Summary: Paul challenges his readers to "walk by faith. What does Paul mean when he uses this phrase. How does walking by faith affect our daily lives.
2 Corinthians 5:6-10, 14-17 "Faith Walk"
This past week I posted on Desert Streams' Facebook page the question, "What does it mean to you to walk by faith?" I didn't get any responses, but I hope that I at least started people thinking about this perspective of Christian discipleship. This morning I pose this same question to you. "What is faith, and how does it shape your life?"
For hundreds of years the power of faith has been truncated and turned into a head game. Faith has been understood to be assent to a certain set of theological beliefs such as Jesus' virgin birth, infant baptism, and the rapture Or Biblical stories that defy science such as a six day, 144 hour creation, Jonah begin swallowed by a big fish, or that the sun stood still during an Israelite battle. My point is not to argue where these points are right or wrong. What I do want to stress is that if our faith is limited to defending our religious beliefs, then our faith is neither powerful nor is it life-changing. And, it is not the faith that Paul writes about in his letter to the Corinthians.
Paul writes in verse 6, "So we are always confident ..." I think we could also translate this as, "So we always trust ..." A key understanding of faith for Paul is that faith is trust--trust in a loving with whom we have a relationship.
We trust that God is at work in our world moving toward the further establishment of his kingdom.
We trust that God is moving in our lives in a positive rather than negative manner; in a loving rather than vengeful way.
We trust that God is caring for us that God lovingly embraces us, and that God holds us in the palm of his hand.
When we struggle with faith and trust, we become worried and anxious.
In verse 9 Paul writes, "So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him." Faith is a radical centering--a commitment.
We are committed to live out God's will, so we seek to discern God's will and carry it out in faithful obedience.
Our relationship with God is at the center of our lives and we are committed to that relationship. We are children of God and disciples of Christ first. We live out this relationship and our commitment in our job, our family, and our relationships with others.
When we struggle with faith and commitment, we become self-centered and rebellious.
Paul writes In verse 14 that, "The love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died." For Paul faith is a unique perspective, or vision, of life.
It is popular to see God as vindictive, creation as bad, and evil as the dominate force in the world. Christians adopt a different perspective. We see God as loving, creation as good, and God's love and grace as the dominate forces in the world.
With this perspective we are loving and accepting of all God's creation (except perhaps mosquitos and rabbits lol).
With this perspective we live out our lives as people who have been blessed and who want to be a blessing. We seek to serve rather than be served.
Hope, gratitude and celebration are characteristics of this perspective of faith. Hopelessness and despair are its opposites.
Even though these concepts of faith are as old as the Bible, they are still refreshing, powerful and new. They allow Paul to conclude this section of his letter with the declaration, "If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed; see, everything has become new!" Yes, it has, and so we are!