Believing: Faith and Fear
There are two types of believing: (1) positive and
(2) negative. We either have faith or fear. We must
recognize that believing has both a negative and a
We are what we are today because of our
believing. We will be tomorrow where our believing
takes us. No one ever rises beyond what he
believes and no one can believe more than what he
understands. We believe what we believe because
of what we have been taught. We think the way we
think because of the way we have been led.
Believing is a law. As one believes, he receives.
On the negative side, fear is believing; fear is
believing in reverse; it produces ill results.
There is basically only one thing that ever defeats
the believer, and that is fear. Fear is the believer’s
only enemy. Fear is sand in the machinery of life.
When we have fear, we cannot believe God and have
faith. Fear has ruined more Christian lives than any
other thing in the world.
If a person is afraid of not being able to hold his
job, do you know what will happen? He will lose it.
If one is afraid of a disease, he will manifest that
disease because the law is that what one believes (in
this case, what one believes negatively), he is going
to receive. People have a fear of the future; they
have a fear of death. Fear always encases, fear
always enslaves, fear always binds. This law of
negative and positive believing works for both
Christian and non-Christian. When we believe, we
receive the results of our believing regardless of
who or what we are.
The Word of God demonstrates negative believing
in the Gospel of John. Isaiah had prophesied,
hundreds of years before, that when the true
Messiah came there would be one miracle which He
would do that had never been done before. This one
miracle, opening the eyes of a man who was born
blind, would prove He was the Messiah of God.
This is the miraculous record in John 9.
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which
was blind from his birth.
And his disciples asked him, saying, Master,
who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he
was born blind?
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned,
nor his parents: but that the works of God
should be made manifest in him.
I must work the works of him that sent me,
while it is day: the night cometh, when no man
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of
When he had thus spoken, he spat on the
ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he
anointed the eyes of the blind man with the
And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of
Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He
went his way therefore, and washed, and came
The neighbours therefore, and they which
before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is
not this he that sat and begged?
Even the neighbors were not sure of what was
John 9:13 and 18:
They brought to the Pharisees [the heads of the
temple and the synagogues got involved] him
that aforetime was blind.
But the Jews [the Pharisees] did not believe
concerning him, that he had been blind, and
received his sight, until they called the parents
of him that had received his sight.
First the neighbors were involved, then the
religious leaders, and next the parents were called
And they asked them, saying, Is this your son,
who ye say was born blind? how then doth he
His parents answered them and said, We know
that this is our son, and that he was born blind:
But by what means he now seeth, we know not;
or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he
is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself.
These words spake his parents, because they
feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already,
that if any man did confess that he was
Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.
Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask
Put yourself in this situation. If you had a son
who was born blind and he was healed of his
blindness, the least you as a grateful parent could do
is to admit, “Yes, Jesus Christ healed him.” But
these parents did not say this. Why were they not
able to be the kind of parents one would have
expected? They were inhibited from testifying as
would have been fitting because they were full of
fear – “for fear of the Jews.” Fear enslaved them,
fear stopped these parents from being the kind of
parents they really should have been. Therefore the
parents said, “He is of age; ask him.” These Jews
had already agreed that if anybody said that Jesus
was the Christ, that person would be put out of the
This action does not mean much to us today
because if a person is thrown out of one church, the
church on the next street corner is glad to have him.
But it was not that way at the time of Jesus. When a
man was ostracized from the synagogue, people
would not talk with him; he could not attend the
synagogue; he could not buy or sell goods. Do you
see why the parents were enslaved by fear of what
would happen to them?
These parents were not the only ones in the Bible
who manifested fear. In John 20:19 is a record of
Then the same day at evening [This is the day
of the resurrection appearance of Jesus.], being
the first day of the week, when the doors were
shut where the disciples were assembled for
fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the
midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
The disciples were behind closed doors for fear
of the Jews. Fear always puts us behind closed
doors; it always binds us; it always enslaves us.
Years ago I knew a minister whose wife had
passed away leaving him with seven children.
About a year later he married another woman who
had five children and they lived happily together.
About a block and a half away from them lived a
woman who had just one son. The woman with the
one son was always frustrated, always nervous,
always afraid, while this minister and his wife who
had twelve children never seemed to worry, to be
upset, or to have the least anxiety about their
children. When the woman’s child started to kindergarten,
the mother would walk with him across the
street to the next block where the kindergarten was
located for fear he might get run over by a car.
When he was in the first grade she did the same
thing, the second grade, and the third grade. One
time the boy’s mother called on the minister and
said, “I don’t understand why I am so nervous and
upset all the time. I have just one boy to care for;
and you have all these children and nothing ever
seems to happen to them. You live without worry.”
He replied, “This is how we live. My wife and I get
the children around the breakfast table; that is the
only time we get our whole family together. When
they are all seated, I do the praying. I pray like this:
‘Lord, here we are all together at breakfast. They
are all going out to school and other places today,
so I leave them all in your protection and care.
Thank you. Amen.’ ” He believed God would
answer his prayers and he relinquished them to the
Lord’s protection. His children flourished.
About a year later the woman’s only son was
coming home from school early. Mother had not
met him at the street corner. As the boy walked out
into the street, he was hit by an automobile and
killed. I went to the funeral service of that boy, and
guess what the minister preached? “God now has
another rose petal in heaven.” Imagine that! That
the God who created the heavens and the earth
should want to kill a little boy because God needed
another rose petal in heaven. Do you know what
killed that little boy? The fear in the heart and life
of that mother. She was so desperately afraid
something was going to happen to her little boy that
she finally reaped the results of her believing.
What one fears will surely come to pass. It is a
law. Have you ever heard about people who set the
time of their death? When somebody says, “Well,
this time next year I will not be here,” if you are a
betting man, bet your money; you are going to win.
If a person makes up his mind that this time next
year he is going to be dead, God would have to
change the laws of the universe for the person not to
A number of years ago a man came to see me
about his fear. He told me that according to
insurance statistics in the United States a traveling
salesman is supposed to wreck his automobile every
so many thousands of miles. This man had already
driven ten thousand miles more than the average
salesman, and his fear of an accident was becoming
an obsession. He was losing business day after day
and week after week because of this fear. He came
to me and I explained to him the law of believing.
The man changed his believing and has not had an
accident to this day.
The world around us builds fear in people. The
psychology prevalent in our society today is fear. If
you do not use this brand of toothpaste, you are
going to have an increased number of cavities; you
are afraid of increasing your cavities so you buy
this kind of toothpaste. If you do not do this, you
are going to get that. It is all based on fear.
Have you ever picked up a newspaper and
noticed how positive the stories are? Ninety per
cent of what one reads in the newspaper is negative.
Automobile accidents, murders, suicides – all
negative. Why? Because this is what people have
been living. We have been living on negatives so
long that when somebody else comes along with a
positive diet, we think he must be crazy.
Proverbs 29:25 says “The fear of man bringeth a
snare....” Every time a man has fear he is ensnared,
he is bound.
Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom
this people shall say, A confederacy; neither
fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.
These people were being enslaved as a nation
because they were afraid of other people. Yet The
Word said, “Neither fear ye their fear, nor be
There are many examples like this in The Word.
I am just selecting a few.
Damascus is waxed feeble, and turneth herself
to flee, and fear hath seized on her....
The reason she had waxed feeble and turned to
flee was that she was afraid.
For the thing which I greatly feared is come
upon me, and that which I was afraid of is
come unto me.
Job received that of which he was afraid.
I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and
delivered me from all my fears.
As long as he was in fear he was encased.
II Timothy 1:7:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but
of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
God did not give us fear so fear must come from
some other source. If fear came from a source other
than God, then it has to be negative. Fear is always
Remember in John 20 the disciples, also known
as the twelve apostles, on the day of the resurrection
were behind closed doors for fear of the Jews. But
observe these same men fifty days later.
Keep in mind that, under ordinary circumstances,
no adult changes drastically in forty or fifty days.
But Acts 2 tells of common human beings who
within fifty days from being full of fear became
men of great boldness and great conviction. I want
to focus on (1) the law of believing both negative
and positive and (2) the cause of their change.
Acts 2:4 tells that all these men were filled with
the holy spirit and then we read verse 14.
But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up
his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of
Judea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be
this known unto you, and hearken to my words.
Where was Peter fifty days before? According to
the Gospel of John, he was behind closed doors for
fear of the Jews. But now Peter stood up with the
eleven and lifted up his unquivering voice unto
them, “Ye men of Judea, and all ye that dwell at
Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to
my words.” Where did he get that boldness? What
changed him from being a man full of fear to being
a great man of confidence?
Acts 2: 22, 23:
Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of
Nazareth, a man approved of God among you
by miracles and wonders and signs, which God
did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves
Him, being delivered by the determinate
counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have
taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and
Fifty days previously Peter certainly would not
have said this. Why is he not afraid to say it now?
When I was attending seminaries and being
instructed in homiletics and other arts of the
ministry, I was told that when a person preaches a
sermon he should never say you, but to always say
we. Peter must have gone to the wrong seminary
because when he was preaching here he said, “You
have crucified Him and you have slain Him.”
Acts 3 contains a record of events after the day
Acts 3:12 and 14:
And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the
people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this?
or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by
our own power or holiness we had made this
man to walk?
But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and
desired a murderer to be granted unto you.
That is boldness. Peter was no longer full of fear.
Something must have changed this man.
Peter and John were then taken into custody because
they were too bold.
And being let go, they went [returned] to their
own company, and reported all that the chief
priests and elders had said unto them.
And when they heard that, they lifted up their
voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord,
thou art God, which hast made heaven, and
earth, and the sea, and all that in them is:
Who, by the mouth of thy servant David hast
said. Why did the heathen rage, and the people
imagine vain things?
The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers
were gathered together against the Lord, and
against his Christ.
For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus,
whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and
Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people
of Israel, were gathered together,
For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel
determined before to be done.
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and
grant unto thy servants....
“Grant unto thy servants” a holiday, a vacation?
No. We think it should say this because, after all, if
we have been out there working for the Lord,
carrying out the ministry, being imprisoned,
whipped, and persecuted, certainly we ought to
have a vacation with pay. When Peter and John
came back and got in this prayer group, they said,
...Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant
unto thy servants, that with all boldness [not
with hesitancy, not with reluctance, not with
fear.] they may speak [what the people want us
to speak? No.] thy word.
They prayed for more boldness. As long as they
were full of fear and behind closed doors, they had
nothing to fear but fear itself, but once they got
boldness and preached the Word of God, they
accomplished work for the Lord. Men were healed,
set free, and saved. Peter and John, however, were
thrown into prison; but when they got out, they
went back to the little prayer group and believed for
more boldness. “Give us more of the boldness,
Lord, that we may speak thy word.”
Acts 4:30, 31:
By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that
signs and wonders may be done by the name of
thy holy child Jesus.
And when they had prayed, the place was
shaken where they were assembled together;
and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,
and they spake the word of God with
[hesitancy? No. They spake the Word of God
What made them speak the Word of God with
boldness? Verse 31 says that “they were all filled
with the Holy Ghost.” In Acts 2 on the day of
Pentecost the twelve apostles received the fullness
of the Holy Spirit. Verse 31 of Acts 4 says that they
were all filled with the Holy Ghost “and they spake
the word of God with boldness.” What changed
those men? Between the resurrection record and
Acts 2 there is nothing that could have changed the
men except the new birth which is the power of the
holy spirit which came on Pentecost. I have never
seen one person get rid of his fear until he became
born again of God’s Spirit, filled with the power of
the holy spirit. If you want to get rid of your fear,
your frustrations, your anxieties, you have to be
born again by God’s Spirit, filled with His power.
That is what changed Peter and the rest of the
apostles and that is the power which will change
Peter and John prayed. And when they prayed,
the place was shaken where they were assembled.
They were all filled with the holy spirit, and they
spake the Word of God with boldness. I always
become amused when I read that, thinking that if
the power of God moved like that today in most of
our churches, we would have many funerals. People
would be shocked to death if the place was shaken
where they prayed. In Acts 4 what they prayed for
was boldness that they might speak The Word.
Nothing but the power of the holy spirit in the
Living Word in an individual takes the fear out of
That is what took the fear out of my life. I used
to be afraid of my own shadow; I was afraid of
meeting people, especially people in academic
circles, in high political circles, in elite religious
circles. Today I have no fear within me. Why? I
believe that the power from the Holy Spirit is
within giving me the boldness, the enthusiasm, the
dynamics to stand up for the integrity and the
greatness of God’s Word.
Fear builds unbelief. This is why fear always
defeats the promises of God. Jesus Christ did many
signs, miracles and wonders in places like Galilee
and Capernaum in Galilee; but in Nazareth, his own
home town, He could not do much.
And he [Jesus] did not many mighty works there
because of their unbelief.
Could He not do many mighty works there because
He had changed? No. Jesus had not changed; the
people had changed.
Unbelief is believing; it is negative believing. On
the negative side is doubt and on the positive side is
confidence. Confidence versus doubt; trust versus
worry; faith versus fear. Doubt, worry and fear are
negative believing. Confidence, trust, and faith are
positive believing. These laws work with precision
not only in the Word of God but in our own lives.
Carefully note that there are two specific types of
negative believing regarding spiritual power spoken
of in the Bible: apistia and apeitheia. Apistia refers
to those people who have never heard or who have
never heard enough to believe; apeitheia refers to
those who have heard but refuse to believe what
they have heard.
Apistia is the unbelief of those who have never
heard or who have not heard in enough detail to
believe. For instance, if I have not heard enough of
the Word of God to be saved, I have apistia
unbelief. Look at Romans 10.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the
Lord shall be saved.
How then shall they call on him in whom they
have not believed? and how shall they believe
in him of whom they have not heard? and how
shall they hear without a preacher?
And how shall they preach, except they be
sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet
of them that preach the gospel of peace, and
bring glad tidings of good things!
“How then shall they call on him in whom they
have not believed? ...how shall they believe in him
of whom they have not heard?” These people were
unbelievers in that they had never heard the Word
of God so that they could believe.
And it came to pass, that when Jesus had
finished these parables, he departed thence.
And when he was come into his own country,
he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch
that they were astonished, and said, Whence
hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty
Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother
called Mary? and his brethren, James, and
Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
And his sisters, are they not all with us?
Whence then hath this man all these things?
And they were offended in him. But Jesus said
unto them, A prophet is not without honour,
save in his own country, and in his own house.
And he did not many mighty works there
because of their unbelief.
He could not do much in Nazareth because of the
people’s unbelief, apistia. Although Jesus tried to
teach, the community would not hear enough to
believe because they did not think He could know
anything since He was illegitimate, and thus they
could not believe. Do you know what the people of
Jesus’ community said to Him? “Is this the carpenter’s
son? He is illegitimate because everyone
knows that Mary was pregnant before she and
Joseph came together in marriage.” Contrary to
what they thought, however, Jesus was not the
carpenter’s, son; He was the Son of God by divine
conception, born of Mary but conceived by the
Holy Ghost, as the Word of God says.
“Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother
called Mary and his brethren, James, and Joses, and
Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all
with us? Whence then hath this man all these
things?” The original text gives emphasis as
follows: “Is not this the carpenter’s son and his
mother called Mary (You remember her.), and his
brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and that
Judas (Was he wild!), and his sisters, (Weren’t they
something.), Are they not all with us? Whence then
hath this man all these things?” The community
said that Jesus could not have such power because
they looked at the family and said, “Nothing good
can come out of this man. We know that family.”
Therefore, they would not hear enough to believe.
They had unbelief (apistia).
“But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not
without honour, save in his own country, and in his
own house. And he did not many mighty works
there because of their unbelief [apistia].”
Luke 2 contains one verse of Scripture that for
many years I was not able to understand.
And when he [Jesus] was twelve years old;
they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of
I knew that according to Jewish law, a boy
became a man, going through Bar Mitzvah, when he
was thirteen. But Jesus was taken to the temple
when He was twelve. I could not understand it so I
considered that there might be a mistake in the text.
I looked in every critical Greek text that I could find
and checked every other source I could think of; but
I never found Jesus to be thirteen when He went to
the synagogue. Every text concurred on the age of
twelve. Finally I came across an old piece of
literature which explained that according to ancient
Jewish law when a boy was conceived illegitimately,
this child was brought to the temple at the
age of twelve instead of thirteen.
This explains why Jesus could not communicate
with the people in His own hometown. They
thought that a child conceived illegitimately
certainly could not have great knowledge or do
wonderful works. They were offended by Him,
would not listen to hear enough to believe when He
spoke, and thus suffered from apistia, unbelief.
In the critical Greek texts the word used for the
second of the two types of unbelief is apeitheia.
Apeitheia refers to those who have heard but still
refuse to believe what they have heard. To
illustrate, if I have heard enough of the Word of
God that I could be saved but refuse to believe that
Word of God, I have apeitheia.
Noting Romans 11:30, we find this type of
unbelief, not for an individual, but in reference to
Israel and the Gentiles as nations.
For as ye in times past have not believed
[apeitheia] God, yet have now obtained mercy
through their unbelief [apeitheia].
The Gentiles had heard but refused to believe, as
it states in Romans 1:21, “Because that, when they
[the Gentiles] knew God, they glorified him not as
Again Hebrews 4 clarifies this apeitheia type of
Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must
enter therein, and they to whom it was first
preached entered not in because of unbelief
It was first preached to them. They heard enough
to believe but they refused to believe.
Fear which culminates in unbelief is due either to
wrong teaching or ignorance. Wrong teaching may
be corrected or overcome by right teaching; while
ignorance may be corrected or overcome by instruction.
If a person is full of fear because he is ignorant
regarding a particular subject he may overcome this
ignorance which causes fear by right teaching or
right instruction. For instance, a child who is afraid
to sleep in the dark is full of fear and wakes up
screaming in the middle of the night. Why is that
child fearful? Maybe because he has been wrongly
taught. Perhaps the child was frightened by
someone’s saying that if the child was not a good
boy, he would be put in the closet and the boogie
man would get him. That child is full of fear
because of wrong teaching.
On the other hand, suppose an adult is afraid of
the boogie man in the closet. That is ignorance. He
ignores the facts. For a child it is wrong teaching;
but for an adult, it is ignorance. Fears, whether from
ignorance or wrong teaching, are always encasing
and always enslaving and they always defeat us
because when we have fear in our lives, we cannot
act positively on the promises of God’s wonderful,
Matthew 10:16 is a positive record showing that
God never meant for His believers to be ignorant;
He meant for them to be bold and full of believing,
full of power, full of positives.
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst
of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and
harmless as doves.
God wants us to be “wise as serpents, and harmless
Romans tells us that we are to be wise concerning
that which is good. The Epistle of James
declares that God gives us wisdom: “If any of you
lack wisdom, let him ask of God,” who gives
wisdom. God never meant for His Church nor His
children to be ignorant; He meant for His Church to
be wise; He wanted us to know the score.
Do you know from where this wisdom comes? It
comes from the Word of God. Psalms 119:105 says
that the Word of God is a lamp to our feet and a
light to our path, and thereby imparts wisdom.
Isaiah tells us that the Word of God imparts wisdom
regarding salvation, that even a fool need not err
therein. The way is so simple and so plain. I John
3:2 says, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God....”
It is the Word of God that imparts wisdom regarding
our sonship relationship with Him. II Corinthians 2
tells about the devices of Satan of which we are not
ignorant. We are not stupid and should not act
The Gospel of John says that the Word of God
imparts wisdom regarding the future life, the return
of Christ, and heaven. The Word of God gives us
wisdom regarding every subject necessary for
man’s complete knowledge of his redemption and
of his salvation. This gives us confidence to manifest
positive results. We need never fear for we are
not ignorant; we have knowledge of God’s Word.