Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, for by it the elders obtained a good report.
Hebrews 11 tells us a lot about faith, which is trusting God and believing His word. It tells us a lot about the confidence and conviction of the elders of faith in Hebrews 11, and how they gained approval from God, because they trusted Him. We are told that:– faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen, and by it the elders obtained a good report.
Unlike us, the elders listed in Hebrews 11, we have received the full canon of scripture and we have a precedent. We have evidence of Christ’s first coming and they only had the promise. These saints that are listed in Hebrews believed God’s word without the same advantages that we have in the 21st century. But like them we too can gain a good report, by faith.
When viewed from todays perspective, what amazing faith these Old Testament saints exhibited, and what lack we demonstrate today. We have a written, geological and other records of the flood; God’s dealings with Israel, Sodom, Gomorrah and Nineveh. We also see God’s judgment poured out at Calvary. God keeps His word and we have a precedent that gives us confidence, that future promises will be fulfilled.
Abel had no president that God would accept His offering, but He trusted God. Enoch had no evidence of a rapture, but he walked by faith, and God took him. Noah had no visible outward proof that the waters of judgment would swamp the earth, but he obeyed God, by faith and Abraham owned no land and had no evidence of his innumerable descendants – but He trusted God.
None of the saints in Hebrews received the promises, but they lived in the confident assurance that God is faithful: and these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise. Their lives were lived knowing God’s promises would be fulfilled one day – if not in this life then in the eternal state to come.
Can any one of us honestly say that we exhibit a fraction of the faith of such men? I doubt it. But fulfilled Scripture should give us confidence and conviction that all He promises will take place, but yet how often we doubt His Word when things go wrong – perhaps we should note the parallel statements in Hebrews 11.
We read that 1) Faith is the substance of things hoped for (things in the future) and 2) Faith is the evidence of things not seen (invisible things). But note the word “substance” in verse one, is the Greek word, “hypostasis” which means “confidence” rather than evidence. So faith is the confidence of things hoped for.
Faith in an inner confidence and conviction about future things.. an inner confidence and conviction about things which are invisible.. an inner confidence and conviction that God’s word is true. Visible things can be perceived by our senses in the physical. Invisible things cannot by perceived by our senses, but are equally real. Visible, tangible reality can be researched; handled; seen; heard. But the invisible and intangible is perceived by faith, and is founded on a confidence in God.
God is an invisible reality, Who has to be seen with the eye of faith and He becomes a tangible reality by inner confidence and conviction – by faith. The truth of God is outlined in Scripture and like God, Himself, is spiritually discerned, by faith. All spiritual values depend on this confidence and conviction. But prideful man often cannot comprehend that there are invisible intangibles, beyond his experience.
Believing our position in Christ is an inner confidence and conviction, received by faith. Believing in the indwelling Spirit is an inner confidence and evidence of things not seen, by faith. We trust the many promises of God required by faith in the confidence (hypostasis) of things not seen.
The saints in Hebrews all died, confident that one day all promises would be fulfilled. We have the privilege of looking back on many fulfilled promises, knowing that with equal confidence we can look forward to the promises that will one day be fulfilled.
Let us look forward to His soon coming, with the same inner confidence and conviction that all that He has promised will one day come to pass. Let us accept His word by faith, for faith is the confidence of future things and the evidence of things not seen – for without faith it is impossible to please God.
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