by Mike Ratliff
1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:1-10 (NASB)
If we read this passage phrase by phrase, we see that Paul is telling the Corinthian Church that “we know” things. What things? We know that our bodies will die, but at that moment we have a body “made not with hands” that is eternal. Knowing this, we “walk by faith” instead of by sight. What does Paul mean by this?
Paul uses this entire passage to explain how and why he does what he does. How can he take the Gospel into hostile territory? How can he endure beatings, persecutions, slanders, lies, and merciless attacks from the enemies of truth? He can do this because, instead of focusing on the evil circumstances he constantly finds himself in, he focuses on God, what He has done as well as on Jesus Christ his savior and what He has done. Knowing and believing the truth of the Gospel, he then obeys God in all that he does no matter how much he is threatened. He is not obeying blindly. He knows that God has proven His Word to Him. He believes truth. He is not hoping in a dream or a fantasy, but in God and His truth.
Walking by Faith, not by sight, is simply believing God and obeying Him in all things regardless of threats, perceived or real. This faith is based on a trust in God to fulfill His promises to His people. When we do this, we are not walking blind, but are trusting in our God who never lies, never fails, never makes mistakes, and always does what is right. When we do this, we will never be ashamed of the gospel. Instead, we will be bold, humble, and believing. On the other hand, if we try to obey God by sharing our faith, but we are doubting because of the hatred for the truth all around us, we will be motivated by something other than our faith. We will be walking by sight. We will be ashamed of the gospel so we will manufacture a new version of it that will not be as threatening to those who cannot abide the truth. What is the result? If we look closely at the “Christian Church” status in our time (2020), we will see that the “manufactured gospel” is all that we hear from the vast majority of those “churches” which have become pragmatic. Some have even gone so far as to create a new version of the Gospel that makes it all about Social Justice, Critical Race Theory, and Intersectionality, none of which have anything to do with the Biblical Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The parts of the Gospel that is hated by fleshly people is not emphasized. Instead, only the benefits of salvation are preached and taught. There is no discussion of election, God’s Holiness, Righteousness, Justice, and Wrath against sin. There is no mention made of man’s utter lostness and inability to save himself because of being dead in trespasses and sins. The focus is to “come to Jesus so He can make your life better” or “come to Jesus so He can save you and you won’t go to Hell” or “become part of our Social Justice Movement and become the Christian Jesus meant for you to be.” The whole exercise results in churches full of people who are not walking by faith, but instead, are walking by sight using their religion as an out in order to not go to Hell or to reform the Earth the way they perceive Jesus would do it.
We must examine ourselves. Are we using Jesus to not go to Hell or are we serving our Saviour who died on the cross to save us and make us joint heirs with Him in eternity? Are we pursuing personal holiness or are we simply religious?
17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NASB)
This is a work of God. He must regenerate the heart of those who are saved or there is no salvation. These new creations are not simply religious people. Instead they are “regenerate.” They are changed and will never be at peace with sin in their lives. There can be no cavalier attitude about sin in a regenerate heart. The Holy Spirit lives there and He will cause conviction of all sin to bring repentance and personal holiness to fruition.
Soli Deo Gloria!