Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Hebrews 11:1-3, 39-40 (NIV)
Read: Hebrews 11:1-40
Consider: Between 9th January and 12th February 2018 I published a series of posts entitled ‘Faith in Action’. I would commend that series to you as a good basis for reading and contemplating Hebrews 11 and 12. The following is reproduced from the introductory post published on 9th January 2018.
Hebrews 11 and 12 are full of encouragement to have faith. For some people they want to be certain before they move forward with God and their desire for certainty can sometimes lead to inertia and inactivity. Hebrews 11 contains details of people who were commended for their faith, despite the fact that they did not see the fulfilment of God’s promise in their own lifetime.
We have to remember that faith is not something that we can conjure up and exercise whenever we like. It is not like an electricity switch that can be turned off and on at will. Some Christians talk about having faith in human terms, seeing it in such a way that if you have faith all will be well with you. This would base faith on how we feel at any particular moment in time. Instead, faith must be based on having confidence in the one on whom our faith is founded. So how might we gain this ‘confidence’ and ‘assurance’? If we can’t create faith within ourselves, how does it come about?
The over-arching truth is that we don’t have faith because of who we are, but because of who God is and what he has achieved through the death and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ.
The listing of those commended for their faith is not exhaustive, as is made clear in Hebrews 11:32-38. The examples of faith given in Hebrews 11 are merely the ‘tip of the iceberg’. For us living almost 2000 years later there are many examples of those whose faith in action has resulted in others being saved and restored to God’s kingdom.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).
Pray: Father, may our faith be an outward expression of the confidence and assurance we have in you. Thank you that while we cannot create faith in ourselves, it is a natural response to knowing you. Amen