Faith- The Substance of Our Hope

January 2013 Blog:

  Hebrews 11:1,6
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen... But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

Isn’t it strange how “faith” and “hope” are irrevocably intertwined? Without faith we wouldn’t have hope and vice versa. Are they one and the same? The bible says that faith is the manifestation of hope: therefore hope must be the inspiration of our faith. As every deed begins with a thought- every act of faith begins with a dream of hope. According to the Oxford English Dictionary hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen”, whilst faith is “complete trust or confidence in someone or something”.
To my mind hope is a little ethereal -whilst faith is hope with purpose, meaning and direction. I see faith as hope with confidence, courage and certainity. What they both have in common is that they are directed at something better that is unseen and in the future.
As believers, there is another type of faith which is more definate as it relates to faith in God, faith in Christ and our need for salvation, which to me sums up the whole point of our lives on this planet called Earth. Faith in God provides us with our purpose and meaning- for a Christian believer it is our whole “raison d'etre”.
When placed within this theological context, we can include Romans 10:17 in our definition “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God”. Now we’re talking! We can consider two categories of faith- faith in someone or something and more specifically faith in God. The first type can satisfy us temporarily and the second eternally.
I think Paul in the text above talks holistically about faith and underlines his statement by stating that faith is key to belief and a relationship with God. Faith is an essential ingredient in our relationship with our Creator: as we cannot see Him, we can only rely on evidence in the bible, nature and the experiences of others and of course, personal experience.
Paul tells us that faith enables us to “please” God. In Romans 10:17 the emphasis is on faith developing by hearing God in his word, whilst in the opening text, Hebrews 11:1,6; hearing God, requires an active pursuit to please God, which also helps to develop our relationship with Him. The text also reveals that God is not passive- He rewards those who pursue a relationship with His providence.
Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith chapter, provides us with a comprehensive definition of faith: it has substance; it is the evidence of the unseen; it commends the efforts of great men and women of faith; and it showcases the work of an intelligent designer: the Creator of the the Earth, flora, fauna and Father of Mankind. If we are still a little skeptical about the requirements of exercising faith, Paul provides an impressive chronological line up of biblical giants: Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham- a friend of God and our spiritual father, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gedeon, Barak, Samson, Jephthne, David, Samual and the prophets.
These examples demonstrate not only how their faith pleased God, but also how God rewarded their faith (see Hebrews 11:33-38). Without going into all the rich detail of this impressive chapter (I recommend that you read and meditate upon its meaning for yourselves), it illustrates that faith requires willingness and courage- especially when God often asked them to undertake impossible, life-threatening and unbelievable tasks. Through their examples, Paul also reminds us that their faith was not always realised in their lifetime and the exercise of it occasionally led to martyrdom (see Hebrews 11:13).
Faith is essential currency for our relationship with God- we must believe that God exists and then take a leap of faith as we enter into a relationship which He rewards supernaturally. God does not leave us to wander aimlessly seeking Him- He has given us His autobiography the bible, which also contains the biographies of countless others who chose to have a relationship with Him or not and the consequences of such choices.
Faith is to believe the unbelieveable and trust in the impossible, hand in hand with our Infinite, Omnipotent, Omniscience Magnificent Creator: undertaking incredible feats fulfilling His divine purposes for us individually and for mankind as a whole. Faith has substance, faith has evidence, faith is our thanksgiving to God for His unfathomable Love and inestimable gift of salvation. Faith is the reason for our hope.
Today, together if you would like to have more faith, let us pause a while to thank God and pray “I do believe Lord, help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
©, 2013 (all rights reserved)

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