google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html Highlights in Hebrews 29
Highlights in Hebrews
Highlights in Hebrews
(with Roger Kirby)

Part 29 - Hebrews 10:32-39 - The power of faith!

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. NLT

With chapter 11 we start into the writer’s great gallery of Old Testament saints. The introductory verse starts off with 2, or is it 3, great words. The most important one is ‘hope’, then to support ‘hope’ we have ‘faith’ but that is not sufficient as just one other word. ‘Faith’ in common usage is often thought to be the same as ‘believe’ but believing all takes place in our heads. The following list of people of faith clearly shows that there is more to it than just what happens between our ears! There is a great deal of activity involved as well. We can call this either ‘endurance’ (10: 36), ‘trustworthiness’ or ‘faithfulness’. Let’s settle for the last of those - which is part of the meaning of the Greek word, which also means ‘faith’ in the more restricted sense.

To see what ‘faith’ has to do with ‘hope’ we must think a bit about what we mean by hope. It comes in three basic varieties. There is the hope of most people that they will be able to live a good and satisfying life. Some people, I suppose, just drift through life without thinking about where it is going and without any long term ambitions - but they are not us, or you wouldn’t be bothering to read these notes! The second sort of hope is our hope for what will happen to us when we die. Have we then a hope? The third and final sort of hope is the small hopes that we have every day. ‘I hope I will soon be rid of this cold’ we say. Or ‘I hope I get such and such a Christmas present’.

Our writer is not at all interested in that third sort of hope, but he is very interested n the first two. In his thinking the two of them are closely woven together. He talks about the way in which Enoch was taken up to God, about how Abraham was looking forward to ‘a city that has foundations’, and how they, and many others, were ‘seeking a homeland’. All these things are closely connected to their lives in this world and particularly their faith and faithfulness. They did not really understand where they were going. We, living after the life, death and resurrection of Jesus have a much better idea of what we are doing, where we are going and what the effects are going to be. We, if we put our trust in the Lord, thus having faith in him, can expect to be accepted by the Lord in the day of judgement and, filled with that knowledge, will strive to live a life of faithfulness throughout our time in this world. Our good and gracious God will accept us on the basis of our faith in Jesus but has also promised to reward us according to our faithfulness in our lives with him, ‘ For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have—Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.’ (1 Corinthians 3: 11 – 16, NLT).

We are sure that this is the way life works because we have read the scriptures, seen how Jesus lived and died, and wondered at the great illustrations of warriors of the faith that we read about in this chapter. We may not have seen these things. But Jesus himself said, ‘Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.’ The people of old were accepted that way - so shall we be! Build for yourself a good foundation so that you will not be ashamed when you appear before the Lord on the day of judgement.

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