Saturday, May 09, 2009

walking by faith

Walking by faith and not by sight in the context of that Scripture passage, means that we anticipate the promise of being present with the Lord in our present condition apart from him, and the new home we will have. Perhaps the passage speaks of the intermediate state between death and final resurrection, but it certainly speaks of an existence after death. And as N.T. Wright expresses it, we as Christians are destined for a new "life after life after death." Meaning resurrection of our bodies.

Too often I live as though I want to hold on with all my might to this present life, almost as if that is all there is. Of course it is faith to say it is not, because one can go only on promises allegedly received from God through Christ. Though there are evidences both external and internal for believers of the validity of faith in Jesus.

It's not as though we shouldn't see death as an enemy. It is not God's intention for humanity, and indeed Jesus by his death destroyed death. While we don't want to fear death, since we know it doesn't have the final word because of Jesus, we most certainly don't welcome it, either. Except for those who long to pass on, experiencing disease or the end of life.

To have new covenant faith as given to us from the New Testament, we need to learn to live with a future orientation. We need to see that already the future in the new creation has broken in, even into this world in Christ, its completion in fullness to be known in the resurrection of our bodies and of all creation through Christ.

I need to do this by continuing to focus not on this old world which is passing away, but on the new world, evident to us by the indwelling Spirit, with the promise that that Spirit will give life to and raise up our bodies, just as Christ was raised from the dead. What has begun now will be perfectly fulfilled in an even more dynamic existence. This old, decaying creation will paricipate with God's children in a new creation which we both live in now and await.

Of course those who insist that all reality is only what meets the eye, are not going to receive any of this. Such include atheistic science and a rigid naturalism which actually rules out any god and whose hope and practical belief is that science eventually will explain everything. And maybe indeed science will end up with some explanation of everything, though one should never imagine that any knowledge in such endeavor can be complete and final. And even if it could be, we Christians believe there's more to life than meets the eye.

This is important for us all, and in my case it is good in fighting against recurring anxiety bouts. While we want to live responsibly in this life, yet we want our existence here to be lived out in view of the life promised to us in Jesus, begun now by faith and through the Spirit.

Both in my thinking and most certainly in my walk, I am especially in process on this as you might gather from this post.

Would any you have something to share from your own thoughts and reflections on this? Or anything related?

8 comments:

Andrew said...

Ted,

I too have been thinking that the most important--yet so often neglected--part of Christian preaching and discipleship is learning to live in the "presence of the future" (G. E. Ladd). With our futures secured by the accomplished, justifying work of Christ at Calvary, we're to long for that day when all our hopes become reality, and faith becomes sight, and Christ is King. Yet by the Spirit we are even now a "new creation."

The thought I often come back to is, We've been given a glimpse of the end even now--the end which is really a new beginning, God reigning again with his saints, and all the liars and evildoers cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 21). Will we let that story rule our lives? We already know God will be Victor; will we still foolishly side with Satan and this world and go on in sin and unbelief? Or will we live by faith in this Story and follow Jesus?

Bill said...

In my estimation, it is the "already-but-not-yet-ness" of the kingdom and kingdom living that makes faith not only necessary but the only means by which we can live!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Andrew,
Well put. I agree. A new orientation for many, but in keeping with Scripture and the dynamic we live in here and now in Jesus. Thanks!

Ted M. Gossard said...

Bill, Thanks, and yes! I find myself hating my struggles, but in that is the opportunity to learn anew and afresh a deeper walk by faith, I'm sure.

nAncY said...

i am struggling now.

it is hard to me, it is hard on my family.

i am down to doing more simple tasks and forcing myself to do things. continually looking at my blessings instead of what i have lost or can not do or how awful i feel. i feel like God is taking me down to the basics.

it is a fight for the good. not to be taken down. i am trying to write uplifting words in my blog every day.

my hope is in Jesus.

i will pray for you.

nAncY said...

i mean...not to be taken down by the bad thoughts.

God will take me where He will and i will praise Him as long as i can.

nAncY said...

God is allowing me to see Him even in suffering. even this can work to His glory.

however, i have a glimpse of understanding for those who are ready to go.

the more the struggle it seems the closer one can get to being ready to go.

peace to you in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Nancy,
Am and will be praying for you, sister. Hang in there. Meditate on Scripture, on a passage, and on the Lord. Blessings on you, dear sister.