The Definition of Faith

In April 1988 the evening news reported on a photographer who was a skydiver. He had jumped from a plane along with numerous other skydivers and filmed the group as they fell and opened their parachutes. On the film shown on the telecast, as the final skydiver opened his chute, t … More

Faith

This eleventh chapter of Hebrews is one of the best known chapters of the Bible on the subject of faith. Two words describe faith; confidence and certainty. These two words need a secure beginning and ending point. The beginning point is believing in God’s character; that He is who He says He is. The end point is believing in God’s promises; He will do what He says He will do.

The word “faith“ occurs twenty-one times as it focuses on what faith is and gives examples of the lives and labors of great men and women of faith found in the Old Testament. Faith is not positive thinking. It is not just a hunch to be followed hoping that everything will turn out all right. The first six verses of this chapter tell us what faith is. True  Bible faith is “the substance, of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (v. 1). It is to a Christian what a foundation is to a house. It gives him confidence and assurance that what is promised will be experienced. It is a steady, confident belief that whenever and wherever God speaks He will do exactly what He has promised.

The best way to grow in faith is to walk with the faithful. Beginning with verse 4 we can see great examples of men and women who walked by faith. In each case you will find that God spoke to them through His Word; they were stirred to action; they obeyed God and He gives witness about them.  Abel presented an animal sacrifice which was accepted, in contrast to Cain presenting the works of his hands (Gen. 4:1-5). Enoch walked with God in the wicked world before the flood, and at the age of sixty-five was transferred to heaven without seeing death (v. 5). (Gen. 5:24).

Application

What are some ways that my life has changed as a result of my faith in God? I hope there are many!

Hebrews 11:1-6 (English Standard Version)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

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