God’s plan is for those of us who are working for Him and showing our love for Him to KEEP ON LOVING others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what we hope for will come true. His plan is that we would not become spiritually dull or indifferent but that we would follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their FAITH and ENDURANCE (6:10-12).
That was a paragraph from yesterday’s morning coffee that prepared our hearts for Hebrews 11 today. The writer of Hebrews is calling us to hold on to our faith and endure through the difficult times, just as those who came before us have done. They set an incredible example for us of what it means to have faith in any circumstance and to endure through the circumstances of life – holding on tight to the God who loves us and never leaves us!
Before we move to Hebrews 11 and its examples, let’s consider the powerful words of the writer of Hebrews in chapter 10. This passage emphasizes the importance of living a holy life as part of our covenant relationship with God – that continuing in sin is the same as trampling on the Son of God who shed His blood for the sake of this new covenant.
By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him…
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works…
Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins. There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Just think how much worse the punishment will be for those who have trampled on the Son of God, and have treated the blood of the covenant, which made us holy, as if it were common and unholy, and have insulted and disdained the Holy Spirit who brings God’s mercy to us (Hebrews 10:20-29).
Wow. Those have to be some of the strongest words written in any New Testament letter. It puts a new perspective on our decision of whether to live life for ourselves or to live life for God. How can we live that kind of life of faith? We do not have to reach perfection by human strength; we do not have to produce an earthly attempt at holiness. If we try to do that, we have missed out on the role of our perfect High Priest.
But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There he waits until his enemies are humbled and made a footstool for his feet. For by that one offering HE FOREVER MADE PERFECT those who are BEING MADE HOLY. – Hebrews 10:12-14
So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised (10:35-36).
How do we do this? How do we continue trusting in the Lord, holding tightly to the hope we have. It requires faith. Just like holiness, faith is not something we can muster up on our own, it is a gift God gives us when we ask Him for it. He will give us the faith we need to persevere, to endure patiently, to step into His presence with sincere hearts fully trusting Him.
Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation (Hebrews 11:1-2).
By faith, we believe God created the entire universe simply by commanding their existence.
By faith, Abel…by faith, Enoch…by faith, Noah…by faith, Abraham…by faith, Sarah…
The list goes on and on. Chapter 11 of Hebrews is one of my favorite chapters and I encourage you to take time today to simply soak in the strong examples of faith provided for us. Then consider what story can be told of you. By faith, _____….
And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him (Hebrews 11:6).