The apostle Paul wrote a second letter to the brethren in Corinth rejoicing because they had taken his first letter to them seriously and had repented of their sins. Initially the Corinthians had obeyed the gospel when the message of Christ was preached to them by Paul (Acts 18:8), but even though they had been baptized living the Christian life daily was a struggle for them. Paul writes the second letter and at the conclusion of the first chapter he writes these words; “for by faith you stand” (2 Corinthians 1:24). The brethren in Corinth were now standing in the Lord because their obedience to the gospel was by faith. They did not obey the gospel simply because it was convenient or popular, but in faith they were immersed into Christ (Acts 18:8). The faith that they possessed came from “hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17) as it was preached to them by Paul. The Corinthians were standing by faith and that is what enabled them to repent of their sins and continue serving the Lord. Possessing the true faith would carry them through whatever problems that they might have faced in the future. How did the faith and their faith enable them to stand?
The Corinthians could stand because they were walking by faith. Paul wrote “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). There is a contrast here between what directs the life of a Christian and what directs the life of one that is in the world. Paul says that we do not walk by sight, which means that Christians are not guided or directed in their life in a real way by the material things. Many of the Gentile Christians would have come out of a world of idolatry, a world of worshiping things that are seen such as the sun, moon, stars, animals, etc. Their lives before obeying the gospel were guided not only by these things that they saw, but also the value placed in all material things. Paul wrote to the Corinthians in the first letter concerning their lives before obedience unto the gospel. Paul concludes his thought by writing “and such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:11). What had some of them been as they walked by sight? Paul lists some of the visible things or sins that they had been involved in and their lives directed by: “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). Some of the Corinthians had been walking by sight, but now they walked by faith. That faith had enabled the Corinthians to be victorious over walking by sight and as John says, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world, and this is the victory that has overcome the world, our faith” (1 John 5:4).
Just as the Corinthians were victorious by faith in the first century, so it is that Christians today can be victorious in the same manner. Reading a list of the problems and sins that the Corinthians faced and others in the New Testament and it is evident that walking by sight has not changed in twenty centuries. It is also true that being victorious by faith has not changed. Paul wrote to the Corinthians “for by faith you stand” and those words apply to us today. The only way to stand, withstand, and remain standing in a spiritual way is by the faith that comes from the Word of God. For that reason we need to be diligent in reading and studying the Bible.