They Have Taught Us To Know Christ By Faith, Not By Sight

Rev. Matthew Winzer:

What is the topic of debate? Pictures of Christ. Christ is a person, not a nature. It is the Person Himself who is depicted.

Ask the question, What is this picture depicting? The answer is, Christ; and Christ is the second person of the Godhead. The union of the person of Christ means that any depiction of His human nature is ipso facto a depiction of a divine person. The person hungered in the wilderness. The person slept in the boat. The person agonised in the garden. The person died on the cross. The person rose again from the dead. It was proper to human nature to do these things, but it was not an human nature which did them. It was a person who did them. It was a divine person who did them. And it is only because it was a divine person who did them that they have worth and efficacy to save.

If we naturally form mental images of contemplated objects then it follows that we naturally form mental images of God Himself. Yet God expressly forbids making images of Him. The argument from natural imagination must be false. Even if it were proved that this was natural to men it would not justify the practice of making pictures of Christ. We have been given the ability to think through the nature and consequences of our actions; and believers have the grace of sanctification to enable them to depart from evil and to do good.

The apostles saw and knew the physical, visible image of Christ, but they never passed on any particular, visual description of it. They have taught us to know Christ by faith, not by sight. They have expressly taught that our faith in Christ and love to Him are not conditional on seeing Him, but are entirely dependent on the acceptance and consideration of Him as He has revealed Himself in His names, attributes, offices, works, words, and benefits.

Finally, we have a visible sign of Christ which has been given to assist faith in our sensory condition. It is called the Lord’s supper; and a part of the exercise of communion at the Lord’s supper is stirring up faith to spiritually feed upon Jesus. The practice of drawing sensory images of Christ and of contemplating Christ in them is counter-productive to the process of strengthening faith by means of the sacrament. Such a practice sets itself up in direct competition with the institution and ordinance of God, and is accurately called will-worship.

If any are tempted to think this is a light and trivial matter, please think again in the light of God’s holy word. The Word calls us to separate from idolatry because idolatry corrupts our spiritual communion with God and defiles both flesh and spirit. Consider 2 Corinthians 6:16 – 7:1:

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Source:, Comment #17


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