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2Corinthians 03 - The Seen Unseen

The Seen Unseen

We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2Corinthians 4:18)

Paul said he looked at unseen things. This seems to be a contradiction—how can one see that which he cannot see? Men have two kinds of eyes. In addition to literal eyes, men have the eyes of understanding (Ephesians 1:18; Acts 26:18). Paul could see the afflictions about him, but they seemed light because he could see something else—unseen things. Can we see the unseen things today? Can we have the same confidence as Paul?

What are the unseen things? These are the eternal things—things connected with heaven. These are the things making up the inheritance obtained by saints. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1Peter 1:3-5). This unseen inheritance is described variously in Scripture. The unseen includes the prize (Philippians 3:13,14). The land beyond is also one of the unseen things (Revelation 21:4). Is it any wonder that Paul could count his afflictions as light? He had his eyes upon majestic things.

Are the unseen things real? Many say “no.” They call these “pie in the sky.” “Seeing is believing” is a common expression relative to these things. However, they are mistaken. Simply because some cannot see them does not mean they do not exist. The fact that they can be understood and accepted but not seen with the eye ought not to be so puzzling. All around us we know of this type of character—electricity, wind, power, and many things.

What is the evidence of these unseen things? Faith is evidence (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is evidence if it is based on a solid foundation. When one considers the evidence that the word of God is true, how can one really fail to see the unseen things? Thus, there is a heaven—a place prepared for followers of Christ: “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going” (John 14:1-4). There is a God, even though we don't actually see him now (Genesis 1:1). There is a place which is eternal—a home with Him.

What is the power of these unseen things? The power of the unseen things is great. These moved Abraham to seek a city (Hebrews 11:8). Jesus said that he saw Christ’s day: “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). The power of these unseen things moved Moses, and he saw the invisible (Hebrews 11:24-27). This is also seen in Paul. He suffered but counted his sufferings light because he could see the unseen.

Who will see the unseen things? Many see them now, as Paul saw them. The Bible teaches that others will see them The pure in heart will see God (Matthew 5:8). The holy and peaceful will see them (Hebrews 12:14). The faithful will see (Revelation 2:10). Christians who overcome will see them (Revelation 2:17; 3:21). Those who have washed their robes—obeyed the gospel—will see them (Revelation 7:9-14). The saved will see them (Revelation 22:3,4).

Will you see unseen things? It all depends on you. What will you do? Will you respond with obedient faithfulness as did Paul?