Recently I watched a new Netflix original movie called Bird Box (based on a novel by Josh Malerman). It’s gotten some buzz lately (I actually heard some of the employees at Nando’s talking about it the other day). It’s a distopian horror story with evil creatures that infect you when you look at them. Looking at them makes you suicidal or homicidal. Soon survival is reduced to not looking at the evil creatures and avoiding the homicidal maniacs that want to kill you. This means that anytime you are outside you must close your eyes or wear a blindfold. The movie tells the story of a woman named Malorie and two young children that are seeking a refuge where they will be safe and able to open their eyes again. Getting there is a harrowing journey over hundreds of miles – without sight.
It’s definitely not a Christian movie but in many ways it illustrates the Christian life. We live in the horrors of this world. Everything we can “see,” the temporal, is out to destroy us. To drive us toward law and thus toward death. So we must walk by faith and not by sight. We are travelling to a better place. A place of life and beauty and safety.
This is where Romans 8 is going to take us. Out from the wretched life that comes from trying to keep God’s law while avoiding sin’s law. As in the movie, everything we look at seeks to control our mindset and steal our life: performance, control, materialism, temporal beauty, sexuality, morality. Looking good for others. Comparing our life to others. Judging God based on what we see each day rather than based on what we can’t see. Maybe we should all live with blindfolds on (please don’t). Maybe then we would walk by faith and not by sight.
Or, we can learn to walk by the Spirit.
Back in 2 Corinthians Paul spent a lot of time contrasting the law and the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:6-11. [God] has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
7 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8 will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9 For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
Paul describes a life in the Spirit that is far more glorious than a life under the law. Why? Because only life in the Spirit can transform us into the image of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18). Only life in the Spirit can bring freedom (3:17). Only life in the Spirit is righteousness not condemnation (3:9).
2 Corinthians 5 tells us that life in the Spirit is a life of faith not sight.
2 Corinthians 5:4b-7. …what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.
This is where Romans 8 is going to take us, into the life of faith. The life of the Spirit. How do we navigate this scary, sorrowful, and sin filled life? By faith.
Faith in what? Faith in our union with Christ. Our death with him and our resurrection with him. Our death to sin and law. Our resurrection to life in God and the new way of the Spirit. Faith in imputed righteousness. Faith in the hope of eternal life. Faith in our son-ship. Faith in our ultimate victory. Faith in God’s never ending, never changing love. Faith in “to live is Christ.”
Are you living by sight or by faith? What is your faith in? Is it your union with Christ, or something else?