The Powerful Meaning Of 2 Corinthians 5:7 (for we live by faith not by sight)

For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7 

This short verse packs in some powerful truth with just a few words. It’s a challenge for followers of Jesus to walk by faith. And that’s a reminder that we need; there’s no shortage of things pulling us in a different direction. 

In this blog post we are going to dive into the meaning of 2 Corinthians 5:7, and we will look at how we can practically walk by faith in our everyday lives. 

The Context Of 2 Corinthians 5:7 

Paul starts 2 Corinthians 5 off by continuing his teaching from the previous chapter. He’s arguing that eternity with Jesus if far greater than the temporary suffering experienced in this life. 

While Paul longs for eternity he remains faithful in this life. He’s keeping his eyes on the prize rather than on what’s temporary. This focus keeps him preaching the Gospel regardless of the circumstances of his life. His only goal in life is to live for Christ. 

Paul is not only writing how he’s living in 2 Corinthians 5 but also encouraging his readers to take on the same mindset (2 Corinthians 5:6). To be confident in what God has done for them and to focus on eternity and not what is temporary. 

This leads to Paul sayings, “We live by faith and not by sight.” So let’s dive into the meaning of 2 Corinthians 5:7 and see what it teaches us. 

The Meaning Of 2 Corinthians 5:7

This short verse has a contrast of how we don’t live to how we ought to live. To help us see the fullness of the 2 Corinthians 5:7 meaning we are going to break this verse into two sections. 

For We Live By Faith

Followers of Jesus are to live by faith. The question is, faith in what? In short, Jesus. Though we’ve never seen Jesus, we place our hope in him and center our lives around what he’s done for us. We live by this faith.

Hebrews 11:1 describes faith this way, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” 

This is the calling of Christians, to cling to the hope we have in Jesus. Things might not always “look” good. There might be difficult days and seasons of suffering. But rather than looking at what is seen, Paul is encouraging his readers to look at what is unseen, to live by faith. 

Not By Sight

Paul adds the contrast, “we live by faith not by sight.” Now he’s not talking about living by what we see through our eyes. Rather when we live by sight we are living by what is seen, what is apparent. A better translation would be “not by what we see.” 

To live by sight is to look to the things around us and center our lives around the here and now.

This is not how followers of Jesus are to live. We have to fight the urge to look at what’s around us and instead live by faith. This means we believe in what we cannot see and center our lives around what Jesus has done. We look past how things might seem to appear and instead look toward where God is leading. 

3 Lessons From The 2 Corinthians 5:7 Meaning

To live by faith is to hold onto the hope that Jesus gives us. But again, this is easier said than done. After all, we are surrounded by trials, troubles, sickness, suffering, and tragedy. It’s easy to live by sight. 

So to help us apply the 2 Corinthians 5:7 meaning to our lives, I want to give you 3 practical ways you can live by faith. 

Don’t Fixate On What You See 

It’s easy to focus on what’s happening around us and think that’s all there this. When things take a turn for the worse in our life it’s tempting to think everything is falling apart. It’s natural. 

But for followers of Jesus we are to take a different approach to life. Rather than focusing only on what’s happening around us, we look to what we cannot see. We look past our struggles and toward God. 

Now, this doesn’t mean what’s happening in our lives doesn’t matter. Certainly not, God cares deeply about what you are going through, and we shouldn’t discount our struggles. What this means is that we don’t let our circumstances dictate our faith. We live by faith, not by the appearance of our circumstances. 

This is easier said than done. And to live this way you need to prioritize spending time with God. AND you need to find people to walk through life with. On your own you will continually struggle to look past your circumstances. 

Keep Your Eyes Forward 

Instead of fixating on our current circumstances we should keep our eyes forward. 

It’s kind of like a race. When you are running the last thing you want to do is look behind you. If you do you will slow down; you cannot run at full speed while looking behind you. Also, you put yourself at risk for tripping because you cannot see what’s in front of you. 

Similarly for Christians, we are to keep our eyes on the prize, on eternity. If we look back we will quickly forget what Jesus has done for us and start living by sight. 

To live by faith means that we continually strive towards what God has for us, here in this life and in eternity. 

Remind Yourself Of What Is True 

Again, this isn’t an easy life. Jesus never promised that; what he promised was that he would be with us and that only in him is true life found. In order to live by faith we must continually remind ourselves what is true. 

It’s so easy to forget what Jesus has done for us. It’s easy to forget the hope and joy that we can have in him. It’s easy to shift to what the world tells us we need. 

Every follower of Jesus must remind themselves of what God has done for them. This means that they are regularly spending time with God and studying his Word. It’s the only way to live by faith. 

If you are looking for a great resource to help you spend time with God I HIGHLY recommend Mark Moore’s Core 52: A Fifteen-Minute Daily Guide to Build Your Bible IQ in a Year

So, live by faith and not by sight. What you see in front of you isn’t as it seems. God has something better for you, step into that story. You’ll be glad you did. 

Thanks for reading this blog post! I hope that it helped you better understand the 2 Corinthians 5:7 meaning and how you can live by faith in your life. If it did would you share this with a friend?

Jeffery Curtis Poor
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