Hebrews 11

Faith is the firm persuasion that God will perform all that He has promised to us in Christ, and brings the soul a present fruition and foretaste of eternal things, which sets a seal that God is true. The way of faith is the way of victory, peace, assurance, and endurance.

1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.

9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:

10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.

12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.

15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.

16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:

19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s commandment.

24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;

25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;

26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:

37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:

40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Hebrews 11:1-10 – ​Faith’s Triumphs from Abel to Abraham

   Faith is the sixth sense. It makes us as sure of unseen or future things, which we know about only through the divine Word, as we are of things which we can see and touch. When we are aware of the reality of these things, we naturally take them into account when we act. Rothschild laid the foundation of his fortune because he had news that the battle of Waterloo had been won, a day before anyone else in Britain. That fact enabled him to buy up all the depressed money-shares, which rose with marvelous buoyancy as soon as the news was universally disseminated. Faith does this for us!
   Noah built the ark because he believed that the flood would befall. Abraham left his country because he realized that Canaan would be his. The pilgrims and martyrs of all the ages have been derided by their companions, who would have acted similarly if only they had looked with faith into the unseen. And God never fails such. He always bears witness with His gifts. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Hebrews 11:4 – ​The sun sets behind the western hills, but the trail of light he leaves behind him guides the pilgrim to his distant home. The tree falls in the forest; but in the lapse of ages it is turned into coal, and our fires burn now the brighter because it grew and fell. The coral insect died, but the reef it raised breaks the surge on the shores of great continents, or has formed an isle in the bosom of the ocean to wave now with harvests for the good of man, and to be a gem hereafter for the diadem of the great Redeemer. We live, and we die; but the good or evil that we do lives after us, and “is not buried with our bones.” (Cumming)

Hebrews 11:4 – ​It was a touching memorial to their comrade, the warrior of Breton birth, La Tour d’ Auvergne, the first grenadier of France, as he was called, when, after his death, his comrades insisted that, though dead, his name should not be removed from the rolls. It was still regularly called, and one of the survivors regularly answered for the departed soldier, “Dead on the field.” The eleventh chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews is such a roll-call of the dead, It is the register of a regiment, which will not allow death to blot names from its page, but records the soldiers who have, in its ranks, won honorable graves and long abiding victories. (W.R. Williams)

​Hebrews 11:6 – When a man hath liberty to go into the treasure-house of a king, to enrich himself, he will first seek the keys wherewith to open the doors; so, if we desire to be enriched with God’s grace, we must first labor to have faith, which is the only key of God’s treasure-house, and secures us all graces needful both for body and soul. (Cawdray)

Hebrews 11:6
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

See if you can answer the following question. The eleventh chapter of Hebrews includes a list of heroes of the faith. Each verse that introduces a faith hero begins with the words “by faith” or “through faith.” Can you name the very first one mentioned in Hebrews 11? Also, can you identify why he or she was said to exercise faith?

Most people, of course, say the name of an Old Testament character. Many think it was Abel, who offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain. But the right answer is – wait for it – YOU! As a believer in biblical creation, YOU are at the head of the list!

Check out Hebrews 11:3 where it says, “Through faith WE understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

That’s right – believers are listed first in the Hebrews 11 “Faith Hall of Fame”! And we are listed there because we understand that God created the worlds through Jesus, the Word. The first faith hero in this amazing chapter are believers down through the ages who believe what God said about His act of Creation.

This means that Christian creationists have a responsibility to exercise the faith we have been given to share the reasons for our faith with others.

Notes: Noah was one of the heroes mentioned in Hebrews 11. Painting: by Daniel Maclise (1811-1870). Creation Moments, Inc., P.O. Box 839, Foley, MN 56329 www.creationmoments.com

Hebrews 11:8

​​   Whither he went, he knew not; it was enough for him to know that he went with God. He leaned not so much upon the promise as upon the Promiser: he looked not on the difficulties of his lot—but on the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God; Who had deigned to appoint his course, and would certainly vindicate Himself.
   Ah, glorious faith! this is thy work, these are thy possibilities! contentment to sail with sealed orders, because of unwavering confidence in the love and wisdom of the Lord High Admiral: willinghood to arise up, leave all, and follow Christ, because of the glad assurance that earth’s best cannot bear comparison with heavens best. (F.B. Meyer)

Hebrews 11:11-22 – ​Seeking the Better Country

   Faith has the twofold power, first, of making the unseen real; and second, of receiving the grace and strength of God into the heart. Sarah, through faith, received strength to bear Isaac. By faith may come physical as well as spiritual strength.
   The pilgrim life is possible only for those who have seen the city of God beckoning them from afar. Then they strike their tents and follow the gleam. By faith they so comport themselves that God is not ashamed to own them. They will discover, even in this life, that they have not trusted Him in vain, and that the half has not been told. On the mere rumor that a new gold field is found, men sell off everything in their mad rush. How many are disappointed! But none of those that trust God shall be left desolate.
   Abraham was absolutely sure that Isaac would return with him, even though the lad might die beneath the knife. When leaving the young men at Moriah’s foot, he said: “I and the lad will… worship, and come again” (Genesis 22:5). Had not God’s voice definitely designated Isaac as his heir? —Through the Bible Day by Day

Hebrews 11:23-31 – ​Making the Far-Seeing Choice

   Faith—we cannot say it too often—is the direct vision of the soul. It doesn’t reason, it doesn’t ask for evidences, it doesn’t seek the corroboration of spies sent forward to explore the land. It is to the spiritual world what the five senses are to things around us. It is even more than this; it is our power of deriving the help of the Unseen to carry out and complete the work of our life.
   Moses saw Him who is invisible, and drew on God with a mighty faith that reckoned on Him as being more real than Pharaoh, and secured His divine cooperation. First, he ascertained God’s will at the place where the bush burned with fire; and then set about doing his part, depending upon God to do His. Of course, it brought him into collision with the whole might of Pharaoh and Egypt, but he didn’t even fear it. The destroying Angel had no terrors for the blood-sheltered people. The waters lined up on each side to let them pass. Strongly built walls fell to the ground. Let us be sure that we are on the line of God’s purposes, then trust Him and fear naught. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Hebrews 11:27 – ​When Scoresby was selecting his men to accompany him in his Arctic explorations, he needed sailors that could stand the severest exposures, and who had nerve to bear the worst trials. So every man who applied to accompany the expedition was made to stand barefooted on a great block of ice while the surgeon examined his body, and Scoresby inquired into his past history. Scores were rejected at once, as they had not nerve to endure the test. The men who stood the trial made up a band of the most glorious heroes. So sometimes God tries us when he has in store for us some great undertaking. Many faint and excuse themselves from the start. Some endure, and make the heroes and leaders of the church. (Vail)

Hebrews 11:32-40 – ​“The Noble Army of Martyrs”

   Strong faith is consistent with very different views of religious truth. The conception that Abel, Enoch or Noah had of so-called Christian truth was very slight; but the faith with which they grasped the scanty truth revealed to them was mighty, soul-transforming and world-moving.
   Walk through this long corridor of statuary. These persons were of every age and temperament; shepherds, statesmen, prime ministers, psalmists, poets, border chieftains, prophets, women martyrs—but they are all trophies of faith. The variety is extraordinary, but the unity is undeniable. The beads are many, but there is one golden thread uniting them all. Their circumstances and trials were widely different, but in all the talisman of victory was faith’s watchword–God is able. There is no kind of need, trial, persecution, experience, for which faith is not the sufficient answer. It is the master key for every lock of difficulty. Fit your case into one of the clauses and what once was, shall be again. —Through the Bible Day by Day

​Hebrews 11:33 – God’s promises were never meant to ferry our laziness. Like a boat, they are to be rowed by our oars; but many men, entering, forget the oar, and drift down more helpless in the boat than if they had staid on shore. There is not an experience in life by whose side God has not fixed a promise. There is not a trouble so deep and swift-running, that we may not cross safely over, if we have courage to steer and strength to pull. (Beecher)

Hebrews 11:40—They without us should not be made perfect.

​   This chapter proves that the saints of all ages are essentially one. There is a link which unites them; a thrill which passes from hand to hand around the circle. One theme for many voices; one attitude for many faces; one inspiration for many hearts. The saints that lived before the Advent and those that havelived since are one in their faith in the living God making the unseen visible, the distant near, and seeing the eternal through the transient and ephemeral.
   And now heaven waits. Its joys are not complete , its rapture not full. The blessed are blessed; but there is yet a margin between what they are and what they will be—between what they enjoy, and what they may enjoy. The choir is not full, and the anthem cannot be fully rendered till our voices blend in it. There is a pause, a halt, an expectancy, an incompleteness, till we come. Your dear ones want you to be there. They have not gone far into the heart of God’s bliss, but are lingering near the gate till you have joined them.
   From Switzerland your friends write you to say it is perfectly beautiful, but “it will be better when you join us; we are reserving the best excursions till you arrive; we are incomplete without you; make haste.” It is thus that the blessed await us. The spirit of Heaven is well represented by the courtesy of the old prophet, who would not sit down to meat with Jesse and his sons, till David, the youngest, had come thither also. And when the whole family is gathered, there will be a perfecting indeed, from which no element shall be wanting.
   Oh rapture of eternal joy! We stretch out our hands in yearning desire, and doing so touch other hands reached towards ours! —Our Daily Homily

Hebrews 11:40 – ​The Church of Christ, which is partly militant and partly triumphant, resembles a city built on both sides of a river. There is but the stream of death between grace and glory. (Toplady)