posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "The Sin of Unbelief," Sermon #3 in the vast New Park Street/ Metropolitan Tabernacle collection. It was preached on Sunday Morning, 14 January 1855, at the New Park Street Chapel in Southwark, during Spurgeon's first year as pastor of that congregation.
he sin of unbelief will appear to be extremely heinous when we remember that it is the parent of every other iniquity. There is no crime which unbelief will not beget.
I think that the fall of man is very much owing to it. It was in this point that the devil tempted Eve. He said to her, "Yea, hath God said, ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" He whispered and insinuated a doubt, "Yea, hath God said so?" as much as to say, "Are you quite sure he said so?"
It was by means of unbelief—that this part of the wedge—that the other sin entered; curiosity and the rest followed; she touched the fruit, and destruction came into this world. Since that time, unbelief has been the prolific parent of all guilt.
An unbeliever is capable of the vilest crime that ever was committed. Unbelief, sirs! why it hardened the heart of Pharoh—it gave license to the tongue of blaspheming Rabshakeh—yea, it became a deicide, and murdered Jesus. Unbelief!—it has sharpened the knife of the suicide! it has mixed many a cup of poison; thousands it has brought to the halter; and many to a shameful grave who have murdered themselves and rushed with bloody hands before their Creator's tribunal, because of unbelief!
Give me an unbeliever—let me know that he doubts God's word—let me know that he distrusts his promise and his threatening; and with that for a premise, I will conclude that the man shall, by-and-bye unless there is amazing restraining power exerted upon him, be guilty of the foulest and blackest crimes.
Ah! this is a Beelzebub sin; like Beelzebub, it is the leader of all evil spirits. It is said of Jeroboam that he sinned and made Israel to sin; and it may be said of unbelief that it not only sins itself; but makes others sin, it is the egg of all crime, the seed of every offense; in fact everything that is evil and vile lies couched in that one word—unbelief.
And let me say here, that unbelief in the Christian is of the self-same nature as unbelief in the sinner. It is not the same in its final issue, for it will be pardoned in the Christian; yea it is pardoned: it was laid upon the scape-goat's head of old: it was blotted out and atoned for; but it is of the same sinful nature.
In fact, if there can be one sin more heinous than the unbelief of a sinner, it is the unbelief of a saint. For a saint to doubt God's word—for a saint to distrust God after innumerable instances of his love, after ten thousand proofs of his mercy—exceeds everything.
In a saint, moreover, unbelief is the root of other sins. When I am perfect in faith I shall be perfect in everything else: I should always fulfill the precept if I always believed the promise. But it is because my faith is weak, that I sin. Put me in trouble, and if I can fold my arms and say, "Jehovah-Jireh the Lord will provide," you will not find me using wrong means to escape from it. But let me be in temporal distress and difficulty, if I distrust God, what then? Perhaps I shall steal, or do a dishonest act to get out of the hands of my creditors; or if kept from such a transgression, I may plunge into excess to drown my anxieties.
Once take away faith, the reins are broken; and who can ride an unbroken steed without rein or bridle? Like the chariot of the sun with Phaeton for its driver, such should we be without faith. Unbelief is the mother of vice; it is the parent of sin; and, therefore, I say it is a pestilent evil—a master sin.