Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:1~6
1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.4 By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
"Faith" and "repentance" are inseparable in effecting genuine conversion. Paul sums up his ministry to the lost as "I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus." (Acts 20:21). The result of such preaching is recorded concerning the Thessalonians who "turned to God (faith) from idols (repentance-)" (1 Thess. 1:9).
To profess to turn to God without forsaking sin in repentance ends in hypocrisy. To attempt to forsake sin without turning to God in faith, ends in failure and despair.
The root word from which we get "faith" (noun) and "beIieve" (verb), and its derivatives are found in the New Testament 6l9 times.
a. FAITH (pistis) - "Faith, belief, firm persuasion, assurance, firm conviction; honesty, integrity, faithfulness, truthfulness." b. BELIEVE (pisteuo) - "To trust in, put faith in, confide in, rely on a person or thing; have a mental persuasion; to entrust, commit to the charge or power of."
"It is the act by which a person lays hold on God's proffered resources, becomes obedient to what God prescribes, and abandoning all self interest, and self-reliance, trusts God completely." W.A. Whitehouse.
"It is a receiving of Christ for just what He is represented to be in His gospel, and an unqualified surrender of the will, and of the whole being to Him." - Finney.
Heb. 11:1 - "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see "
Amplified - "Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title-deed) of the things (we) hope for, being the proof of things (we) do not see and the conviction of their reality - faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses."
J.B.P. - "Now faith means putting our full confidence in the things we cannot see."
Faith links us with God, and is the assurance that the revealed things promised in the future are true, and that the unseen things are real! Faith is "certain that what it believes is true, and that what it expects will come. It is not the hope which looks forward with wistful longing; rather, it is the hope which looks forward with utter certainty. It is not the hope which takes refuge in perhaps; rather, it is the hope which is founded on a conviction. The future and the unseen can be made real for men by faith."
a. ONE CANNOT BE SAVED WITHOUT FAITH
Mark 16:16 - "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
Luke 8:12 - "Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved."
1 Cor. 1:21 - ".... God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe."
Eph. 2:8 - "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith . . . "
b. ONE CANNOT PLEASE GOD WITHOUT FAITH
Heb. 11:6 - "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
a. THE MIND IS INFORMED
Rom. 10:17 - "Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ."
John 12:38 - "Lord, who has believed our message ....?"
Acts 4:4 - "But many who heard the message believed ...."
Acts 8:12 - "But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptised, both men and women."
Acts 24:14 - "However, I admit that I worship the God of our ancestors as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect. I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets."
An informed mind does not guarantee saving faith.James 2:19 - "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder."
b. THE EMOTIONS ARE STIRRED
In "repentance" one experiences the emotion of "godly sorrow" (2 Cor. 7:10). This is understandable, since repentance has to do with sin which has estranged us from God and wrought such havoc in our lives. In "faith" we experience "joy" and "gladness". This is proper, since through faith we enter into all rich blessing of God’s great salvation.
Acts 2:41 - ”Then those who gladly received his word were baptised . . . "
Acts 8:8 ~ "So there was great joy in that city!"
Phil. 1:25 - ".... and joy in the faith"
1 Thess. 1:6 - "You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit."
1 Peter 1:8 - "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy."
An informed mind and stirred emotions do not guarantee saving faith.Matt. 13:20,21 - "The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word (the informed mind), and at once receives it with joy (stirred emotions) But since they have no root...."
c. THE WILL IS COMMITTED
Rom. 1:5 "Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake."
Rom. 15: 18 - "I have no interest in giving you a chatty account of my adventures, only the wondrously powerful and transformingly present words and deeds of Christ in me that triggered a believing response among the outsiders."
Rom. 16:25,26 - " . . . revelation of the mystery . . . and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all the Gentiles might come to the obedience that comes from faith."
There is one man in the Bible who is referred to as "the father of all them that believe" (Rom. 4:11) and "the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16). His name is Abraham. Christians are those who "walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham" (Rom. 4:12), and are spoken of as "the children of Abraham" (Gal. 3:7). "If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham's seed." Gal. 3:29.
When Paul wanted to illustrate saving, justifying faith, he recounted Abraham's relationship to God. The manner in which Abraham manifest faith is the manner in which we must manifest faith. We find Paul’s reference to Abraham's faith in Romans 4.
Study Questions for Lesson No. 6