The Assurance Of Things Hoped For
Everyone lives by faith, the question is,"What is the object of that faith?" The object of faith is not fixed on some vague spiritual reality, but the object of faith is found in the truth of Scripture. Scripture explains origin, meaning, and purpose. Faith comes from hearing the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). The story of Cain and Abel is mentioned because Abel’s sacrifice was accepted not because it was animal rather than vegetable but because it was offered by faith, a matter of the heart and not just a religious ritual and through his faith, he still speaks today. Enoch escaped death because he pleased God who cannot be pleased without faith. The one who has faith believes that God is real and that he rewards those who place their trust in him. Noah also walked with God and obeyed God’s commands in spite of the evidence. His obedience in constructing the ark was evidence that he took God at his word. His actions were a condemnation to a sinful, disobedient generation. Noah is an heir to the righteousness that comes by faith. By faith, Abraham obeyed, leaving behind the security he knew so well. Abraham embraced a life of pilgrimage because he looked to an eternal city with hope. Abraham trusted God's promise, and God would bless the people of faith in every age through him. Abraham’s test came when God asked him to offer his son. Abraham had faith and believed that God would keep his promise even if he God needed to raise him from the dead. Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph are highlighted as they share the same story of faith in action. Joseph gave instructions concerning his bones when he made mention of the exodus which would not come for hundreds of years. Moses story begins with the courageous faith of his parents, a faith that defeated fear. Moses made his choice because by faith he saw that the Hebrew slave people were those with a greater future in the divine plan than all the intellect and power of Egypt. Sin offers pleasure in the short term, but it cannot ultimately satisfy. The eye of faith gave Moses the ability to see Jesus, and his obedience proved his faith. The march to the Promised Land required the people of Israel to step into the waters of the Red Sea, confident that God would deliver them. By faith, Jericho fell by the illogical command to march round the walls of Jericho for seven days. The fall of Jericho serves as a powerful demonstration of the effectiveness of God’s promise made real through obedience. The faith of the prostitute Rahab becomes a vivid picture of mercy and faith shown by works. The writer has to apologize for some glaring omissions, and all six mentioned in that verse had weaknesses and failures. God uses ordinary people made extraordinary by grace. Other examples of faith are mentioned including those who faced lions and fire, and yet came through victoriously. Faith is not a life without struggle, it is a life of increased struggle and sometimes leads to martyrdom. Many times the prophets suffered persecution because of their faithfulness. In times of intense hostility and brutal persecution, many were given the faith to cope with torture, mockery, and other sufferings. The world despised them, but it was not worthy of them. These examples are commended for their faith, but they were confined to the limits of the old covenant. They anticipated the fulfillment of God’s promise in Christ, but they did not witness its realization. They could be made perfect only as Christians are today, that is by Jesus himself and his sacrifice. Perfection or fulfillment would come through a new covenant and a better sacrifice. Christ has always been the proper object of saving faith.
Things To Consider:
- How can someone have assurance?
- Why is faith necessary for a Christian?
- Why can't we please God without faith?
- What is the relationship between faith and obedience?
- What should Christians look forward to?
- Why does God test his people?
- How does faith overcome fear?
- Why is it helpful to understand that the pleasures of sin are fleeting?
- How are you encouraged by this list of people?
- How does faith help us in suffering?
- Why couldn't the ole testament saints not receive what was promised?
- How does Christ perfect us?