By trusting God, you are showing that you have assurance that He is who He says He is and that His Word is true. Trust also provides assurance of your salvation and eternal destiny.
DEALING WITH TRUST:
Ask God to heal your trust issues. If you have difficulty trusting God or others because of past experiences, ask the Lord to heal these emotions.
Ask forgiveness if you have been untrustworthy. Ask God to forgive you and ask the person you failed to forgive you.
Do not rely on man. This is not to say you should not trust people, but your main trust should be in the Lord. Do not place your trust in untrustworthy people (Proverbs 25:19).
Place your trust in God. Rely on the Lord because He will never fail you (Romans 10:11).
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT TRUST:
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, Lord, have not forsaken those who seek You. (Psalm 9:10, NKJV)
Help, Lord for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men. (Psalms 12:1)
Some trust in chariots and some in horses., but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:7)
For the king trusts in the Lord; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken. (Psalm 21:7)
To you, 0 Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, 0 my God. O my God, I trust in You; Let me not be ashamed; Let not my enemies triumph over me. (Psalm 25:1-2)
In You, O Lord, I put my trust; Let me never be ashamed; Deliver me in Your righteousness. (Psalm 31:1,NKJV)
I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” (Psalm 31:14)
Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him. (Psalm 32:10)
In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. (Psalm 33:21)
Trust in the Lord and do good. (Psalm 37:3)
Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust. (Psalm 40:4)
I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever. (Psalm 52:8)
But as for me, I trust in you. (Psalm 55:23)
When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4)
Trust in him at all times, 0 people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8)
You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you. (Psalm 86:2)
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.” (Psalm 91:2)
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. (Psalm 118:8-9)
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. (Psalm 125:1)
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. (Psalm 143:8)
Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. (Psalm 146:3, NKJV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and, he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble. (Proverbs 25:19)
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. (Proverbs 29:25)
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal. (Isaiah 26:4)
Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. (Isaiah 50:10)
This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:5)
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. (Jeremiah 17:7)
Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? (Luke 16:10-12)
Anyone who trusts in him (God) will never be put to shame. (Romans 10:11)
I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. (2 Timothy 1:12)
If we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (John 14:1)
TRINITY OF GOD
DEFINITION: The Bible reveals that God is one, with three distinct natures, each with different functions. This concept is known as the Trinity of God–meaning three distinct persons, yet a single being who is one.
FACTS ABOUT THE TRINITY OF GOD:
God has a triune nature. This means He has three distinct personalities–God the Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. The three are one God, with different functions (Deuteronomy 6:4).
Scriptures that verify the triune nature of God. John the Baptist speaks of it at the time of the baptism of Christ (Matthew 3:16-17). Prior to returning to God and Heaven, Jesus spoke of sending the Holy Spirit (John 15:26). The Apostle Peter spoke of the triune nature of God (1 Peter 4:14), as did the Apostle Paul (Romans 8:2-3; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 2:18). The book of Acts also verifies the triune nature of God (Acts 2:33).
A natural example that best illustrates the Trinity of God is an egg which is composed of the shell, the white, and the yolk. Each have different functions: The shell can be decorated. The white whipped into meringue topping, the yolk can be hard-boiled–but it is still one egg.
The Trinity of God is eternal. This means God has no beginning or end (Psalm 90:1-2). The eternal nature of God is best illustrated by a circle. A perfect circle has no visible starting point or ending point, yet it exists.
The Trinity of God is a spirit. This means God is without flesh and blood and therefore invisible to the natural eyes of man (John 4:24).
The Trinity of God is the sovereign, almighty power over all the universe (Ephesians l and Romans 9).
The Trinity of God is omnipresent, meaning God is present everywhere (2 Chronicles 16:9; Proverbs 15:3; Psalm 139:7-8; Isaiah 66:1).
The Trinity of God is omniscient, meaning He knows all things (Psalm 139:4; 1 John 3:20; Hebrews 4:13).
The Trinity of God is omnipotent, meaning He is all powerful (Genesis 17:1; Matthew 19:26; Revelation 19:6; Psalm 62:11).
The Trinity of God does not change. He does not change His basic nature, person, or purpose (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8).
The Trinity of God is holy. He is sinless and never sinned (Leviticus 19:2).
The Trinity of God is just, meaning He is fair and impartial in judgment (Deuteronomy 32:4).
The Trinity of God is faithful. He keeps His promises and is absolutely trustworthy (2 Timothy 2:13).
The Trinity of God is benevolent. He is good, kind, and desires your welfare (Psalms 145:9).
The Trinity of God is merciful. He shows mercy to sinful mankind (Exodus 34:6-7).
The Trinity of God is gracious. He shows undeserved kindness to sinful man (Psalms 145:8).
The Trinity of God is love. He extends His love to you and through you (1 John 4:8).
The Trinity of God is wise. God shows understanding and keen discernment. He created the world by His wisdom (Proverbs 3:19).
The Trinity of God is infinite. He is not subject to natural and human limitations or the limitations of space or time (1 Kings 8:27; Exodus 15:18).
DEALING WITH THE TRINITY OF GOD:
Accept and acknowledge the work of the Trinity in your life. God the Father wants you to accept Jesus Christ, His Son, as your Savior. When you do this, your sins are forgiven and you are given eternal life and the gift of the Holy Spirit of God.
Study more about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. They all have additional names in scripture, and numerous functions. Study more about these in the Harvestime International Network publications “Spiritual Strategies: A Manual Of Spiritual Warfare” and “The Ministry Of The Holy Spirit” available at http://www.harvestime.org
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT THE TRINITY OF GOD:
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image…” (Genesis 1:26)
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4)
As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. (John 3:16-18)
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:25-30)
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:16-20)
“When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” (John 15:26)
God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. (Acts 2:32-33)
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. (2 Corinthians 13:14)
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. (1 John 4:13-16)
TRIALS, TROUBLES, ADVERSITIES
DEFINITION: A trial is an examination by testing. Biblically, it is a test of faith in which you experience trouble or adversity. Trouble is sometimes referred to as “tribulation” in the Bible. Adversity is similar to trouble, meaning extremely unfavorable experiences.
FACTS ABOUT TRIALS, TROUBLES, AND ADVERSITIES:
A trial is not a temptation. A temptation is something that entices you to sin (see the topic of “Temptation” in this database). A trial is an adversity you are experiencing that tests your faith.
Trials, troubles, and adversities are experienced by all believers. In fact, the apostles taught believers that they would only enter the Kingdom of God through adversity (Acts 14:22). Peter said not to consider it strange or unusual when you encounter trouble (1 Peter 4:12).
God uses both positive and negative experiences for your good. Joseph told his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). The Apostle Paul declared: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)
DEALING WITH TRIALS, TROUBLES, AND ADVERSITIES:
Expect to experience adversity. Peter said not to be surprised by it (1 Peter 4:12-16). The apostles taught the early church that it was to be experienced as part of living in the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).
Pray about your trials, troubles and adversities. The Bible says that God has promised to hear before you call and even while you are yet speaking (Isaiah 65:24). Confess your total dependence on Him. Instead of asking “What am I going to do in this adversity?” ask God, “What are You going to do?”
Immerse yourself in the Word of God. The Bible brings comfort and direction during trials, troubles, and adversities.
Use your spiritual weapons. Trials, troubles, and adverse circumstances must be faced with your spiritual weapons. Study Ephesians 6:10-18. See also “Spiritual Warfare” in this database.
Remember that good things comes from God. If something comes to rob, steal, or destroy in your life, do not blame God. It is from the enemy. Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). James said: “Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:16-17).
Remember that there is divine purpose in adversity. Your faith is being refined (1 Peter 1:6-7) and spiritual qualities are being developed in your life: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4).
Focus on eternal benefits. The Bible indicates that trials actually work for you when you are focused on the eternal benefits of the trials instead of the temporary problems: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
Rejoice in times of adversity. The Bible commands you to rejoice and give thanks to God in times of adversity. You may not feel like doing this, but do it as an act of your will (See 1 Thessalonians 5:18 and 1 Peter 1:6-7; 4:12-17). You do not give thanks for the adversity, but in the midst of and in spite of it.
Remember these six “p”s of adversity.
- Purpose: God has divine purpose in your trial.
- Profitable: Your trial is profitable if you submit to God and trust Him.
- Presence: God will be with you in your trials.
- Prove: Your faith will be proven by the difficulties.
- Produce: Your trial will produce positive spiritual qualities in your life.
- Perspective: You will emerge with a new perspective.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT TRIALS, TROUBLES, AND ADVERSITIES:
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. (Genesis 50:20)
But in their distress they turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him, and he was found by them. (2 Chronicles 15:4)
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. (Psalm 9:9)
Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help. (Psalm 22:11)
The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish. (Psalm 25:17)
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:5)
I will be glad and rejoice in your love, for you saw my affliction and knew the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place. (Psalm 31:8)
You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7)
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. (Psalm 34:6)
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. (Psalm 34:17-19)
May all who gloat over my distress be put to shame and confusion. (Psalm 35:26)
The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.
The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him. (Psalm 37:39-40)
For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. (Psalm 40:12)
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
…call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (Psalm 50:15)
But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble. (Psalms 59:16)
Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble. (Psalm 69:17)
In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me. (Psalm 86:7)
He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. (Psalms 91:15)
Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. (Psalms 102:2)
Give us aid against the enemy, for the help of man is worthless. With God we will gain the victory, and he will trample down our enemies. (Psalms 108:12-13)
Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands are my delight. (Psalm 119:143)
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. The Lord will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalms 138:7-8)
I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble. (Psalm 142:2)
For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life; in your righteousness, bring me out of trouble. (Psalms 143:11)
If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength! (Proverbs 24:10)
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. (Isaiah 41:13)
Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. (Isaiah 49:13)
… no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. (Isaiah 54:17)
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. (Isaiah 65:24)
The Lord is good, A stronghold in the day of trouble; And He knows those who trust in Him. (Nahum 1:7)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (John 14:27)
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. (Acts 14:22)
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. (Romans 5:3-4).
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:35-39)
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
… that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. (1 Thessalonians 3:3, NKJV)
Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)
Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:16-17).
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. (James 5:13)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith–of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire–may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. (1 Peter 4:12-17)
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. (1 Peter 5:7-10)
Study the story of Job–especially chapters 1-2 and chapter 42–to understand more about the purpose of trials.