Jul 01

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If you are “related” to “the teaching of Christ,” then, you have heard the words, “walking by faith!” Just what a person means when using the words, may differ from one to another, however. One of the reasons for this difference is the word “faith.” Here are a few questions that will help us understand how people use and give meaning to the word “faith.”
“Faith” may be used to refer to one’s personal “faith,” as in what is believed, which may vary widely from one person to another. A second person may use the word “faith” to refer to a written document for the church which he is a member; such as the Baptist Church, or the Presbyterian Church, or the Roman Catholic Church. Or a third person may use the word “faith” to mean “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Finally, one may use the word “faith” to mean, my “faith” comes from “the faith once for all time delivered unto the saints.”
When Paul wrote, “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” (2 Cor. 5:7); just what did he mean? Paul by means of the Holy Spirit used the word “faith” correctly! He used it to contrast, between the two words: 1) “faith” and 2) “sight.” However, our English word “sight” is not the best translation of the Greek word Paul used here. First, Jesus proves that “sight” and “faith” can walk together. Here is what John wrote: “Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed” (John 20:8). The two disciples who came first to the sepulcher were: 1) John and 2) Peter. John out ran Peter to the sepulcher; however, John did not go in at first, but Peter arriving second went right in (John 20:4-5). However, later Jesus would appear to the disciples, but Thomas was not with the ten (John 20:22 – 24). At this appearance, notice what Jesus did: “And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord” (John 20:20). Question, why did Jesus show “his hands and his side” to them? Was it not to prove, by means of physical evidence (sight), that indeed, the one standing live before them, was Jesus who had been crucified? Here physical evidence, “sight,” did not destroy faith, but the physical body of Jesus confirmed the faith of the ten. When Thomas does arrive to be with the ten, it is most important to hear his words after being told that Jesus was alive, he said: “… Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe” (John 20:25). Clearly, Thomas did not think, did not believe, that “sight,” seeing the physical body of Jesus, would destroy faith!
Following this appearance, Jesus appeared again to them, but this time, Thomas was with them (John 20:26). Notice what Jesus did, as John wrote: that Jesus said to Thomas: “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing” (John 20:27). Beautiful and awesome are the words of Thomas just here: “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God” (John 20:28). Question: Was Jesus going to destroy Thomas’ faith, or was it he going to create faith in Thomas by this physical body? Thomas did not have to reach out and touch the body of Jesus, seeing he believed! Question: Just how does these two events, stand with the words of Paul: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)?
First, the event of Thomas, seeing the physical body of Jesus, “sight’ evidence, does not contradict what Paul wrote, but is in total harmony! Therefore, we may have a wrong view of Paul’s words! Let us give thought to what Paul wrote to “the called out” in Rome, as we think about the subject before us. Paul wrote: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Rom. 1:20). Question: Is Paul not proving that “faith” in the existence of God, can be proven “by the things that are?” Keep in mind, “the things that are,” is physical evidence. Therefore, “sight” does not destroy faith, but creates “faith!”
This naturally brings us to Paul’s words: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” and what they mean!

Frank R. Williams

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