Tuesday, July 23, 2013

what, where, how

We are approaching the "faith" chapter...chapter 11 of the letter to the Hebrews.  As I listened to it this morning glimpses of "what faith is", "where it comes from", and "how we exercise it" seemed to emerge.  The very first verse seems to tell us what faith is: Hebrews 11 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. So faith represents an inner attitude that is convinced something good is going to happen without the obvious evidence of something seen.  But where does faith come from...how is it born within?  What creates faith inside us?  I think the key comes from another word:promises.  Faith seems to spring from two steps: (1) recognizing that God has made promises to us and (2) believing that God will fulfill what He has promised.  This seems clear from Sarah's attitude that is shown in verse 11: It was by faith that even Sarah was able to have a child, though she was barren and was too old. She believed that God would keep his promise.We need to come to the place where the promise is more convincing than the outcome.  "Seeing is believing" is an old expression that describes normal human behavior.  But the greatest things God has for us will never be seen by our human eyes.  They will be experienced in a place and time that is past and beyond our human experience.  And so God is looking to see if a relationship can be built on a promise.  And God has an excellent track record of keeping His promises!  Some might say that exercising faith means giving up your ability to reason and think on your own.  But reason still thrives inside of faith.  Abraham showed that reason should be shaped by faith in verse 19 Abraham reasoned that if Isaac died, God was able to bring him back to life again. And in a sense, Abraham did receive his son back from the dead.  So how do we exercise faith?  I believe we look for God's promises...the ones He made to the people of Hebrews in chapter 11 and the ones He makes to us in our current chapter of living.  In a sense all of Hebrews is describing the great promise God has made and kept in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Jesus' perfect sacrifice has opened the gateway for all who believe the promise to walk through that gateway and enjoy a direct, personal relationship with God that begins here and will be fulfilled in the place where faith ultimately leads...in Heaven!

Rob Smith

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