We Live by Faith And Not by Sight

“For we live by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7).

Sight is the Greek word “eidos” (G1491) and has these meanings:

1) the external or outward appearance, form figure, shape

2) form, kind

“Eidos” stems from the following root word: “Eido” (G1492). It has these meanings:

1) to see

a) to perceive with the eyes

b) to perceive by any of the senses

c) to perceive, notice, discern, discover

d) to see

1) i.e. to turn the eyes, the mind, the attention to anything

2) to pay attention, observe

3) to see about something

a) i.e. to ascertain what must be done about it

4) to inspect, examine

5) to look at, behold

e) to experience any state or condition

f) to see i.e. have an interview with, to visit

2) to know

a) to know of anything

b) to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive

1) of any fact

2) the force and meaning of something which has definite meaning

3) to know how, to be skilled in

c) to have regard for one, cherish, pay attention to (1Th. 5:12)

John wrote: «Those who believe have the witness in themselves.» In other words, faith is its own proof. Jesus said: “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Norman Grubb captures all this perfectly:

There is a witness of the Spirit, the Bible is plain on that. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself” was a key text in the early Methodist revivals, and is in the foreground of the teaching of most “Holiness” bodies, and the Pentecostals, and the Salvation Army. But I cannot say that it is given the place of importance in the Scriptures. Everything there is the one word—faith. Implicit in faith is that it brings its own witness; but that is secondary, and remarked on incidentally.

The obvious danger of regarding the witness as the necessary evidence of faith is that it brings us back once again to gauging faith by feelings. To make the witness the sign of faith is that same retrogression from simply seeing Him who is invisible by the nakedness of faith, which truly honours Him and His unchanging word, to needing some boost to faith, which is really believing in what we feel of Him, and not unconditionally in Him. The Scriptures do not speak of the witness as a sign, but merely as the inevitable outcome of living faith. When we believe, we have the witness, because faith is its own witness. Therefore the witness is not experienced by seeking it, but by occupation in believing, and believing is just constantly recognizing Christ within—by faith. And if we do not “feel” a witness? Well, keep on believing, even if we die without a witness. It is the old, old snare. Where can I find joy? Where peace? Where power? By seeking them, which really means seeking my feelings of joy, peace, power? No. By seeing Him—by faith. HE is the joy, peace, power, all. He is that whether we feel it or not. Keep occupied in affirming Him by faith, even though I feel as heavy as lead or as weak as water, or as disturbed as a windstorm. Keep believing Him in these conditions.

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Further into the Promised Land

For reasons that are only between God and me I have been compelled to explore faith the last couple of years. Perhaps it is because I asked God to teach me faith based on an honest recognition of that I knew very little about faith – what it is and how it works, and, not least, how to work it. My blog has most certainly been marked by this direction which the Spirit has taken me. I assume my writings concerning faith have been characterized by increasing clarity as new light has been given me. I make no excuses for again writing about faith.

What struck me with such lucidity yesterday is that as we possess more of the Promised Land faith is equally purified. What do I mean by this? I once wrote based on something that welled up in me: Faith is its own proof. I don’t believe in coincidences and yesterday I came across the following by Norman Grubb which perfectly confirms and supports what came to me then: “When we believe, we have the witness, because faith is its own witness.” Why? Because it is God’s own faith.

In other words, the purifying of faith means that it cannot be supported by emotions, sensations, signs, experiences, inner knowing or what many call an inner witness. Faith stands alone and is its own witness – this is truly the absurdity of faith. We may or may not get an inner knowing based on our faith stand, but that is solely up to God.

Not many days ago I sent DeeDee Winter the following email:

When again drawn to the investigation of faith I somehow was reminded about what the Spirit says in Hebrews: Faith is substance. Then it struck me that substance is found on the Spirit/spirit level. In other words, faith is spirit. This faith is communicated to us or wells up in us, and when that happens we have two choices: Receive it or dismiss it. But, the main point is that when faith manifests in us, as it were, it comes from a place that is too deep for reason and soul and then we have these inner conflicts between what faith asserts and reason’s: “This cannot be.”

DeeDee replied:

“I have always thought “faith is substance” meant that it was only hope until it became real inside us…substance. It did not necessarily mean that it had manifested yet, just that it had become a ‘known’ to us and not something we still hoped and prayed would happen. Have just reread yours….you have put it brilliantly!”

Hopefully another example will clarify what I am trying to articulate. Jesus promised us His peace and joy, but are these soul emotions? No! Peace and joy are a person; Christ. Harriet Wearren explains: “I always think of peace as being the person of Christ. If we have Him, we have peace within no matter how we feel…..it is spiritual, not physical. “In this world ye will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” It is usually the opposite of peace that gets our attention to a person or something that is going on and this is what puts us into action of doing something or speaking a word of faith. This is the operation of God!”

By the operation of faith I say that I have peace and joy no matter outer circumstances and in the face of inner turmoil. We live by faith and not sight, that is, peace or emotions or whatever. That God in His grace for a period allows us to have good sensations and feelings as a sign of His love and His peace only demonstrates that He meets us where we are. However, these things will be devoured by fire in His time so that what remains is faith purified which is more precious than gold.

Jesus said: “I can of myself do nothing”, and further: “Without me you can do nothing.” Faith is perhaps most clearly understood in the context of our nothingness, and this nothingness is absolute. In the tests and trials of life every notion that we have a faith apart from God is thoroughly brought to nothing. This is indeed an act of grace and to our benefit, because coming to this realization takes a huge burden off our shoulders. Faith is then seen and understood as God believing in Himself by us. Come hell or high water, but what is spoken by us stands firm because faith is its own proof exactly because it is God’s own faith.

“I receive not testimony from man”, Jesus plainly told his audience in John 5. Faith, faith commissions and words of faith are strictly a matter between the individual and God. Many will not receive our testimony, or dismiss it or contradict it, so we do not either receive the testimony of man. Their opposing voices will only cause confusion and produce doubt. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself.” Faith is its own proof.

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Whose Voice Do We Hear?

Eve could hear God’s voice in the Garden. God is Spirit, and only spirit can hear Spirit. Jesus draws our attention to hearing in John 8 when discussing with the Pharisees. He is basically saying that we are reflections of whose voice we hear. Either the spirit of error or God depending on who is our father/Father. In other words, we are reflections of either darkness or light. Jesus explicitly told the disciples that He only did what He saw and heard His Father was doing.

Plainly and in words that cannot be misunderstood the Spirit informs us by Paul that satan’s relation to us now is that of a roaring lion, which is another way of saying that he hasn’t any foothold in us anymore. He is on the outside. God is on the inside. John hammers all this home when he writes that as He are so are we in this world. This startling truth puts us in the same position as Jesus. We only do as we see and hear our Father is doing. On the spirit level our Father is always speaking and we hear His voice because spirit hears Spirit, and because we are one spirit with our Father, that is, one person with God.

On the appearance level it is usually on a distance impossible to tell whether a person is a reflection of this or that. Our bodies and exterior give no hints of to whom we belong. It can even be difficult to tell by a person’s actions if he belongs to Christ or not. Often it is only a person’s personal testimony that tells us what he is. When Jesus told us to make righteous judgments He plainly told us to see beyond the apparent. When we belong to God all of our faculties and appetites are made right in Him, whether it is desire, mind, thoughts or emotions. Again, making righteous judgments is our business.

Desire is the driving force in all of life. Jesus revealed a three step model in John 15: You shall desire, you shall request and it will be created unto you (John 15:7). The context is Jesus telling the disciples that He is the true vine (making it clear that there is also a false vine) and we the branches, and, further, that without Him we can nothing. Moreover, when we abide in Him (which we do by faith. We can in fact say that it is His faith that makes us abide in Him) we will bear much fruit. We are not on thin ice if we say that Jesus in this passage is making a strong link between fruits and desire.

To be a person means that we are confronted with choices all from the most mundane and trivial to the big choices of life. The one choice that affects all other choices is the one concerning which deity we want to belong. When that is settled Jesus’ own words stand before us: To the Pharisees: “Your desire is to do the will of your father.” About Himself: “My meat is to do the will of my Father.” Again, all boils down to whose voice we hear.

Yesterday evening I was marveling at faith again. Are we to wait for some sort of inner confirmation or some experience before we have the boldness to act as God in situations or when we see a need? It struck me with force that one of the qualities of faith is that it acts as if a thing is true without having any outer proofs it is so, save what the Bible tells us. What I mean is that we can with boldness speak our words of faith or pray with great confidence only based on a simple belief. Faith more often than not feels like walking in thin air as if there is nothing holding us. Of course there is, because it is God acting and speaking as us. Do we dare to believe it is actually so?

Only God knows how much I have wrestled with these questions. And I believe He has meant me to wrestle with them. What I find in me is what I call the stubbornness of faith. I cannot go back on my words of faith. That is impossible. Doubt can come over me in huge waves. The most critical of these doubts is the one claiming I have spoken out of myself. My problem is that if give this thought right I have stepped out of union, as it were. I cannot do that. Whether the thing happens or not I have only one alternative: I have spoken God’s word. Man or devil may say the opposite but the stubbornness of faith can never give any of those right. This stubbornness is nothing else than me hearing God.

This brings us right into temptation. These temptations or doubts are really our friends even though it doesn’t feel that way. They squeeze or press us into faith finding to our surprise that there is Something greater than us holding us in a fixed position of faith. Temptations truly fix us in who we are. They truly prove that we are kept and upheld by God. We genuinely hear His voice. The spirit/Spirit union is a fact. What is usually too deep for us is proved to us by temptations. No wonder James said that we are to count various temptations as joy. Not feel them as joy, because they sure do not feel like joy.

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A Word is Spoken

Before the foundation of the earth a word was spoken: “The Lamb is slain.” Jesus is that Word who took on human flesh and who reproduces that word in all those who receive Him. As always, when a word is spoken appearances rise up contesting the word and its prophesied outcome. The fall and its repercussions seemed to be more real than the Word, but when darkness apparently had won that which was promised was in all humility born in a stable.

He is the Sabbath, the rest for all God’s people. If the Sabbath was a regular weekday His Kingdom would be of this world. God’s Kingdom is, however, not of this world so the true Sabbath, the Substance is found in a realm that is invisible to the natural eye. Faith penetrates the shadow and beholds the real thing from which all things proceed. All the regulations and prohibitions concerning the Sabbath are merely pointers to He who is our life.

Everyone who has received this word knows its power and that it is Substance. It was a word that changed human destiny forever. Since redemption began with a word its continued expansion is by words that call into existence things that be not as if they were.

Lazarus is set before us as an image of what transpires when the Word finds a dwelling place in human flesh. The spirit leaves the body when the body is dead, so Lazarus had to die, and so did we. When the call came Lazarus was made alive again as a new creation by God’s Spirit. In this context the church is ordained to remove the grave clothes and let people go into the freedom of the Spirit, but, unfortunately large parts of the church has misunderstood its commission.

The stone that covered Lazarus’ grave was taken away, meaning the heart of stone was removed. The false spirit was driven out. Man is a temple we learn from the Bible. The Old Testament points to the temple of Baal which is man indwelt and run by the spirit of error, or satan. That same temple becomes an abode for God’s Spirit through Jesus’ death and resurrection. The temple remains the same, but its content has forever changed. The Son of God was truly glorified by all that transpired concerning Lazarus.

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”  She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world” (John 11:25-27).

The mist mentioned in Genesis is man’s clever ideas and theories that cover the earth, that is, their minds, when sense-knowledge is given greater weight than the obedience of faith. Delusions thrive and bloom outside faith, but they will all fail since the substance isn’t there. Whenever faith attaches itself to substance it will be rewarded by the inner certainty the Spirit gives.

The Bible is a wellspring of absolutes to which we can attach our faith. These absolutes are always contested by the visible realm, experiences, emotions, reason and human theories. Hence faith always involves a leap because what we desire to take cannot be proved by the natural senses. In all this the word again plays a pivotal role. In all simplicity we speak our word of faith all from being the righteousness of Christ to I live, yet not I, but Christ lives in me. The confirmation comes from the other side in its own time. It is like sitting down in a chair. The confirmation that the chair holds us comes from the chair and not ourselves.

But, what if the confirmation lingers and absolutely everything goes against our word? Shall we then say: “This doesn’t work!” and then wriggle ourselves out of faith by convenient and so-called comforting explanations offered us which is the wisdom of this world? Of course not! The obedience of faith requires that we continue to affirm what we have attached ourselves to, and let faith do its work in us. Let us not fall back to sense knowledge based on experiences, but remain unwavering in faith concerning what God says about us as outlined in the Bible.

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Bruised

I have a rather nasty inflammation in my left shoulder. It is heavily affected by some of the exercises I perform at the gym. When it hurts all of me hurts, even my head. However, it pleases me to bruise my shoulder for it is to the benefit of other body parts that otherwise wouldn’t be given the opportunity to grow in strength and size.  The shoulder doesn’t have to carry the pain alone. I carry it too. I feel it every day, so when the shoulder is bruised I am bruised too.

Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand (Isa 53:10).

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The Simplicity of Faith

The quality of light is clearly communicated to us when contrasted to its opposite, darkness. Likewise, faith comes across crisp and distinct because it can be contrasted with doubt, appearances and opposing circumstances. Faith is explained by what it is not, and its opposites are its food.

Faith’s relation to the invisible is perfectly illustrated in the visible. In the natural faith begins in something desirable which is available to us. On this foundation we speak our word of faith: “I want to do that”, “I am going there”. When we are doing the thing or have arrived at our destination faith has become substance. Every truth in the Bible or whatever desire that surfaces in us is approached in like manner.

What is set before us in the invisible we take by our word of faith, and the substance or inner knowing is communicated to us by the Spirit in His time, but we don’t know how the Kingdom buds in us. Faith is like a muscle. It is exercised by its opposites until it is mature and strong. Also emotions, feelings and reason will all in various degree contradict our word, but we remain in what we have taken by affirmation and our repeated confession. Kirkegaard captures all this perfectly:

“If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. If I wish to preserve myself in faith I must constantly be intent upon holding fast the objective uncertainty so as to remain out upon the deep, over seventy thousand fathoms of water, still preserving my faith.”

Faith’s prime moments are in its exploits of the impossible. The birth of Jesus, Abraham receiving the son of promise and Joseph’s dream coming through all testify to that nothing is impossible to God, and these instances communicate hope and faith to us in our circumstances which quite often carry a flavor of the impossible.

Faith is simple. Jesus expressed faith’s pristine purity and simplicity when He said: “Only believe”. The difficult part is to make that leap of faith that takes us upon the deep treading seventy fathoms of water.

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In the Classroom

As a math teacher, I deal with facts every day. Faith is also dealing with facts, and earlier today I made some observations concerning how some of my students relate to math and given challenges. The parallels to the spiritual are quite striking.

There are those who refuse to leave behind former patterns which they learned on a lower level and which on a higher level are pretty ineffective and will only in rare instances lead to the desired solution. The new procedure is in fact simpler than the old one, but the resistance towards receiving something new is great and the old in a sense provides a sensation of safety. Perhaps it was taught by a favorite teacher on the lower level.

Some dismiss perfect and valid answers because they cannot believe that the calculated solution in fact is the right one. They have done everything right, but feel the given number is wrong. It somehow doesn’t fit into their outlook – the fact doesn’t fit. It is as if they do not trust what the calculation yielded. The feeling is given greater weight that the actual fact. What do they do then? They make up a random number they feel is better and replace it with the right one.

Then we have those who in utter disbelief say that a given way towards a solution doesn’t seem logic and cannot be possibly true. “If I do this then that will happen? Nooo, that cannot be!” “If I speak a word of faith something will happen in accordance with that word? Nooooo! That cannot be.” In this state of denial they apply their own “homemade” method on a problem and that only produce frustration.

Math delusions are very common. Their origins are many and varied. They can stem from teachers whose lectures are confusing and unclear. Pupils can be taught dubious “doctrines” by teachers on the lower levels who themselves do not master all the ins and outs of math. Most common is, however, that students misunderstand and mix together various procedures, algorithms or ideas.

Just like the Spirit is flexible math is a flexible science because many problems can be solved in several ways. Not few times have I been surprised by students who have used three lines in order to arrive at a solution whereas I have strictly followed the procedure and perhaps used 10 lines before I arrive at the solution. To my defense: This works both ways, and in all humbleness mostly in my favor.

Like faith math can be likened to learning a new language. Diligence, persistence and patience will always pay off. The path towards the insight, knowledge or answer is a huge part of the solution or manifestation, if you like. The doubt whether you will actually make it, the disappointments, the wrong answers and the feelings of defeat and loss are all vital in the learning process. The main point is that the answer exists, the solution exists. It is a fact and existed even before you were thrown into the math or faith adventure.

It is those who give up who will never learn the new skill and who will never see the solution to the given problem. Math is merciless in this regard. Faith is in a sense also, because God is a rewarder of faith. What we take, we get.

In all this the teacher plays a key role as a motivator, driving force and faith injector, but he is limited by those who don’t want any help and those who sink down in apathy and self-pity. Some of those are, however, loved and encouraged back to “life”. What joy, what thrill when that happens!

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Facts of Freedom

By Donald Konick

Does 2+2 yield 4 only when I believe it does or is it always 4? God’s Truth is fact, like gravity is a fact. You are free not to believe in gravity, and you are free (because you don’t believe) to walk off the top of a building, but what will happen to you then? You will fall down, most likely with fatal results. The only thing that can save you is God’s Grace. He could intervene, and sometimes He does. But most of the time He doesn’t.

When a person receives Jesus Christ, Christ comes into that person, so EVERYTHING that God says about that person is TRUE. It is Fact whether you know it or not. This means that “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ.” This stunning truth or fact gives God freedom to work in that person’s life, because that person is now free to make mistakes, and sooner or later hopefully learn from those mistakes. Even if the mistakes are sins.

Why is there no condemnation? It is because God put you in Christ. You had nothing to do with it. He did it by Himself. Otherwise we could boast.

The scripture says that “We are dead to sin and alive to God.” And further: “We are dead to the Law.” But if you don’t know that you’re dead what happens? You will try to live and you will fail… and fail… and fail. Then what? You give up! Then God says “Yippie!!!!” and “I’ll take over for you.” This is a wonderful thing for now you’re totally depending on God.

That’s how it works! We have to be carnal for a while until we find out about union, and only God can show us that. Me yelling and ranting won’t work. What works is: “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity.” That’s how I came to know about “The Secret of Life”.

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The First Evidence

The centurion who Jesus praised for his great faith knew a thing or two about spiritual realities. He knew that when he spoke a word the thing was done. His spoken word was the first evidence of whatever he wanted done. His soldiers and servants would come and go and do in accordance with his word. It is not far fetched to say that he knew the power of words.

He also had a clear idea about that the reason why his words had power was because he himself was under authority and that this authority had endued him with power. His words would be void and of no effect if his authority wasn’t sanctioned by a higher authority. And because of this higher authority he never had to doubt whether his words would accomplish what he pleased or not. They would never return to him void.

How he had been able to transit this knowledge into an understanding of how spiritual laws work we do not know. Based on how he saw these things being worked out in his own office he evidently didn’t find it absurd that Jesus could only speak a word and his servant would be healed.

The centurion recognized that Jesus operated by the same principles as he did. His servants and soldiers didn’t basically obey him, but the authority of which he was subject. In a sense he was saying: “I can of myself do nothing.” The centurion’s nothingness (I am not worthy to have you come under my roof) was made into a somethingness by the power that operated by him, and which he had learned to operate in freedom. This further means that he didn’t lean on his words alone, but on that which was greater than him. The substance wasn’t so much in the words as it was in the authority above him.

The centurion’s humbleness comes clearly to expression by the fact that he boldly and without hesitation spoke his commands and wishes into existence and hence used the authority he was given as an ambassador for the higher authority. This in stark contrast to the disciples who at several occasions floundered when they could have spoken the releasing word. More than once Jesus disappointed and exasperated exclaimed: “Oh, you of little faith!”

The centurions “I” was in the forefront in whatever he did. “And I say to one….” He took things in the stride seemingly never wondering if he was speaking “out of himself or the Spirit”. That division didn’t exist in his consciousness. From his own words it seems pretty clear that he didn’t stop short because of the following question: “Wonder if I am in the will of my authorities now?” He was the will of the authorities just like Jesus was the will of the Father.

“Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” was Jesus’ final words to the centurion.

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Cycling Downhill

Cycling home from work I met a little boy, perhaps five years old, on his bike going downhill. He had a strained expression in his face, his eyes looked scared and very concentrated and the entire bike was unsteady and his body seemed stiff.

I thought about myself with which ease I handled my bike. Nothing strained about my cycling, save I could have been in a better shape. In contrast to him I have plenty of experience and am a seasoned cyclist.

Then lightning struck and the little boy became an example of me when the Spirit is teaching me a new thing like for instance speaking words of faith concerning things I would like to see happen. I am just as unsteady as that little boy often scared of making mistakes or falling off the “bike”.

But, the point is: The little boy was on the bike! He was “there”! He was doing it!

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