Text: Hebrews 10:38; 11:1-12
Now, “the Just shall live by faith. But if he draws back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.” (Hebrews 10:38).
But that no one is justified by the Law in the sight of God is clear, for, “The just shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11).
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1).
It is hoped that those who have been Christians for quite some time now understand that it is very difficult to live without God. Coming to God appears to be impossible without the exercise of faith.
Therefore, today, we shall look at what faith is. Furthermore, we shall look at the characteristics of faith as expressed by the believers who walked the life of faith before us.
2.0 What is faith?
2.1 Biblical definition
According to the text faith is “the substance of things hoped for”, “the evidence of things not seen.” Let us consider the key phrases of the definition of faith as follows:
2.1.1 Substance (assurance) of things hoped for
Substance is that which stands under (foundation, a contract or promise), chiefly of material goods and possessions (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia). In other words it is a foundation.
It is something that exists by itself, that which really is equally applicable to matter or spirit. Something real and not imaginary, and something solid not empty (Webster’s Dictionary of American English). “Hoped for” means desired with expectation.
2.1.2 Evidence of things not yet seen
Evidence may be a document of Title i.e. deed or bill of sale. It is that which demonstrates, makes clear, or ascertains the truth of the very fact or point in issue (Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature). Furthermore, evidence may be described as a writing, deed, a firm conviction (International Standard Bible Encyclopedia).
It is any instrument or writing which contains proof (Webster’s Dictionary of American English). Proof is derived from personal knowledge, or from testimony of others. “Things not yet seen” means one sees the invisible.
Faith is the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting on his authority and veracity, without other evidence; the judgment that what another states or testifies is the truth. For example, “I have strong faith or no faith in the testimony of a witness, or in what a historian narrates” (Webster’s Dictionary of American English).
2.3 In Theology
In theology, the assent (the expression of approval or agreement) of the mind or understanding to the truth of what God has revealed. Simple belief of the scriptures, of the being and perfections of God, and of the existence, character and doctrines of Christ, founded on the testimony of the sacred writers.
3.0 What are the characteristics of faith?
This answers the question, “how can one see the presence of faith in one’s life?” The Bible tells us that the elders obtained a good report about the faith they had.
3.1 Faith makes you offer a more excellent sacrifice to God
Abel presented a better offering to God than Cain. You are also commanded to present your body as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. (Hebrews 12:1). What kind of offering or sacrifice do you bring to God? After presenting an acceptable sacrifice, you obtain witness that you are righteous.
3.2 By faith you are translated
You do not see death like Enoch. When people look for you, they do not find you as you become one with God. People no longer see you (self) but see God in and through you. Enoch was translated. He was no longer found.
The record or testimony he had before the translation is that he pleased God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 12:6). God rewards those who diligently seek Him.
3.3 Faith moves you in the fear of the Lord to obey
God warned Noah of the coming judgment and he moved in fear of the Lord and worked his salvation. By faith you abandon the practices of the world that ignore and live as if there is no God. The wrath of God is coming on those who refuse to accept Jesus Christ as Savior of their lives.
Those who did not listen to Noah’s message were destroyed by the flood. They had behaved as if Noah was foolish when inviting them to come and build the Ark. It is the same thing today. Some people ignore the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. They ignore the Preachers of the Gospel. It appears that humanity does not learn from the past bad experiences that befell others. Noah condemned the world. He became an heir of righteousness by faith. As a result he lived beyond the flood with his family.
3.4 Faith moves you to unknown territory
Abraham adhered to God’s call and came out of his country and people to a land God was to show him. That required faith in God’s word. God wants you to receive new territory as your inheritance. In this territory, there is health, healing, prosperity, success, joy and peace. Everyone needs to experience these things. But they are all found in God.
By faith Abraham dwelt in a country he did not know, living in tents with his family. He was satisfied living according to God’s promises. Don’t you want to live according to God’s will? That requires faith.
3.5 Faith enables you to do the impossible
Sarah received strength to conceive at a humanly impossible age. She judged God faithful because He had promised. With faith, you can do what people consider impossible. It is God that grants you the ability to do the impossible.
You have learned that faith is the “substance of things hoped for.” The importance of things that one hopes for was established. Faith was further described as “evidence of things not yet seen”.
The characteristics of faith were considered as well. They were taken from the believers who lived before us recorded in the Bible. You, therefore, need to exercise your faith in your daily life. The just is expected to live by faith. Never forget that faith pleases God. Therefore, please Him with your life.
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