Friday, June 16, 2006

Faith or Five Senses?

"for we walk by faith, not by sight." (2Co 5.7 ESV)

It's a short Scripture, isn't it? Still, it packs a theological punch. It meant much to Wesley. Consider his words on this verse in his Sermons, # 113, "The Difference Between Walking by Sight, and Walking by Faith":

"How short is this description of real Christians! And yet how exceeding full! It comprehends, it sums up, the whole experience of those that are truly such, from the time they are born of God till they remove into Abraham’s bosom. For, who are the we that are here spoken of? All that are true Christian believers. I say Christian, not Jewish, believers. All that are not only servants, but children, of God. All that have 'the Spirit of adoption, crying in their hearts, Abba, Father.' All that have 'the Spirit of God witnessing with their spirits, that they are the sons of God.'"

I must confess, I've never looked at this verse the way Wesley described it; to him, it was a description of Christianity...and Christianity alone. In his view, nobody else could claim such a thing. Wesley says further:

"In order thoroughly to understand this important truth, it may be proper to consider the whole matter. All the children of men that are not born of God 'walk by sight,' having no higher principle. By sight, that is, by sense; a part being put for the whole; the sight for all the senses; the rather, because it is more noble and more extensive than any, or all the rest."

Imagine all of the world in one of two categories---the believing and the seeing---with the former superior and the latter inferior.

It is not as though we are without light; rather, we walk by an inner light, a revelation of God that sinners don't have. Consider Paul's words to the Thessalonians:

"For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness." (1Th 5.5 ESV)

There it is, the strong contrast of two different groups of people. Some may consider it simplistic to place all of humanity in only one of two groups but I will counter with the argument that it is biblical. If one accepts the Scriptures as the last word then he will have to deal with the implications of the division.

So, do you live by inner light or by outer light?