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What Faith Is


By Benjamin H. Liles

          Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ~ Hebrews 11:1, NKJV



          We can go through life having faith for and over a multitude of things: a better job, better finances, someone to help us not feel so alone, etc. But the writer of Hebrews writes this chapter not just as an extension of chapter ten, but to show where our hearts ought to be. Previously, in chapter ten we're shown that the sacrifices we give aren't sufficient enough to save us from our sins or sinful actions. He goes on to say that Christ came to fulfill the requirements of both the ceremonial and Mosaic law. And since Jesus Christ, due to being born by the Spirit, never sinned He was able to sanctify and bring us to God through His death to sin at the cross.

          He defeated the powers of both sin and death as He knew from where He came from and by whose will it was done: the Father's. And this is why those who believe on and in Him and His power, through His death on the cross, we not only have a portion and an inheritance with Him. We look forward to the day the promise He gave comes to pass. All this leads up to the writer's definition of faith - "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." It can be closely related to having gone through a formal application in the hopes of a new job, but you have yet to be paid for. Or it can be seen in the steps of a marriage which hasn't happened yet, but there is a process of courting.

          In other words faith is that watchful and waiting desire of a promise yet to be fulfilled by the other party. Faith is the key that unlocks the door while the works alongside faith would be seen as walking through the door. I don't particularly want to get bogged down in the details of all this talk on faith. But, friend, I want you to realize this: if you're struggling in this moment due to problems you have, bring them to Jesus. He desires to give us mercy, where all we have to do is lay that problem down at His feet. What He promises He will and can keep. It doesn't mean there won't be times where we won't struggle. It means He's there and always available to help us in those times.

          When the Lord tells Joshua, Moses, and other ancients, "I will never leave nor forsake you," He means it. We can take our problems, issues, secrets, sins, every little what-not before Him. We can lay those things down, be cleansed and called His. What God is He gives to us, but it's required of us to simply do that one small thing He asks of us: "Now listen to what the LORD is saying: Rise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear your voice" (Micah 6:1, Holman Christian Standard).

          The reason we refuse to do so is we want and desire to be on our own, to be self-made, to be independent. But He wants us on His team. A team works together. We're not the players on the team who are Michael Jordan. That's God's part. We're called to pass the ball to Him. He'll score the points on our behalf. We're just asked to play ball alongside Him. We reap the benefits and the glory, but it all is still His regardless. We just share in it. And that's what the writer is saying in Hebrews. He finishes the eleventh chapter by saying, "And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us" (Hebrews 11:39-40, New King James).

          For it is by and through our faith that we are saved; not of our own selves and deeds, but  by the blood of Jesus, who sacrificed Himself so our salvation is made perfect in Him. Without His works, which we cannot boast of, we can lay hold of the love God has toward us even while we were at cross purposes with Him. "By this we know what love is: Jesus laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers" (1 John 3:16, Berean Study). I hope this helps many of you out according to your faith that Jesus is indeed the Christ, that is to say the Messiah. In Jesus I pray. Amen.