‘actual’ and ‘real’ …
If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus’ sake, which makes Jesus’ life all the more evident in us. While we’re going through the worst, you’re getting in on the best! 2 Corinthians 4:7/12 (The Message)
By ‘actual’ is meant the things we come in contact with by our senses, and by ‘real’ that which lies behind – those things we cannot get at by our senses.
The fanatic sees only the real and ignores the actual; the materialist looks at the actual only and ignores the real.
The only sane being who ever trod this earth was Jesus Christ because in Him the actual and the real were one.
Jesus Christ does not stand first in the actual world, He stands first in the real world; that is why the ‘natural man’ does not bother his head about Him – ‘the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness to him.”
When we are born from above, we begin to see the actual things in the light of the real. We say that prayer alters things, but prayer does not alter things nearly so much as it alters the person who sees the actual things.
In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord brings the actual and the real together.