Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. (1-2)
A lot of people see these verses, and think of them as the definition of faith.
But how often do we think about what exactly we are putting our faith in? How can we be sure of what we hope for, if the object of our faith is not reliable?
How can we be certain of what we do not see, if the one who makes the promises we rely on is powerless to fulfill them?
And so our faith starts and ends with God. Who is he? Does he even exist? If he exists, does he really care for us? Is he trustworthy? Will he keep his promises to us? Is he even capable of keeping his promises?
This whole first section addresses these questions. The writer of Hebrews says in verse 6,
Anyone who comes to him must believe that [God] exists.
This is the one basic truth that lies at the foundation of our faith. That there is a God. That he truly exists.
Granted that, does he really care about us? Or did he just create us on a whim, and hasn’t given us a second thought since?
The writer answers that too.
He rewards those who earnestly seek him. (6b)
In other words, God does pay attention. He does care about us and what we do. And when we seek him, he does reward us.
But even granted that he wants to reward us for seeking him, does he have the power to do so?
The writer tells us in verse 3,
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
If everything was created at God’s command by things that were not even visible, does he not have the power to do anything he desires? Of course he does.
So in these verses we see the foundation of our faith. God exists. He cares. And he has the power to do what he has promised.
The only question is: do we truly believe these things in our heart? And will we put our trust in him?
A chair can be made of the strongest wood and put together by the finest craftsman. It is totally reliable, and it’s reliability is totally independent of what people may think about it. But a person will not sit in it unless he or she first trusts it.
In the same way, God exists, he cares, and he has the power to do all that he has promised. All these things are real, and their reality is totally independent of whether we believe them or not.
But unless we truly believe these things, we will not put our trust in God.
How about you? Do you truly believe these things? How you answer that question will not only affect your relationship with God, but how you live the rest of your life.
We’ll talk more about that tomorrow.