Last time I studied in Hebrews (feels like a decade ago) was back on August 13 (so not really a decade ago). I had just closed off that chapter, which means today I can start in Hebrews 11. :) This is how that chapter starts.
1Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.Aren't those cool words? A straight forward answer to the question of what faith is.
- the assurance of things hoped for
- the conviction of things not seen
- by it, the people of old received their commendation
- by it, we understand the universe was created by the word of God
- the word assurance means:
Can you see it....to have that freedom to believe without doubting. That is what faith is. AND I know that having faith is size of a mustard seed is okay. Faith that small can do amazing things.
- Freedom from doubt; belief in yourself and your abilities; "his assurance in his superiority did not make him popular"; "after that failure he ...
- a binding commitment to do or give or refrain from something; "an assurance of help when needed"; "signed a pledge never to reveal the secret"
- a statement intended to inspire confidence; "the President's assurances were not respected"
Matthew 17:19-20 "Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, 'Why could we not cast it out?' He said to them, 'Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you."So even though I often feel that my faith is such a weak doddering thing.....and that I'm one of the worst believers out there because of it...my faith in God is real. Even if it feels mustard seedy frequently, that doesn't change that I do believe in God and in the power of what he is and has done and will do. You can't shake that conviction from me. and from what I read in Luke 17 it's not so necessary that I want my faith to increase, but that I use what I have for God's glory. So I can't exactly say that to me faith is "belief in my own abilities". My faith is my belief in God's abilities to be who he is all the time. (hope that makes sense). :)
Luke 17:5-6 "The apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith!' The Lord replied. 'If you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea,' and it would obey you.'"
2. Faith is the conviction of things not seen
One of Justin's frequent comments about why he doesn't believe in God is that he can't see him. This of course makes me point out all the different ways that we can see God at work. See how the ground cherries get yellow and ready to eat? That's because God made the world just by talking and made the dirt and the rain and the sun so that they can grow up so YOU can eat them. God's pretty cool isn't he? Doing this kind of stuff is helping a 4 year old see God a bit more....so now sometimes God is allowed in BunnyTown (his imaginary place where all good things are).
3. by it, the people of old received their commendation
This whole chapter talks about the faith of people of old. Over the next few days I'll be digging into some of that deeper. I'll be able to see how God commended the people of old for their faith. Should prove an interesting study don't you think? But it's good to know that God himself commends people for their faith in him.
4. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
I have to admit...when I first read these words I thought...faith is believing in creation? Wow...interesting concept. Never thought about that before. At least that's how this verse reads to me. It's believing in the power of God to simply speak and then knowing that what he speaks simply IS. The different commentators I checked out agreed with this assessment. Faith is creation linked. It's believing that what God said in the very beginning of the bible is true. He spoke, the world become. He did this out of NOTHING. His word is that powerful.
WOW! Isn't that just the neatest beginning to a chapter on faith? Looking forward to reading more I am. :)