Sugar-Pill Beliefs

The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men..Luke 18:11

Studies show that sugar pills, or placebos, can actually alleviate symptoms if a sick person believes they are an effective medication. Some research showed that many people found them helpful even after being told the pills were placebos.

This illustrates that a belief may be temporarily effective even when it is founded on something that isn’t true. Think of the startling implications this has for religious faith. Just as sugar pills can bring temporary relief, wrong beliefs about God can result in false feelings of peace and happiness. When this occurs, an individual may feel no need to trust Christ as his Savior from sin.

The Pharisee in Luke 18 is an example of one who swallowed ideas about himself that made him feel close to God. Convinced that they were true, he had a false sense of well-being, confidence, and happiness. Yet, his actual spiritual condition remained terminal. He congratulated himself before God, but the only one cured that day was the repentant sinner who saw the truth about himself and called upon the Lord for mercy.

Sugar-pill beliefs about God and sin may seem to work, but don’t depend on them. The only cure for sin is found in knowing Christ. He gives permanent relief.

True faith in Christ will never fail,
It’s fixed upon a solid base;
Nor does it set aside the mind
But rests on God’s unchanging grace.


Feelings are no substitute for facts and faith.

By Mart DeHaan

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