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Discovery Magazine 9/1/2015

Biblical Faith Is Not Based on Feelings

Did you know that there are different kinds of belief? A belief is a decision or a judgment on whether or not something is true. If I say, “I believe baseball is the best sport,” that is a weak belief. That is my opinion, and I cannot prove it to be true. On the other hand, if I say, “I believe that this person is guilty of the charges in this criminal trial,” that is an example of a strong belief because I am making my decision based on the evidence presented in the trial. In this case, the facts determine my belief, but in the first case my opinion determines my belief. Biblical faith is an example of a strong belief because it is based on the evidence given in the Bible, history, and the Universe. Therefore, biblical faith is not based on how I feel, but it is based on the facts.

How does one gain biblical faith? In Luke 8:4-8, Jesus told the parable of the sower. In that parable, the seed was planted and grew only in the proper soil. The seed, according to Jesus, is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). Without the seed, there is nothing to sow in the soil, since Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” If we do not hear God’s Word, we can’t build a biblical faith.  

But is biblical faith based on sincerity? In other words, if a person is sincere in whatever he or she believes, does that make it true? No, sincerity alone does not produce biblical faith. Paul is a prime example of this. Paul admitted that he was a devout Jew and a persecutor of Christians (Philippians 3:5-6). He believed in his Jewish heritage so sincerely that he aided in the murder of Christians (Acts 8:1-3) without feeling guilty about it (Acts 23:1), but that did not make what he believed right. Despite the fact that Paul was a “Hebrew of Hebrews,” he was still wrong in persecuting the Church!

Does that mean sincerity is not important? No, sincerity is a trait that everyone should have. Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:5 that we should have a sincere faith. Sincerity should be a characteristic of our faith, but not the guide of our faith. We should base our faith on the facts of the Gospel (strong belief), not on our feelings or sincerity (weak belief).

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