What is Faith? (And What it’s Not): Faith is not a Religious Feeling.

The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” (Luke 17:5)

Many men and women claim to be people of faith, yet when you ask them why, they say, “Well, I just have a strong feeling inside of me that I’m a Christian.” By this standard, someone may deny the deity of Jesus Christ, repudiate His atoning death, and disbelieve His bodily resurrection and still be regarded as a Christian because they have a strong feeling about it.

Yet Scripture teaches that faith is not a subjective religious feeling divorced from the objective truth that God has made known. It is not a vague, internal experience that has its origin in one’s own self.

Can we call someone a Christian simply on the basis of what is going on in their gut? Is a Christian whatever we want a Christian to be, depending on the strength of a subjective conviction? Not at all! Why not? Because the Bible says so! It repeatedly reminds us about the danger of being misled by our feelings. In Proverbs, Solomon writes, “Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered” (28:26). Elsewhere, the prophet Jeremiah takes this truth a step further, declaring that “the heart is deceitful above all things” (17:9).

This is not to say that faith never stirs or excites our hearts. It should! The Gospel is exhilarating news. True faith, however, isn’t only that. The strong feeling it engenders is never divorced from the objective truth that has been made clear to us in the pages of the Scriptures. Whatever that is, it’s not biblical faith.

Adapted from the sermon “What Is Faith?” by Alistair Begg