C. S. Lewis once explained his faith by writing, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”
What a simple, yet profound explanation of the purpose, potential, and power of faith.
Hebrews 11, often called the “Hall of Fame of Faith,” offers a practical and passionate peek into the lives of God’s greats who lived by faith. This wonderful chapter not only provides insight and instruction but the disposition, motivation, and inspiration to “see everything else.”
The Definition of Faith
There are many ways to define faith, but the inspired writer gives us one that’s the most understandable and insightful. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Heb. 11:1)
Faith is confidence. Trust. And allegiance. Faith sees the unseen. And is the very foundation of our hope.
“Faith,” as Martin Luther expressed it, “sees the invisible, believes the incredible and receives the impossible.” Then he added, “it accepts the impossible, does without the indispensable and bears the intolerable.”
The Direction of Faith
Popular self-help authors often speak of the importance of faith in our selves, in others, and in a dream we’re pursuing. While that kind of faith is valuable, Hebrews 11:6 directly tells us that “without faith, it is impossible to please God.
We may overestimate our personal resources and inner resolve. Men may let us down. Circumstances may shatter our dreams. But faith in God will always be rewarded. He will never fail us. Never forsake us. Never falter in fulfilling His promises.
Faith’s direction is divine. Upward. Heavenward. Godward.
The Demonstration of Faith
Faith triggers action. The Hebrew writer describes faith by illustrating its impact on the lives of familiar Bible characters. Faith works. Faith is not passive. It’s expressed in activity and action.
True faith always moves you to do. To do what God commands.
Like Abraham, our faith may take us on a journey of not knowing where we’re going. But by faith we begin. We take the first step. We move forward. And trust that God will always provide.
All of these patriarchs experienced trials, tests and temptations. They weren’t perfect, but they were faithful. They allowed themselves to be used by God. And to do what He needed them to do.
Isn’t that true today? Whether living in the same county your whole life, or moving around the country or the world, you can be used for God’s purpose. And accomplish His plan. Harold Comer used to tell young preachers, “Boys, don’t get too tied to a piece of dirt.” Good advice. Fortunately, Abraham wasn’t. I need to be a person of faith like him.
The Destination of Faith
God rewards our faith. While we often experience its blessings in this life, it is the life to come in which we will enjoy the consummation of our faith. The writer reminds that these heroes “were all commended for their faith,” yet they died and “did not receive the promise.” Christ would come. But not in their lifetime. But they had a role in ultimately bringing about the greatest demonstration of divine love, sacrifice, and salvation known to the human race.
As wonderful as the Christian life is, with all of its earthly blessings this world is not our home. It’s but a prelude to our eternal destination.
The best is yet to be.
Augustine was right. “Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of faith is to see what we believe.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman