Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
Beloved: Grace and Peace
The Faith Delivered unto the Saints (Part 10)
". . . the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 1:3
May God bless you all!
Jude, perhaps frustrated that so many believers of the Way now being called Christians by the world, would be enticed and deceived to fall back into both the ways of the world and old failed religious practices, has penned a short, and to the point, letter. Look whom he addresses:
Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ,
that ye should earnestly contend for
the faith which was once delivered unto
called. Mercy unto you, and
peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort
- Jude 1:1-3 (bold added)
So far we have looked at several topics related to the faith once delivered to the saints. This article will revisit last month's article and go a little further.
I hope to continue to share principles, truths, tidbits concerning the "faith which was once delivered unto the saints." The goal? To, therefore, put you in remembrance!
This article will explore another topic regarding this faith, and that is that of "walking by faith, not by sight."
First, let's look at the one and only place where this phrase appears but with all the verses around it for proper context:
2 Corinthians 5:1-11 (bold added):
For we know that if our earthly house of
tabernacle were dissolved, we have
a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. For we that are in
tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but
clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing
God, who also hath given unto us the earnest
always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at
(For we walk by faith, not by
We are confident,
, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and
to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ; that every one may recieve the things
he hath done, whether
good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord,
we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
As we read this section of Paul's letter to the Corinthians, we note that his discussion is primarily about our daily living in these temporary bodies. Let me repeat the verses, and while doing so, add a more modern English vernacular in various places to help highlight the discussion. I will also drop verse seven which, as you can see above, is a parenthetical insert designed by Paul to clarify a point that I will get back to further down in this article.
2 Corinthians 5:1-11:
For we know that if our earthly house of
] were dissolved
killed or died
], we have a building of God [
a new, eternal body
], a house not made
with hands [
], eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan [
are in pain
and wish for better
] earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house [
] which is from heaven: If so be that being clothed we shall not be
found naked [
without a body to live in
]. For we that are in
tabernacle do groan,
being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed [
that is, left without this painful,
old, earthly body
], but clothed upon [
with the new body
], that mortality [
our earthly body
] might be swallowed up of life [
]. Now he that hath
wrought us for the selfsame thing [
that is, to give us eternal life in a new body and
God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [
] of the Spirit. Therefore
always confident, knowing that,
whilst we are at home in the body [
we are still in this old, earthly body
], we are
not living directly in His presence in our new, heavenly,
]: We are confident [
we know it will happen
, and willing rather
to get rid of this old, painful, mortal body
], and to be
in our new body in His presence
] or absent [
presence and still in this old, mortal body
], we may be accepted of him [
]. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every
body, according to that he hath done,
good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord [
to stand in front of a holy, righteous judge with offenses and failures?
persuade men [
preach the gospel
], but we are made manifest [
our lives are
] unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your
Do you see the context of the discussion? Paul inserts a phrase right in the middle of a discussion regarding living for God either in this old, earthly, corrupt, dying body, or in a new, eternal and incorruptible, heavenly body. The discussion asserts that, yeah, we'd rather be in God's presence in a new body, but we can still serve Him in this old body. Now when I add back the seventh verse, and look at it in context of the overall discussion, I see it differently.
(For we walk by faith
that is, we are not in our new bodies and therefore can't
see Christ in person yet
, not by sight
we can't see Christ while in these old
Allow me to substitute verse seven with words that are more in line with the context:
"For we walk in these old bodies serving God even though we do not see Him, because we do not walk as those who are in His presence and can actually see Him."
Most preachers interpret this verse differently than what I believe Paul meant it to mean. He stuck it right in the middle of a discussion on walking in our old or new bodies. He closed the discussion with we all need to labor for Christ because we all know that one day we will all stand before the Judgement Seat of Christ and will give an account of our lives and actions while in this old body.
What Paul is saying in his little, clarifying parenthetical, is that we are right now walking by faith (we have no choice, we are in these old bodies and not in His physical presence), and we are not yet able to see Him since we are not in heaven in our new bodies.
Preachers use this verse to preach that we are to walk (live, behave, react, think, conduct ourselves) by faith (belief system centered on God's Word and commandments (see the article from two month ago)) and not by sight (that is by those things we see around us in this corrupt world that we live in). Example: regarding say a debilitating disease, I am to believe that God will heal it based on promises I have read in His Word (by faith) and not by the reports and diagnoses of the doctors who see the disease advancing (by sight). Another example: regarding asking God to protect me with His holy angels (by faith), even when I cannot see them doing so (by sight). Another example: I walk in God's precepts and promises expecting that He will one day reward me, (by faith) even though I may not see any results in this present world of the effects of that holy living (by sight).
of the Spirit. Therefore
home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
body, according to that
this life in
living godly lives
absent from the Lord [
to be absent from the body [
present with the Lord [
one may receive the things
The above examples are
(but not the correct interpretation) of 2
Corinthians, chapter 5, verse 7. These are emphasized in Hebrews in the faith chapter by all the saints before us who died believing a promise, but did not see the fulfillment of that promise while alive on earth - but they were fulfilled. It is good exhortation to encourage those around us to embrace the verse that says "the just shall live by faith." You are the just if you have accepted Christ as your Savior. Your behavior and demeanor and decisions in life need to be driven and guided by faith which is the belief system of truths and commands and promises that God has made in His Word. As we grow in Christ, we walk more and more by direction from His Word, by the promptings of His Holy Spirit, and we do so even if we have not yet seen answers to our prayers.
I would caution any believers who make their daily decisions solely on what they "see" in this world. The world's ways and goals are contrary to God's, and we are warned to "love not the world, neither the things
in this world" (1 John 2:15). In another
place, Peter also warns us to be careful what we see. In 2 Peter, chapter 1, verses 16-18, he recalls his eyewitness experience of seeing the Lord transformed into His glorious form along with Moses and Elijah. Eyewitness! (sight). But then he goes on to say in verse 19: "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:". What is he saying? That sight in this world can be deceptive, and it's far better to trust God's Word than what we see around us.
So, according to Paul in 2 Corinthians 5:1-11, if you are a believer in Christ, you do walk by faith.
And according to Peter in 2 Peter 1:16-19, we are far better off walking by faith than by sight.