After giving several serious warning throughout his letter, the author of Hebrews refreshes us with examples of regular people who have actually lived the kind of life he is urging his readers to choose – a life that is marked by actions that show we trust the Greater Messenger; that we are living for participation in a future kingdom.
We have now arrived at what is commonly referred to as the “Hall of Faith” or the “Faith Hall of Fame”. Hebrews 11 contains Old Testament examples of those who by faith trusted God with the message He gave them – and then they made life choices with that end in mind.
One thing to keep in mind here is that the words translated faith and believe are the same word in Greek, and are best defined as – to trust, with implications that the one who is trusted will do actions because of that trust placed in them.
And in this context, the action to follow is the expectation that God will fulfill His promise of participation in a future kingdom.
Hebrews 11:1-2, 6
Now faith is the reality of what is hoped for, the proof of what is not seen. For by it our ancestors won God’s approval…Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
If we do not believe the importance of the message, we won’t draw near to God. All the faith heroes listed in this chapter are being commended for the actions in their individual lives that corresponded to their belief in the coming future that was promised by God.
Hebrews 11:13, 32-33, 39
These all died in faith, although they had not received the things that were promised. But they saw them from a distance…And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about [all of those] who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises…All these were approved through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised
What do you mean, they didn’t receive it? God promised it, so why didn’t they get it?
However, the author did says they obtained promises. He continues:
God had provided something better for us, so that they would not be made perfect without us.
Made perfect can also be translated to reach a goal, be fulfilled, or completed.
Let verse 40 sink in…read it a second time…and a fourth time…
God has decided to allow us (you and me!) participation in bringing about what Abraham, Moses, Rahab, Samuel, and all the OT heroes were longing to see, the fulfillment of their faith in God’s promises.
You are invited to participate in the greatest story ever told. Will you?