Thursday, October 13, 2005

Faith and Sight

For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
Faith is not about seeing in the natural; it is about seeing beyond the natural. The problem many people have is that they are trying to see with their senses instead of with their spirit. Faith is seeing in the spirit.

In Hebrews 11, the author addresses the matter of faith and sight. In verse 1, faith is the substance, the underlying reality, the “title-deed” of things we expect to see but do not yet appear.

In verse 3, we see that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. The very nature and origin of the universe is such that what is seen is fully dependent upon something that cannot be seen, the Word of God.

In verse 5, we learn that Enoch was translated to glory with God, “so that he did not see death.” He pleased God because He had faith, believing what God said. He came to such a place in his life and in his walk with the Lord, and was so tied into the Spirit of life, that he saw completely past death, and it did not touch him.
For without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
Enoch received the reward because, instead of trying to perceive reality with his senses, he decided to seek after God. He saw with his spirit, by faith.

Of Abraham — “by faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country” (v.9) It was given to him in promise, but by all appearances it did not look anything at all like it belonged to him. But he was able to patiently abide there because he was looking “for the city which has foundations, whose builder is God” (v. 10). He saw in the spirit that it was so.

Neither Abraham nor Sarah looked at their aged, worn bodies, but believed the promise of God that she would conceive and give birth to a son. “Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars in the sky in multitude — innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore” (v. 12).

Of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Jacob —
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. (vv. 13-14)
In this life, they did not see the full achievement of all that was promised. But they saw past the natural, even past the age in which they were living. The promises were far off, but they saw them anyway. They were assured, persuaded, convinced of them. They embraced and welcomed them. They confessed that it was so, that it fully belonged to them, even though they had no personal experience of it. They declared that they were strangers here because they were seeking a homeland in the promises of God. They saw it all in the spirit and rejoiced.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received promises, offered up his only begotten son … concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead. (vv. 17-19)
Abraham had never seen a dead man raised before. But he was through following his senses. He was now following the promises of God.
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. (v. 20)
Isaac did not see these things in the natural, but in the spirit. He spoke them by faith. In their turn, Jacob and Joseph saw by faith and declared what they saw (vv. 21-23). And it all came to pass.
By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured as seeing Him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, lest he who destroyed the firstborn should touch them. By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land, whereas the Egyptians, attempting to do so, were drowned. (vv. 24-29)
In the natural, Moses could see the pleasures of sin and all the treasures of Egypt. He could also see the reproach of Christ, and Pharaoh’s wrath. But he looked past those things to the reward that comes by faith, not by sight. He endured because he looked in the spirit and saw the invisible God, by whom all things were created.

In the natural, he had never before seen the events which are described in the Passover. He had never before seen the Red Sea part, leaving a pathway of dry ground all the way to the other side. But he believed and obeyed the Word of God, so He saw it all come to pass.

Oral Roberts said, “When you can see the invisible, you can do the impossible.” That is what happened with all these heroes of faith. They looked past the natural and into the spirit. They saw by faith all the things God promised them. His invisible words were more real to them than all they experienced by their senses, their emotions, their thoughts. They saw the invisible, so they were able to do the impossible.

Walk by faith, not by sight. Look into the spirit and see all that God has promised in His Word. Embrace it joyfully and, with every word that comes out of your lips, confess that it belongs to you.

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