Big Idea: Hope comes through the truth of God’s love and a little faith
How can we have Hope?
What is Faith?
What is Faith?
In this chapter, as elsewhere, faith is man’s response to what God has said. It takes seriously the message of God’s revealed truth in holy Scripture. It does not merely agree with God’s word, but acts upon it. Our writer narrows his interest to the two aspects of faith which are of immediate relevance to his readers, what might be described as the future reference and present function of Christian faith.
First, it anticipates the future. It does not place its reliance on that which is merely visible to our physical sight. It is the assurance of things hoped for. The ‘faithful’ characters arrayed in chapter 11 did not simply live for the passing moment; they realized that there was far more to life than the immediate and temporary scene. Life was a pilgrimage. They knew that there were better things ahead because, in one way or another, God had told them so. And they preferred to believe that word rather than the flimsy promises and facile assurances of the world around them.
Secondly, it evaluates the present. It would be wrong to imagine that the believer has no interest whatever in contemporary life. Indeed, the Christian looks far more closely at the immediate scene than the unbeliever. The person without any clear faith often accepts things simply as they are. If money comes his way, then it is obviously his to enjoy. If he is confronted with an opportunity for sensual pleasure, he will take it, regardless of its immediate effects or ultimate consequences. He does not necessarily sit down to consider whether it damages him or hurts others; that is not his concern. But the man or woman of faith possesses the conviction of things not seen. Such people look beyond the situation as it can be perceived by natural vision or enjoyed by the physical appetites. They do not look simply at their circumstances; they discern the activity of the invisible God (11:27) in their present situation and are able to endure.