The Thin Line Between Faith and Presumption

Posted: April 16, 2007 in Faith

There is a line – I think.  Somewhere between faith and presumption.  When one is no longer standing in faith, but in presumption.  I’m not sure where the line starts to blur, but I know it’s there. 

For example,  I heard a story the other day of someone who had diabetes.  They believed that God was going to heal them.  They refused any medical treatment at all.  They even refused to alter their diet.  They simply believed their faith in God was going fix everything.

Now I can’t say that they’re wrong.  Maybe, they’re standing in faith? Maybe God will bring about a mighty healing in their lives?  But in my flesh, I feel as though they may be standing in presumption.  You know, God’s going to take care of it, so it doesn’t matter what we do.  We can abuse our bodies, because one day, God’s going to fix it.

Is it faith or is it presumption?  I don’t know.  You could go to the other extreme and say, “well, God’s not healed yet, so let’s do everything the doctors say.”  Is that response a refusal to stand in faith? 

The thing is you could apply this question to a million different situations.  I’m sure Mary looked as if she was standing in presumption when she believed she would have a child without even knowing a man.  I’m sure Abraham stood in presumption when he took matters into his own hands to accomplish God’s will in his life.  But yet, God says that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as faith?  David must have been ridiculed as standing in presumption when he refused to take the crown that was prophesied as his by Samuel long ago.  Who would’ve said that the three Hebrew children were standing in faith when they tested God’s ability to rescue them from a firey furnace.

We could go on and on.  Impossible stories that to an unbelieving world looked like men were standing in presumption, because they could not comprehend faith.

  1. Hey, glad to have you back! You make some great points. I think you’re right – I think there is a fine line and you have to figure out where that line is. I think God wants us to take care of our bodies and I think he gave us doctors to help us do that so to completely ignore a doctor and his/her recommendation seems risky to me. Of course, if you believe that the advice goes against what God would have you do then you wouldn’t want to follow it. I think each person just needs to make sure they are truly seeking God on matters like this.

    Great post!

  2. starshine says:

    Job offers a vital insight which is this: If you do not have specific knowledge (from God) about a specific situation, do not venture to speculate on the whys, hows or whens as this upsets the Almighty (see Job 42:7)
    The book of James tells us that God will give knowledge freely without fault.
    In all your examples above excluding diabetic dude or dudess, God had given ‘knowledge’ to faith which was already in place.

  3. Heretic says:

    Thanks! I agree with your point. I guess the thing that we need to better acquaint ourselves with is recognizing and hearing the voice of God. I think we make it seem so foreign to the Christian walk. We view it as either for the super-spiritual or for weird folk.

    Thanks for the comments and the interaction!

  4. Heretic says:

    Welcome! Thanks for the comments.

    I guess I don’t understand why you would exclude the diabetic? What if they did hear a word from God? Is that out of the question? I mean to me it seems strange, but so does sacrificing your son?

    Maybe you could better explain your statement – “God had given ‘knowledge’ to faith which was already in place.”

  5. God’s people often heard from God audibly in the O.T. I’m guessing that’s what starshine is referencing. It’s a whole lot easier to have faith when you are in direct communication. But when it comes to the diabetic person mentioned, we have many verses in Scripture about taking care of our “temple,” etc. And modern medicine and doctors might just be God’s will and answered prayer in those situations. Faith never ignores what God has already provided or has already revealed to us in His Word.

    If Abraham had ignored the ram in the thicket, that would have been presumptuous. It would have killed his son.

  6. Heretic says:

    Old Ford-
    Welcome! Are you trying to say that direct communication doesn’t happen any more?

    I see your point about Abraham – ignoring the provision. I think your statement about faith never ignoring what God has already provided or has already revealed is good.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Matthew Reed says:

    [I’m sure Abraham stood in presumption when he took matters into his own hands to accomplish God’s will in his life. But yet, God says that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as faith?]

    But note that all Abraham did to receive God’s declaration of righteousness (eternal life) was simply to believe God’s Word or promise as presented in Gen 15:1-5 and that’s what Abraham did.

    The same goes with all who simply in a moments time, believe on Jesus Christ and if they do they too will be declared righteous/saved forever by God (Jn 3.16, Acts 16:30-31)!!

  8. Matthew Reed says:

    [I’m sure Abraham stood in presumption when he took matters into his own hands to accomplish God’s will in his life. But yet, God says that Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as faith?]

    Another thing I forgot to point out is that you cited Abraham as being presumptous, a possibility but clearly he was becoming impatient with God (Gen 15:3). Nonetheless he was rebellious as we all are naturally but note he was already declared righteous/saved by God in Gen 15, which was probably some time before Sarai and Abrams rebellion account in Gen 16.

    So you see the righteous/saved can sin and most often do but inspite of them God remains forever faithful to His declarations and promises.

  9. Moreorles says:

    My Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) leader use to say that, “Faith is not a leap in the dark, it is a walk in the light.” I believe this is another way to express what you are saying. A leap in the dark is presumption, while a walk in the light is a walk by faith. If we step off a cliff just believing that God will catch us, maybe He will or maybe He won’t depending on His will/desire. However, if God tells us to step off that cliff He will catch us or give us a place to plant our foot. (The Last Crusade) We always need to be sure we are walking in His light.

  10. Silvanus says:

    Hi Heretic,

    28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
    Rom 8

    33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things (shelter, clothing, food) shall be added unto you.
    Matt 6

    For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit
    Rom 14

    Faith is Trust
    Trust is Faith
    – Man can no man trust 100% – but GOD.

    I believe when we are truely led by Jesus’ spirit (Phill. 1), when we trust, when we desperately search righteousness through daily repentance,
    than we are doing everytime the right thing,
    indeed sometimes realizing/recognizing it later on.

    • Silvanus says:

      I wanna add, the Kingdom of God is a present thing, feeling joy , already having eternal life and light,
      it already here and not something one has to die for first to experience it.
      “The Kingdom of god is at hand” – its here to “touch”

      Sadly, many believers in “churchianity” dont realize this!

      Wouldnt this news be the best “marketing” in our mission?!

      • Heretic says:

        @ Silvanus –

        Yes. It is the kingdom Now and not (fully) yet! Jesus told us to pray thy kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven. He wouldn’t have told us to pray an impossible prayer. He also said at another point that there were people who were with him who would not die until they saw the kingdom of God come in power – that verse always puzzled me until I realized that those people died and Jesus didn’t lie!


    • Heretic says:

      @ Silvanus-

      Good thoughts – some of my favorite verses.

      Jesus said that he only did what he saw the father doing. This is what we need to strive for as well – only doing and saying what we see and hear the father doing and saying.

  11. Hebrew says:

    The debate of faith Vs presumption is not knew but an old one. Both faith and presumption have one element eliminated from them and that is doubt. A person in presumption believes he is in the right regardless of the facts. What differenciates the two is that faith comes from God while presumption is our own making. Faith is based on the relationship we have established with God based on his word. Without having this relationship, even what we consider as faith is just but presumption.

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