Seeing the Invisible
By Mary Kroeger
The visible realm is reality to us. How we treasure our ability to touch, feel, see and enjoy the beauties of creation and of relationship! However, in the midst of our physical world there are also areas that are invisible to us. We can see the results of their existence, but we cannot see the substance. We cannot see the wind, but we know it exists because we can see and feel the effect of it. We cannot see love, joy, peace, thoughts, power, learning processes, stress, anger, pride, humility, etc., but we know they exist because we can see what they produce.
We are so thankful that God has gifted us with the ability to think, and to learn to use and enjoy some of the substances that are in the invisible realm! Technology has learned to harness some of them so they can be used for either good or evil. It has changed our way of living! It is helping us to understand that there is an amazing amount of substance in the invisible realm which, when properly applied, can be of great use to us!
In Heb. 11:3 we read that the visible or seen realm is created from the invisible or unseen realm! This comes as a surprise to many of us. How can the unseen produce the seen? Yet here it is. This tells us that the invisible realm is greater than the visible realm!
To better understand this, we have to begin before the beginning of creation. Before the beginning there was only the invisible God. He always is! Although He remains invisible to our mortal eyes, yet we can know He exists because of His works, and because He has revealed Himself to us in Christ! What does He look like? We can imagine Him to look like an old man sitting high up in the sky somewhere, but we know that cannot be true, for then He would be limited. But, we may argue, how can man be created in the image of God if we don't look like Him? How can God look like us, yet fill all things? How can we be so limited when God has no limitations? We can see an image of ourselves in a mirror, and we can see an image of God in Christ! But we cannot see the invisible God. To make up for our lack, we create our own images of God, and then believe that image is the reality.
The many images of God created in the minds of men, are reflected in the many religions of this world. We may or may not think these images reflect the reality, but they can never be the reality. How can humanity create an image of a Being who is unknown to It? This is impossible! So we know that none of humanity's many images of God is correct!
So how can we learn to know the true God when we cannot see Him, and our natural mind is unable to know Him? God is never without a solution! In His wisdom, He sent His Son in the form of sinful flesh, so we could learn to know Him. However, humanity's false images of God did not agree with the true image of God, so the true image was rejected and crucified! He still remains unknown to most of humanity, because humanity wants a God who will do its will - a God whom it can control!
Humanity could only see the outward form of Christ. His true being was hidden by the flesh of Jesus, and by humanity's inability to see beyond the visible! To see Him, the veil that was hiding Him from their eyes would have to be removed, and it would have to receive new eyes - eyes that could see the unseen. Our natural understanding does not have the capability to see spiritually, so it cannot know God. To hide its ignorance, it creates the counterfeit, and that counterfeit is religion. Each religion reveals its idea of God in its doctrines, rules and regulations. Each religion is rooted in the tree of the knowledge of good and evil - the tree rooted in disobedience! They all have one common denominator, and that is their reliance on self-effort and good works to make themselves righteous. The outer shell of good works makes the counterfeit, that is religion, look like truth, the reality. But it is not the reality! It is barren; there is no fruit! There is nothing that can nourish its adherents. There is no life in it!
Christ is the reality! He is life and truth! He is the bread of life, the true nourishment that empowers us to grow into the image of Christ and bear the fruit of righteousness!
The natural physical man does not come equipped with the ability to understand spiritually. (1 Cor. 2:14) This ability comes in the spiritual man, the new creation that we are in Christ. This was demonstrated by Peter when he received the revelation from God, that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. (Matt. 16 :16). At that time Peter had not yet been born from above, so he could just received this knowledge in his natural understanding. That learning cannot keep us in times of trouble, for later, when Jesus was under arrest, Peter swore that he did not know the man. After Peter was born of an incorruptible seed and filled with the Spirit, he was a different man! He boldly proclaimed his faith in Christ and was willing to suffer and be persecuted because of his faith in Christ!
What produced this change? He had become a new man, a new creation in Christ! Old things had passed away and all things had become new! He had received new eyes - the eyes of faith! These eyes could see the invisible realm! This new man is a spiritual man, born of an incorruptible seed, and the life of that seed cannot receive any sin, nor can it sin. Really? You mean that we cannot sin after we are born again?
What do the scriptures teach us? In 1 John 3:9 it says, "No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." The new creation that we are in Christ is born of God, and that which is born of God cannot sin. Since God is invisible, that which is born of Him is also invisible. Since we cannot see this new creation with our natural eyes, we find it hard to believe that he really exists and that we are who God says we are! We see the sins the flesh still commits, and we think that we, as new creations, are still the ones who are sinning. In Rom. 7:20 Paul tells us that he, the new creation man, is not the one sinning. It is the flesh, the Adam man that is doing the sinning. It is easy for us to identify with the visible and believe that we are still in Adam. It takes the eyes of faith to believe that we are who God says we are and to identify with the invisible new creation man that we are in Christ! Only the eyes of faith can see beyond the natural realm! Only the eyes of faith can see who we are in Christ!
Our natural understanding fights against spiritual understanding. Gal. 5:17 says, "For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please."
Our natural thinking wants us to dress up the old Adam man in good works and make him look like Christ. But after all our dressing up he still remains the old Adam man! Our natural thinking tells us that we are forgiven sinners, saved by grace. Because we still feel like sinners, we tend to believe our natural thinking! It's so easy to agree with the lie, for it looks like truth to the natural mind! It feel so right that we do not see all the ramifications of the lie and we do not examine it under the light of Jesus Christ.
Our natural mind tells us that we have a free will. This feels right, so we agree. We don't realize that a free will cannot be influenced! Nothing can influence a free will - not even God! If something can influence it, it is no longer free! If we have a free will, then God is no longer sovereign, for then He has given up some of His sovereignty by giving us a free will. Do you really think God would do such a foolish thing? He is much too wise!
Furthermore, our natural mind tells us that we have the ability and responsibility to choose the right and to shun the evil. Then it influences us to make wrong choices. After that it accuses us of having made a wrong choice, for the outcome proves this fact. Doesn't this prove that we are still sinners? Forgiven sinners, but still sinners! The natural mind deceives and accuses. It wants us to have faith in the seen realm of self-effort - not in God's unseen realm of all-ability. It wants us to believe the lie is truth. Will we believe the natural mind and its feelings or will we believe what God says?
What does God say? He tells us that we are accepted in the beloved! Therefore we don't have to try to make ourselves acceptable! In 2 Cor. 5:19 we read that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing our sins to us! He does not charge our sins to us because Christ has taken away the sins of the world, and that includes yours and mine! We thought God was angry with us because of our sins. In Christ God proved His love for us, and our hostility toward Him is overcome! We are reconciled to God and we can now have a relationship of love with Him! We are no longer in Adam! Our new birth births us into spiritual beings whose life springs out of the life of God!
This is so hard for us to believe! It is difficult for us to identify with the invisible. We say we have everlasting life without realizing that it is everlasting life because there is nothing perishable in it! It consists of the very essence of God's life! This does not mean that we are God, but His life is now our life! For example, If we take a cup of water out of the ocean, the water in that cup contains the same properties that are in the ocean, but that cup of water is not the ocean. We are individually members of the body of Christ. To be members of His body, His life has to flow through us! Can we see this truth? Will we believe that we are who God says we are? This can only happen if we look with the eyes of faith, beyond the material realm, and see the unseen realm! The eyes of faith see the goodness of God and trust Him beyond our limited understanding!
Years ago, when Ernie and I were in Hong Kong, we were trying to understand how Christ can be in us, and we in Christ. This looked impossible to us, so we decided to ask God to give us an answer. As we prayed, God gave Ernie a vision of two clouds, and then he saw them merge. After they had merged God asked, "Now which cloud is in which cloud?" Later God revealed that in order for these clouds to merge, they had to have the same essence of being! Both had to consist of droplets of water! What a revelation! It helps us to understand that to be in Christ, we have to have the same life He has!
We need to see that the unseen new creation in Christ has nothing in common with the Adam man! They are completely different! In Adam all die, and in Christ all are made alive. The obedience of Christ is much greater than the disobedience of Adam! (Rom. 5 :15-19) His obedience will bring life to all! We don't see this as yet, but our eyes of faith see that the unseen realm is the reality!
Because the new creation man is invisible, our natural mind will not believe that he exists. God wants us to believe that we are who He says we are! The eyes of faith see the goodness of God and trust Him and His promises even though they go beyond our limited understanding!
This brings us to a spiritual principle! Only the invisible spiritual man can see and receive spiritual revelation! Only the eyes of faith can see the invisible, the reality of God's promises! Only the faith that is authored by Christ has substance! (Heb. 12:2)
Our natural mind has a faith that is rooted in its own understanding, in its feelings, circumstances, self-effort, learning, and in the accomplishments of men. Our spiritual mind of Christ has faith in the promises of God! It sees beyond the parameters of the natural, and sees the unlimited power of God!
In Hebrews 11 we read of the various men of faith. Abraham saw a city that was not yet in physical existence! These men of faith saw the reality of the promises of God! They had experienced God! This experiential knowledge of God made them willing to be tortured and killed rather than accept the lie and miss their spiritual reward!
Without faith it is impossible to see, please, and know God! The obedience of faith brings us into a relationship of intimacy with God! His guidance and leadership and power bring untold blessings as we travel life's journey together! His love, joy and peace sustain us! We learn to know Him experientially as we obey Him! Our eyes of faith see Him in His perfect and endless love, mercy and grace! With every faith experience we receive a greater revelation of the very essence of His being! He is no longer an idea, a doctrine or an imagination. He is life and truth! Eyes of faith do not dwell on the difficulties of the task He has called us to do, for they see beyond self-ability to His ability! They see the power in the invisible realm - the power to create, the innovative ability of God to solve problems, the God of unlimited knowledge and ability! Eyes of faith look upwards, beyond the high mountains of doubt and fear, beyond the dark ominous clouds of "what if" and "failure," to the One who sits above all the heavens and has all power and all authority! Eyes of faith see the security that is ours in Christ! Eyes of faith believe that we are who God says we are, namely, new invisible creations to the human eye, and that we are without sin and unable to sin, for we are born of God! We have been baptized into Christ. We are children of the day - not of darkness. We have power over the darkness of this world! We are ministers of the new covenant - not of the letter but of the Spirit! So let us identify with our true being, and not with the things of darkness.
Knowing who we are in Christ is advantageous to us, for we cannot use what we don't know we have! Knowing that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places, gives us the assurance that we are in His care! We are citizens of His invisible kingdom of light and righteousness! As citizens of His eternal kingdom we need to live and minister under His direction and authority! This brings us into an agreement with God and does away with all our trying to help God keep His promises.
As we live by the faith that sees the reality of the invisible realm, we will grow in the revelation knowledge of Christ and of our true being in Christ! This frees us of our false images of God and of His Son, Christ Jesus! Knowing that we truly are children of the Most High God frees us from the false images of who we thought we were, as well as of our bondage to the flesh. This helps us to realize that we truly are who God says we are! As our eyes of faith see the reality of the unseen realm we are freed from our bondage to the seen realm! Glory to His name!