Recently several Quotes of the Day as well as Verses of the Day have focused on faith, including this Quote of the Day for March 15, 2017:
“There are no ifs, ands, or buts if you have faith.”
Faith has been topic of continuing importance, in that Bishop Charles Mellette of Christian Provision Ministries in Sanford, NC has been teaching a series related to faith. This past Sunday’s message “Faith that pleases God” emphasized Hebrews 11:1 and verse 6 among other scriptures. Yesterday I participated in an engaging panel discussion regarding the most recent teaching on faith.
In reflecting on our dialog regarding faith, my mind goes back to a Wednesday Youth Night at Camp Gray, a Presbyterian camp in Saugatuck, MI in the mid-1950s. When the request came forth for a young person to deliver a short inspirational message, I volunteered. As a rising sophomore in high school, back in the day, I put together my first Bible teaching, choosing the topic of “faith.” Using the Bible and study material of one of the camp counselors who was a seminary student, I focused on the two verses from Hebrews that have contributed immeasurably to the foundation of faith upon which I have built my life:
Hebrews 11: 1, 6 (Amplified Bible):
“NOW FAITH is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].”
“But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out].”
In the course of our dialog last night I shared from a previous blog post on the same subject:
. . . Faith, then can be said to be a kind of sine qua non, an indispensable condition, element, or factor; an essential ingredient. This verse reminds believers that faith is essential to building and maintaining a solid relationship with God, for without it is impossible to please God.
Hebrews 11, known as the Hall of Heroes of the Faith, introduces an array of individuals who accomplished great spiritual exploits as they walked by faith. Likewise, as we progress in our walk of faith, we learn that faith must be the firm foundation upon which we build. As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we grow and develop, as we discover that faith is the bedrock of our lives. We define faith as confident assurance, trust and conviction that we will prevail. Faith–“the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”– operates beyond what we see, for we walk by faith, not by sight.
In the midst of thundering echoes of “No!” faith says “Yes!” Voices shout “You can’t!” but faith proclaims “We can, and we will!” At the point of total exhaustion, faith says, “Take one more step.” After more failed attempts than we can number, faith gives us courage to try one more time. Faith is tenacious—you hold on and never give up. Although the diagnosis, bank statement or other evidence says “No way!” faith responds with “God will make a way.”
In terms of illustrations of faith, we find excellent examples from the Bible and from the lives of great men and women who achieved impossible dreams. Despite a barrage of reasons as to why they would fail, they transformed failure into success. Without faith it is impossible . . . but with faith, the impossible becomes possible. We recognize and rejoice, knowing that “with God all things are possible.” Indeed, faith is our solid foundation. Like the wise man who built his house on the rock, when the storms of life approach, if we have laid a firm foundation, the house that we build will stand, for faith is our sure foundation.
Listen to this lively musical rendering of these two foundational verses that define our faith: Hebrews 11:1, 6: