2 Corinthians 5:7. for we walk by faith, not by sight.
With this phrase Paul has brilliantly condensed the life of the Christian down to a simple eight-word reflection. Union with Christ is the life of faith (Gal. 2:20). For the Christian, faith is an active dependence upon God. He is the object of our faith. And yet he is unseen. He is hidden.
Often faith is seen as contrary to reason. But real faith is always rooted in reason. But that reason can be unseen or hidden. Like God himself. Like the future glory that awaits us in God’s presence. These hidden realities are actually the ultimate realities. Realities that remain unseen – for now. One day we will see Jesus. We will see God. We will see the new earth and our new body. We will see each other in a state of glory. But until then, in the present, we walk by faith. We trust in what we cannot yet see. How? Because we trust in the God who has made himself seen. A God who died on the cross for you and me. A God who entered into time and space so that we could trust him.
The cross of Christ is where the seen and the unseen met. At the cross faith and sight collided. In the cross God is both hidden and on full display at the same time. Fully present and yet absent. Screaming and yet silent. His glory was veiled by the shame of the cross and yet revealed by the honor of the cross. And that is why it takes great faith to see God in the cross. This is why it takes great faith to see God in his hiddenness and hear him in his silence. As Christians we are able to see the unseen by faith.
In Paul’s day they held on to the seen temple, the seen priests, the seen sacrifices. The Corinthians wanted to see displays of power. And we’re not much different. We want to see God at work too. We expect to have “spiritual experiences” at church or maybe at a Christian concert. We want to hear Jesus call to us in our “quiet time.” We so desperately need to see God’s power, so we label every little thing as a miracle. In the end we won’t believe unless God shows up and does something new to prove himself to us over and over again.
In the end we love displays. We love testimonies of grandeur. We love cause and effect. We love to see God work out all of our problems. We love glory without the cross. And we hate the silence. We hate the hiddenness of God. We actually hate carrying the cross.
But the truth is that God is still hidden within the cross. Our cross. Our crucified life. Faith is seeing the hidden and invisible God in the reality of your union with Christ’s death. Faith is seeing power hidden within weakness. Honor hidden within humility. Wisdom hidden within folly. God’s great love and grace hidden within your great suffering.
If there is no hiddenness, and if there is no silence, then how can there be faith? If all is seen, how can we trust in the unseen? If there is no despair, then how could there be hope? If we are constantly requiring God to show up in our lives, over and over, with greater and greater displays of power, and answers to prayer, then how will we ever trust that he has already won the victory and indwells our lives?
Yes, this world we live in is a living hell, and for those trying to have faith in the unseen things of God it can be so confusing that you may just want to quit. Don’t. Because the “hidden God” was revealed at the cross, and the glory of God was veiled by the gruesome terror of the crucified Jesus. But only for those who have faith to see it.
“To live is Christ” is this same hiddenness of God. His glory is hidden in our shame. Our weakness. Our sacrifice. Our folly. Our light and momentary affliction. Our messed up life. Our cross. How? Because it is your suffering and sin filled life that displays the grace and goodness of the cross. Not some miracle, spiritual experience, or new “victory” that God sends our way. Your union with Christ’s cross IS the only miracle you need. Union with Christ’s cross is your only needed spiritual experience. The question is will you have faith to see it? Or will you continue to walk by sight?
Can you see how your life is characterized by “walking by sight?”
You in Christ
Can you see how God is hidden and yet revealed within the grace of your union with Christ and in your crucified life for the sake of others?
Christ in you
What would your life look like if you truly lived by faith and not by sight?
Playlist: Faith Not Sight.
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