Hebrews: Hall of Faith
Adult Bible Class, June 12 & 15 - Hebrews 11:1-22
We know Hebrews 11 as the “Hall of Faith” a lot of times. In a way, it’s almost lumped in there with the rest of the text, not exactly flowing with the message. In reality, it continues the exact same thoughts as the rest of it.
The previous chapter concluded by telling us how to truly walk in this new and living way. One of the most important elements of that is having faith. It defines faith as “…an assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). To be fully assured and convicted means that there is no doubt in your mind and having all the confidence in the world that what you believe is true. The first example of that is seem in verse 3, that we understand that God created the world. Did we see it? No. But we are assured and convicted that He did.
How important is faith in this new and living way? Hebrews 11:6 says that “…it is impossible to please Him…” without it. Faith is exactly how you please Him. It’s how Enoch pleased God and was able to avoid seeing death (Hebrews 11:5). How does faith please Him? James 2:17 tells us that faith without works is dead. Both are absolutely necessary for salvation. If we have true faith in God, we are going to act on it by doing what He commands us because we truly believe that He will save us in the end.
The Hebrew writer goes on to mention Noah, Abraham, and Sarah. These tie in back to verse 1, being convicted of things not seen. Noah was told to build an ark for rain that had never been seen. Abraham was told to go to a foreign land and live as an alien for a promise that he could not see. Sarah was told she would bear a child, when bearing children at her age had not been seen. How did they do it? They had faith.
These men and women were also not looking at this life. They longed for a different country to live in for eternity, as Hebrews 11:16 says “…they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” Think about this for a second, Abraham never got to see his promises fulfilled. He wasn’t there to see Canaan, a great nation of his descendants, or the people of earth be blessed. They all still happened and Abraham knew they would. He and all the others here were looking to heaven. They knew exactly where the better country was, and they had the faith they needed to get there.
The writer goes back to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. They are all exemplifying a trait or an action that we see with Christ.
We know the story of Abraham and Isaac from Genesis 22. The direct correlations being the offering of one’s only son, Isaac carried the wood, it taking a three-day journey to get there, and that ultimately God provided the lamb among thorns. We see each of these displayed in Jesus’ sacrifice. God gave His only Son, thus providing the sacrificial Lamb (John 3:16), He carried His own cross (John 19:17), and that He spent three days buried (1 Corinthians 15:4).
Isaac blessed his children, just as Jesus blesses us all (Matthew 25:34).
Jacob blessed the sons of Joseph while leaning on a staff, as he was dying. Jesus blessed us all when He was dying, leaning on a cross.
Joseph gave instructions with his bones after he died. After Jesus died, His bones were not left behind either (Matthew 27:57-60).
Each of these pleased God because of their faith. We have the word of God, His instructions for us, and if we have faith, we can please Him and stay on the new and living way.
Join us this week, Sunday at 10 a.m. and Wednesday at 7 p.m., as we study these verses to strengthen our own faith in God Almighty!