Without faith we are hopeless.
Hebrews 11:1-16 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
The Triumphs of Faith
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And 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 seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
8 By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise; 10 for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore there was born even of one man, and him as good as dead at that, as many descendants as the stars of heaven in number, and innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15 And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.
Hebrews 11:1 in today’s text says: Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (NASB) Other translations say: Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (NIV) Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. (NLT) Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (ESV) Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see. (BSB) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (KJV) Faith and hope are not synonymous, but rather hope is an element of faith. Unlike hope, faith includes assurance, confidence, conviction and substance. Hope wants or wishes for something; faith believes and possesses it, even if it is not seen. There is evidence of faith. The text continues saying: For by it the men of old gained approval. We also then gain approval through faith, having assurance, confidence, conviction in the substance of what we believe. John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” It is not those who hope who have eternal life, but rather it is those who believe. But, it is more than only eternal life that we gain through our belief; through faith in Christ. It is also the approval of God, in every other aspect of our lives. That approval is not based on what we did or do, but rather on believing in what Christ did for us. In John 19:30, when He was on the cross, Jesus said: “It is finished!” We have assurance, confidence and conviction. We possess everything that Christ came to do for us and gave us. We possess the full approval of God. Isaiah 53:4-6 says: Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. Believing in Christ then we no longer need to hold onto our grief or our sorrow. Just as we are forgiven of our sins and approved of God by faith, so too as Jesus says in Matthew 5:4: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” We are blessed with the comfort of God for our grief and our sorrow. We have assurance, confidence and conviction. We can possess God’s comfort if we believe. It also says: by His scourging we are healed. So healing then is also something we can have assurance, confidence and conviction of. Healing is also something we can possess through faith.
2 Corinthians 5:7 says: We walk by faith, not by sight. Even though these things that we possess by faith may remain unseen, we have assurance, confidence and conviction that they are ours through Christ. We need not to merely hope for these things. We need to have faith for them because of the finished work of the cross. The text list many examples of those who had faith and believed even though they did not see the evidence of all that they possessed. It ends saying: All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. These believed in what was yet to come and by faith received what they did not fully possess on earth in heaven. We believe in what already was done; the finished work of the cross. We also receive everything in the heavenly kingdom. Jesus though says: “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 4:17) “The kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21) All that we possess is not far off in the future. It is already finished, fully accomplished in the cross. It is right here with us and even in us. In Matthew 3:17, when He was baptized, God spoke of Jesus: Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” God is also well pleased with us because of the finished work of the cross. We are His sons and daughters through Christ. We possess the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, so by faith we also possess all that comes with God’s approval. Faith assures us of all that we hope for. Without faith we are hopeless.
‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. ‘Give us this day our daily bread. ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit; for the assurance, confidence and conviction of all that I hope for through faith in Christ. Amen.