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THOSE WHO DID NOT DRAW BACK
-- Heb_11:1-40 --
The major purpose of the epistle to the Hebrews was to keep those Hebrew Christians from going into apostasy by relapsing into Judaism. In the previous chapter the writer said, "the just shall live by faith." ( Heb_10:38-39 ) Now he proceeds to introduce us to a "Hall of fame" of Old Testament characters who lived by faith.
The thing that kept these Old Testament worthies on the mark was their "faith." They remained faithful to God even in the midst of trials, severe persecution and much suffering. It is here that the Bible writer describes "faith" and shows that it will really work in life. There is power in faith that keeps our heart focused on God, even in the midst of trials, hardships or even persecution.
Upon completion of a study of Heb_11:1-40 we should have a much greater understanding of the doctrine of "salvation by faith."
An explanation of saving faith -- Heb_11:1-3 : The writer described that faith whereby the just man lives in these words, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." ( Heb_11:1 ) Faith and hope go hand in hand. The things that are the object of our hope are the result of our faith.
Our eternal salvation depends on the existence of saving faith and the exercise or practice of that faith. "Faith gives reality or substance to things hoped for." Faith is that which makes it possible to see God and His word as reality. Through faith we can live our life in the full expectation that God will give the good things which He has promised to those who obey Him.
Concerning God, His word and His way, there is evidence. It is the evidence of things not seen. This evidence causes the invisible things concerning God to be just as real to us as those things which we have seen with our physical eyes. Our faith causes us to feel and act just as if it was before our very eyes.
The renown of the Old Testament saints was not in that they lived as long as Methuselah ( Gen_5:27 ), were as rich as Abraham ( Gen_14:14 ), or were as strong as Samson ( Jdg_15:1-20 ). They obtain a good report upon the account of their faith. We remember Enoch because he walked with God. Abraham’s name has been on the tongue of every Christian because of his loving obedience to God. Moses' meekness in serving Jehovah cause us to fondly remember him
Faith begins at the creation. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." ( Gen_1:1 ) This is the very foundation article of our faith -- God is Creator. God framed the world out of nothing, by His infinite wisdom. The Bible gives us true and exact account of the origin of all things and that origin is "GOD!"
Some who lived by faith -- Heb_11:4-31 : The writer of Hebrews has now set forth what faith is and how faith works. He proceeds to list a "Hall of fame" of Old Testament characters who lived 'by faith." These faithful ones are divided into two groups. There are the names of those who lived by faith and some of the specific things they did. Then there are those who names are barely mentioned, for a lack of time. Their faith accomplishments were grouped together. In both groups we observe that saving faith is always active, obedient faith.
Able worshipped by faith. By his faith Enoch lived in such a way as to please God. Noah's faith caused him to build an ark on God's terms and according to God's instructions. Abraham's faith led him to obey God in leaving his homeland. His faith caused him to, "looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." ( Heb_11:10 )
Sara was also cited as one of those who died in faith. God said, "these all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." ( Heb_11:13 )
The list of those who lived by faith goes on with those like Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. "By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. ( Heb_11:24-25 )
The nation of Israel lived by faith as they passed through the Red Sea and marched around Jericho for seven days. The result of living by faith is that you are always blessed by God. Rahab the harlot is an example of how those who live by faith are blessed. "By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace." ( Heb_11:31 )
Many suffered for the faith -- Heb_11:32-38 : Many names were only mentioned. There was Gedeon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David, Samuel, and the prophet. These are great servants of God "Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented." ( Heb_11:33-37 )
The writer of the book of Hebrews does not commend all that these people did. He does not deny that they were very imperfect men, or that they did many things that were a disappointment to God. He does commend all their actions which were "by faith." Their focus was on "a better resurrection." God said the world was not worthy of such men.
Blessings of the faith system -- Heb_11:39-40 : These worthy and godly people obtained a good report with God, but they did not live long enough to receive the promise of the coming Messiah. "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law." ( Gal_4:4 ) Now, we can be perfected together by the power of His blood.
We have been given "better things," things that those Old Testament worthies could only imagine. The "better things," are the privilege of seeing those promises fulfilled in the Messiah. We can enjoy the blessings resulting from His atonement and have the hope of heaven itself. The teachings of this chapter should encourage us to bear every trial, and to be ready to lay down our lives for the cause of God.
Many needs exist in our world. No greater need could ever exist than for people to walk "BY FAITH." Are you a Christian? ( Act_2:36-41 .) What about your daily walk? Is it "by faith?"
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Hebrews 11". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent