Hebrews 11 Lesson

Faith and pleasing God

Describing hope as, “The assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” Hebrews 11:1 is a description that a lot of us can relate to. Growing up, we probably always “hoped” that there was a heaven. Thinking about heaven is a comforting thought that can fuel the parts of us that desire to do the right thing with our lives. We can remember looking at God’s creation and marveling, thinking that surely there must be a God. Albert Einstein was quoted as saying, “My sense of God is my sense of wonder about the universe.” Most of us can probably think of a special place that inspires awe in us and helps us to ponder the creation of the world.

Jesus said to the apostle Thomas:

Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” – John 20:29.

We cannot see the things that Thomas and the other apostles got to see. So what does that mean for our faith?

Here is an example of how faith can work in our lives. For many of us, it starts with that “hope” that there is a God, that Jesus is real, and that heaven exists. As we mature in our faith, hopefully, we meet others that are strong in their faith as well. Hopefully, we have mentors in our lives that have shared their knowledge of the Bible, and their love for the Lord with us. We may have heard scriptures like Romans 10:17 that tells us,

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

When we hear that scripture, hopefully, we are motivated to have a strong faith like those that have mentored us along the way. Hopefully, we keep studying the Bible and asking questions. Romans 10:17 is a powerful scripture, but is it true?

Does hearing the word of God really strengthen our faith?

It absolutely does, and here is why! When we read God’s inspired word, we have insight into our Creator, and we find wisdom beyond any other wisdom that we will ever find here on earth. The promises that God makes are the same today as they were yesterday and will be tomorrow. God’s word is pure and never contradicts itself. For thousands of years people have believed it, and followed it, and nobody has been able to disprove the Bible. If we put our faith and our trust in God, we will not be disappointed. In his letter to the Romans, Paul talks about how the struggles that we go through in life, combined with the Holy Spirit produce hope, and that hope does not disappoint.

“And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” – Romans 5:3-5.

So then, if we accept that our faith comes from hearing the word of God, does our faith need to be exercised? Is faith something that we must, “use or lose?” Consider James 2:17:

“Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone.”

Like so many other things in life, we must exercise our faith for it to grow.

Continuing in the book of James, we will look at two additional scriptures from that book.  

“But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”  You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.  But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;  and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “ And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness ,” and he was called the friend of God.  You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” – James 2:18-24.

“For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.” – James 2:26.

Hebrews 11:6 says:

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.”

The Hebrew writer does not say that it will be difficult to please God without faith.

He does even say that it will be extremely difficult to please God without faith.

He says that it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God without faith.

That is how important our faith is to our salvation!  Faith is an immeasurable gift that God will give to us if we stay in His word and take actions based on our faith.  The term, "Leap of faith" refers to those times in our lives when we take bold action based on our faith.   The more we exercise our faith through our Bible reading and our actions, the stronger our faith will become.

The Bible has much more to say about faith.  For additional forum discussions about faith, click on any of the links below:

Virtual Bible Study's forum discussion entitled, "Faith."

Virtual Bible Study's forum discussion entitled, "Faith and compassion."

Virtual Bible Study's forum discussion entitled, "Faith and our dependence on God."

Virtual Bible Study's forum discussion entitled, "Faith and pleasing God."

Virtual Bible Study's forum discussion entitled, "Faith and turning to Jesus."

Virtual Bible Study's forum discussion entitled, "Faith in Jesus allows us to be at peace with God."

Virtual Bible Study's forum discussion entitled, "Faith in the Old and New Testaments."

Virtual Bible Study's forum discussion entitled, "Faith, love, and hope."

Comments

Michael

Thank you for a great study. To God be the glory!! I wonder if the percentage of the population that follows Jesus today is higher or lower than the percentage of people in the first century?

Reply