Weak Faith Compared to No Faith (Watson)

It does happen. Sometimes Christians doubt whether they have true faith in Christ. They question if their faith is real and it causes great heartaches and even painful headaches. Thankfully God is patient with us and his mercies are new every morning. Thankfully our faith is not our savior! And thankfully there is a way to tell between true faith and false faith. Here’s how Thomas Watson wrote about this in A Body of Divinity:

We must distinguish between weakness of faith and no faith. A weak faith is true. The bruised reed is but weak, yet it is one that Christ will not break. Though your faith may be weak, do not be discouraged:

A weak faith receives a strong Christ.  A weak hand can tie the knot in marriage as well as a strong one; and a weak eye might have seen the bronze serpent.  The woman in the Gospel did but touch Christ’s garment, and received virtue from him.  It was the touch of faith.

The promise is not made to strong faith, but to true faith.  The promise of God does not say ‘whoever has a giant-faith that can move mountains or stop the mouths of lions.’  Rather, it says ‘whoever believes, though his faith be ever so small.’  Though Christ sometimes chides a weak faith, yet that it may not be discouraged, he makes a promise to it (Matt. 5:3).

A weak faith may be fruitful.  Weakest things multiply most; the vine is a weak plant, but it is fruitful.  Weak Christians may have strong affections.  How strong is the first love, which is after the first planting of faith!

Weak faith may be growing.  Seeds spring up by degrees; first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear.  Therefore, be not discouraged.  God who would have us receive them that are weak in faith will not himself refuse them (Rom 14:1).  A weak believer is a member of Christ, and though Christ will cut off rotten members from his body, he will not cut off weak members.”

Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, p.220.

Shane Lems
Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC)
Hammond, WI, 54015