“We Walk by Faith”


“We walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7

     INTRO.:  A hymn which admonishes us to walk by faith and not by sight is “We Walk By Faith.”  The text was written by Henry Alford (1810-1871).  It is dated 1844.  Alford’s most famous hymn is probably “Come, Ye Thankful People Come,” but another of his hymns which has achieved some popularity is “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand.”  A couple of tunes that have been used with the hymn include one (Arlington) composed by Thomas A. Arne in 1762, arranged by Ralph Harrison in 1784, and most often used today with “Again the Lord of Light and Life;” and another (Irish) taken from A Collection of Hymns and Sacred Poems published at Dublin, Ireland, in 1749, that is often associated with the metrical Psalm “O Come and Sing to God, the Lord.”  The traditional tune (Beati Immaculati) used with “We Walk By Faith” was composed by Alexander Robert Reinagle (1799-1877).  It first appeared in his Psalm Tunes for the Voice and Pianoforte, circa 1836.

     The song encourages us to walk by faith and not by sight.

I. Stanza 1 reminds us that we walk by faith

“We walk by faith, and not by sight;

No gracious words we hear

From Him who spake as man ne’er spake;

But we believe Him near.”

 A. Walking by faith means looking not at the things which are seen but which are not seen: 2 Cor. 4:16

 B. We cannot literally hear the voice of Christ because He has been taken up into heaven: Acts 1:9

 C. However, by faith we can still listen to the words of Him who spoke and never man spoke: Jn. 7:46

II. Stanza 2 tells us that we may still rejoice in His promises

“We may not touch His hands and side,

Nor follow where He trod;

But in His promise we rejoice,

And cry, ‘My Lord and God!’”

 A. We cannot touch His hands and side as did Thomas: Jn. 20:24-27

 B. However, by faith we can still rejoice in His exceeding precious promises: 2 Pet. 1:3-4

 C. The evidence still exists for us to call Him our Lord and God: Jn. 20:28-31

III. Stanza 3 encourages us to ask for help with unbelief

“Help then, O Lord, our unbelief;

And may our faith abound,

To call on Thee when Thou art near,

And seek where Thou art found.”

 A. However, walking by faith is not always easy, and like the father of the demon-possessed boy, must ask for help with our unbelief: Mk. 9:14-24

 B. When we do this, the Lord will help our faith abound: 2 Cor. 8:7

 C. With this faith, we call on Him and seek Him where He may be found: Isa. 55:6

IV. Stanza 4 teaches us that someday we shall behold Christ in clearer light

“That, when our life of faith is done,

In realms of clearer light

We may behold Thee as Thou art,

With full and endless sight.”

 A. Our life of faith is done when we depart this earth in death: Heb. 9:27

 B. After that, the saints shall dwell in realms of clearer light, in the very presence of God Himself: Rev. 21:1-2

 C. Then, the Bible says that we shall see Christ as He is: 1 Jn. 3:1-2

     CONCL.: The dominance of the Psalms as the songs of choice was ended in the late eighteenth century by “hymns of human composure,” often referred to as the genre of “Anglican hymns” (although writers from other backgrounds besides Anglicans wrote them).  We still sing some of the “Anglican hymns” of the Romantic/Victorian era of the nineteenth century, but many which were once very popular are no longer remembered, and this would appear to be one of them.  However, it is a good song to take the story of Thomas and remind us that we do not walk by sight but that “We Walk by Faith.”


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