A number of weeks ago, with my son-in-law and a friend, I went to a car museum in Tacoma. Now, I’m not really a car guy . . . but there was something, almost from the moment we walked into the building, that whispered, “Impressive!” There was something about these cars being displayed, row after row, floor after floor, that drew your attention . . . invited you to lean in and inspect the detail . . . and say to yourself, “Cool!” Car enthusiast or not . . . expert or not . . . you just knew this was a special collection of cars . . . though you had to get over the fact that some of these “vintage” cars you had once driven yourself . . . ouch! . . . guess I’m vintage too.
Walking into that car museum came to mind as I entered “Faith’s Hall of Fame” this morning . . . as I started in on Hebrews 11 as part of my reading plan. Having been primed by the teaching so far in Hebrews of Christ’s superior Person and His superior Work, I am now being reminded of the Christian’s superior Walk. It began back in chapter 10, but in chapter 11 it takes wings as the Holy Spirit ushers us down hallways of exhibits of faith. “We walk by faith, not by sight,” says Paul (2Cor. 5:7). And, as we enter this God inspired trip through His redemptive story, we are presented with example upon example of those who walked by faith . . . and “the big idea” that grabs me is that, unlike our world that would say that seeing is believing, in God’s economy, believing is seeing!
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. . . . 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. (Hebrews 11:1, 6 ESV)
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for . . . it is the substance . . . it is the foundation . . . it is the firm underpinnings upon which we interact with the kingdom of God. It is the proof of that which is intangible . . . the evidence of things not seen . . . that divine sense through which the spiritual realm is discerned and, by which, the physical world is navigated. Check out the exhibits in this section of Faith’s Hall of Fame and you’ll find the following . . .
In the “universe exhibit” we understand that all things, terrestrial and celestial, were created by the word of God . . . that in awesome power and mind-bending creativity God commanded, “Let there be . . .” and “there was.”
We then move on to the Abel exhibit and are reminded that by faith we can offer acceptable sacrifice . . . offerings that can have a permanence beyond those who have offered them. Next, we come to the Enoch portrait and we see . . . well, nothing . . . and wonder afresh at what it was to be taken up by faith . . . and in our mind’s eye we see, by faith, the day when God will gather all His children to Himself.
Then we walk into a massive hall with a big boat in it . . . knowing that “by faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household.” And we know, beyond doubt, that we too, by faith have entered an ark. That Christ Himself has become our rescue . . . God, by His grace, calling all who believe, to enter into Him . . . God Himself closing the door, securing us in the righteousness of His Son, for the saving of our souls.
As we move on to the Abraham and Sarah display, we’re reminded that by faith we obey ,. . . that by faith we live in the land of promise . . . and that by faith we receive power. Even though we may be going without knowing, we trust in Him who does know and calls us to follow. Even though we’re but nomads in a land of promise, we embrace our wanderings, sometimes in the desert, as, by faith, we see beyond this life and look longingly to our homeland . . . that “better country” . . . “that city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God.” Lastly, in this exhibit, we’re reminded that, even though we are impotent in and of ourselves, we consider Him faithful who has promised, and so dare to be confident that we too can bear much fruit . . . according to His purposes . . . and by His grace . . . and for His glory.
Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God . . . (Hebrews 11:16 ESV)
Empirical evidence is vastly overrated. Truly, believing is seeing! Amen?