Focal Passage: Hebrews 11:1-7
Faith is one of the most important words in the Christian’s lexicon. It is also one of the most misunderstood. Some folks talk about faith as if it is simply wishful thinking: “I have faith the Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl.” Others talk about faith as if it were some kind of magical rabbit’s foot: “If you have enough faith, God will heal you.”
The Bible, however, talks about faith differently. One of the greatest chapters in the Bible on the subject of faith is Hebrews 11. In the first three verses we are given insight into the nature of faith itself: “faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen.”
You may think that he is simply talking about wishful thinking. But, that would be an eternally tragic mistake. When the author talks about the “reality of what is hoped for” he is describing the idea that there are things that exist in the universe which cannot be proven in strictly material terms. To embrace the existence of these realities requires faith.
To cite an example of faith, the writer points out that “we believe that the universe was created by the Word of God.” The writer emphasizes that it takes faith to believe the universe sprung forth into existence by the Word of God alone, so that “what is seen has been made from things not visible.” The spoken Word of God is not a physically material thing to be observed. Rather, it is a demonstration of His power and sovereignty that material things spring into existence by His verbal command alone. This is why Satan has sought to deceive us about the Word of God from the very beginning. Remember the question in Genesis 3:1: “Did God really say?” From the beginning Satan has sought to convince us not to believe the Word of God. And, yet, faith is inextricably linked with the Word of God.
Such faith is demonstrated in the examples of Abel, Enoch and Noah (Hebrews 11:4-7). The vital nature of faith is pointed out in Hebrews 11:6 where we learn that “without faith it is impossible to please God.” Indeed, there is no substitute for faith.