When you dig into this simply worded verse, you come face to face with its true depth and complexity. The context of this verse addresses believers having confidence in our eternal home. Knowing that our bodies and this world is temporary and our true citizenship is found in eternity with our God. It also discusses that this is something we should long for and intently look forward to. So, the surface of this verse says the reason we have confidence in these things is because we walk by faith and not by sight.
If you took your cues from our culture, you would probably not have this kind of confidence in eternity. You are most likely not going to feel home sickness being away from God in this world. This would be because you made your home here just like most everyone else. Most people in our world today walk by sight and not by faith. Most people have made this their home and think very little about much beyond their time here in this world. The culture and society we live in leaves very little room for God and eternal life, and it definitely would not guide our paths correctly.
The passage surrounding 1 Corinthians 5:7 makes it clear, we are to identify eternity with God as our home. If we believe what these verses are saying we should then allow the presence, and the word of God to shape our world view and stop allowing our society to claim our minds and actions. Especially when something as significant as our soul’s eternity is riding on it.
In some of the more “thought for thought” translations this verse is translated as “living” by faith and not by sight. I understand why they would translate it this way but the Greek behind the particular phase literally means “we walk”. So the ESV and other more “word for word” translations retain the same language and says that “we walk” by faith and not by sight. I think this is very interesting when we understand the context of this verse. When we are walking we are traveling somewhere, we are moving, and moving toward something. In this case, if we are walking by faith we are moving toward God, we are traveling home. If we, by faith, are trusting God to transform us and sanctify us, we are moving towards Him. However, if we are walking by sight and picking up our cues from the world around us then odds are we are walking away from God.
I picture a massive crowd of people moving one way and a small group fighting their way against the crowd. They are traveling the opposite direction, desperately trying to make it home. This is how it could, and probably should feel to some extent. If we find being a Christian in this culture is easy for us, we may need to check and see if we are actually walking by faith or if we are walking by sight. However, never forget “we walk”, we are not going alone. We have somebody walking the same path to help us keep going and we should do our best to encourage others as well.
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