Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
What is faith? How would you describe your faith? In my Bible Study last week, we talked about these questions. How do you answer them? Take a moment and try to describe your faith.
The author (preacher, really) of the Book of Hebrews was addressing a specific concern within a community of faith. Life was not easy. And in the midst of the trials and tribulations of life, some of the Christians in the community were losing their faith. We know this can happen. We have been through a challenging time since March of 2020. And faced with the trials and tribulations of this time in life, some people have lost their faith as well. We hear the stories.
To help others who were on the verge of losing their faith, the preacher of Hebrews talked to the congregation about the meaning of faith. To understand what the preacher was saying, it is important to take a moment to think about Christian hope.
As Christians, what do we hope for? At this point in time, we certainly hope for an end to the pandemic! But, looking beyond the horizon of the pandemic, what do we hope for? Justice? Peace? Christ’s return? Heaven? The Kingdom of God? Eternal life? Seeing loved ones who have gone on before us?
Earlier in the sermon, the preacher of Hebrews reminded the congregation that Christian hope is resurrection hope! Yes, life brings struggles. But the struggles do not get the last word. God does! And God’s word is sure and certain. The preacher pointed beyond the horizon of their struggles toward the return of Jesus Christ and toward eternity in heaven for all those who hold on to their faith. So, the preacher said: “Faith is confidence in what we hope for.” The Common English Bible reads “Faith is the reality of what we hope for.” How do we know that Christ will return? How do we know that we will join the saints who have gone before us in heaven? We know by faith. And, just in case we want proof, the preacher went on to say, “faith is the proof of what we do not see.” We do not see God, but we have proof, nonetheless. Our proof is in our God who keeps promises. God has kept promise after promise after promise: Abraham and Sarah, though barren, had a child. Moses led Hebrew people out of captivity. A Messiah was born. The Holy Spirit was given to us. And, the God who has kept promises, will continue to keep promises. So, we have an assurance, rooted in the very promise of God, that what we hope for will one day come in its fullness. In the meantime, we live by faith, holding on to that promises.
What is faith? How do you answer the question? Along with all our answers, faith is something that grows. It starts with simply believing; it grows into “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine. Oh what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of his Spirit, washed in his blood. This is my story, this is my song, praising my savior all the day long; this is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.” Amen and Amen!
God bless you and stay well.