From Handbook to God’s Promises
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER DEATH
Seeing by Faith
(2 Corinthians 5:1–8)
Learning to fly an airplane by sight is not difficult. In a matter of weeks, a new pilot can learn the mechanics of an airplane, the basics of flying, and, after a program of training flights, receive a pilot’s license. But every pilot will testify to the challenge of learning to fly “without looking”—flying by instruments alone.
Instruments are needed because the human body is not trustworthy when it comes to interpreting an airplane’s “attitude”—its position relative to the plane of the earth’s surface. At night or in stormy weather, without any visual reference points to go by, a pilot can feel like he or she is flying “level” when in reality the plane is in a steep dive toward earth. What’s worse, a vertigo-like disorientation can set in and cause panic and ultimate disaster. An instrument-rated pilot is one who has learned to ignore sensations and senses and trust in the instruments on the plane’s control panel.
Although the apostle Paul knew nothing about airplanes and instrument ratings, he did know something of the spiritual disorientation that can occur in life. Paul knew how easy it is to get off course, to lose sight of our heavenly destination, as a result of the darkness and storms of this world. Christians have been promised an eternal house in heaven when we die, as well as an appointment with Jesus Christ at His judgment seat. There we will receive commendation (or not) for the things done in this life in service to Him and His kingdom.
But how do we get to our destination safely without being blown off course? How do we exchange our earthly tent for our heavenly dwelling? How do we live in a manner pleasing to Christ at all times so as to receive rewards for faithfulness when we die? The secret is the same as for pilots: We must fly (that is, live) by faith, not by sight. We rely on the principles and promises of God’s Word rather than on our experience to keep ourselves on course.
When the Christian dies, he or she goes to be “at home with the Lord.” Walking through this world by faith rather than by sight is the only way to arrive safely at our heavenly destination.
For now, heaven can be seen only by eyes of faith.