Faith in the Invisible

by J. Randal Matheny, editor
invisible.JPG“We live by faith, not by sight,” wrote Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians (5.7 NET).
Faith contains the element of the invisible. It believes in what it cannot point at. It’s light comes from walking in the dark. In this sense, pardon the expression, faith is based on ignorance, in the sense of not knowing by personal experience.
Faith is certainly not ignorant, in the Biblical sense of refusing to come to terms with truth or knowledge. But it deals with the unseen.
Faith is Elisha who sees nothing but a pagan army with horses and chariots surrounding Dothan and who tells his servant, “Don’t be afraid, for our side outnumbers them” (2 Kings 6:15). For he has already “seen” the divine army and chariots of fire streaming down the mountain.
Faith, wrote John to persecuted Christians, is seeing Rome the superpower against a handful of disciples without despair, as he pulls back the curtains of heaven to reveal the invisible war being fought by the hosts of heaven. The book of Revelation shows how lopsided the war really is — on the side of the Christians.
Faith, claimed the Hebrew writer, is trekking through the world toward a home hidden by the mists and fogs of this world, seeing only “in the distance” (11:13), but no less real for the mileage. And the ancients never grasped hold of the promise in this life.
Faith is a life-long position. A perennial leaning forward that only stops when it passes the threshold into eternity.
Faith is the weathered farmer who plants the seed, scattering right and left, not knowing whether this or that soil will bear fruit that remains. But he trusts that the word of the Lord will not return void to its owner (Isaiah 55:11).
Learning, the social scientists tell us, takes place in different ways for different people, among them the visual, aural and physical (kinetic).
Faith is not visual, it sees nothing in this world to produce it.
Faith is not physical, it touches nothing in this world to generate it.
Faith is aural, it hears the word of God and believes in his promise. Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17).
God speaks, and faith closes its eyes to the world. Indeed, “faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).
God promises, and faith releases what it can feel, for we “have not come to something that can be touched” (Hebrews 12:18-24).
Faith is the first step, and every step, to salvation.
“For the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel from faith to faith, just as it is written, ‘The righteous by faith will live'” (Romans 1:17).

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