What is faith? I know we must have faith in God. The first verse that comes to mind is "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
Heb_11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Thinking more about this, it means to me that there are things hoped for. This is a critical part of faith: hope. I know there are things that I hope for. This is why I put my faith in God. God has talked about and promised things that I want. And based on my past experience with God, God has delivered. So I don't believe my trust in God's ablility to deliver is in vain. I believe my hope is well founded in God.
Faith Chapter - Hebrews 11
The next thing that comes to mind is the "faith chapter" in Hebrews 11. Paul goes through time and points out to the Hebrews (Jews) that from the very beginning, salvation came by faith in God. And then Paul explains how this faith produced works of God in their lives. Paul is explaining, that just like Abraham believed God's promises (and hoped in them) that righteousness is attributed by faith in God, before the works are even manifested yet. Paul was not supporting the idea of faith without works. Paul was just pointing out that faith comes first.
Faith - First Mention in Old Testament
I opened up E-Sword and did a search on faith. I was surprised at how few times in the Old Testament that faith is mentioned. Here is the first passage.
Deu_32:20 And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.
It's not a big deal to me that the word "faith" is not listed many times. Obviously, the children of Israel had something to hope for. God made a covenant with them in Exodus 20. Moses believed God and hoped for those things. Moses obviously had faith, whether it was stated using that word or not. I'm sure Moses also had a pulse, whether it states that in the Bible or not.
God said the people were froward, children in whom is no faith. That reminds me of another verse:
Heb_11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
That's powerful. Without faith it is impossible to please him. Wow. I realize more than ever that God is the God of hope. God is a God of covenants. God promises things. God talks about things that I've never seen. Of course, it makes sense. If I don't hope in the things God talks about, it will be impossible to please God. Faith in God is essential to please Him. Otherwise, it's like calling God a liar.
Things Hoped For
So, if Paul is correct in what he wrote to the Hebrews, everybody who has faith in God has to have something to hope for. Let's see if this is true. I'm going to go through the people who had faith listed in the "faith chapter" and see if I can put in writing what the hoped for.
Listing Things Hoped for From Hebrews 11
Ok, I'm going to stop there. I'm tired. Tired and content. This also brings up another subject. God's promise that some will not be saved. If someone has faith in God and lives in sin, then they have been promised to not go to heaven. So if a person lives in sin, and has faith in God, then there will be evidence in their lives that they are not going to heaven. Like the people who came to John the Baptist and didn't have the fruit of repentance. What is this evidence? This is another study for another time.
Salvation by God|
God is Good
God Gives Life
God is a Rewarder
Cost of Discipleship
Sin & Bondage
Heaven & Hell
Fellowship with God
Faith & Works
Baptism by Jesus Christ
Baptism by Fire
Works & Justification
|To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. - Jesus Christ speaking to Saul, see Act 26:18, see Salvation through Jesus Christ.|