Hebrews 11:1-3

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.?
Hebrews 10:39 tells us that the faith of 11:1 is a supernatural gift from God which results in the salvation of souls. The supernatural grace through faith of v. 1 is not a result of man’s determination, wisdom, insight, reason nor observation. Rather, “it is the gift of God”. It is God’s grace at work in the Elect. That is, He places in the unsaved both the desire and the power to come to Him and then to please Him.

We see in this chapter that it is His “grace through faith” that gives the strength to endure; it is His “grace through faith” that enables His people to do their God assigned duty; it is His “grace through faith” that allows them to look ahead and live for the future, and to look ahead with Abraham for that “better country”. Man can work up a certain amount of humanistic faith in himself and even a natural faith in God, but that is not the faith of v. 1.

V. 1 is His supernatural“grace through faith” given by God to the Elect that enables men to remove mountains of difficulties. I have seen bumper stickers that say, “The Power of Pride”, hoping to promote self-confidence in school. “Faith in Yourself” is the major theme of humanistic religion, education and entertainment. A few years ago, “Self-Esteem” was the answer to all of man’s problems. That idea is not heard much today, as we see the results of “Self-Esteem” movement now at our doorstep. Humanistic faith says that every man is his own god which also means every other man is the devil trying to prevent me from being god. (Deut 12:8, Jud 17:6, 21:25, Pro 12:15, 21:2.) Humanistic faith shall fail on every level, leaving only chaos behind. (Out of chaos comes either a godly revival or tyranny. The anti-Christian element works for chaos and against the message of Christ, so that people will welcome tyranny.)

When faith is seen as emanating from man, it becomes powerless “easy-believeism”. This man-made faith may have amazing confidence in the Lord, one’s self or even in the future, but it has no world changing power for the Kingdom of God. Man-made faith says in the midst of trouble, “Hang in there. Just have faith and everything will turn out fine.” (The most popular movies are those that promote this man-made faith that all things “work out”.)

Moreover, His grace through faith results in a very visible change in His people. The vast majority of time, it is man-made faith that is presented by religious teachers which leaves their followers with a powerless confidence. Is it any wonder that though multitudes claim faith, that faith does not translate into changing the individual nor changing a society as commanded by the Captain of the Lord’s Host, or Army?

Both His grace and His faith are given as one gift that cannot be lost, because His grace keeps His people. Are we not told to examine ourselves to see that we have His faith? It was His faith that enabled the Saints of all-time to fulfill their callings.

Regardless of one’s confession, all who are without converting “grace through faith” are fools, unable to think and reason logically and rationally. Reality is beyond the fool’s grasp:

Psalms 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

Men are blind to the world of reality, and cannot comprehend what he sees around him. (Joh 12:40, 2 Cor 4:4, 1 Joh 2:11) It is only God’s gift of grace through faith to His Elect that unlocks the door to reality. It results in logical thinking which is impossible apart from the “fountain of life”. We look at people with amazement that they cannot see what is so obvious to us — They cannot see light because they have no light.

God’s faith lives in the reality of time with the view of eternity. Such a view of eternity gives boldness in the face of the world, the flesh and the devil.

Pr 28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
Mt 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Luke 12:4)
Ac 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (And many like verses on boldness.)

God’s faith enables His people to say with confidence that all things work together for his glory.

Faith is the gift of God’s grace, and it gives a forward look to its recipients. Time and eternity now are part of their lives, and that grace enables them to do their duty in the face of all discouragement and even “persecution”. Only God knows why He gives different measures of grace to different people; with that grace comes differing measures of responsibility and accountability. (See Rom 12:3, &c.)

This supernatural gift from God, “grace through faith”, gives a clear and confident view of the future. It is concerned with the things hoped for, and things not seen. These are future things that have been decreed from eternity past. It is His faith that enables His people to build their lives on the future, unseen hope. His faith assures us that God is accomplishing His all-wise plan. Faith links the reality of things around us to the eternal hope given us by His sovereign grace.

Observe: The unsaved may have a worldly hope, but it is aconfidence in things that can be seen now or in the future. Sadly, many who have loudly proclaimed Christ and have lived for the “things not seen” are deceived, and will not know the truth until it is too late. (Mat 7:21ff.)

V. 2, tells us that the saints of old did not follow the Lord in their own strength and determination. They followed Him, some even to the death, because of His grace and faith working in them. Chapter 11 is call “The Roll Call of Faith”. It was by God’s supernatural gift of grace through faith that the saints were able to live in the reality of time based on the truth of God’s future promises.

V. 3, lists the first evidence of God’s gift of faith:

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.

It is through His faith that we understand the biblical account of creation. It is His faith that allows us to understand that everything in the heavens above and in the earth beneath “were framed by the word of God” out of nothing.

V. 3.

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. (Hab 2:4. Ro 1:17, Ga 3:11, Heb 10:38))

Calvin comments:

“Through, or by, faith we understand, &c. This is a most striking proof of the last verse; for we differ nothing from the brute creation, if we understand not that the world has been created by God. To what end have men been endued with understanding and reason, except that they might acknowledge their Creator? But it is by faith alone we know that it was God who created the world. No wonder then that faith shone forth in the fathers above all other virtues.

“… though there has been an opinion of this kind among heathens, that the world was made by God, it was yet very evanescent, (soon gone as the foam on soda water, ed.), for as soon as they formed a notion of some God, they became instantly vain in their imaginations, so that they groped in the dark, having in their thoughts a mere shadow of some uncertain deity, and not the knowledge of the true God. Besides, as it was only a transient opinion that flitted in their minds, it was far from being anything like knowledge. We may further add, that they assigned to fortune or chance the supremacy in the government of the world, and they made no mention of God's providence which alone rules everything. Men's minds therefore are wholly blind, so that they see not the light of nature which shines forth in created things, until being irradiated by God's Spirit, they begin to understand by faith what otherwise they cannot comprehend. Hence most correctly does the Apostle ascribe such an understanding to faith; for they who have faith do not entertain a slight opinion as to God being the Creator of the world, but they have a deep conviction fixed in their minds and behold the true God. And further, they understand the power of his word, not only as manifested instantaneously in creating the world, but also as put forth continually in its preservation; nor is it his power only that they understand, but also his goodness, and wisdom, and justice. And hence they are led to worship, love, and honour him.

“Not made of things which do appear. ... we have in this visible world, a conspicuous image of God; and thus the same truth is taught here, as in Ro 1:20, where it is said, that the invisible things of God are made known to us by the creation of the world, they being seen in his works. God has given us, throughout the whole framework of this world, clear evidences of his eternal wisdom, goodness, and power; and though he is in himself invisible, he in a manner becomes visible to us in his works.

“Correctly then is this world called the mirror of divinity; not that there is sufficient clearness for man to gain a full knowledge of God, by looking at the world, but that he has thus so far revealed himself, that the ignorance of the ungodly is without excuse. Now the faithful, to whom he has given eyes, see sparks of his glory, as it were, glittering in every created thing. The world was no doubt made, that it might be the theatre of the divine glory.’ (As my wife and I watch the beautifully colored birds around our bird feeders, I mention that we are looking at the mind of God.)

V. 3. Adding to, taking away from or doubting the biblical account of creation is the first mark of faithlessness. Whether they are professed Christians or openly pagan, “if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa 8:20)

The centuries have seen many imaginative and fanciful “theories” developed, e.g., Darwin. Those “theories” are popular, prevalent and sought after by those without His faith, for they want to deny the very existence of God and accountability to an all-powerful Creator. It is part of man’s vain attempt to de-throne God, and bring Him down to man’s level.

Those without His faith must deny that all creation developed out of nothing. Because of our God-given faith, we think logically, and we cannot even begin to understand their convoluted thinking which tries to make something out of nothing.

There is a movie offered by Netflix named “The Genesis Code”. Thinking it might be worth watching, we ordered the DVD. It was about a pastor’s daughter in college who continually challenged her professor with the biblical account of creation. Through a series of circumstances which included her brother, who was an atheist with superior math aptitude, they met in a school lecture hall and proceeded to use human wisdom to undermine the biblical creation account. His explanation was so convoluted that it was impossible to follow. Its clear purpose, however, was to place doubts and undermine the Christians’ confidence in the Genesis account of creation.The movie ended with a non-ending. That is, it did not follow through as to whether the girl kept the faith or not.

The goal of the anti-creationists is to have a god without God; they desire to have a supreme mind behind the universe that makes no claim on man nor on creation. One theory that has been applied to this “anti-creationist mind” is the “Absentee Landlord” theory. The “Landlord” set creation in motion, and then went on about his business. Any idea that undermines Genesis creation and the flood is anti-Christ.

As we saw in Chapter 10, apostasy is any departure from truth. Faith empowers and advances the truth. Faith is Christ centered because God’s eternal purpose in history focuses in Him. Humanistic faith, apostasy, considers all factors from a personal view: What is best for me and my kingdom during my time here on earth. On the other hand, faith looks to the future in Christ, and what is best for His kingdom.

V. 4. Starting with Abel, the Old Testament saints all died in faith, not having received the promises. Rather, by God’s grace through faith, they saw the fulfillment of those promises in the far distant future. Their faith was their reality, causing them to confess that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. The living reality of their faith is what caused them to be listed in this chapter of Hebrews.

This chapter also shows that we must face the reality of the price of faith, for it puts us in conflict with the fallen world. Certainly, faith is a blessing from God for it places us in His presence through Jesus Christ our Lord. On the other hand, Faith is also a burden, for it puts us at odds with the fallen world, and separates us from friends and family.

(I have told people that being a first born has its curses, one being the burden of being goal oriented. We cannot quit on a project until it is done. I have found that finishing a project is more important than eating or sleeping.)

The anti-creationists “assign to fortune or chance the supremacy in the government of the world, and they made no mention of God’s providence which alone rules everything.” (Calvin)

Because man is fallen and his mind darkened by his revolt against God, he will accept any kind of nonsense in order to deny creationism and avoid acknowledging the God of creation.

We see here in this passage that faith is not a trust nor a firm belief in the unknown. Rather it is a firm knowledge that God is God, His Word is true and His promises will come to pass. “By His grace through faith” we understand those things that are beyond human understanding.

Those who have His faith do not draw back unto predation, but they believe to the saving of the soul. By the power of His grace through faith His people hold fast to the unseen in spite of the world’s allusions and temptations.

Hebrews shows us that biblical faith is not from below as a human response to God. It is a gift from above; it is a gift from God.

This chapter shows us how His gift of grace through faith works out in one’s life. It empowers men and women to do remarkable things. Hebrews presents present Christ as the all-powerful Mediator who shall accomplish great things through His Elect in the face of a hostile world. Hebrews 11 is not about how much men can do, but about how much God has done, can and will do through His faith as given to His people.

We must not depend on men, for they shall fail. Our hope is God’s working by His grace through faith in those He redeemed by His own blood to subdue the world under the feet if His Dear Son., which is a task that no human faith can hope to accomplish.