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.Hebrews 11:1-2
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.
Too often, faith is perceived as something merely internal and mystical. But biblical faith is much more than a blind leap; it is a trust based on past promises, truths, and experiences. One church member said it this way to me this week:
“Faith is not a blind leap in the dark, but a careful walk in the light.”Steve Robinson
In Hebrews 11:19, Abraham considered that God was able to raise Isaac even from the dead if he followed through with God’s command. The word considered here means “to calculate” or “to compute.” It is thoughtful, intelligent, experienced faith. This is the type of faith that pleases God. This is the type of faith that God commends.
But you might ask, “Isn’t this kind of faith only for those heroes of faith in Hebrews 11?” The author of Hebrews doesn’t think so. He used these examples to commend faith to us. He used practical, concrete, applicable examples for our benefit.
Here are just a few concrete applications of faith from Hebrews 11:17-31.
- Like Abraham, by faith, we can trust that the God who raised Jesus from the dead can give eternal life to those who believe.
- Like Isaac, by faith, we as parents can speak and pray gospel blessings over our children.
- Like Jacob, by faith, we as grandparents can speak and pray gospel blessings over our grandchildren.
- Like Joseph, by faith, we can admit that this world is not our home and trust God has prepared a place for us.
- Like Moses’ parents, by faith, we can teach our children to fear God and believe the gospel rather than cede our children to the values and morals of the cultural rot around us.
- Like Moses, by faith, we can seek after Christ rather than wealth, status, and power offered by the culture around us.
- Like Moses, by faith, we can speak, share, and illustrate the gospel for the sake of our neighbors and the nations.
- Like Joshua and the people of Israel, by faith, we can obey God and trust in his miraculous sovereign interventions.
- Like Rahab, by faith, we can fear God and welcome the forgiveness of the gospel.
- And like Rahab, by faith, we can accept that God will forgive any who fear him regardless of their past.
I could go on, but you get the idea. The faith illustrations commended to us were intended to make faith accessible and applicable. Have a read through the rest of Hebrews 11. Consider the examples. Identify one or two that stand out to you. Make note of how you could apply the example to your life today. This is the faith that God invites of us. This is the faith that pleases him.
Photo by Alex Shute on Unsplash