posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "Unbelief Upbraided," a sermon preached on Thursday Evening, June 8th, 1876, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London. Spurgeon's text was Mark 16:14: "He . . . upbraided them with their unbelief."
SHALL not dwell so much upon this particular instance of the disciples' unbelief as upon the fact that the Lord Jesus upbraided them because of it. This action of his shows us the way in which unbelief is to be treated by us.
As our loving Saviour felt it to be right rather to upbraid than to console, he taught us that on some occasions, unbelief should be treated with severity rather than with condolence.
Beloved friends, let us never look upon our own unbelief as an excusable infirmity, but let us always regard it as a sin, and as a great sin, too. Whatever excuse you may at any time make for others,—and I pray you to make excuses for them whenever you can rightly do so,—never make any for yourself. In that case, be swift to condemn.
I am not at all afraid that, as a general rule, we shall err on the side of harshness to ourselves. No; we are far too ready to palliate our own wrong-doing, to cover up our own faults and to belittle our own offenses. I very specially urge every believer in Jesus to deal most sternly with himself in this matter of unbelief. If he turns the back of the judicial knife towards others, let him always turn the keen edge of it towards himself. In that direction use your sharpest eye and your most severely critical judgment. If you see any fault in yourself, you may depend upon it that the fault is far greater than it appears to be; therefore, deal more sternly with it.
It is a very easy thing for us to get into a desponding state of heart, and to mistrust the promises and faithfulness of God, and yet, all the while, to look upon ourselves as the subjects of a disease which we cannot help, and even to claim pity at the hands of our fellow-men, and to think that they should condole with us, and try to cheer us.
Perhaps they should; but, at any rate, we must not think that they should. It will be far wiser for each one of us to feel, "This unbelief of mine is a great wrong in the sight of God. He has never given me any occasion for it, and I am doing him a cruel injustice by thus doubting him. I must not idly sit down, and say, This has come upon me like a fever, or a paralysis, which I cannot help; but I must rather say, 'This is a great sin, in which I must no longer indulge; but I must confess my unbelief, with shame and self-abasement, to think that there should be in me this evil heart of unbelief.'"