The Result of Faith (Hebrews 11: 1–3)
I. Faith accepts God’s word (11:1)
1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
A. Faith 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.
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.
B. Faith 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.
II. Faith wins God’s approval (11:2)
2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
A. Faith enabled the heroes of the Old Testament to receive a good standing with God.
By exercising faith, the men of old gained that which matters most, the warm commendation of God.
These ‘elders’ received the word of God and in different generations made their owe response to its message, thus receiving divine approval.
B. God gave His approval to the faith of these saints.
Without faith man cannot please God nor have the satisfaction of knowing that their life has the divine favour. For the Christian, pleasing God is of the greatest possible importance.
Man does not set their heart on gaining human approval; that can be dangerous. He longs that at this present moment he is earning God’s approval and that in the end God will express it.
III. Faith recognizes God’s power (11:3)
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
A. Believing that God created the world involves a leap of faith.
Faith points to an unseen power who made the world we see. The universe involves more than the physical world. It includes the ages that God had planned, beginning with the act of creation and extending to the consummation of all things in Christ.
By faith we know that all we see around us and all that takes place on earth came from one we cannot see. Only by faith can we accept the astonishing statement that ‘the visible came forth form the invisible’.
B. By observing creation we may learn of God’s power.
We learn the manner of God’s creation only by responding in faith to the statements of Scripture.
God’s incomparable power is such that he can call the universe into being when there is nothing from which it can be fashioned. He simply declared that it was to be, and once he said it, it was done.