Hebrews 11 – the Hall of Faith, is a favorite chapter of mine. I guess I love it so much because we are told that we “walk by faith, not by sight”. If I am going to walk in a certain way then I need to study that path to see exactly what it entails.
So in looking at the Hebrews 11 chapter I like to read it in the Amplified Bible. It gives a more expanded understanding to what it means to “walk” by faith.
Hebrews 11:1 AMP: NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses.]
The first thing I noticed in this first verse of Chapter 11 is that faith is in the NOW; it is not a past remembrance of what took place yesterday or wishful thinking of what might happen tomorrow. It is in the NOW; right this very minute faith is to be in operation in my life.
Next, I see that FAITH is an assurance of things that I hope for; it is like a title deed for a piece of property. After working in the mortgage lending industry for years I understand what it means when you have a “title deed” to a piece of property. It means it is yours; it belongs to you and unless someone files a mortgage against it you can take it to the bank as being proof of ownership. If a mortgage is filed against it the mortgage company takes first place and will get their money before you get yours when it is sold. We can’t see faith, but we can see the evidence of it operating in our lives. It is as real as if you already had in your hand that which you have hoped for, although, it has not yet been manifested to the senses. Or, it has not already come into physical appearance.
So, let’s think about the biblical definition of hope; because faith operates as if what we’ve “hoped” for is already in existence.
Hope – Greek word elpis – Strong’s #1680 – means hope, not in the sense of an optimistic outlook or wishful thinking without any foundation, but in the sense of confident expectation based on solid certainty. Biblical hope rests on God’s promises.
Hope is not wishful thinking without a basis or foundation, but is a confident expectation of God’s promises. So faith looks at God’s promises as if they were already in existence; that they are already ours and in reality. If faith sees as reality the promises of God, then we must have a foundation of the promises of God before we can exercise our faith to receive them. If you don’t know what God promises you in His word then you can’t have biblical faith because you have no basis on which to ground your faith.
Wow, that says a lot! I have to know God’s word before I can exercise my faith to receive His promises. Whew, that means the more I know His word the more faith I can have and the easier it becomes to receive His promises!
According to Paul E. Billheimer in “Destined To Overcome” a working definition of faith is the acceptance of a fact which already exists but which has not yet been manifested to the senses.
Now God’s word says we have all been given a measure of faith.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, a God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
So each one of us has a measure of faith. You exercise faith every time to sit in a chair. You look at the chair and place your trust in it’s ability to hold you up, so you sit down in it. The foundation that your faith is grounded on is the chair’s strength and dependability in holding the weight that you place on it. If the chair looks as if it won’t hold you up then, most likely, you will not sit down in it. But for the most part, you exercise your faith by an action; sitting down. You don’t say, well, I hope this chair will hold me up; or, I don’t think this chair is going to hold my weight, but I’ll sit in it anyway. No, you say to yourself, this chair is designed for a person to sit in it and I believe when I sit down it will hold me up, so you sit down in it. Likewise, faith looks at the promise of God and says, I believe that promise is for me so I receive it as if it already is a reality in my life. Faith is an action; not a mental thought or something that we do in the future. Faith does it now!
The Amplified Bible gives this definition of faith in Hebrews 13:7:
….faith (their conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things, the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ, and their leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness).
This verse of Scripture lists faith as:
- the conviction that God exists and is the Creator and Ruler of all things
- that He is the Provider and Bestower of eternal salvation through Christ
- and their leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness
Here it says that the hope or foundation for faith is God and His provision and faithfulness. They then act on that foundation by leaning their entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness. Faith is the vehicle that brings the promises of God into our lives.
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds [during the successive ages] were framed (fashioned, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose) by the word of God, so that what we see was not made out of things which are visible.
God used faith to frame or put in order the world. He brought the world into order through His faith, by speaking it into existence. He looked out into the darkness and said “Let there be light and there was light”. He didn’t say, “look how dark it is out there”, or “I wonder if this will work”. No, He spoke to the darkness and called light into existence. Faith speaks the promises of God into existence!
I realize that this is a pretty in-depth subject so I’m going to just include a couple more scriptures in this lesson. We’ll address some other features of faith in later blogs.
Hebrews 11:6: AMP: But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].
Without leaning your entire personality on God and His promises it is impossible to please Him; to be satisfactory to Him. For it is necessary that whoever comes to God must believe or exercise their faith in knowing that God exists; that He is who He says He is and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him.
Ephesians 2:8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through your faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but is the gift of God.
Your faith is what brings the grace of God into your life. This scripture gives us one of the definitions of God’s grace—unmerited favor. His unmerited favor made salvation available to you and your faith is what brings it into manifestation in your life. So we are saved by grace through faith! Faith, again, is the vehicle that brings the promise of God into manifestation.
Faith is now!
Faith is the reality of what we have hoped for, or the promises of God.
Faith sees the promises of God as already in existence in our lives.
Faith is given to every person.
Faith believes that God is who He says He is.
Faith believes that God is the rewarder and bestower of salvation.
Faith rests in God’s faithfulness to reward those who diligently seek Him.
Faith leans totally on God’s power, wisdom and goodness.
Faith is the vehicle that brings God’s promises into our lives.
Faith is not just mental assent, but it speaks.
Faith pleases God!
Wow, this is a lot to chew on this morning! I pray that you will do your own search and study on the subject of faith as we explore it a little more in later blogs.
Father, I thank You for the measure of faith that you have placed in each one of us. I pray that we might develop our faith so we can walk a life pleasing to You. Father, I pray for my friends who may be confused about this subject. I pray that You will open the eyes of their understanding that they might see the importance of having faith and exercising their faith in You and Your promises. I ask You, Lord, to give them eyes that see and ears to hear what Your Spirit is saying to them about faith. Thank You, Father, for hearing and answering my prayer as I believe I receive when I pray. In Jesus’ name. Amen.