On The Word
-- by Tim Greenwood - December
assent can be one of the greatest enemies of a life of faith.
Mat. 19:20, a young man said to Jesus, “All these things have I kept
youth up: what lack I yet?” He was
claiming to have real Bible faith, but the truth was that he had mental
instead of real faith. The way that he reacted to Jesus’ reply proves
how can we avoid falling into the same trap?
Is mental assent? Mental assent is a
subtle form of self-deception, just one step removed from hypocrisy.
Luke 12:1 Jesus said to his disciples, Beware ye of the leaven of the
Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy is characterized as choosing not to practice what we preach.
We don't need anyone to explain hypocrisy or how crippling and common
assent is just as crippling and even more common but hidden from our
what is the difference between mental assent and hypocrisy?
is knowing what we ought to do but choosing not to. It's obvious both
yourself and those around you. Mental assent is more personal and less
Indeed, waking up to its presence usually comes as a shock.
see; with mental assent you believe something in your head, you agree,
and confirm it is right, proper and godly. It carries your unwavering
endorsement. You may not talk about it, but it bears your seal of
problem is that you don't even realize that you are not fulfilling it.
think it, but don't actually do it.
It is because with mental assent you believe it in your head but not in
you truly believe something in your heart, you speak it aloud and put
practice. You only believe God's Word as far as you obey and act on it.
you see how it is actually ignorant hypocrisy, and just as toxic to a
Christians, we need to change from mental assent to real Bible faith.
Bible faith is of the heart, not the head: it includes your spirit,
just your mind.
10:9-10 says, “That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord
shall believe in your heart that God hath raised him from the dead,
be saved. For with the heart man
believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made
simply, when you believe in your heart you will do a thing. Believing
is a verb; faith is an
action. Faith without action is dead, and useless (James 2: 14-18).
agreeing and assenting to something does not produce action. Heart
results in action.
by acting do you prove what you believe. You see why it is easy to
something in your mind, as though you were a participant, but not do it
yourself? It is self-deceiving to claim to believe without
action. That's mental assent and it can only end in failure.
about answered prayer? Mental assent keeps asking for the same things
prayer. Heart faith asks once and knows God has answered according to
promise and then begins praising and thanking Him even before the
can be blocked by mental assent. Christians claim and proclaim the
promises; but fail to act
on them. Mental assent: they stay sick or infirmed. What a difference
change from mental assent to real Bible faith.
kind of mental assent is a “group mentality” kind of faith. I
used to be part of denomination where “we”
believed this and “we” believed that without ever even considering what
believed as an individual. My faith was
the belief that surely the whole group couldn’t be deceived into
wrong doctrines! What a shock to
believe that your feet are on solid rock, only to suddenly have that
right out from under your feet!
Bible faith is not mental assent. John Wesley warned in his time that
a dangerous substitute for faith that he called "mental assent." He
was caught in this dangerous trap and only escaped after failing as a
missionary in America (his words.) Faith is of the heart and not merely
head. Simply agreeing that God exists and that his Word (the Bible) is
not real Bible faith. James states that even demons have mental assent.
2:19 says, “Do you believe that there is one God? That’s pretty good
the devils believe that, and tremble”
It’s time for all Christians to make the change
from mental assent to real Bible faith!
Rom. 10:17 says that (real Bible) faith comes by hearing, and hearing
(and hearing and hearing) the Word of God.
We need to learn what the Bible says, we need to individually believe
what it says to us personally in our heart, we need to say what God is
in the Bible and then step out and act upon the Living Word of the
with the kind of faith that truly pleases God!