Faith – Hebrews 11

This is a very fruitful chapter on the nature of Faith.  V. 1 offers a kind of definition

Hebrews 11:1
    Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Verse 3 speaks to the question of whether material science could discover the faith perspective on existance. 

Hebrews 11:3
    By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

So then how would faith and science have a conversation?

V. 4 to the end offer a list of examples from the Old Testament and up to the un-named Christians who were rejected or persecuted in the early decades of the church (Well that is what we think about v. 32ff).

There are a few intersting summary statements, among them v. 13-16, which identify people of faith as aliens who look to another land.  as the old song goes, “This world is not my home, I am just passin’ through”. 

Hebrews 11:13-16
    These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. [14] For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. [15] If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. [16] But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

Reading the chapter against the backdrop of OT history, it is clear that this other worldliness was not exactly detachment – these were farmers, national leaders, judges and others who lived very much in this world.  Yet they had a larger vision.

Is it why Martin Luther King Jr. could say “I have a dream” and that had a powerful effect on this culture?  As compared to George H. W. Bush who once said, “I don’t believe much in that vision thing.”  We are not equating those men with the Kingdom of God, but suggesting the power that faith in another world can have on this world.

FR

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