FOR WE WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY SIGHT
2 Corinthians 5: 7
New Year’s Day Sermon By:
Rev. G.R. Procee
Published by the
FREE REFORMED CHURCHES OF NORTH AMERICA.
(December 2003 )
Scripture Reading 2 Corinthians 5
Text: 2 Corinthians 5 : 7
Psalter 71: 1, 3, 5
Psalter 439: 3
Psalter 192: 2, 3, 4
Doxology Psalter 316
The Lord has given us again a new year. The Lord is good in His mercies and
kindness. A new year lies ahead of us. We have our anticipations. We may have
our fears, our expectations. But in the midst of all this, one matter is clear. That is
the Lord remains the same. We may look forward to His grace and help also in
this New Year.
We are called to live and to walk on through time until time shall finally end for
us. Especially at a day like this we can ask ourselves: How are we to go on
through life? How are we to face the humanly speaking uncertain future?
Scripture gives us direction. We may find this direction in our text: 2 Corinthians
5:7, "For we walk by faith, not by sight".
We walk the apostle says. That is indeed how we can characterize our lives. We
are walking through life. Going onward until the Lord calls us out of this life. At
times it seems to us that we are running rather than walking. As a result, time
seems to go by at a faster rate.
This life is busy. Time flies we tell each other. That is true. That is also something
we can find in Scripture. Job also makes remarks to that extent that our lives are
like the swift ships and our lives are like an eagle falling upon her prey. Our life
Still there is something else that must be said too. That is for a child of God it is
still different. A child of God really does not run but he walks. Even if time goes
fast, he still walks day by day. He walks with God. Enoch walked with God. He
had communion with God and trust in God.
That is also something how a child of God in his or her right condition, should be.
A Christian is someone who walks with God. A child of God walks by faith. God’s
children walk through this world. There is something beautiful in this. That is that
there is peace and calm in walking. Everyday again they may look at life and
realize that they are in God’s hand. Walking is something relaxed. There is no
tension. That is how a child of God may go through life. That is how a child of
God may enter the New Year, walking with God, walking in trust in a relaxed
manner, trusting that God shall provide. God shall take care of me. He knows my
frame. He knows who I am.
They walk on the narrow path. They have been first led through the narrow gate.
They first ran on the broad way. But then something happened. God became toot
strong for them. They were stopped and they were convicted of their own
foolishness. They were led to a change in life. They were converted and turned
to the living God. They were led to bow before the cross of the Lord Jesus and
they realized that He is the life and the resurrection. He is the Door. He is the
entrance into life. They found Jesus. In the Lord Jesus they found peace with
God. The love of God entered their hearts. They were led through the narrow
gate. Now they walk on the narrow path.
They walk with God’s Word in their hand. They walk with travelling staff in their
hand, for they are pilgrims on the earth. They have no abiding city here. They
walk and from time to time they stop and read in the Book that is in their hand
and they look up to heaven and ask direction and grace from the Lord.
These pilgrims meet many people on their path who want to hinder their walking.
People who want to lead them from the narrow path and lead them onto the by-
roads. At times they do go onto those byroads but they soon find out that they
are not walking correctly. Some adversity befalls them or they sense that God is
withdrawing His presence from them. They are led back to walk further on the
At times it can even be that when there are seducing people coming across their
path that these children of God walk on with the hands against their ears. They
do not want to listen to the tempter as he comes against them.
As they walk they at times come through dark valleys and even through
afflictions and hardships. But they walk on.
As they walk they have their eyes fixed on the horizon. They expect the city
which has true and everlasting foundations. They expect Christ Jesus and His
Kingdom. That is their aim. There may be nothing hindering them in this
endeavour. Their hope is upon the living God. That is how God’s children walk.
The text says: for we walk by faith, and that means, not by sight. They do not see
heaven really, but they know heaven lies ahead. They walk therefore by faith and
not by sight.
They that are before them in heaven, they manage themselves by sight. They
see the King in His beauty. They see the promised land of heavenly Canaan.
They are in heaven with Christ. Their sight does not deceive them. They see
everything in its true colours. They see reality like they never did while still on
The travellers through this world who do not know the Lord Jesus also walk by
sight, but that is a deceptive sight. Their senses deceive them. They look at the
colours of this world and think that all remains the same and that in this world
they can become happy.
But they fail to realize that what they see is not reality. These are only the
temporal things and they fail to see the eternal things, the matters that last
forever. There are many false appearances in this world. Many are lured behind
these imagined fancies. The result is that all these who in this present world walk
by sight, that they fall sooner or later headlong into a dark dungeon of
But God’s children have received faith. By faith they see matters that an earthly
person can never reach. Faith causes God’s children to see matters that
otherwise they could never see. They walk by faith, Hebrews 11:1, "Now faith is
the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
By faith they see a future that the human eye can never detect. They see
Immanuel’s land, and at times they even have a foretaste of it. They see a future
behind time to be forever with the Lord and they’re to love Him without any sin.
That is their aim in life.
That is basically what our text tells us. It gives a description of a Christian: A
Christian is someone who walks by faith and not by sight. Let us further elaborate
on these few but deep words.
We first consider more in depth the journey that we are all on. We are all on a
journey, a journey through life. This New Year again underscores that we are on
a journey. The old year 2003 that we were still in yesterday is gone. Now a new
year has started. A new milestone in our journey. All people are on this journey.
Saints and sinners are both travellers. The difference between saints and sinners
is not that the saints are already home and that sinners are still on their way. No,
they are both travellers. They are both on their way. Sinners are walking as fast
to their home, as saints are to theirs.
The difference lies herein that saints walk by faith and sinners walk by sight. But
we are all on a journey. Whoever we are.
Our journey started at the womb of our mothers. At that moment we received life
and that is when our journey started. We all start off as sinners. David says in
Psalm 51:5, Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive
me. We were on our way before we realized what was happening.
Our journey will end in another world. The unseen world, the place and the state
of the dead. The travellers will never stop until they are there. Job says in Job
30:23, "For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed
for all living." The circumstances we went through life can differ greatly but we all
will end up at the end of our journey in the dust. We all will lie down alike in the
The place of our journey lies in this present world. It is this world where the
risings and settings of the sun make so many days and nights. This world where
winters and summers come and go, where years come and go. It is in this world
that is fallen under God’s curse because of Adam’s rebellion against God. This
world which is under the curse of sin, is where this journey takes place. This
world that lies in darkness and lies in wickedness where the devil roams around
as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. It is this world where the journey
It is precisely in this world that the Lord sends out His servants and messengers
to direct us to the right road, the narrow path leading to heaven.
The men of this world who live for this world do not listen to these messengers.
They rather live for this world. They are like the men we read of in Psalms 49:11,
"Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their
dwelling places to all generations; they call their lands after their own names."
They are like the rich fool from Luke 12:19, "And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou
hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be
This life on earth is only a journey. Never a resting place. We are on our way.
This life is like a village that travellers go through. They enter at one side of the
village and travel through it and leave at the other side. That is our life, our
journey. Ecclesiastes 1:4, "One generation passeth away, and another
generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever."
Job says in Job 9:25, "Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they
see no good." My days are swifter than a fast runner who has to deliver post, a
message to a faraway person. They run fast. They are gone in no time. That is
how fast my journey goes. We will soon be at the end of our journey.
Every breath we take and every heartbeat is a step in the way. God has
determined how many breaths you will take and how often your heart shall beat.
These are the steps by which the journey is made. Finally the heart beat for the
final time and the last breath is heaved out and we are at our journey’s end.
We are all on this journey.
But the next matter to consider is: How we must conduct ourselves on that
journey. The text says that we must walk by faith and not by sight.
That involves a total new outlook at life. We are by nature directed to our senses.
We live by our senses, but our sight and what we hear and taste and see. We
are so to speak possessed by our senses. But a Christian is someone who is
possessed not by his senses but by faith. Just as we are by nature possessed by
sense we must become possessed by faith. Not sense, not what we see or what
we hear must determine our actions and our decisions, but faith must determine
our actions and our decisions.
This involves a major change from darkness to light, this involves regeneration.
One needs to be in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become
To be in Christ is to walk through faith in Christ. Colossians 2:6, "As ye have
therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:"
When one is in Christ, the aim of one’s life is Christ and His kingdom. Then the
present world is where you live but it is not the aim, the aim is Heaven where the
Lord is. Looking for Immanuel’s land. That is walking by faith. This is what we
find in Hebrews 11:13, "These all died in faith, not having received the promises,
but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them,
and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." It is walking
like Paul did who had as his aim the kingdom and the future of Christ: Philippians
3:14, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
We are called to go on our way not by sense, by looking and hearing and
directing our paths as to what we hear or see. It is not what we see or hear that is
determinative but God’s Word. It is not decisive if the majority walks on the broad
way, that therefore we also can walk there. We are not to look at the majority and
follow them. We are not to feel that we are doing the right thing simply because
so many others are doing the same thing. Then we are walking by sight and not
Travellers by faith look to the Lord Jesus. They have made the discovery in their
lives that not what the majority does is good, not what I say is good, but what the
Lord Jesus says, that is good. They have discovered the words of the Lord Jesus
in John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life:” God’s
children realize the words of Psalm 119:6, "Then shall I not be ashamed, when I
have respect unto all thy commandments."
A Christian goes through his journey not in felt strength but in believed strength.
He does not go by what he feels but by what he believes. If we live by sight then
we can be either feeble or we can be rash and presumptuous. Peter was rash
and presumptuous when he said: Though all should deny Thee, yet will not I.
Thomas was feeble when he said that he would not believe in the resurrection of
Christ unless he saw the signs of the spikes in the hands of the Lord Jesus.
But Paul was neither feeble and neither presumptuous when he said in 2
Corinthians 12:10, "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in
necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak,
then am I strong." In like manner Paul encourages Timothy to walk by faith and
not sight or sense or by feeling when he says in 2 Timothy 2:1, "Thou therefore,
my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus." That is what David
confessed in Psalms 71:16, "I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD: I will make
mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only."
When our sense fails and our feelings are against us, a Christian is called to live
by faith. Psalms 73:26, "My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of
my heart, and my portion for ever." When sight fails and we think all is against us
and our foot is ready to slip and we are in particular temptations, we must lean
upon God’s Word. We must lean upon the promise of God’s Word. Psalms
27:13, "I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in
the land of the living."
Walking by faith is viewing Christ in his excellency. Unto you who believe He is
precious, says the apostle. Moses saw Him who is invisible and that motivated
him to forsake the wealth f Egypt. Faith sees Christ.
Faith sees the two worlds; this world and the future heavenly world both in its real
colours. They find this clearly described in the Bible. They see the reality of the
heavenly country. They cannot perceive that by sense but they see this through
Scripture and they believe Scripture and live according to what Scripture tells
They realize the preferableness of the heavenly country. They understand
Psalms 4:6, "There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift
thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.” Faith sees a weight of glory in
The people who walk by faith, walk safely. They dwell safely for they keep their
eye on Christ as the great leader. Following Him they will be safe: Proverbs 3:5-
6, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own
understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."
Faith keeps the eye on the command of God from heaven. Faith trusts the Divine
protection from Heaven. Psalms 91:2, "I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge
and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust."
Faith always leads such a person to the journey’s end, whatever storms may
blow and whatever dangers are encountered by the way. Faith will lead such a
person onward. Even when he experiences God’s chastising Hand, faith will see
even God’s love to him in the chastisements.
Faith assures the belief of God’s faithfulness even when such a one is under
God’s chastising Hand. Faith eases so many of the burdens of God’s people. 1
Peter 5:7, "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
But living by sight is most different. Those who live by sight focus their attention
upon this life and this world. For that is what they can see. Their main concern
and care is their own body. And the things of this present life. They never open
their eyes to reality. They live and spend their days like a dream. They are
cheated by the great deceiver the devil, until it is too late, and they with the rich
man lift up their eyes in hell. The virgins dreamed on until it was too late.
Often things, which are profitable and good, are shunned and neglected because
they are not pleasant to their sense and sight. They look only at things that are
pleasant to their sight. They continually bite into hooks with bait. They swallow
the hook and find out too late that they are caught and are being dragged along.
They go on the way that seems most easy to them. The broad gate, and the
broad way, where so many people walk. They take the softest steps, though they
lead into misery.
How do we live? As we enter this New Year, how are we going to enter into the
future? It is to be feared that there are amongst us who look to the things of this
life and of this world and seek their support in them. We so easily walk by sight.
But if that is the description of your life remember and realize what you are doing.
Your views you now have will not be lasting views. The things you are now
excited about will all fail. Your eyes deceive you. Your sight deceives you. The
things of the world you are now looking for will not satisfy you. They will lead you
You will fall, deceived, drawn after your sins and as a fish caught on a hook you
cannot escape. As a bird caught in a cage you will never escape.
Do not look at the things of this world and the enjoyments of this world. But let
you look at the Word of God. There you find this world pictured in its real colours
but there you find heaven portrayed in it real colours, Let your conduct be
directed by God’s Word. Then alone shall you be safe.
Confess then your sin of so easily looking to the world. Confess your inability to
walk by faith. Call upon the Lord for His direction. Then open His Word for His
You people of God, realize that the Lord will never cause you to be ashamed,
you who live by faith. You seek to live by faith and you daily fight against your
unbelief. Be comforted and assured that the Lord will lead you further. You have
not believed cunningly devised fables, Peter says, but you rest on God’s Word.
Those who trust in the Lord shall never be put to shame.
By faith you shall receive strength to continue. Look to the sure promise. When
Abraham still did not receive a child after many years of waiting, he looked to the
promise of the Lord. Romans 4:20, "He staggered not at the promise of
God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;".
By faith you will be comforted even in dark places. Amidst the storms that
happen during the voyage, He will lead you on. Psalms 23:4, "Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me."
Even when at times you can feel yourself in the dark and that your senses tell
you, that you are in darkness and that you see no light. You are in spiritual
desertion. Your way around you seems to be hedged up. Still there is the way up
to the Lord. He is never far from you, although you may not see Him. Even if you
fell into certain sins and now you are smitten and brought low, remember even
then your unfaithfulness cannot make the faithfulness of God to be of none
effect. The Lord may very well smite and chastise you but He will always be
When you so feel in darkness, seek then to plead the promise of God’s Word.
You may have no power left to walk by faith, but God has strength and He has
promised that to His people. Look then unto Him. Wait not for some feeling
before to plead God’s promises, but look to the Lord based on His Word. When
all your feeling flees and faith seems to be gone, then you still have the Word of
God. Plead that pure and sure Word of God. That is actually faith being revived
in pleading God’s Word.
How do we enter this New Year? Is it by what we see and hear and that we
determined by these things around us? Then you will be ashamed. Or is it that
we have learned to walk by faith. Then you will be blessed. God is able to and He
is willing to teach people who have no faith, nothing, only guilt. The Lord still
picks them up and causes them not to look at their feelings but to look at His
Word and to plead the finished work of Christ. They ask the Lord grace to walk
according to God’s Word. That is walking by faith and not by sight. May that be
our experience in this New Year. AMEN.