A Systematic Expository Study on the book of Hebrews
STUDY 27: EXAMPLES OF LIVING BY FAITH
Hebrews 11: 4 - 7
This important chapter begins by telling us what faith is and what faith does. In the first three verses, we have seen the definition of faith, declaration approving men of faith and discernment through faith. Now we want to learn concerning the demonstration of faith. Faith, that is, true faith never remains sterile or unproductive. Wherever there is true faith in God through Jesus Christ, it acts and works - it is known by what it does or produces.
Hebrews 11: 1-3 teaches us that faith is a firm persuasion of the things we hope for - it is having a firm confidence in God that He will do as He has said (Isaiah 55: 10, 11; Jeremiah 1: 12; Acts 27: 25). Faith permits its possessor to rejoice in firm assurance while waiting for the accomplishment of the promise given by God. He knows that God cannot lie. Faith grants us spiritual perception - allows us to have “the substance of things hoped for “; to hold “the evidence (the receipt) of things not seen”; to “call those things which be not as though they were”; to be “fully persuaded that what He had promised, He is able also to perform”; to maintain in the face of all contradictory events that He will “do as He has said” (Hebrews 11: 1; Romans 4: 17, 21; 2 Samuel 7: 25).
This kind of faith pleases God, for “without faith it is impossible to please Him”. Faith pleases God so much that He approves and blesses those who put their faith and trust in Him. Today we shall see some examples of those who pleased God by their faith. Abel, Enoch and Noah furnish us these pleasing examples of Faith.
COMMENCEMENT OF THE LIFE OF FAITH
Hebrews 11: 4; Genesis 4: 4; 3: 21; Hebrews 12: 24; 9: 22; John 1: 29; Romans 3: 24-26; Romans 8: 16
“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous” (Hebrews 11: 4). This verse describes the beginning of the life of faith. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10: 17). By God’s action and revelation (Genesis 3: 21), He had revealed (1) that in order for a sinner to stand before the holy God, he needed a covering; (2) that God Himself must provide the acceptable covering; and (3) that the necessary covering could only be obtained by the death of an innocent victim. This innocent victim was the substitute for the guilty sinner. Abel brought his sacrifice by faith, believing that God was merciful and would accept the death of an innocent substitute in his place. This is where the life of faith begins.
Christ, the Lamb of God has died in our place. He is the innocent victim - the innocent Substitute who died in our place. Now, Faith stretches forth its hand and lays hold on the Redeemer. The sinner is pardoned and accepted by God, then he obtains witness that he is righteous. Whosoever God accepts, He counts to be righteous. All who are justified and accepted by God (because of faith in our perfect Substitute and Saviour) also receive divine assurance in their hearts that they are forgiven, righteous and justified.
CHARACTERISTIC OF THE LIFE OF FAITH
Hebrews 11: 5, 6; Genesis 5: 22-24; 2 Corinthians 5: 7; Jude 14, 15; Hebrews 11: 5; 1 Corinthians 15: 51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4: 16, 17; Luke 18: 8
The verses 4 to 7 reveal an outline of the life faith. The example of Abel shows us where the life of faith begins. The example of Enoch teaches us of what the life of faith consists - its characteristics. “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5: 24). “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” The term “walk” signifies a voluntary act, a steady advance, a life surrendered to God, a life controlled by God, a life lived for God.
He who walks with God, walking by faith, pleases God. To walk with God, as Enoch did, is to “walk in newness of life” (Romans 6: 4) , to “henceforth not walk as other Gentiles walk” (Ephesians 4: 17) , to “walk uprightly”, “ righteously”, “humbly”, and “honestly” (Psalm 84: 11; Isaiah 33: 15; Micah 6: 8; Romans 13: 13) , to be “undefiled and walk in the law of the Lord” (Psalm 119: 1) , to “obey My voice and walk in all the ways that I have commanded you” (Jeremiah 7: 23) , to “walk in the truth” (3 John 3) , to “ walk in the light” (1 John 1: 7) , to “walk in the Spirit and not to fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5: 16) , to “walk even as Christ walked” (1 John 2: 6). This is the life that pleases God and we can only live such a life by faith.
“By faith Enoch was translated... for... he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Enoch’s translation to heaven, a type of the Rapture, has prophetic significance.
All true believers living their lives consistently to please Him in all things will soon be translated to heaven (1 Thessalonians 4: 16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15: 51, 52).
COURAGE OF THE LIFE OF FAITH
Hebrews 11: 7; Genesis 6: 9, 12-18, 22; 2 Peter 2: 5; 3: 3-6; Matthew 24: 37-39; Genesis 7: 1, 5, 12, 13, 16.
“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved... and prepared an ark.” There had never been rain, much less a flood, before God spoke to Noah. Rain and flood were “things not seen as yet”. All the world, walking by sight, did not believe that there could be such things. It took the courage of faith in the midst of ridicule and opposition. Noah believed God’s Word, feared the coming judgement and that faith led him to obedience. He believed God’s warning that He had determined to send a flood and destroy the wicked world, so he “moved with fear and prepared an ark to the saving of his house”. He escaped the judgement of God because he believed in God. It is by faith that the sinner is saved and escapes judgement (Acts 16: 31; John 5: 24). It is by faith that Christ dwelt in the heart (Ephesians 3: 17). It is by faith that we live (Galatians 2: 20). It is by faith that we stand (Romans 11: 20; 2 Corinthians 1: 24). It is by faith we walk (2 Corinthians 5: 7). It is by faith we resist the devil successfully (1 Peter 5: 8, 9). It is by faith we are sanctified (Acts 26: 18). It is by faith we have access to God (Ephesians 3: 12; Hebrews 10: 22). It is by faith we quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (Ephesians 6: 16). It is by faith we overcome the world (1 John 5: 4). It is by faith mountains are removed (Matthew 21: 21; Mark 11: 22, 23). It is by faith demons are cast out (Mark 16: 17; Matthew 17: 18-20). It is by faith we receive the Holy Spirit and His fulness (Galatians 3: 2, 14).
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