11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.
By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.
By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.
And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
Hebrews 11 Commentary
by Hank Workman
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”Hebrews 11:1
“By faith…” Hebrews 11 uses this statement again and again as it recounts the amazing stories of faith found within the Old Testament. Known as the Hall of Faith, it’s refreshing and challenging yet also a deeply encouraging chapter of men and women of old who put their trust in God despite the circumstances or outcome even.
2 words: by faith are planted deep with 2 other critical words: assurance and conviction. These important words are a description of the qualities needed to secure the beginning and end of what and where and how God is calling. There is the beginning point of digging deep and clinging to the character of God. As things bombard our mind that are contrary to our faith, physical realities that seem dire, we must cling to the character of God. He is who He says He is. We must not forget this in all of our comings and goings. The endpoint is believing God’s promises. He will do what He says. When we believe God will fulfill his promises even though we don’t’ see them coming together before our eyes, we demonstrate true faith as Jesus said in John 20:24-31 when He spoke to Thomas after His resurrection. His powerful statement rings to the heart of this issue:
“Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”John 20:29
The fascinating storyline of these written from Noah to Abraham to Moses to many others all speak of what they faced yet persevered by faith. The 8 verses of 32-40 sum up so many others who had tremendous victories, suffered through torture and mistreatment but didn’t give up. They had a steadfast faith and clung to the character and promises of God.
The question is how does this translate to you? Where has God been calling even though the odds are seemingly stacked against you? Where has He been asking you to lay hold of His promises that seem unreachable where you must sink deep into His character? The absolute glory of God is seen when men and women live and act upon 2 words: By Faith!
Hebrews 11 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The Hall of Faith. It is by far the most popular and most quoted chapter of Hebrews. Beautifully, the author articulates the power of faith and how it can completely change both our attitude and our outcome.
The question I like to ask is, what does faith look like? Does it mean I recite words over and over in my head to convince myself of its existence? Does it mean I plunge into decisions that make absolutely no sense? Does it mean I deny reality and live in my own little world?
If faith is what I know that I desperately need, how do I get more of it?
Ephesians teaches us that faith is a gift from God. Think about it. Logic and reason have their place in Scripture. The Bible is littered with authentic and convincing evidences. Facts, however, can only take us so far.
How can we factually explain Jonah and the big fish? How can we prove that Gideon’s army of 300 was victorious over an enemy equal to the grains of sand on the seashore? What about David and Goliath or Daniel in the lion’s den? I could go on and on. The bottom line is that faith is greater than facts. By faith, we enter a new perspective where impossible is possible and unbelievable becomes reality.
So, faith cannot be achieved in the same way as facts can. Faith resides in God’s Kingdom and is granted to us in His mercy.
For it is by God’s grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God’s gift, so that no one can boast about it.Ephesians 2:8 GNB
So once again, I go back to my question. If faith is what I need, what do I do?
Think of it this way. If God is the giver of faith and we are incapable of receiving that type of faith in our flawed, mortal minds, what is our next step? Colossians tells us that Jesus “is the key that opens all the hidden treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge.” Jeremiah writes, “you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” So first and foremost, we must approach God and come near to Him in order to experience this miraculous gift. The problem is, we are all sinners who have been separated from God.
The Good News is that Jesus has made a way for us by taking God’s wrath and restoring our relationship as sons and daughter with God the Father. So, yes it is the classic Sunday School answer. It’s Jesus! Romans tells us that faith is found directly in Jesus and specifically through His Message.
So then, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message comes through preaching Christ.Romans 10:17 GNB
What should I do if I need more faith? First, I would say go to Jesus. Meet with Him in the Word. Meet with Him in prayer. Recite His miraculous promises and commit them to memory. Pick yourself up and keep striving, keep loving, keep praying, keep serving and keep suffering for His Name. The early church was full of faith and this was their overwhelming message to us. Persevere. Trust. Press on. Do not give up.
We do these things not so we can earn a right standing with God but because Jesus first loved us. He persevered. He trusted. He pressed on. He never gave up. Our example has been set before us. Stand up, child. Brush yourself off. You belong to God the Father!