Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 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. By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, "and was not found, because God had taken him"; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 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. By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. (Hebrews 11:1-8)
There is not, nor can there be successful refutation of the fact that the center of the religion known as Christianity is based on faith.
Our hope, as is any real hope, is based on faith. Faith is the substance of our hope.
Faith is so strong so as to become our evidence of things we do not see, things which we have not sensually experienced. That is the real testimony of faith. History, anything that has preceded our own personal experience, is accepted as real and true based on faith.
Faith, however, is not blind. We believe certain things to be true based on our reasoning power to observe things which are and accept, then, that which has gone before.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork" (Psalm 19:1). We can look around and have sufficient faith in a higher power. Gods glory is manifest in the creation. Faith in the existence of God is insufficient, however, when it comes to the salvation of a mans soul. When the eunuch got excited about seeing water along the desert road, he asked, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" (Acts 8:36). His confession of faith was very clear. It included much more than a faith that God exists. "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts 8:37). Where did faith in Jesus originate? Why does the record tell us that Phillip preached unto him Jesus? (Verse 35). We can know certain things about God, especially His existence and the power of His hands just by looking around. We believe what we know about Jesus through faith producing testimony. But I make known to you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man. For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:11-12) Paul spoke of knowing that which he preached. What he knew about Jesus and the gospel of Jesus he learned by revelation. What he knew and learned was all by faith. God we know by observation. Jesus we know by faith.
In our text, the inspired scribe teaches us about faith. This chapter, Hebrews 11, is intended to show to his Hebrew audience, through the citation of events in which they already had faith, that faith was and still is the key to pleasing God. Just like the ancients, they too, as Gods servants, were to act by faith. As sure as Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than his brother, the Hebrew Christian was to worship on the Lords Day as opposed to the Sabbath. As sure as Noah built the ark by faith, the modern saved man was to confess his faith in the Deity of Jesus and be baptized in the name of Jesus in order to be saved. As sure as Abraham left his homeland by faith, Gods people everywhere must leave behind them every concept of sin as defined by the one Lord of Ephesians 4:5 whose name is Jesus Christ. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:9-11). Jesus Christ is Lord. We make that confession by faith.
I am convinced that most people who have read this article so far has found nothing or at least little with which to disagree. I hope and pray we are all in total agreement. I do, however, want to make a final point.
In verse two of our text, the Holy Spirit tells us that by faith the elders obtained a good testimony. We generally consider the elders as being those men whose names are listed in the text as well as others whom he said in verse 32 he had not the time to speak.
Notice, please, one thing about this list. The good testimony of faith does not begin with Abel. It begins with creation. 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). To all our good brethren who are traveling across this great country and globe telling us, and God only knows why they are doing so, that what we believe about creation does not affect our salvation, I ask you to please explain the good testimony of Hebrews 11:3.
Dear friend and brother, do you believe in God? Good. So does the Devil and his demons (James 2:19). Do you believe in Jesus? Good. So do many people whom the Lord said He would declare ignorance of knowing them as they acted without authority from Him (Matthew 7:23). Why not accept the whole counsel of God? The Bible declares from cover to cover that in six days, just as Moses recorded it, God created the universe and everything in it. He did it in consecutive days. Those days are 24 hour periods just as they were when Moses wrote the words and just as they are now. Is faith essential to pleasing God? You know it is. Have enough faith to believe everything God has said and do everything God has said to do and be. Put your hope and trust in Him and in His gospel, His own power to save your soul. Never be ashamed to say, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.