By Tyshawn Gardner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies, Samford University
Does It Call You to Trust God?
The writer of Hebrews moves from saving faith in Chapter 10 to living faith in chapter 11. His teaching on saving faith ensures that our salvation is based on faith in Christ, the One who offered “one sacrifice for sins forever” (10:12).
Living faith is the assurance that we are not only secure in our salvation, but that we are called to live in and through the same faith by which we are saved, because “without faith it is impossible to please God” (11:6). Both saving faith and living faith require a change in our thinking and our behavior.
Faith leads us to believe and rely on God. (1–3)
Hebrews provides us with a cast of Old Testament figures who relied on God. Although these figures were not without flaws and sins, they represent the kind of life that reflects a strong belief and reliance on God. To believe in God is to rely on Him.
Faith informs us who God is. Faith reveals both our impotence and God’s omnipotence. We are reminded that God created the world out of nothing. This gives us the assurance that when we are limited in strength, resources, health and wisdom, God is never limited. We do not have to have physical evidence of what we need. God is always what we need.
Faith responds with obedience that pleases God. (4–6)
All the Old Testament examples in Hebrews 11 lived to please God through their obedience.
Abel’s sacrifice to God was a direct response of his faith in God. Does our faith call us to give God our best?
Even though Noah had not even the slightest evidence of an overcast day, he proceeded to obey God’s voice by building an ark. Since we have nothing of physical value to offer God, His delight in us lies in our obedience to Him. The fullest expression of faith is obedience.
We often want evidence of the results of our faith. In other words, we want assurance our faith will work. The object of our faith is God, not results. Faith trusts God with the results.
Obedience is not always easy. Obedience that is easy isn’t really obedience at all. Obedience, like faith, will cost us something. Our obedience to God shows how much we respect and trust Him. When we abandon worldly ways to embrace God’s ways despite being in the minority, our faith pleases God.
Obedience is best seen when we take actions that are not popular or when we adopt views that may be contrary to the dominant culture. Faith demands a response. That response is obedience to God’s Word and the promptings of God’s Spirit.
Faith stays focused on God’s Word and promises. (13–16)
Since faith sometimes calls us to respond to God in ways that are honorable to Him but unpopular to the world, we must stand fast in God’s Word and promises.
All the Old Testament personalities in Chapter 11 died in faith, which means they never stopped believing in what God promised, even when it seemed as if they would never experience those promises.
We are reminded of the hundreds of thousands of enslaved humans who longed for the brutal winter of slavery to be over. In light of their captivity, they never wavered in the faith that God would make them free. Through over two centuries, these enslaved human beings believed that even if they didn’t see freedom, their children and their children’s children would.
Faith never gives up on God. These lessons teach us that faith in God also provides the strength we need to endure hardships until God’s promises come to pass.
God has spoken through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus is our perfect example of faith in God. He was obedient when it wasn’t easy, and He never wavered in His faith towards His Father. In this faith, He died, and in this faith He rose again.
May we live in faith.
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