This was originally written for LRBC on June 25 2017.
Hebrews 11 carries some magnificent examples for the exercise of faith in the Christian life. For example, verses 8-16 call on us to remember Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob. To these people were made great promises, but none of these promises were met during their lifetimes (with one exception). Despite this, they made major and difficult life choices based on these promises. This trustful and daring response is the kind of ‘faith’ that the book of Hebrews commends to us to emulate.
God’s promises required them to leave behind considerable wealth and comfort, and to forfeit the security that people of their status normally enjoyed. The promises made to us who are in Christ (in Hebrews, cf. 10:39; 12:28) may not require us give away our assets, but they do require us to hold them with open hands – to put them to his service and to be prepared to surrender them should the need arise. This voluntary vulnerability is not an easy way to live, but there are several things this passage has for our reassurance.
First, we have the example of Abraham and his family. Their faith, like another kind of sight, viewed the promises through the distance of time ahead and still accepted them as theirs. We can do likewise, acknowledging with them that we are waiting for something better than what we can have in this life. Since our identity is not tied up in the here-and-now, we can live without hoping for all that the here-and-now might give us. Second, there is the onus God has put on himself by making his promises. He does not want to be a let-down. God has at least as much on the line for his reputation as we do. But our God is not ashamed to be called the God of his people of trustful and daring faith, because his promises are ready to be given to us – at his appointed time.
Let us have faith like Abraham!