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We Live By Faith, Not By Sight

by David Johnson

Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program

 

     Thank you for listening to these radio broadcasts from Words of Life as we look into the Word of God and make personal application and share these principles, promises, prophecies with others. The title for the lesson is: “We Live by Faith, Not by Sight.” And our primary text is taken from the New Testament the Second Corinthian letter chapter 5 verses 6 through 8. Please listen to the Word of God:“Therefore, we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

Words that are so very true if we are mature Christians.

     I have a book entitled: “Nearing home life, faith and finishing well,” written by Billy Graham. It was the Christian Book of the Year in the year of our Lord 2011 when Billy Graham was age 93. Within its pages is much godly wisdom we could all benefit from along with all the scripture he quotes and applies.

     In Graham’s opening introduction he writes rather honestly and a bit surprisingly: “I never thought I would life to be this old. All my life I was taught how to die as a Christian, but no one ever taught me how I ought to live in the years before I die. I wish they had because I am an old man now, and believe me, it’s not easy. Whoever first said it, was right: old age is not for sissies. Get any group of older people together, and I can almost guarantee their favorite topic of conversation will be their latest aches and pains.” Perhaps you can relate to this. Perhaps you know someone who can relate to this you can share some of these truths with them.  Does this even sound accurate? Do I have your attention?

     Graham continues: “I will soon celebrate my ninety-third birthday, and I know it won’t be long before the Lord calls me home to heaven. More than ever, I look forward to that day – not just because of the wonders I know heaven holds in store for me, and for every believer, but because I know that finally all the burdens and sorrows that press down upon me at this stage of my life will be over.

     I also look forward to that day because I will be reunited with Ruth, my beloved wife and best friend for almost sixty-four years, who went home in the year 2007 to be with the Lord she loved and served so faithfully.”

     We probably all have believing loved ones who have gone on to heaven – that we dearly miss and greatly desire to spend eternality with. Does this speak to you?

     When my own dear mother-in-law Opal accepted that her time with us was short, she simply stated “I’m just going on ahead of you” her way of saying don’t fret we’ll all be together again someday, and with the Lord our savior.

     Let’s consider precious and tremendous truths Second Corinthians chapter 5 verses 6 through 8 “Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.”

     I repeat these words from the Lord, or from the pen of Paul that they may sink in deeply into our minds, into our hearts and spirits. Notice the apostle Paul emphasizes twice the confidence of believers in these truths. Why? Because “We live by faith, not by sight. We are confident that one day we, as overcoming believers, will one glorious day be with the Lord and our believing loved ones who have gone on ahead of us. And that reality will be greater by far, by far than this earth borne existence. Usually for younger ones this is not that appealing. Just wait, if God gives you at least three score and ten (70 years) you’ll come around to the older one’s side if you are a believer.

     “At home in the body we are away from the Lord” not completely away, but while in our mortal bodies’ believers do not yet have the fullness of the Lord’s presence. “We live by faith, not by sight” because we have confidence in heaven with God as our home. Confidence in heaven with God as our home even though we have not seen it yet. Believers have confidence in scriptural truth because it is the Word of God, it is God breathed. Conversely: “Away from the body (is) at home with the Lord.” To have close intimate fellowship with our Creator, with our Savior, with our Redeemer is what the spirit of the believer yearns for.

     Commentator David Jeremiah writes regarding this passage “Where does a believer go when he or she dies? Scripture teaches that, until our blessed Savior returns again to be (New King James Version) “absent from (New International Version or away) from the body” is to be “present with the Lord” But what does this mean?

     Often, we confuse our intermediate state (where we go when we die) with our eternal state (Where we will be after Jesus comes again and all is made new). In the intermediate state, our corruptible body is returned to the earth while our spirit goes to heaven to be in God’s presence. But all is not yet as it should be. We were not created to be spirits only, in the intermediate state, we are woefully incomplete! That is why, as we read in First Corinthians 15, our hope is in our resurrection, not in a disembodied existence in heaven.

     When Jesus returns in the clouds to call His own home First Thessalonians chapter 4 verses 13 through 18, the spirits of all who ever confessed Him as Lord and Savior will be reunited with their bodies, recreated, incorruptible, and whole as they were created to be! Our spirit and body will be reunited to live in the presence of our Lord for all eternity, untainted ever again by sin. That is every Christian’s hope: to be transformed into the image of Christ, who exists now and forevermore!” In the meantime, …

     Billy Graham, American Evangelist continues: “No, old age is not for sissies. But that isn’t the whole story, nor did God intend for it to be. While the Bible doesn’t gloss over the problems we face as we grow older, neither does it paint old age as a time to be despised or a burden to be endured with gritted teeth (if we still have any teeth, at least our original teeth). Nor does it picture us in or latter years as useless and ineffective, condemned to spend our last days in endless boredom or meaningless activity until God finally takes us home.

     Instead, the Bible says that God has a reason for keeping us here; if He didn’t, He would take us to heaven far sooner. But what is our purpose for these latter years, and how can we align our lives with it? How can we not only learn to cope with the fears and struggles and growing limitations we face but actually grow stronger inwardly in the midst of these difficulties? How can we face the future with hope instead of despair? Even young people need wisdom in these areas because the best way to meet the challenges of old age is to prepare for them now, before later years arrive. We can have joy once we learn to look at maturing years from God’s point of view and discover God’s strength to sustain us each day.  We can all learn, with God’s help, to grow older, regardless of our age, with grace and find guidance needed to finish well.”

     Even as believers, we encounter life experiences that threaten to harden our hearts at least for a season. We meet daily demands for our energy and focus. How can we be sure that our roots are deeply in Christ, being led by the Holy Spirit not grieving or quenching the Spirit within us. Not in this fleeting world but deeply in Christ. What keeps our hearts sensitive to God and His work in us and in the world?

     Let us never forget; all true believers are infused with God’s life, we’re given the Holy Spirit to indwell us, to strengthen our hearts through faith (according to Ephesians chapter 3 verses 16 through 17). Even when we fall prey to the world’s distractions; God can always be trusted to shake us often, often enough and deeply enough to keep the eyes of our hearts fixed on Him. We need to remember, we belong to God, we are his family, sons and daughters of the Living God who will never forsake us!

     In Psalm 90 we have recorded a prayer of Moses making this psalm the oldest of all the 150 psalms. Listen to one of Moses’ prayer petitions to God which should be the meditation of our hearts as well: Psalm 90 and verse 12 “Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

     Does this sound like a worthwhile goal? We’ll continue along these lines, as Christians, journeying toward home, and let’s not forget as a faithful son or daughter of God we await our promotion. We are going up! When we are down, we need to remember we’re going up to be with the Lord.

 

       David Johnson is minister of Sellersburg Church of Christ in Sellersburg, IN.

 




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10