People who live by faith, believe, not only that God exists, but that obeying and following Him, are worth it both in this life and for eternity. In looking at Hebrews 11, we learn some things about what a life of faith looks like…
A life of faith begins with an internal response
There is an inner response before there is outward action. When we talk repentance, it is an understanding that to repent isn’t just to change your actions, it is to change your mind. To agree with the Lord.
Hebrews 11:7: By faith Noah, after he was warned about what was not yet seen and motivated by godly fear
Your translation may say reverence. Noah, inwardly was revering and worshipping God. And that is where a life of faith began. A life of faith begins with inward repentance. A heart and mind change.
A life of faith leads to faith-filled action
What you don’t see in Hebrews 11 are examples of people who had incredible faith, and yet never moved, took action, or changed. You don’t get…by faith…Noah sat. Now I’m not saying that faithfully remaining somewhere or waiting on the Lord isn’t a matter of faith. What I’m saying is we can’t say we have faith and yet not have it lead to faith-filled action.
- Noah built
- Abraham left
- Sarah waited
- Abraham offered
A biblical faith doesn’t exist apart from action. Faith in Christ should change how you and I live (and wait for that matter). We can say all we want that we believe in God, but until that translates to faith-filled action, then our beliefs are just lip-service. There is no faith apart from obedience.
A life of faith is certain of God’s promises
The writer of Hebrews, wants his reader (including you and me) to endure, so that we might obtain the future promises.
These Old Testament saints never ultimately saw in their earthly life, the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise of a Messiah. They were faithful in the waiting. And while we are in the waiting for the second coming of Christ, we are on other side of seeing the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ. We have seen the promises of the Lord fulfilled in the sending of His Son. We’ve seen the trustworthiness and faithfulness of God. We’ve seen that what God promised He would do in the Old Testament, of sending a rescuer, a Messiah, a Savior, He did just that.
And we can look at the life of Jesus, and see that He was faithful all the way through the cross. He was faithful in the midst of temptation, uncertainty, difficulty, and sacrifice. And faithful to rise again on the 3rd day. So seeing the evidence of that, we can be sure that when
- God promised salvation to all who believe in His Son, He is faithful.
- God promised that all things will work out for the good for His children, He is faithful.
- God promised comfort in our trials, He is faithful.
- God promised new life in Christ, He is faithful.
- God promised to send His Spirit to all believers to dwell in us, He is faithful.
- God said He will finish what He has started, He is faithful.
- God promised that nothing can snatch us out of our Father’s hands or separate us from the love of Christ, even in death, He is faithful.
A life of faith has a settled confidence in who God is and how He has revealed Himself in His Word, and that His Word is true and sure.
A life of faith isn’t based on results.
Hebrews 11:32-35a: 32 And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets,33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead, raised to life again.
Sign me up! I want to live by faith! Who wouldn’t? Continuing…
Hebrews 11:35b-38: Other people were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection. 36 Others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated. 38 The world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and on mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.
Here is what we know…a life of faith doesn’t always lead to earthly comfort and success. Again, the writer of Hebrews is writing to people who are tempted to give up in the face of persecution. He’s spurring them on to endure. And how would this little section encourage anyone? One word, found in verse 35. Resurrection.
That even if success and victory are not found in this life, it will be found in Heaven. In the resurrection. Because Jesus went first and then promises to all who believe in Him, that our resurrection is coming one day. That eternal life, rest, joy, communion, delight, is ours in Christ.
Because…here’s the last truth…
A life of faith has its focus on Jesus, rather than circumstances
A life of faith stands firm in circumstances because it has a settled confidence in our promise keeping God.
Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
I live by faith, IN the Son of God.
I love how the writer points us back to Jesus at the beginning of chapter 12. He writes this…
Hebrews 12:1-3: Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, so that you won’t grow weary and give up.
We fix our eyes on Jesus, so that (verse 3), we don’t grow weary and give up. All around them, the readers of this letter are seeing people walk away and the writer is saying, look at Jesus. He didn’t walk away from the cross. He went to the cross, because there was a greater work happening there. A greater purpose. Keep your eyes on Him. He is the example that we follow. He is the One we are becoming like.
Church, where in your life, are your eyes fixed on other things? What does your mind dwell on, or get fixated on? What circumstance in your life is the thing that you have your eyes fixed on?
For Noah, Abraham, Sarah, and Moses, their eyes were fixed on the Lord. Not on difficulty, uncertainty, what seemed impossible, what they were giving up, or the sacrifice they had been called to make. Their eyes being fixed on the Lord made all the difference, because then they were reminded…my Lord is faithful. He is good. He doesn’t forsake. He is powerful. He is willing and able.
To live by faith in the Son of God is a way of life that shapes all of life.