- Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (NIV)
- Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (KJV)
- What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead (TLB)
- Faith means being sure of the things we hope for. And faith means knowing that something is real even if we do not see it. (ICB)
Hebrews 11 is known as the faith chapter of the Bible. The first 10 chapters detail why Christ is superior to the angels, Moses, and the Law. The writer goes into great detail to describe Jesus as our Great High Priest who instituted a New Covenant — not through the Law, but through His blood. Hebrews 10:10 says, “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Since our salvation does not depend on what is seen — the temple, the sacrifices, etc. — the writer defines faith as trusting God for what we cannot see (see verses above).
The writer uses chapter 11 to present a faith “Hall of Fame” to demonstrate how the heroes of Scripture lived out their faith, believing in something they could not see. He lists Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and others, saying “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised” (vs. 39).
Through his podcast, The Alternative, Dr. Tony Evans has been teaching through this great chapter for the past couple of weeks. Dr. Evans defines faith as, “Acting like God is telling the truth. Faith is acting like it is so even when it is not so, in order that it might be so, simply because God said so.” I love that — faith is acting as if it is, even when it isn’t, knowing that it will be, because God said it would be.
After listing those in the faith “Hall of Fame”, the writer then says this: “So we have many people of faith around us. Their lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way. And we should remove the sin that so easily catches us” (ICB). This verse reminds us of a few things:
- We are not alone. Not only do we have the encouragement of those saints who went before us, we have the encouragement of the saints who are still with us!
- Faith is an action word. Faith is not about what we say, or even what we believe. Faith is demonstrated by how we live. Faith leads us to “run the race that is before us and never give up”! Take 1:37 to listen to the following: https://tonyevans.org/blog/faith-is-measured-by-what-you-do
- Faith involves removing that which seeks to work against us. Doubt, sin, worldly philosophies, unbelief, fear, etc. All of these work against what God desires to do in our lives.
We often want guarantees from God before we act. But God wants us to trust in His word, and prove our trust by how we live. Acting on faith means we trust God even when we do not have a guarantee on what the outcome will be. From a human stand point this may not make much sense, but this is what God requires. For example:
- By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family (11:7).
- By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going (v. 8).
- All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance (v. 13)
What is God calling you to do? What ministries has God urged you to get involved in? Is God calling you to start a new ministry? Are there neighbors you need to: introduce yourself to? invite for coffee? bring to church? Wherever God is leading you, your first step needs to be a leap of faith even when you do not know exactly where He is leading you. We can do this because of our trust in Him. Therefore, let’s put feet to our faith!
Your servant in Christ,