Ezekiel 24:1-25:11; Hebrews 11:1-7; Psalms 108:5-13; Proverbs 23:29-35
NT: “Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For by this our ancestors were approved. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was approved as a righteous man, because God approved his gifts, and even though he is dead, he still speaks through his faith. By faith Enoch was taken away, and so he did not experience death. He was not to be found because God took him away. For before he was taken away, he was approved as one who pleased God. Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1-6 CSB)
The writer of Hebrews ended chapter 10 with the statement that the righteous and just shall live by faith, and encouraged believers to be among those who endure in faith and experience salvation. That begs the question, ”What is faith?” In chapter 11, the author describes and gives examples of faith, while explaining its importance and how it works. Biblical faith is not seeing and then believing. It is believing and then seeing.
Faith is the assurance that what is hoped for will indeed become reality. Earlier, the writer of Hebrews challenged the reader to hold fast to hope. Faith is what allows us to hold on with assurance. It is the foundation and confidence of our hope. Though circumstances and challenges may cast doubt on hopes becoming reality, faith says, “God said it, I believe it – it will come to pass even in the midst of trying circumstances and challenges.”
Faith is the proof – the evidence and conviction for – things that are unseen. We don’t see God, but faith is the evidence and conviction that God exists. We don’t see God working in our lives on our behalf, but faith is the evidence and conviction that He is. We don’t physically see the salvation and redemption of Christ in our lives, but faith is the evidence and conviction that it has happened and continues to happen.
Biblical faith in God and His Christ does not come by seeing, but by hearing… and hearing comes through the word of God (Romans 10:17). Believing by seeing is believing, but it is not genuine biblical faith, for faith does not rely on seeing, but on the word of God and the God of the word. In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul wrote that the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe to try and prevent the light and power of the gospel from impacting their lives. Yet, when the word of God and the gospel of Christ is spoken, it shines the glory of God on people’s hearts, awakening faith, and removing the blinders on the mind.
There are no images of God to look upon and believe. The closest we have to seeing God is Jesus Christ, for Jesus said that if you had seen Him, you had seen the Father. However, no one alive today has seen Christ – and no one has seen God. All we have is God’s word. God isn’t looking for people who simply see Him and then believe. He is looking for people who hear His word and have faith in Him through faith in His word. Abel worshipped God by faith, and his sacrifice pleased God. Enoch walked with God by faith, and his life pleased God. It is impossible to please God without faith. To even approach God, we must have faith that He exists and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.
Biblical faith is not something that can just be mustered up from within. It is not the same as athletes getting hyped up with confidence before a game. Faith comes through hearing the word of God, and faith is grown and strengthened through obedience to the word of God. To be righteous and just people who life by faith, we need to be people of the Word who apply the word and obey the word in faith.
Prayer: Lord, I thank You that You have created me with the capacity for faith. I thank You for Your word, which awakens faith in me to know, be convicted and be convinced of You, all that You have done, and all that You continue to do for me, in me, and through me. Thank You for faith that doesn’t have to see to believe or to hope. Help me to walk by faith, obey by faith, and apply to my life by faith, so that I may be pleasing to You. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.