Faith – Hebrews 11.1

Yesterday at Saar Fellowship we had an all-age family service talking about faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, 

the conviction of things not seen.

Hebrews 11.1

We talked about what faith is not, and then said that faith is confidence or trust in a person or thing.

Everyone put trust into action when they sat on the chairs provided; their physical senses told them that the chair was worth trusting, and our faith is what allows us to trust things of a Spiritual nature.

So far in Hebrews then, we have been encouraged to put our faith into the Word of God, and the work that Jesus did and does for us.

As Hebrews 11 progresses, we will see a great list of people who put their faith into action. The point for the Hebrews, and for us, is that because these regular people were able to put their faith into action, so can you.

Faith is so important, without it we cannot ever please God (11.6), and it is so important that everything rests on it.

Dr. John Lennox said this,

Faith is not a leap into the dark, but a step into the light.

Where do we step then, by faith?

Into the light, into the light of the world.

Where do we put our faith, our hope, our trust?

In God and in His Word, which all points to One person…

We have faith in the faithfulness of Jesus.

We have faith in how good Jesus is.

We have faith in how much faith Jesus has, how faithful He is, how full of faith He is, don’t we?

Romans 3.1-8 – Why not just…

Today Paul builds on the previous section and asks well, if God shows no partiality, then what advantage has the Jew? Why not just live as we like to show just how good God is?

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision? 2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. 3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written,

“That you may be justified in your words,

and prevail when you are judged.”

5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) 6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world? 7 But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? 8 And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just. 

So as God’s chosen people, does their faithlessness cancel out God’s faithfulness? By no means Paul says! Once you have promised something to your children, even if they misbehave in the meantime you still follow through on your promise, don’t you? You follow through because you made a promise and you want them to see that when a man or when a woman makes a promise, a commitment, that they stick to it. Parenting and grace need to be applied together! Now take this thought and apply it to what we know about God; cannot lie, unchanging character, good, faithful, pure, just…great is His faithfulness, and it is not dependent on us!

Paul then asks a couple of rhetorical questions, maybe you’ve heard them before;

  • If I am bad and that makes God look even better, why am I being condemned as a sinner?
  • Why don’t I just do bad stuff so God can prove that He is good by doing even more good stuff?

Sadly, these questions come from those who have no real change of heart to speak of, no real conversion experience, no relationship with God to consider. Consider those questions in the context of the fact that we are justified by faith; we believe all that is said and written about Jesus in God’s Word, we believe by faith that God raised Him from the dead, we believe by faith that God is who He claims to be, we believe by faith…but now we want to do a load of bad stuff? It just doesn’t compute. 

Today then, when there is a choice to be made, big or small, choose the option that glorifies God most through your conduct, not by taking a path away from Him in a misguided attempt to show just how good He is compared to your bad self!

Point to ponder – Having been justified by faith, am I now living by faith?

Prayer – Father we know we can come to you openly and honestly because Jesus stands before You in righteousness, and that when you look at us you see His righteousness, not ours. For this we thank you. We pray today that through the power of Your indwelling Holy Spirit we are able to make good choices, choices that glorify You through our actions, our behaviour, our words, and our conduct, and not choices that lead us away from You. Amen.

The Gospel in Hosea

Despite Gomer, Hosea’s wife, being unfaithful, Hosea is encouraged and told to go and be faithful.

In this story, we are not Hosea, the benevolent, humble, obedient servant of the Lord. We are Gomer. We have sold ourselves to the passions of the flesh. We read in  Hosea 2.5,

For their mother has played the whore;

she who conceived them has acted shamefully.

For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,

who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.’

She needed to be ransomed and redeemed out of that life, out of that way of thinking.

We needed to be ransomed and redeemed too. She was bought for for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech of barley in 3.2.

Hosea didn’t really need to “buy” His own wife, to hire her as a prostitute. She was his wife! But as a display of love and commitment, he went the “extra mile,” beyond what was reasonable or expected from him (EnduringWord).

In doing this for his own wife, Hosea also showed her, “I can give you what the others can, I can give you what you are looking for, all those different men, you can find it all in me, everything you are looking for in your life, all the satisfactions, all the fulfillment, all the desires, you can find them all in me. You don’t need them. You need me, your faithful husband. Let me show you how I can provide for your needs.”

Are you with me here? There is more going on than a great marriage lesson, isn’t there…

Buying her out of her sinful life…buying back something that meant a lot to him.

Do you know what price was paid for us? 

1 Corinthians 6.20  tells us that we were bought with a price, and Acts 20.28  that Jesus bought back His people with His own blood.

Despite our fallen, sinful, unfaithful nature, Jesus came and He was, and He is, faithful. He purchased us. Not with silver and some food, but with His own life. 

What do we do with this?

We realize that in our own power, our repentance and our worship and our efforts at righteousness and faithfulness will never be good enough.

However, God knows this. God knows this and God did something to rectify this. 

So this week, and any day, when we find ourselves slipping inevitably into unfaithfulness, when our weekly worship doesn’t match our worshipful week, when our actions don’t match our words, we turn to the Faithful One. God knows that alone we will never do this, and God did something to address our fallen condition.

He sent the most faithful person of all time. He sent the only truly faithful person of all time; faithful in every thought, word, and deed, He sent Jesus, the faithful witness.

James Montgomery Boice said this, our prayer for today,

Remember His faithfulness and determine that hereafter you will always be faithful to Him. Ask Him to seal that love, keeping you and perfecting you until the day when you will stand before both Him and His Father at the great marriage supper of the Lamb.