Hebrews 11:1-16: A Better Country
September 19, 2019
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Isaiah 49-50, Proverbs 27:15-27, Luke 23:44-49, Hebrews 11:1-16
We come now to one of the most famous chapters in the Bible: the roll call of faith of Hebrews chapter 11. We have here a definition of faith, a list of examples of faith, and then a reflection on faith.
The definition of faith at the start of the chapter is noticeably different from most modern definitions of faith. Faith is not a leap into the unknown. Faith is not a leap into the dark. Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and the assurance of what we do not see. In other words, faith is the means by which we receive what God says about the future and the as yet not seen. It does not run contrary to facts. It provides us with the ability to accept what has been said to us. We use faith in everyday life all the time. When we sit on a chair. When we board an airplane. When we cash a check. We use faith to build relationships. Without faith there would no marriage, and no ultimate knowledge, for without faith we could not accept by faith that which is not immediately known to us or proven to us. Faith in other words is trust. Would you trust God today? Faith is what the ancients were commended for.
It is also, the author of Hebrews says, how we understand that God made the universe. We cannot see that he did it. We were not there when he did it! We must take it on faith. That does not mean we cannot use our minds or interpret the data according to reason. But by definition, all real understandings of the origin of creation must function by some sort of faith, for none of us was present when it happened.
Then the author of Hebrews lists some of these great heroes of faith. Each of them is worth studying and reading, for they give us examples of what it means to walk by faith, as well as help us understand the Bible. Note: without faith it is impossible to please God. We must trust him.
And then lastly in this section, from verse 13, the author of Hebrews reflects on faith. Even when these people – these heroes of faith – died, they still had not received the things promised. How different is our view of faith today! We tend to think that if someone is a great man or woman of faith, then everything they have been promised will occur before they die. Not so. Faith is a longing for a better country. And for such people of faith, God has prepared a city for them.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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