Consequential Faith

Daily Reformation, 2 Corinthians 5:1-7

From the Reformer

The preparation for spiritual insight into holy mysteries is purity of conscience and singleness of eye. But even these able comments do not clear up everything. Our lot on earth must be to walk more by faith than by sight. This is the chief exercise of the soul, which is essential to its vitality and growth. We must have at times our mountains of vision as well as our valleys of the shadow of death. Never let us doubt the essential permanence of justice, and righteousness, and truthfulness. By this we shall be borne up through regions of cloud into realms of light. Thus will our spirituality be strengthened and refined: thus we shall be permitted to obtain larger perceptions of God’s character and maturer judgments of his purposes.

—John Calvin, Commentary on Daniel

Pulling It Together

Augustine said, “Seek not to understand that you may believe but believe that you may understand.” The post-postmodern person thinks he wants proof for everything; this is not so. He wants proof for the difficult things so he has an excuse for not doing what is hard. He wants no proof for the morning newspaper. He so often takes reporters—and their news of tragedy and evil—at their word. That is easy and usually inconsequential. However, the Bible and its report of a God who loves and redeems is suspect. Why? Not because it is unbelievable, for there are millions who believe. They cannot believe because they will not believe; and they will not believe because it is difficult; and it is difficult because it calls for that most difficult requirement for belief: faith. No matter how much evidence for the resurrection one gathers, it still comes down to faith. Paul is correct: we walk by faith—not by evidence. When a person gives in to the Spirit and believes the (quite consequential) report of the Word of God, then they begin to understand what no amount of evidence can ever clarify.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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