What is faith? Part 11

The astonishing and undergirding truth of Hebrews 11 is how God regards those who believe. He has a view high and above what we think of ourselves or other believers.

When I read about the steady confidence in the Lord exhibited by the Hebrews 11 people, I remember all the times they blew it. I judge their failures, often thinking, “Some people of faith they were!”

For instance, Abraham’s faith faltered and hobbled along for twenty-five years before Isaac was conceived. As I read, my critical mind recalls things like this:

  • Noah got drunk when he got off the boat.
  • Abraham took matters into his own hands and had sex with Hagar.
  • Sarah gave Abraham the idea.
  • Sarah laughed.
  • Abraham also laughed. The idea that she could conceive was preposterous.
  • Isaac and Abraham both put their wives in dangerous situations.
  • Jacob was a cheater.
  • Joseph was a tattletale.
  • Moses had a temper, murdered someone, and threw fits.
  • David committed adultery and murdered Bathsheba’s husband.
  • Samson was an immoral man.
  • Etc.

But that is not how God views them.

Doesn’t that give you great hope! These are the ones whose faith God wants us to recall!

In the Old Testament he had recorded their failures. He did this, not to shame them, but to give us hope. For we are exactly like them. We falter and fail in similar ways. And he will likewise transform us.

In the New Testament God’s Spirit inspired the author of Hebrews to describe their faith, not their failures, showing us how God sees his children. In spite of our flaws and weaknesses, he views us with love and favor, simply because we are his.

He rewards our faith, no matter how faltering!

We cannot fathom this kindness and mercy of God.

We know our flaws. We often dwell on them, thinking ourselves failures, inadequate, and small. But God sees who we truly are in Christ. He expects us to become the people he created us to be.

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you see it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare…. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – These are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit – immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

We deem ourselves small when we dwell on our failures.

But God sees Christ when he looks at us.

We are in his Son, fellow heirs, siblings, children of God’s Beloved Son. One day we will stand before God feeling unworthy and as if all our work didn’t amount to much. But…

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Hebrews 6:10).

His justice not only brings vengeance on those who harm his own, but it also promises reward. We have no merit of our own. He is the one who gives us the ability to believe. Yet, because of this God-given faith, he includes us and rewards us.

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded” (Hebrews 10:35).

This is how our merciful and loving God and Savior sees us.

This is how he promises to reward and preserve us. He does it all.

Therefore, with firm assurance that God exists and that he rewards those who seek him, we entrust ourselves to him. Why? Because of who he is! This is the God of lovingkindness, who pursues, calls, and loves us!

In him and him alone do we hope.