For we walk by faith, not by sight.
NLT: For we live by believing and not by seeing.
GWT: Indeed, our lives are guided by faith, not by sight.
*Faith means belief, trust, confidence; fidelity, faithfulness.
*Sight means Visible form, shape, appearance, outward show, kind, species, class. From eido; a view, i.e. Form.
Romans 8:24 says, For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see?
2 Corinthians 4:18, So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
What is faith?
Hebrews 11:1 tell us, “Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see.” In context,
Not to see, is nearly the same as being separated. 2 Corinthians 5:7 refers from 2 Corinthians 5:6, absent from the Lord we walk in the world. Faith and sight are opposed to one another. Faith has its termination at death in this passage, therefore sight then begins.
To walk by faith means we believe in the existence of objects which are invisible, and we are influenced by them. It is to live in the confident expectation of things that are to come; in the belief of the existence of unseen realities; and suffering them to influence us as if they were seen. The people of this world are influenced by the things that are seen. They live for wealth, honor, splendor, praise, for the objects which this world can furnish, and as if there were nothing which is unseen, or as if they ought not to be influenced by the things which are unseen. The Christian, on the contrary, has a firm conviction of the reality of the glories of heaven; of the fact that the Redeemer is there; of the fact that there is a crown of glory; and he lives, and acts as if that were all real, and as if he saw it all. The simple account of faith, and of living by faith is, that we live and act as if these things were true, and suffer them to make an impression on our mind according to their real nature.
It is contradistinguished from living simply under the influence of things that are seen. God is unseen – but the Christian lives, and thinks, and acts as if there were a God, and as if he saw him. Christ is unseen now by the bodily eye; but the Christian lives and acts as if he were seen, that is, as if his eye were known to be upon us, and as if he was now exalted to heaven and was the only Saviour. The Holy Spirit is unseen; but he lives, and acts as if there were such a Spirit, and as if his influences were needful to renew, and purify the soul. Heaven is unseen; but the Christian lives, and thinks, and acts as if there were a heaven, and as if he now saw its glories. He has confidence in these, and in kindred truths, and he acts as if they were real. Could man see all these; were they visible to the naked eye as they are to the eye of faith, no one would doubt the propriety of living and acting with reference to them.
But if they exist, there is no more impropriety in acting with reference to them than if they were seen. Our seeing or not seeing them does not alter their nature or importance, and the fact that they are not seen does not make it improper to act with reference to them. There are many ways of being convinced of the existence and reality of objects besides seeing them; and it may be as rational to be influenced by the reason, the judgment, or by strong confidence, as it is to be influenced by sight. Besides, all people are influenced by things which they have not seen. They hope for objects that are future. They aspire to happiness which they have not yet beheld. They strive for honor and wealth which are unseen, and which is in the distant future. They live, and act – influenced by strong faith and hope – as if these things were attainable; and they deny themselves, and labor, and cross oceans and deserts, and breathe in pestilential air to obtain those things which they have not seen, and which to them are in the distant future.
The main idea is, that we are not influenced and governed by the sight. We are not governed and controlled by the things which we see, and we do not see those things which actually influence and control us. In both it is faith that controls us, and not sight.