Faith Is Defined by Example

Hebrews 11: 1 – 3

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”

Faith is most faithfully defined I these verses. At the time of this writing Judaism had deteriorated into a system of works. self-effort, self-salvation, and self-glorification. It was no longer the faith system God intended.  

Faith is substance. (Vs. 1A)

Our word “substance” is made up of two words meaning: “to stand” and “under.”  Substance is that which stands under us to support us..  It is the superstructure of life.

Their faith in God was so strong that they had such “assurance” that they responded as though the things promised were already a reality.

Substance (hpostasis) is a scientific term opposite of theory or hypothesis. 

Substance also means “the title deed.”

Faith is evidence. (Vss. 1B & 2) Evidence means proof.  Our faith is in the unseen, but not the unknown.  We see the world, but not that of which it is made — atoms.

Evidence (elegchos) is a legal term for that which is necessary for conviction.

Faith convicts us that God will keep His Word.

This expression carries the first one further.  It is the outward evidence of the inward assurance.  The life is committed to what the mind believes.

The expression we have “obtained a good report” means a good testimony,  by “so great a cloud of witnesses.” We live by faith.

We live in a day when everything outside man’s experience is denied.  Do you understand how a sheep, cow, pig, and goose can eat grass in the same field and one grow wool, another hair, another bristles, and the other feathers?

In “Pilgrim’s Progress” John Bunyan writes about a pilgrim locked in the deepest dungeon of the Giant of Despair.  The pilgrim is about to give up for lost when he remembers that in his pocket he carries a key called “Promise” which will unlock any dungeon door.  Actually, we have such a key called faith.

Spare yourself frustration, fear, and anxiety . . . use the key.