As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” Romans 10:15-16
What comes to mind when you think about sin? Murder? Stealing? Lying? These are all sins against the Ten Commandments. But suppose you never harmed anyone, never stole, and never lied.
The Bible is clear that even if you loved your neighbor as yourself, but remained in unbelief, you would be lost forever. In Revelation 21:8, John writes: “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur.”
Notice that the faithless (unbelievers) are listed alongside murderers, idolators, and liars. Why is unbelief so offensive to God? Here are three reasons:
First, unbelief insults God. “Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar” (1 John 5:10). Suppose you tell your friend about your trip to Florida. But your friend says, “I don’t believe you.” This is deeply offensive. Your so-called friend is making you out to be a liar. That is what unbelief does to God. Unbelief hears the Word of God and says, “I don’t believe you.”
Second, unbelief defies God’s command. “This is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 3:23). God commands us to believe; unbelief defies this.
Third, unbelief refuses to do God’s work. Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent” (John 6:29). God says, “I am sending my Son into the world. He will accomplish everything needed for your salvation and I am calling you to believe in Him.” Unbelief refuses to do the first thing God asks of us.
Are you surprised by this? If so, why?