By faith. Those two little words are a call to arms, if you will. It is how our ancestors accomplished great things for God. And it is how we are able to do the same, if we only have faith in Him.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.” ~ Hebrews 11:1-2
Here is an excellent definition of what faith is: “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Believing, even when you cannot see how it will all play out in the end, that God’s promises and words are true. Following after and trusting in God with your whole heart, that His plan is best.
The writer of Hebrews goes on to list the many, many “elders” who did indeed “obtain a good testimony”. We can read about their lives lived in faith throughout the pages of the Old Testament and marvel about the things God did for them and through them.
“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” ~ Hebrews 11:3
By faith we understand that God created the heavens and the earth by speaking it all into existence.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” ~ Hebrews 11:6
By faith, and only by faith, can we please God, believing that He is who He says He is, and that He rewards those who seek Him. ” ‘And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.’ ” ~ Jeremiah 29:13
I encourage you to read through the great “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11 for yourself. It is such an encouragement!
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.” ~ Hebrews 12:1-3
By faith continue running your race! Set aside the distractions and temptations of life. Endure. How? By faith, looking to JESUS. Keep your eyes on Jesus! He is the ultimate example of faith for us. He bore our sin, shamed and taunted and tortured, and endured, conquering death and bringing us the gift of new and eternal life, by grace through faith in HIM. Jesus is “the author and finisher of our faith”. Keep your eyes on Jesus, “lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”
“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.” ~ Hebrews 12:28-29
From Matthew Henry’s commentary on Hebrews 12:29:
“And hence the apostle justly concludes, [1.] How necessary it is for us to obtain grace from God, to serve him acceptably: if we be not accepted of God under this dispensation, we shall never be accepted at all; and we lose all our labour in religion if we be not accepted of God. [2.] We cannot worship God acceptably, unless we worship him with godly reverence and fear. As faith, so holy fear, is necessary to acceptable worship. [3.] It is only the grace of God that enables us to worship God in a right manner: nature cannot come up to it; it can produce neither that precious faith nor that holy fear that is necessary to acceptable worship. [4.] God is the same just and righteous God under the gospel that he appeared to be under the law. Though he be our God in Christ, and now deals with us in a more kind and gracious way, yet he is in himself a consuming fire; that is, a God of strict justice, who will avenge himself on all the despisers of his grace, and upon all apostates. Under the gospel, the justice of God is displayed in a more awful manner, though not in so sensible a manner as under the law; for here we behold divine justice seizing upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and making him a propitiatory sacrifice, his soul and body an offering for sin, which is a display of justice far beyond what was seen and heard on mount Sinai when the law was given.”
By grace through faith in Jesus, with reverence and fear, we may come into the presence of God, knowing that the same God who loves us passionately and woos our very souls to Himself, is also a just and almighty God, the Creator and Ruler of the universe, who poured out His wrath over my sin and yours, on His one and only Son at the cross, exacting the death penalty that all sin requires.
Thanks be to God for His grace ~ unearned, undeserved mercy and love and kindness and forgiveness ~ freely extended to us! Have you accepted it?
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:16
“Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” ~ Hebrews 10:19-25
Draw near to God with a true heart, by faith in Jesus, sprinkled with His blood and washed in His righteousness. Cling to the confession of your hope without faltering, remembering that God is faithful to keep His promises. Think of others around you, love them and do kind and good things for them. Fellowship with and encourage each other. The Day IS approaching. Jesus is coming to take us home like He promised in John 14.
Keep your eyes on Jesus, by faith in Him alone. 🙂