“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.” – Hebrews 11:1-2
In this chapter of Hebrews, the writer is exhorting the listener to have faith in God. The people were wanting to go back to the old life where they thought things were comfortable. They wanted the old religion and the works that made them feel righteous. This new covenant with Jesus and having faith in Him for salvation was difficult to wrap their minds around. All their lives they were taught they had to sacrifice and do something to earn it and now, through Christ they simply had to accept Jesus as Messiah. They were tempted to go back to the old system of Judaism.
To exhort them further, the writer goes to God’s Word and reminds them of the Patriarchs of the faith and the stories of faith. And, in the next few verses, goes into the lives of Abel and Enoch.
Abel’s story is found in Genesis four. It is the story of Cain and Able. They both brought sacrifices to God but only Abel’s is accepted by God. The point the writer was making here is that Abel’s sacrifice was being done by faith and Cain was just going through the motions. His offering was external only while Able had a right heart.
He then moves on to the story of Enoch found in Genesis five. Enoch walked with God or rather, pleased God. At that time in history, he walked with God daily in an evil world before the flood. He had faith in God while most everyone was turned away.
Faith for the Christ follower is foundational. It is what our entire life is built upon and if it is solid, whatever is built upon it will stand. Faith is confident obedience to the Word regardless of consequences or circumstances. It is obedience to God no matter what anyone else around us says to us or about us. And as the writer was exhorting the people in his day to remain faithful to Christ and not turn back, He is doing the same with us today. Is God asking you to do something by faith? If your faith is in Him, do not be afraid of the circumstances. Trust Him and do not run back to the world for answers. The answers are found in Him and His Word!
“Faith enables the believing soul to treat the future as present and the invisible as seen.” – J. Oswald Sanders