Saturday Devotion, 7th August 2021.
Hebrews 11:1-4 Live by faith
11 Now faith is the [a]substance of things hoped for, the [b]evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
3 By faith we understand that the [c]worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.
Hebrews chapter 11 is about faith. Just a few verses before our passage, the writer to the Hebrews quotes God Himself in chapter 10 verse 38:
“But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.”
We are made right with God when we put our faith in Him to cleanse us of our sins, to save us from hell and enable us to enter heaven when we die. But God wants more than that. He does not wish us only to die with faith. He wants us to “live by faith”.
What is faith?
Verse one informs us it is the “substance of things hoped for”. Faith is believing and trusting in God and His promises in the Bible.
What things by faith are we hoping for?
There are many things for the Christian to hope for with the substance of faith. This includes our salvation. This shall occur when God shall take our spirit and bring us to Himself in heaven. Heaven is where there shall be no more pain, or tears, or suffering or death or illness. Heaven shall be a place of perfection, of perfect fellowship with others, with Jesus, our Heavenly Father and the Holy Spirit.
God also, wants us to live by faith today, not just at the end of our lives. He pours out His Holy Spirit in our lives to teach us and equip us. He also wants to give us revelation and power to access the mind of Christ. Our future hope in heaven and fellowship with the Holy Spirit, today, should enable us to live by faith.
Notice the emphasis on “should.” Even in Hebrews chapter 10 just before today’s passage, the author indicates we can choose to live by faith or not.
Living by faith is when we pray, worship, intercede and offer supplication. We are living by faith when we allow God to speak with us and instruct us, leading to our obedience with his plan. We require faith to obey, to please God. We also need faith to enable our trust in God. We need this trust as God may ask us to do things for which He has already equipped us for. He may in addition, also even instruct us to do things that we are not comfortable with. We may feel uncomfortable because we believe we need more resources than we ourselves possess to succeed.
God called Abraham to another country, leading him out of what we now call the country of Iraq, to lead him to “a promised land”. (See chapter 11 verses 8-9). Ananias did not want in the book of Acts chapter 9 verses 9 to 16 to go meet and pray for Paul. He was likely concerned for his safety as he was aware of the potential for violent opposition from him. The faith and obedience of Ananias leading to Saul’s conversion brought about a great victory for the church!
Living by faith means sometimes being willing to let God take us out of our comfort zone.
Our challenge today is to combine faith in Christ with obedience, like the heroes of Hebrews chapter 11. It is one thing to hear God speak to us, but we also need to express our faith in actions. God is pleased with us when we are obedient.
Examples consistent with faith and obedience in action include loving people. We can do this by caring for them with our actions. We also love people by telling others of the goodness of God in our lives.
Suggested prayer: Dear Father God, please help us to find out what pleases you, how we should live by faith, and to be fully obedient to your word. May Your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. May we have the mind of Christ to faithfully practice your priorities in our lives. In Jesus Name. Amen.