Is Your Salvation Based on Faith or Feeling?

Introduction: (Today, many people use feelings as their primary measuring stick in religious matters. When pressed with scripture they often retreat to feelings, claiming that these feelings are surely not wrong. Is your view of salvation based on faith, or is it based on your feelings? Use Dagwood And Blondie cartoon as an example. In the first frame a rake falls in front of Dagwood. Dagwood concludes this is a sign from God for him to work around the yard. In the fourth frame he stumbles onto an old golf club while gathering tools. Now he decides this is a sign from heaven for him to play golf. This illustrates how our feelings often reflect what we really want to believe.)

I. Define Feelings: (It is interesting the terms "feel", "feelings", "emotion", "emotions" and "emotional" are not in the (KJV) Bible! "Feeling" is only there twice [Eph. 4:19, Heb. 4:15] and in neither case does it sanction using emotion as a religious measuring stick. Yet, many act as though these are the greatest expressions of spirituality. We can, however, find places that hint at these ideas. These will help us define feelings for the purpose of our study.)

    1. Religious Emotional Fervor: I Chron. 13:4-8 (In this context David leads Israel in getting the ark of the Covenant. They are certain their deed is noble so they rejoice, dancing and singing. Their celebration reflects a high degree of religious emotional fervor. But they were wrong, and Uzzah died!)

    2. Sincerity: I Kings 18:25-29 (Here the Baal worshipers were certainly sincere. Their extreme practices reflect they were very emotional about their religion. But they were wrong, and they died!)

II. Define Faith: (In contrast, "faith", "faithful", "believe", etc. are in the Bible hundreds of times [at least over 600]. This is clearly the more biblical concept. The following verses will help define faith for the purpose of our study.)

    1. Substantive: Heb. 11:1 (This passage presents faith as something that is real, substantive and tangible. It is not an illusive, mystical concept. It is not unstable and ever changing like emotions.)

    2. Comes From God's Word: Rom. 10:17, Acts 15:7 (Biblical faith has one, and only one origin, God's word. If your views are not based on what God's word teaches, they are not based on faith. If your convictions are based on what you feel instead of what the Bible says, you are not living by faith.)

III. The Choice Is Obvious: II Cor. 5:7 (What can we do when your emotions tell you one thing, but a pagan's emotions tell them something different? Obviously we must walk by faith, not feelings. What we've seen already makes it clear your salvation should be based on faith, not feelings. Now we see the Bible is specific, we are to walk by faith, not by sight. Since faith comes from God's word, not feelings, God's word is the acid test to determine what is right and wrong.)

    1. Heart (Feelings) Can Be Evil: Heb. 3:12-13 (Not only does this passage show the heart can be evil, it also shows the heart or feelings can be in opposition to faith; i.e. an evil heart of unbelief.)

    2. Foolish To Trust Heart: Prov. 28:26, Prov. 30:12, Prov. 10:20 (All these passages show our emotions are unreliable and we should not trust them.)

    3. Heart (Feelings) Can Be Deceitful: Jer. 17:9-10 (Above all other things God would have you learn about the heart, emotions, he wants you to know it is inclined to be evil.)

IV. Some Object: (Some insist THEIR feelings are different, THEIRS are reliable. We hear stories like: "I had a vision...", or "A prophet told me...", or "God spoke to me...". Instead of falling prey to these emotional pleas, let's base our views on FAITH and see what God's word says about these things.)

    1. Heart Is Only Reliable When You Trust God: Ps. 112:7 (God says your heart is only reliable when you trust HIM and follow his word. Your emotions are good only when you walk by faith, not by feelings.)

    2. Visions Can Be False: Ezek. 13:2-9 (Some claimed to have seen visions or heard God talk to them. God told Ezekiel these claims were false!) Jn. 1:18 (For those who claim to have seen God, his word says you haven't. The Bible says no mortal man has ever seen God, at any time!)

    3. You Can Cause Your Own Dreams: Jer. 29:8 (God said those who claimed to have dreams made the dreams happen themselves. Sometimes we can get so emotionally caught up in something that we can trick ourselves into "seeing things". God says YOU caused it! Don't blame him. Follow his word, walk by faith, not feelings.)

Conclusion: Heb. 11:6 (You must have faith in order to please God. If your religious views are based on feelings instead of God's word, they are not of faith. Without faith your religious views and activities CANNOT please God.) Prov. 3:5-6 (You should base your life on God's word, not your own feelings.)