By Tyson Thorne

April 3, 2018
 

Hebrews 14 Large

The first ten chapters of Hebrews presents the case for Christianity to a Jewish audience, describing how and why Christ is superior to Judaism. In chapter 11, the author turns to a practical lesson; he will show us what living Christianity looks like. As we finish this series I hope to prove three points: (1) Christianity is faith in Jesus, his accomplishments on the cross, in the power of his resurrection, and in his promise of eternal life. (2) It is faith that will provide the very best for you, even if you do not understand the reason for your trials. (3) If one has faith in Jesus' leadership, he will have faith in Jesus' leaders.

In the opening paragraph of chapter 11, the author defines faith as "being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see." Through faith in God we have the hope of his eminent return. Faith is trusting in God. A friend of mine, Jim Kimbrial, defines faith as "taking God at his word." Dr. Walter Martin once said, "Faith is the chief source of power that fuels the Christian life;" doubt is its opposite, the sin which is a prime origin for all others. For it is by faith that great men of God, both past and present, live their lives.

In verses four and following the author gives several cases in point, the cases of: Abel, Cain, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. How did they live in faith? By believing God would make a way of salvation, though they didn't know how or when it would occur. Indeed, what great faith it was to believe in salvation before the tomb was found empty.

All this goes to prove something we've addressed before, that Christianity did not grow out of Judaism. Instead, like Judaism, it grew out of the ancient faith of Abraham. Notice I said "faith" and not "religion". No religion ever saved anyone, only faith if God and his provision. It is not such a great stretch of faith to believe once we have witnessed God's provision for salvation. These men had faith before God fulfilled his promise, and for this reason they considered themselves God's people. Not the people of Egypt, or Israel or even America but God's people alone. Strangers, aliens, foreigners, outlanders on this planet. All because of faith (verses 13-18).

They serve as a lesson to us, for we too have received a promise from God that has not yet been fulfilled. Though we know the instrument of our salvation, we still await his return and the completion of our sanctification. Many criticize Christians for still believing in the return of Jesus when he has been absent for two thousand years. Yet the the first promise leading to the Messiah's arrival took around three thousand years to be fulfilled. Yet because God has fulfilled his previous promises we can trust him regarding this one.

 

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