Today's Foundations Devotional: Sight comes after faith, not before it

Let us turn back now to the definition of faith given in Hebrews 11:1 and note one other important fact about faith.

Faith is “the evidence of things not seen,” or a sure conviction concerning things not seen. This shows that faith deals with things not seen.

Faith is not based on the evidence of our physical senses but on the eternal, invisible truths and realities revealed by God’s Word. Paul brings out this contrast between the objects of faith and the objects of sense perception when he says, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

Faith is here contrasted with sight. Sight, along with the other physical senses, is related to the objects of the physical world. Faith is related to the truths revealed in God’s Word. Our senses deal with things that are material, temporary and changeable. Faith deals with the revealed truths of God which are invisible, eternal and unchanging.

If we are carnally minded, we can accept only that which our senses reveal to us. But if we are spiritually minded, our faith makes the truths of God’s Word more real than anything which our senses may reveal to us. We do not base our faith on that which we see or experience; we base our faith on God’s Word. Thereafter, that which we see or experience is the outcome of that which we have already believed. In spiritual experience sight comes after faith, not before it.

David says:

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living (Ps. 27:13).

David did not see first and then believe. He believed first, and then he saw. Notice also that the experience which faith produced for him was not merely something after death, in the next world, but here and now, in the land of the living.

This same lesson is brought out in the conversation between Jesus and Martha outside the tomb of Lazarus.

Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:39-40).

Here Jesus makes it plain that faith consists in believing first, then seeing – not the other way around. Most carnally minded people reverse this order. They say, “I only believe in what I can see.” But this is incorrect. When we actually see a thing, we do not need to exercise faith for it. It is when we cannot see that we need to exercise faith.

Lord, how wonderful it is to be allowed to walk in Your school of faith. Help me in my life not to rely on what I can see, but on what I believe. Thank You for teaching me to live and see into spiritual reality, and not to focus my eyes primarily on the earthly things. Amen.


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