Faith is the “amen,” the “yes,” to God’s gifts. Like an open hand, Faith receives what the Lord wants to give.
And God delights to give. The good work He began in each Christian at the day of his baptism, the Lord is continuing until the day of the return of Jesus (Phil. 1:6). God delivered the gifts of faith and forgiveness of sins in Holy Baptism, but He doesn’t quit once faith has been delivered. No, He is always working through the proclamation of His word to sustain faith. He is always working through the mouth of the minister to absolve sins. He is always working through His Holy Supper to forgive sins, to nourish faith, and to enable the faithful to love each other.
Faith says “yes”; it never says “no.” Unbelief says “no” to God’s gifts. Unbelief closes the open, receiving hand of faith. Unbelief tells God that, while His gifts may be good, they’re just not needed right now.
While unbelief and faith can coexist, as they did for the father of the demon-possessed boy (Mark 9:24), unbelief wars against faith. How long can a person refuse God’s gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation before he has completely destroyed God’s gift of faith? Who knows? Better not to find out.
If you know someone who, by continuing to refuse the gifts God offers in the Divine Service, is acting out of unbelief, warn him. Call him to repent and to receive the Lord’s good gifts that He offers freely and continually.