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Experiential Religion

Q: What is meant by experiential religion?

Suggested Daily Reading: Acts 26:24-32

A: Think of a doctor who specializes in working with people who have cancer. He believes that cancer is real. He diagnoses cancer and provides treatment plans for his patients every day. But today is different. This doctor is informed that he has cancer! This knowledge is not the same. This truth about cancer is life-changing. His priorities change. Last week, this doctor was busy planning a trip to Mexico and excited about purchasing a new car. But now these things are not important – he has cancer! His cancer becomes an over-riding concern. He needs to be cured! The doctor now experiences what it is to personally have cancer.

Experiential (or experimental) religion means personally experiencing true religion. A person can know what the Bible teaches about sin in the same way that the doctor knew a lot about cancer. One can believe that the histories about Jesus recorded in the Bible are true, like King Agrippa believed. Yet, these people have not personally experienced these truths. Like King Agrippa, they remain not fully persuaded to actually repent from sin, embrace Jesus Christ and serve Him as their King.

When I personally experience that I am a sinner, then sin becomes the greatest problem. It changes priorities, as it changed the doctor’s priorities when he experienced that he personally had cancer. It then becomes most important to be personally cured from our disease of sin. However, I experience that I cannot do this, as I add to my sin every day. The Lord Jesus Christ then becomes so precious! He is the only doctor who can heal my life-killing disease of sin. Without Him, I die! When I experience something of His saving grace, how I want to love and serve Him in return! This is more than simply believing truths about sin and Jesus. Experiential religion is personally experiencing these truths in a real way.

Is your knowledge of sin, of salvation in Jesus and of love to obey Him, only factual, or by God’s grace, is it also experiential? 

How will the results of only factual belief be different from experiential believing?


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