The Danger and Damage of Doubt

by Dennis Michelson
(Painesville, Ohio)

II Peter 1:3-11


Introduction: Doubt comes under many disguises in the life of a believer. It begins with discouragement; then to depression; and ultimately to doubt. Unhappy and doubting believers are the delight of the Devil.

As men of God we need to learn the secrets of victory over doubt and thus help establish others in the faith. Surprisingly enough we learn from this passage that the cure for doubt is discipline in the spiritual life.

1. The Cause of Doubt (II Peter 1:3-5)

The ultimate cause of doubt is a lack of diligence and self-discipline.


  • A lack of learning doctrine (1:3-4)
    Faith is an activity, that is, a response to the truth of God. It is more than a mystical formula such as "looking to the Lord." The promises of God are always at the foundation of every solution to doubt.


  • A lack of licking laziness (1:5)
    The word "diligence" means work! Procrastination and improper priorities always result in doubt. The believer is not just a saint but a soldier as well.

2. The Cure for Doubt (II Peter 1:4-7)

  • Through the Scriptures (1:4)
    We partake of our possessions through the precious promises.


  • Through diligence (1:5-10)
    Quite literally we are to "furnish our faith." Compare this with Hebrews 11:6. God gives the faith upon which to build the following seven fruits of faith -

    (1) Virtue - energy and vigor resulting in praise. We know it today as zeal.

    (2) Knowledge - understanding and growing in the experiential knowledge of the Christian life (Col. 1:9-10; Eph. 5:17; Rom. 10:2)

    (3) Temperance - self control in all areas.

    (4) Patience - perseverance through discouragement resulting in endurance.

    (5) Godliness - having Christ-like attributes and conduct.

    (6) Brotherly kindness - philadelphia-like love for the godly.

    (7) Charity - pure agape-like love for the ungodly.

    These seven "fruits of faith" track a steady and upward progression of Christian growth resulting in a strong and unwavering faith; the opposite of doubt.

3. The Consequences (II Peter 1:8-11)

  • Negative consequences (1:9)

    (1) Spiritual amnesia - forgetfulness

    (2) Spiritual blindness - nearsighted


  • Positive consequences (1:8, 10-11)

    (1) Fruitfulness (1:8)

    (2) Assurance (1:10)

    (3) Red-carpet treatment (1:11)

Conclusion: The cure for spiritual doubt is spiritual discipline. Lazy Christians make lousy Christians. Positive and steady growth in godliness has as its by-product a vibrant and active faith. A stagnant spiritual life will always result in doubt.

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