Hebrews 11:1–3, 6–8, 13–19, 24–26 comment (0)
November 9, 2006
By Dale Younce
Related Scripture: Hebrews 11:1–3, 6–8, 13–19, 24–26
Explore the Bible
Professor of Christian Studies, School of Christian Studies, University of Mobile
Exhibit Your Faith
Hebrews 11:1–3, 6–8, 13–19, 24–26
The English word “faith” has several meanings, depending upon its context. It can refer to a person’s religion or to one’s beliefs as a Christian or to a person’s trust in Jesus.
This lesson’s use of the word focuses on the last, since it concerns a person’s relationship with God.
Significantly how we demonstrate our faith-relationship with Jesus also shows something about our beliefs as followers of Christ.
Consequently our demonstration of faith may be positive or negative. God wants us to give positive evidence of our trust in Christ — to show that we are genuine Christians, that we hold Christian beliefs and values and that we trust Jesus with all our lives.
Real Faith (1–3)
The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews gives a description of what faith does and how it works. Genuine biblical faith operates very simply. It trusts God’s Word and acts on it regardless of the circumstances or the consequences.
Trusting God enables the believer to press on steadfastly whatever the future may hold. It is God’s way of giving the Christian confidence, assurance and conviction that what God has promised He will accomplish.
This is exactly what the Hebrew-Christian readers of this Epistle needed to do; instead of returning to Judaism, they needed to press on trusting Jesus, assured that the blessings He had promised were real and that the events He had announced were certain to occur.
Pleasing Faith (6–8)
Faith is the key to pleasing God. With great emphasis, the writer declares that faith is absolutely necessary to please God. There is no substitute for faith.
Faith enables us to understand what God does; it enables us to see what others cannot see; it enables us to do what others cannot. Faith enables us to please God.
The person who pleases God meets two requirements. (1) He believes that the true God (not a god) exists; without this, there is no possibility of faith at all. (2) He believes that the God who exists possesses moral character, “that He rewards those who seek Him.” He must not only believe that God exists but also that God cares.
Noah and Abraham are two examples of people who, by faith, pleased God. Noah did not act on a hunch or on mere human advice. He heard the voice of God warning him about coming events of which there was no present indication. His faith motivated him to action with the result that he saved his family from destruction.
Abraham, by faith, when God called, obeyed and left home to go to a land, not knowing where he was going. For Abraham, faith was not making a good guess based on the best human estimate of the situation. He accepted God’s promise and acted on it, even though there was nothing to indicate where he was going.
Persistent Faith (13–16)
None of the Old Testament patriarchs saw the complete fulfillment of God’s promises to him. By faith, those Old Testament believers recognized that the promises had a future fulfillment; so they lived as pilgrims, refusing to return to the land they had left. They died without seeing God fulfill all of His promises. Yet they demonstrated their faith by persistently trusting God throughout their lives.
Tested Faith (17–19, 24–26)
Abraham’s faith was severely tested by God’s command to sacrifice his son Isaac. He trusted God in what seemed to be an impossibly horrible situation. Moses, by faith, chose to abandon the riches of Egyptian royalty in order to be counted among God’s people. Both Abraham and Moses faced difficult tests. But both men demonstrated their faith by trusting God when doing so seemed risky and daring.
When we are tested, we demonstrate our faith by continuing to trust God — even if doing so seems foolish.