A Deeper Faith
by Zack Howard
The faith defined in Hebrews 11.1 is “assurance of the things hoped for, a conviction of things unseen.” Having faith means we are confident that God will fulfill his promises for us, and we firmly believe that God has done everything we read about, but never saw. If we do not have faith, then our worship is in vain, and we put more trust in ourselves, and plan for this world rather than eternity. Faith separates us from this world. Chapter 11 not only defines faith for us, but it also shows us examples of God’s faithful servants. These are men and women of the Old Testament that stand out for their faith—why?
1. They trusted in God’s promises—without seeing them fulfilled.
Verse 13 says, “ 13 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.” These men and women never saw the fulfillment of the promises. This especially rings true in the cases of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Abraham was given three promises—a promise for a great land, a great nation, and a great seed (people)—and he would not live to see the fulfillment of these promises. Yet he still had faith that God would keep these promises to him, even if he never saw them. Likewise, Isaac and Jacob invoked future blessings on their children (20-21), trusting that God would fulfill those blessings. The men and women of this chapter all held that same faith—a hope that God would keep his promises to them. Likewise, we must have this same kind of faith—a hope that Jesus will come again, that God will call all of his faithful children home to him—even if it doesn’t happen in our time on earth. Our faith is not dependent on if God fulfills his promises in our lifetime; our faith is a hope in the promises he has made us.
2. Their faith led to their actions.
A deeper faith results in action. There is no such thing as faith that calls for no response. We are given an excellent image of this regarding Moses: “23 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. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. (23-26)” He refused earthly power and wealth, instead desiring the reward from God, and desiring to be with his people. He left Egypt with his people, and kept the Passover, all believing in and hoping that God would protect the Israelites and bless them. The faith they all have is what matters the most, but each one of these examples teaches us that faith creates actions. There is action because of a hope in the fulfilling of promises. We hope that God will fulfill his promises, trusting in a different vision of rewards and glory than that which is promised in this world. We aim to have that deeper faith that these men and women had, and we act upon it.
Faith is special in Hebrews 11. The faith that these men and women have provide us a blueprint of what our faith is supposed to be like—a trust in the promises of God, and a life that acts because of that faith.