Today the author of Hebrews tells us that it is impossible to please God without faith – “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
The writer explains that it is by faith that we believe that the universe was created by the word of God. Then he gives the Hebrews a history lesson of people who walked by faith, beginning in the Creation Era.
- “By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous…”
- “By faith Enoch [Seth’s descendant] was taken away so that he did not see death…”
- “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”
- “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance…”
- “By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age…”
- “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son…”
- “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.”
- “By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph…”
- “By faith Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel, and gave instructions concerning his bones.”
- “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents…”
- “By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter…esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.”
- “By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king…By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood…By faith they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land…”
- “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days.”
- “By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.”
Judges Era and forward:
- “Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked 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, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”
- “Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment…”
- “And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise.”
The promise of the coming seed was fulfilled through Jesus Christ. Those in the Old Testament were saved by faith, looking forward to the coming Savior, the final sacrificial Lamb, just like we today are saved by faith looking back at what Jesus did for us on the cross. So although the ones in the Old Testament did not see the fulfillment of all of God’s promises in their lifetime, God did deliver on His promise He made back in the garden to Adam and Eve, to send a Savior. So we can be assured that He will deliver on the promise that one day Jesus Christ is returning, and in that day He will restore all that is broken.
Therefore, the writer of Hebrews tells us to live our lives, enduring this day, trusting in the Lord and His promises, and expectantly looking forward to that Day, the Day Jesus returns – “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Tomorrow we conclude the letter to the Hebrews and begin a letter written by Peter. Keep reading.