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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

January 8, 2016

Walking by faith

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

There is a similarity between eyesight and faith simply in the effect that they have – one on the physical, the other on the spiritual. "Seeing is believing", man says. People learn from what they see and it helps to shape their life. Seeing in this sense can also mean experience; we learn from experience.

Faith also shapes the life of a believing person, as he lives by faith.

But other than the commonality of being a source of orientation, seeing and faith are dissimilar, as the apostle Paul writes: "We walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). Hebrews 11, verse 1 tells us that faith is "the evidence of things not seen". Faith doesn't come from what we see, but from what we hear (Romans 10:17).

Eyesight is important for physical life, but not for faith. Consider physical Israel as proof of this. The Israelites saw multiple miracles in Egypt and in the wilderness, but they seem to have profited them almost nothing. They saw the Nile turn to blood. They saw the frogs. They saw the lice. They saw the darkness. They saw the hail. They saw the fire on the ground. They saw the murrain kill the cattle. They saw the firstborn die. They saw the Red Sea part. They saw the pillar of fire and the cloud. They saw water coming out of the rock. They saw manna on the ground every day for forty years. They saw all those things.

But all those things they saw had no effect on their spiritual well-being. Their eyesight did not give them faith. On the contrary, despite the things they had seen, they lacked faith needed to enter the Promised Land:

"Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" (Hebrews 3:17-19).

Faith does not depend on what we can see. Faith is based on what we cannot see. And God gives us faith, as we read in Ephesians 2, verse 8: "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God."

We did not have real spiritual faith until God began to call us. It is a gift because, by a mighty miracle, God opened our minds to enable us to understand His Word so that we can process the evidence we hear from His Word and make right choices relevant to His Kingdom.

And those who walk by faith will enter the spiritual Promised Land, the kingdom of God.

With these thoughts I wish everyone a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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