Hovering over the first part of Hebrews 11. What a glorious chapter. What a grounding chapter. A soul-stirring reminder that, when all is said and done, we walk by faith and not by sight.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)
Not gonna lie, still prefer the good old King James on this one, that faith is the substance of what we hope for. It is the secret sauce which makes the unseen seen, the intangible tangible, the theoretical practical, that which many think is but “pie in the sky” the foundation for life on earth. The CSB says that faith is the reality. Peterson, in The Message, that it is the fundamental fact of existence. Faith is the assurance. The blessed assurance!
For by faith things happen. By faith Enoch was taken up, a testimony for the ages of God’s power over death and the hope of those who walk in a manner that pleases Him (11:5). By faith Sarah received power to conceive a child though way past the age of conceiving. A witness to God’s power over life and His faithfulness to those who trust in His promises (11:11-12).
And by faith things get done. Belief translating into behavior. By faith Abel offered to God an acceptable sacrifice (11:4). By faith Noah constructed an ark (11:7). And, by faith Abraham obeyed and went to live in a place that God would show him–not knowing where he was going (11:8).
Spoken promises resulting in concrete actions. Invisible hope yielding a visible reality. And all because of faith.
That’s just how the people of God roll.
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 11:6 ESV)
Because we believe, we draw near to God and seek Him. Because He exists, He rewards. Faith being the substantive dynamic which brings it all together.
That’s why the gospel is the power of God for salvation–because it is “from faith for faith” and so, those declared righteous in Christ live by faith (Rom. 1:16-17).
God’s faithfulness known through our faith.
And so, faith is what keeps us keepin’ on. Truly the substance of what we anticipate. The blessed assurance of what we hope for.
Because of grace. For His glory.