“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1).
Faith is the solid ground on which we stand as we await the fulfillment of God’s promises.
An elderly man who, on his seventy-fifth birthday, received an invitation to fly over the little West Virginia town in which he had spent his entire life. Although he had never before flown, the man accepted the gracious offer.
After circling the town for about twenty minutes, the pilot safely returned his passenger to the ground. The man’s grandson greeted him excitedly, asking, “Were you scared, Grandpa?” “No,” he replied sheepishly, “but I never did put my full weight down.”
Unlike that hesitant grandfather, true faith trusts fully in its object. For the Christian, that means resting in God and His promises. That’s the primary characteristic of each faithful individual listed in Hebrews 11. They all believed God and responded accordingly.
People often confuse faith with a wistful longing that something, however unlikely, will come to pass in the future. But “assurance” in Hebrews 11:1 speaks of essence and reality— the real thing, as opposed to mere appearance. Faith, then, involves absolute certainty.
For example, the Old Testament saints had the promise of a coming Messiah who would take away sin. They believed God, even though their understanding of Messiah was incomplete and somewhat vague. They knew their hopes would be fulfilled, and that assurance dominated their lives.
It’s the same for New Testament believers. Peter said, “Though you have not seen [Christ], you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:8-9).
Man’s natural tendency is to trust only in the things he can see, hear, touch, or taste. But our physical senses may lie, whereas God cannot (Titus 1:2). Far better to believe God and trust in His promises.
Suggestions for Prayer
Which promises of God are especially meaningful to you today? Thank Him for them and reaffirm your commitment to living on the basis of His Word.
For Further Study
Skim Hebrews 11 and note all the divine promises you find there. To gain a fuller understanding of each one, find other Scripture references that mention the same promises.