Read: Hebrews 11:1-40
Faith has an important bearing upon
conduct. What does faith accomplish? Faith endures, suffers, triumphs.
In Hebrews 11 - Abel is the first person mentioned and the prophets
the last, denoting a long period. Each age had its faithful ones.
The patriarchal age, the time of the judges and the kingdom of
Israel are recalled.
The TWO MOST PROMINENT EXAMPLES stood
at great crises in the history of God's people. About one-third
of this chapter is devoted to Abraham and Moses. We see Abraham's
call, his faith, his obedience, his success. We see how his faith
manifested itself. Many other references in the New Testament
address his faith. We see Moses' preservation from death, his
faith, his choice, his preparation for service, his work.
The OTHER EXAMPLES: Before the flood
were Abel, Enoch, Noah. Between Abraham and Moses were Isaac,
Jacob, Joseph. After Moses were Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson,
Jephthah, Samuel, David. The unnamed ones would make a long list.
"Now faith is assurance
of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen."
Faith is the source of all spiritual
achievement. "Whosoever believeth" (John 3:16). We are
"sanctified by faith" (Acts 26:18). "This is the
victory .... even our faith" (1 John 5:4). "Kept ....
through faith" (1 Peter 1:5). Faith is the laying hold of
the future in the midst of the present; of the unseen in the midst
of the Seen. It is the title by which we keep our place as Christians.
It is the inward working which has its fruit in good works. It
is the hand by which we lay hold on Christ. Faith is to sight
and reason what the telescope is to the naked eye.
Faith is associated with: hope (v.
1); with righteousness (v. 4); with holiness (v. 5); with diligence
(v. 7); with trial (v. 17); and with conflict (vs. 32-37). Faith
is declared to be the foundation and strength of Christian character.
Faith is the source of all truly religious feeling and the ground
of all acceptable service. Faith is a condition of justification;
it is the source of spiritual life. It puts us in possession of
every Christian privilege. It is of greatest importance to every
Christian life, for it is the first stepping stone at the entrance
into Christian life.
"Faith is a living power
Which grasps the promise God has given;
Securely fixed on Christ alone,
A trust that cannot be o'erthrown."
DOES FAITH DO?
Faith makes men masters of their
circumstances. Faith has many workings, many results, many fruits.
Christ crucified for us forms the great foundation of faith under
the Christian dispensation. Faith brings man into fellowship with
God. Faith looks into the whole plan of creation alike, in respect
to the invisible and the visible. Faith brings the distant near,
and makes the spiritual the most real. Faith alters the tenses
and puts the future into the present.
"Thy saints in all this
Shall conquer though they die.
They see their triumph from afar;
By faith they bring it nigh."
Faith triumphs over outward affliction
and over inward assaults. It shows its power not only in that
which it accomplishes, overthrows and attains, but also in that
which it sustains, endures and sacrifices. Time and space, uncertainty
and doubt, disappear to the eye of faith.
Men who see the invisible estimate more correctly the things temporal
and the things eternal.
"Faith, mighty faith, the
And looks to that alone;
Laughs at impossibilities,'
And cries, 'It shall be done."'
DOES FAITH EMBRACE?
Faith is the living principle of
Christian conduct. We walk by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7). We stand
by faith (2 Corinthians 1:24). We fight the good fight of faith
(1 Timothy 6:12). We resist the devil by faith (1 Peter 5:9).
We overcome the world by faith (1 John 5:4).
Faith is the great spring and channel
of the believer's life. It is the means of spiritual power. Hence
we read of: the life of faith (Galatians 2:20); the prayer of
faith (James 5:15); the obedience of faith (Romans 16:16); the
hearing of faith (Galatians 3:2); the work of faith (2 Thessalonians
1:11); the household of faith (Galatians 6:10); the unity of faith
(Ephesians 4:3); the profession of faith (Hebrews 10:23); the
righteousness of faith (Romans 4:11); the full assurance of faith
Faith embraces willing obedience and unwavering trust in all the
plans and purposes of God. A fundamental condition of faith is
an unquestioning confidence in God's promises.
We have the same Being in whom to
trust as had these heroes of faith. The rewards of faith are as
great today as ever. The faith mentioned in the lesson is a living
faith. We are pleasing to God in proportion to the amount of true
faith we possess. With these illustrious examples of faith we
ought to be spiritual giants.