In this thirteenth lesson on Hebrews we learn it's impossible to please God without faith. Let's learn from the heroes of faith from the Old Testament so that we can be encouraged to pursue Christ wholeheartedly.
The author of Hebrews was writing to his audience during a critical time in their lives. At this time the church was enduring serious persecution. Hebrews 10:33 says they were reproached and afflicted. Verse 34 lets us know that they had their property plundered and some were imprisoned for their faith.
In this thirteenth lesson on Hebrews we learn the Author wants to encourage the Christians. He calls to a high standard. Even though we do suffer persecution for Jesus we will not shrink back. We are those who have faith because we recognize that faith in Jesus is the only way to be saved.
Because God’s grace is received through faith (Ephesians 2), it's critical to understand exactly what faith is, and how it can be strengthened despite the persecution that we may face as Christ followers.
So what is Faith?
The Author tells us that when you have faith, you are sure of what you hope for.
And what do we hope for?
Hebrews 6:19 tells us that Jesus is our hope because He, as our Great High Priest, has entered into the inner place (see lesson 12 for more). Because of Christ’s supremacy we can do more than hope for salvation. We can be sure of the salvation that comes from our Christ.
Because of Christ’s supremacy we can be certain of what we don't see.
In order to believe in something that you cannot see or experience you must have faith. In other words, no faith is required for belief in gravity. Drop your hat and it will fall to the ground every time. You believe in the force of gravity, but this belief does not require faith.
As Christ followers, our faith is being certain of Christ’s ability to save us from the wrath that we deserve as sinners, even though this is truth that we will not see with our eyes until we come face-to-face with God.
It was by faith that the heroes of the Old Testament received commendation, or right standing, before God. These Father’s and Mother’s of our faith are powerful testimonies. The greatest part of their testimonies is that they found favor with God because of their faith.
The Author wants his audience and us to know that without faith, it's impossible to please God.
People believe a common misconception that working hard to be a good person will out weigh their sin. But that's not how sin works! If a man murdered one child, but then donated a large amount of money to an orphanage, does that outweigh his sin of murder?
Absolutely not! You cannot work enough to cover your sin and please God. It's impossible to please God without faith.
The Author starts with the most basic foundation of faith. God is the creator of everything, and He made everything out of nothing.
In other words, He did not just reorganize what already existed.
This is an ability that only God has. I could take some wood, cut it, shape it, glue it, and create a stool. But only God can create a stool out of nothing.
Therefore, because of this, because of the certainty of God's promise we can run this race of life with endurance!
Here the Author is picturing our life as a race. And even
though it may be a long and hard race, our faith gives us the endurance to
Also, we should drop anything that keeps us from running the very best that we can. If Jesus is the finish line, Jesus is the motivation for our lives, our founder and perfecter of our faith, then we should remove anything that hinders us from running to Him.
When running the race toward Jesus, throw away anything that would slow you down.
Cast aside, sin, doubt, distraction, and fear. Instead focus your eyes on Jesus.