“WHAT IS FAITH?” Hebrews 11:7- 12
Today I want to talk for a little while about “faith”/trust/belief. Everybody has some type of faith; people have faith in many different things- when we get into our car we have faith that it will not give trouble and get us to our destination, we have faith in doctors, everybody has this mindset of faith of some kind or another. No one can live a single day without exercising faith.
Faith is also expressed in the spiritual realm(क्षेत्र). Each of us regardless of our backgrounds expresses faith. The difference between the faiths we exercise in our daily routine and our religious faith is the object of that faith. Everyone places his or her faith in something or someone. The humanist put his faith in himself, a religious person in his own good works. Some people put faith in ‘money/ extortion जबरन वसूली 1’ etc(1 Timothy 6:17/Psalms 62:10). Sadly, none of these can save you, because in each case the object of faith is wrong. The Bible says that we are to personally put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
No man was present to witness the Creation; The book of Genesis explains the creation, and we accept it through faith. True faith is simple obedience to God and believing God’s word in spite of circumstances or consequences. Faith is described in a two-fold way. It is the “substance of things hoped for,” and “the evidence of things not seen.”(air) Faith is the foundation that gives the believer the confidence to stand. “Faith is the confidence of things hoped for.” Rom. 10:17 says faith comes by hearing the word of God.
We were saved by an act of faith. Your eternal destiny depends on your understanding and personally believing the truth(Romans 4), We are justified (declared righteous) by faith alone. We are not justified by works or by moral behavior, but rather by faith in the God who credits righteousness पवित्र to the ungodly apart from works (Rom. 4:1-8). This blessing is not based on religious rituals (4:9-12) or on keeping the Law, which only serves to condemn us (4:13-15).
Saving faith is rooted in God’s grace, not in human performance. Saving faith is not a mere single act of receiving Jesus. (Some people receive Jesus and then do whatever they want. Hebrews 10:39,(Read) they are shrinking back to destruction); Faith that saves from destruction is faith that lives day by day. That is what Chapter 11 is meant to illustrate. What does saving faith look like? It doesn’t just look back to what God did in the past, but mainly looks forward to what God promises to do in the future. It gains a lot of its confidence from God’s past faithfulness, but what it believes is mainly promises. (If you say you are a Christian you should have this kind of faith).That is basic, ever-growing, ordinary Christian faith. (Galatians 3:26) Philippians 3:12-14; Isaiah 43:18-19
So let’s take our some examples of living by faith – the life that leads away from destruction and into salvation (10:39) – and look at four things that are always true of this life of faith. Let’s take them one at a time as they show up in these Biblical examples.
1) First, there is always a promised work of God. God speaks and promises that in the future he will do something. This is the object of our faith. We trust God, that what he says will (in fact) happen. He will do it. He is good enough, and smart enough, and strong enough to do what he says he will do.
God has spoken many promises to us in his word. He has said, “I will supply all your needs according to my riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). “Goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life” (Psalm 23:6). “I will never leave you or forsake you so that you can say, ‘The Lord is my helper, I will not fear, what can man do to me” (Hebrews 13:5-6). Call upon me.. “If you abide in me, you will bear much fruit ” (John 15:5). “Wait for the Lord and you will renew your strength; you will mount up with wings like eagles, you will run and not grow weary, you will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). “I will give you words that you need to speak” (Luke 12:12). “I will give you wisdom for every new challenge” (James 1:5). “I will be with you and strengthen you and help you” (Isaiah 41:10). “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; and many more…
God has spoken to give a massive foundation to our life of faith.
2)The second thing in the life of faith is the inner response of faith.
There is an outer response, which we will see in a moment. But the inner response comes first and is the essence of faith. The outer response is the fruit of the inner response. Without the inner life of faith, the outer acts are mere performance, which Jesus calls hypocrisy and white-washed tombs (Matthew 23:27).
V7 says that Noah was “reverent” – “in reverence [he] prepared an ark.” This is the inner life of faith- bowing humbly before the awesome word of God. V8 Abraham’s faith as “not knowing where he was going”. In other words, part of the inner response of faith is sometimes uncertainty about the details of God’s call on our lives. (Have you ever had this kind of experience?) Faith focuses not on present reward and prosperity, but on God and what he has promised to do. That is its basic reality: Faith fixes its gaze on the reality that God will build according to his promises. Then finally, v 11b says that Sarah “considered him faithful who had promised.” Again God is the focus. The inner life of faith is a fascinating focus on God as faithful.
We ask God for something and we do our own stuff. What is our inner response?! We have to say ‘yes’ like.. 3. Third, the life of faith involves an external response, not just an internal one.
The Faith of Noah, Abraham, and Sarah (7-12)
Here we are reminded of faithful men and women whose trust in God prompted them to walk by faith, rather than to collapse under the external pressures of their day
Here are four examples of how faith lives. First, Noah trusts God and builds an ark for the salvation of his household. Second, Abraham trusts God and leaves his secure homeland for an unknown place of promise. Third, Abraham trusts God and lives in tents instead of building a city with permanent foundations. Fourth, Sarah trusts God and conceives when she is barren and past the age of childbearing. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. This is the starting point: God.
Noah built an ark – imagine the humiliation. Abraham left a secure family and home in Ur of the Chaldees. He chose to live in tents to show he was looking for God’s act and God’s timing in his life.
Saving faith changes the way you live. Your life takes on a dimension that can only be explained by “the assurance of things hoped for.” Only God makes sense out of an ark in the desert, and emigration to who-knows-where, and living in tents rather than building a city and preparing for a child you are too old to bear. That’s the way the life of faith is: it doesn’t make sense without God. But with God, it is utterly reasonable. (Genesis 12, 13:16)
4. Fourth, the life of faith enjoys some measure of God’s reward now, but not most of it.
Noah was saved with his family, but he was still awaiting the full blessing of righteousness when he died. Abraham found the Promised Land, and prospered immensely, but he still lived in tents and only saw in the future the “city whose architect and builder is God” (verse 10). Sarah had her miracle baby. But the countless seed mentioned in verse 12 were far in the future for her. Faith tastes the blessing of God’s goodness now in this age, but not most of it. There is so much yet to come. (Genesis 12, 13:16)
That is the point of Hebrews 11:39-40, “All these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” And even we awaiting for that.
Hebrews 13:14 takes up the very thought of Abraham’s faith: “Here we have no lasting city.” Everything breaks. Everything ages, spoils, rusts. Only God remains unchanged and glorious. So, dear friends that is what we are about here. Connecting with God. Knowing God. Desiring God. Prizing God. And tasting the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples. We are glad you have come to join us in this great mission.
The emphasis here is not on the source of faith, but rather on its practice in real life. Faith here is not just a matter of belief, but a matter of behavior (based upon belief). The author is not urging his readers to conjure up faith somehow, but rather to live by the faith God has given. The faith which our author emphasizes here is not primarily saving faith, but the life of faith.
Let us all live by faith.