A Systematic Expository Study on the book of Hebrews
STUDY 26: ASSURANCE OF FAITH
Hebrews 11: 1 - 3
In the previous chapter the Apostle had called on the believers to “draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith” (Hebrews 10; 22). He had emphasised the need to “hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering” reminding us that “He is faithful that promised” (Hebrews 10: 23). He repeated God’s unchanging truth: “The just shall live by faith” (Hebrews 10: 38) , encouraged believers not to cast away your confidence”, to keep on believing to the saving of the soul, that we “might receive the promise” (Hebrews 10: 35, 39, 36).
Faith can only be built on the Word. Christ, the Living Word is the surest foundation on which to build the purest faith. Having spoken so clearly on the greatness and the glories of Christ, the perfection and the priesthood of Christ, the faithful submission and final sacrifice of Christ, a solid foundation had been laid. The writer is now ready to exhort us to believe in Christ, not only for salvation but for full salvation.
His exhortation is drawn from the central characteristic of people in the Old covenant - faith. From the first patriarch to the last prophet in the Old Covenant, faith was the essential thing that linked each of them to God. From Abel, Barak, Caleb, David, Enoch, and all others, faith was the indispensable, remarkable thing in their lives. If it was so for the Old Covenant people, are we surprised that FAITH is the central and essential requirement in the New Covenant? Chapter 11 therefore takes up the message of Faith for the edification and spiritual growth of believers in the New Covenant.
DEFINITION OF FAITH
Hebrews 11: 1; 6: 18; Titus 1: 2; John 20: 24-29; Romans 4: 18, 21; Acts 27: 25; 2 Corinthians 4: 13, 18.
The studies before us in this chapter show us what faith is and what faith does. Here, we are told how faith operates and what faith produces. Faith is believing the testimony of God. Faith is more than mere assent to anything revealed and declared by God. It is a firm persuasion of that which is hoped for, because the believer is assured that through the power and faithfulness of God, he will possess it. Faith and confidence are inseparable. Counting upon the ability and fidelity of God, who has promised, we are confident of receiving the things promised. “We believe and are sure” (John 6: 69).
Resting on God’s promises and expecting the accomplishment of them, faith gives the object hoped for at a future period, a present reality - as if already possessed. Faith provides a firm standing - ground while we await the fulfilment of God’s promises. Faith furnishes our hearts with a sure support during the interval.
Faith says ‘God has said it, so it must be true.’ Faith visualises the unseen, giving reality to invisible things. Faith shuts it eyes to all that is seen, and opens its ears to all God has said. Faith is the hand of the soul which “lays hold of” the contents of God’s promises; faith is the eye of the soul which looks out and sees the fulfilment of God’s promises clearly.
DECLARATION APPROVING MEN OF FAITH
Hebrews 11: 2; Genesis 15: 6; Numbers 12: 6-8; 14: 24; Ezekiel 14: 14, 20; Jeremiah 15: 1; Acts 13: 22; Hebrews 11: 4, 5, 7, 8, 11, 23, 24, 31, 32, 39.
“For by it the elders obtained a good report” (Hebrews 11: 2). It was by faith that the men and women of the Old Testament “obtained a good report.” The Lord testified of them because walking with God and pleasing Him, obeying His Word, leaving and forsaking idolatry, offering their most price possessions to Him, forsaking earthly privileges to follow God’s way, etc., were the products of their faith in God. All these godly acts were produced by faith. So, “by faith the elders obtained a good report.”
It is by faith that we are approved of God. Whatever we do in unbelief will not recommend us before God. Decisions and actions in periods of unbelief disapprove us before God. Faith and acts of faith bring God’s approval in our lives. The life of faith (Galatians 2: 20) , the walk of faith (2 Corinthians 5: 7) , the obedience of faith (Romans 1: 5) , the spirit and the speech of faith (2 Corinthians 4: 13) , the work of faith (1 Thessalonians 1: 3) are the things that please God in our lives. “For by it (by faith) the elders obtained a good report.”
DISCERNMENT THROUGH FAITH
Hebrews 11: 3; Romans 4: 17; Psalm 33: 6; Isaiah 40: 26; John 1: 3; Acts 17: 24; Revelation 4: 11.
“Through faith we understand...” Faith is the means of spiritual perception. Our Lord, Jesus Christ, called those who were “slow of heart to believe” the Scriptures, fools (Luke 24: 25). Unbelief makes men blind - they cannot see. Through faith in what has been revealed in the Scriptures, we understand, we know that the universe is created by God. God is the Creator and Maker of all things. He made the world by things that are not as if they were, commanded them into being. “For He spake, and it was done; He commanded and it stood fast” (Psalm 33: 9). Since God created the universe out of nothing, how easily can He provide for all our needs even when there is no visible provision or helper in sight. He who called worlds into existence by the Word of His Power, can command abundant supplies for the poorest of His children. “But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4: 19).
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