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 a 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 the world would like to contrast faith and reason, pitting them against each other. However, real faith is always rooted in reality. But make no mistake, the realities that ground our faith are unseen, like God himself. Or like the future glory that awaits us in God’s presence. These unseen realities are actually the ultimate realities. Realities that remain hidden – for now. One day we will see Jesus. 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 see. Why? Because we trust in the God that was made visible for us. A God who entered into time and space so that we could see 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.
The Corinthian Christians 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,” or hear Jesus call to us in our “quiet time.” We so desperately need to see God 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 walk by sight not by faith.
But 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 for us in the cross of Christ?
Christian, God is still hidden within that cross. The cross we carry. Our crucified life. Faith is seeing power hidden within your cross of weakness. Honor hidden within your cross of humility. Wisdom hidden within your cross of folly. God’s great love and grace hidden within your cross of suffering.
“To live is Christ” is faith not sight. Faith that believes that it is our suffering and sin filled lives that display the grace and goodness of the cross. Faith that believes that our union with Christ’s cross is the only miracle we need.
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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