The Eyes of Faith
by Tom Stewart
July 14, 2002
"As seeing Him Who is Invisible"
The great mystery about Faith, to those who do not understand
it, is the Invisible Who that they see you acknowledging. "Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom, though now
ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with Joy unspeakable and full of Glory" (1Peter 1:8). It is common to call someone crazy,
mad, unstable, or unbalanced, if they see you talking to Someone that is invisible,
but faith in the True God causes the Christian to pray to the Unseen Father-- and,
expect to hear an answer! "1 God, Who at sundry times and in divers
manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2
hath in these last days spoken unto us
by His Son, Whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds;
3 Who being the Brightness
of His Glory, and the Express Image of His Person, and upholding all things by the
Word of His Power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right
hand of the Majesty on High" (Hebrews 1:1-3).
Humanists do not see the Invisible God; and thus, they do not trust Him. "Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD" (Jeremiah 17:5). They believe in themselves, for they cannot truly say, "I can of mine own self do nothing" (John 5:30). Until the humanist has arrived at utter disappointment in his own finite resources, he has no motivation to trust God. "35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree. 36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found" (Psalm 37:35-36). If God in His mercy does not allow the humanist to come to the end of self-trust, then the "prosperity of fools shall destroy them" (Proverbs 1:32). The good that a humanist receives, if he does not acknowledge that it came from the Unseen Father, i.e., "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from Above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights" (James 1:17), will only harden him until God is justified in his final judgment. "15 Which in His times He [Jesus] shall shew, Who is the Blessed and Only Potentate, the KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords; 16 Who only hath Immortality, dwelling in the Light which no man can approach unto; Whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to Whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen" (1Timothy 6:15-16).
Jesus is the focus of the eyes of faith. "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). And, the "Holy Scriptures" (2Timothy 3:15) are the appointed means through which the eyes of faith may gaze upon the Saviour. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). Though it is possible to be well versed in Scripture without actually trusting God, e.g., Satan quoted but purposely misapplied Scripture when tempting Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4), the true eyes of faith are extremely eager to look to the "Rock that is higher than I" (Psalm 61:2). If it were not for the Divinely implanted desire that the blessings of faith in the LORD Jesus Christ should be spread to all mankind, we would have but little interest in proving to the world the truthfulness of the foundation upon which we stand. "Brethren, warn them that are unruly" (1Thessalonians 5:14). The seeds of faith may be laid by an innocent Bible verse given to a young Sunday School child or more likely from Scripture taught by parents, who hope to do the right thing by their children, but the ultimate result will be the salvation of another soul, who will walk and fellowship with the God of the Universe for Eternity. "And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto Salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2Timothy 3:15).
Aspire not for the esteem of man, but for greater confidence in the God That Is. "24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26 And when the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28 And Peter answered him and said, LORD, if it be Thou, bid me come unto Thee on the water. 29 And He said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, LORD, save me. 31 And immediately Jesus stretched forth His hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32 And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33 Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped Him, saying, Of a truth Thou art the Son of God" (Matthew 14:24-33).
The True Saint is one that walks "by faith, not by sight" (2Corinthians 5:7). This means that we must actively place more emphasis upon our confidence in God to do what we ought to do, than just our doing of it. "The just shall live by his faith" (Habakkuk 2:4). Christianity must be more than coasting upon the glories of our fragile memories of first trusting in the LORD Jesus Christ for salvation from our sins; but, there must be a continual seeking in faith of His grace for the overcoming of the "sin which doth so easily beset us" (Hebrews 12:1). And, even more important than just overcoming the daily obstacles of sin, faith in God must have the positive, sanctifying effect of even greater confidence in the character and person of the Living God. "The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under Whose wings thou art come to trust" (Ruth 2:12). When the Devil tempts us to call the proving of our faith in the Living God tedious, overly picky, and never-ending, we must respond that the increase of our confidence in God is actually the Almighty's opportunity to more perfectly conform us to trust, fellowship, and worship Him for now and for Eternity. "The God of my rock; in Him will I trust: He is my Shield, and the Horn of my Salvation, my High Tower, and my Refuge, my Saviour; Thou savest me from violence" (2Samuel 22:3). We should not fight a purely defensive battle of avoiding sin and sinning, but we must also actively seek to trust the LORD God in every conceivable circumstance that we find ourselves-- in ever new and unusual ways. "As for God, His Way is perfect; the Word of the LORD is tried: He is a Buckler to all them that trust in Him" (22:31). [See our editorial for more of an explanation of "Why God Must Prove Us" ---New Window.]
George Mueller (1805-1898) of Bristol, England was a Philadelphian Church Age Saint, who sought to encourage his Brethren to have confidence in God by conducting an orphan house supported only by prayer without the benefit of advertising his needs to man. "But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in Glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). George Mueller was unusual in that he did something about his perception that the Average Professing Christian needed to be encouraged to actually trust or more fully trust the LORD Jesus Christ for "all things that pertain unto life and godliness" (2Peter 1:3). A. T. Pierson's authorized biography, "George Mueller of Bristol: And His Witness to a Prayer Hearing God" (1899), contains a wealth of spiritual nuggets for the eyes of faith-- to those willing to invest the time-- to uncover the myriads of instances in which the Word of God gave George Mueller the faith to feed orphans, strive for their spiritual blessing, support foreign missionaries, and distribute the Word of God through the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad. "Where is the LORD God of Elijah?" (2Kings 2:14). George Mueller's successor, son-in-law, and "true yokefellow" (Philippians 4:3) was James Wright, who wrote:
"It is written (Job xxvi.7): 'He hangeth the earth upon nothing' -- that is, no visible support. And so we exult in the fact that 'the Scriptural Knowledge Institution for Home and Abroad' hangs, as it has ever hung, since its commencement, now more than sixty-four years ago, 'upon nothing,' that is, upon no VISIBLE support. It hangs upon no human patron, upon no endowment or funded property, but solely upon the good pleasure of the blessed God."
To this, A. T. Pierson ---New Window wisely added his observation:
"Blessed lesson to learn! that to hang upon the invisible God is not to hang 'upon nothing,' though it be upon nothing visible. The power and permanence of the invisible forces that hold up the earth after sixty centuries of human history are sufficiently shown by the fact that this great globe still swings securely in space and is whirled through its vast orbit, and that, without variation of a second, it still moves with divine exactness in its appointed path. We can therefore trust the same invisible God to sustain with His unseen power all the work which faith depends upon His truth and love and unfailing word of promise, though to the natural eye all these may seem as nothing" (extracted from "George Mueller of Bristol".)
[Also, read our article about A. T. Pierson, "Meet
Mr. Philadelphia" ---New Window, concerning his stalwart leadership
of the modern missions movement, his friendship and successorship to C.
H. Spurgeon ---New Window, and his advocacy of the deeper life "In
Christ Jesus" ---New Window.]
May God grant us the grace to grow in faith as we are "looking unto Jesus" (Hebrews 12:2).
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