How do you define faith? Can you define faith? Yes, we can! At the beginning of Hebrews Chapter 11, we have in these opening verses a simple but practical and profound definition of faith.
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Faith is a conviction. Faith is assurance that our loving God has everything under control.
When we have no faith, we compromise and we fear and we adjust and we shrink.
Faith relates to the unseen world where Jesus Christ is. Paul writes all about this in second letter to the Church of Jesus Christ in Corinthians Chapter 4: 18, where he writes about how we fix our eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen. What is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
That first example of faith in Hebrews Chapter 11 is so enlightening. Abel offered a sacrifice which involved a life laid down, and it involved the shedding of blood. Abel had faith.
Cain offered something that was now under the curse of God and that was the fruit of the earth which was a symbol of man’s own efforts and man’s good works.
Abel represents the need for the shedding of blood and this is seen from the very beginning, recognising the fact of sin, and realising the need for a sacrifice.
Cain’s religion produced a murderer.
Notice how ‘by faith’ is mentioned here.
These people were believing in God and holding on to God. Death does not have the last word.
By faith Enoch went out walking with God and one day it was as though God said to him, “O come home”. You are nearer my place than your place. Enoch did not experience death. He lived a life that pleased God. Then comes the big sentence – Without faith it is impossible to please God.
Want to please God. The word means to seek God earnestly and persistently and wholeheartedly. That is how we are going to please Him. If we are going to come close to God we must believe.
The way we approach God determines a lot. Many people believe that there is a God and that He rewards people, but to receive the reward, we are taught to see Him wholeheartedly and persistently.
Know that Jesus wants to reward you. He wants to bless you and minister to you and deal with you and encourage you and uplift you and inspire you and motivate you.
Learn from the past. Very Few do. Now, all this is being written to Hebrew disciples of Jesus Christ and today we could say that these were the very first Messianic Jews and all over our world today there is an amazing growth of Jews who now see and know that Jesus Christ was and is the Promised Messiah.
That is one sign which point us forward to the next great cosmic event and it may be much nearer that many realise.