A blind person does not function by seeing. They have learned to rely on their others four senses to be able to live and carry on with normal activities. Some blind people are born without sight, but many loose their sight later in life. Those not born blind have some memory of what the world looks like and can even navigate around their homes from memory. But the majority of the time, they learn new skills like counting steps or braille for reading. These new skills gained after their lost eye sight make all the difference for their lives.
Before we come to Christ, we live by what we can see. We may be oblivious to the spiritual realm. We function according to the world and what it values. We do not live by faith in Christ. But Paul is claiming in Galatians 2:20, “…I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (NIV) There is a change that occurs when we place our faith in Jesus Christ through the gospel message. Our new life starts with faith and we are to continue living by that same faith.
However, just like a person who has lost their sight, we try to navigate our world from memories, old thought patterns that guided our attitudes and conduct before Christ. Instead of relying on the new way of living by faith, we rely on living by sight. We look to our circumstances or people, not to Christ. We rely on ourselves or others or circumstances to make decisions about what to do or where to go. After Christ, we are to look to him to make those decisions.
How can we tell if we are living by faith? We experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We are more concerned with God’s glory than our own. We are putting to death ourselves and our sinful nature. All of the things we have been talking about are evidence of living by faith.
Hebrews 11 is the classic chapter on faith and it gives great insight on how to live by faith. What is faith? “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NLT) We know that the hope in this verse is not just ” I hope I get a car for my Birthday”. We can’t be confident about that unless we see the receipt. Even then, the car could be returned. But the hope we have is certain, we can have confidence in it. This is a hope that is based on God’s promises to us. We can’t see into the future, but we believe it will happen, we are sure it will happen.
Hebrews 11 gives great examples of Old Testament individuals who lived by faith. “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteous that is in keeping with faith.” (Heb 11:7 NLT) Noah had faith in what God told him about the future and he acted on it. Noah didn’t see any rain clouds and scurry to make his boat. No, it took him 100 years! That is a long time to believe in something that hasn’t happened. But Noah had a holy fear of God. He knew God’s character and trusted his message. So he acted in faith.
Abraham is mentioned the most in Hebrews 11. Abraham left his home and journeyed to an unknown land because he believed God. Abraham lived in a strange land as a foreigner because he believed God’s promise of his inheritance. By faith, he raised his hand to sacrifice his promised son because he had faith God would raise him from the dead. Abraham’s faith in God’s promises dictated his decisions and actions.
We must have faith in the character of God and his promises given to us through our union with Christ. If we don’t trust in God’s character, then we can’t trust what he says. Therefore to live by faith we have to focus on the gospel and its implications; God loved us so much that he gave us his son and he promised us eternal life with him. When we forget who God is and his promises to us, we turn back to living by sight.
Abraham is also an example of living by sight. When a drought occurred in the promised land, Abraham and Sarah traveled down to Egypt. When they reached the border, Abraham told his wife to deceive the Egyptians by saying she was his sister. Why? “Abram said to his wife, Sarai, ‘Look you are a very beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘This is his wife. Let’s kill him: then we can have her!'” Abraham forgot God’s promise and became fearful for his life. So he had Sarah lie. Abraham was looking at his circumstances instead of God’s faithfulness, power, goodness, protection and promises. Do we ever do the same?
Paul writes to the Corinthians about the promise of receiving our new heavenly bodies. He reminds them that the gift of the Holy Spirit is their guarantee of this promise. “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.” (2 Cor 5:6,7 NIV) In order to let Christ shine through us to others we have to live by faith. Faith in the message of the gospel is our remedy for living in a manner pleasing to God. God is already pleased with us, but we need to live in a way that reflects whose we are. We need to live up to who we are in his eyes.
I love Galatians 2:20! “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (NIV) I pray that you will look at this verse differently now. It is a reminder of the gospel, what the gospel did for us and how we need to live in light of that. Let’s cover our eyes to the world and our old way of living and live by the gospel daily.