Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God. By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child[a] when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude—innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore. Heb 11:7-12
Here are four examples of how faith lives. First, Noah trusts God and builds an ark for the salvation of the household. Second, Abraham trusts God and leaves his homeland for an unknown place of promise. Third, Abraham trusts God and lives in tents instead of building a city with permanent foundation. Fourth, Sarah trusts God and conceives when she is barren and passed the age of child bearing.
These acts of faith are not ‘add-ons’ to saving faith. Yes, at NCCkl we who believe in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection are saved by grace through faith. More so, we are born again and have the indwelling Holy Spirit. However, saving faith is not a mere single act of receiving Jesus as our true Savior. Saving faith is a life of faith that goes on trusting Jesus. This Truth of salvation is clearly described in Heb 10:39 “But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.”
We must see what is at stake: shrinking back to destruction or pressing on to faith to preserve the soul. In other words, the evidence of authentic saving faith is its pressing on. Faith that saves from destructing and preserves the soul is future-oriented.
Let’s take our four examples of living by faith – the life that leads away from destruction and preserves the soul for eternity.
There is always a promised work of God. God speaks and promises that in the future He will do something. This is the object of our faith. We trust God that what He says will in fact happen. Verse 7 says “Noah was warned” by God about the impending flood. Verse 8 says that Abraham was “called” by God to leave hishomeland. Verse 9 says that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were fellow heirs of a “promise” in which they are to inherit the ‘promised land’. Finally, verse 11 says that Sarah regarded God “faithful” Who had promised. Every life of faith is sustained by the Word of promise. Phil 4:17; John 15:5; Heb 13:5
- Inner Response
In the life of faith there is an inner response of faith. There is an outer response but the inner response comes first and it is the very essence of our faith. The outer response is the fruit of the inner response. Without the inner life of faith, the outer acts are mere performance which Jesus calls hypocrisy and white washed tombs. Verse 7 says that Noah in “reverence” prepared an ark. This is an expression of an inner life of faith before the awesome Word of God. Verse 8 describes Abraham’s faith as “not knowing where he is going”, yet he set out. Verse 10 says that the reason Abraham lived in tents instead of building a city was that “he was looking for the city whose architect is God.” Faith focuses not on present reward and prosperity but on God and what He has promised to do. Then finally, verse 11 says that Sarah “considered” God faithful to keep His promises. Again God is the focus. The inner life of faith is a reverting focus on God Who is faithful.
- External Response
The life of faith involves an external response, not just an internal one. Noah built an ark, imagine the ridicule he received. Abraham left a secure family and home. He choose to live in tents to show that he was looking for God’s promise at a proper time. Sarah, I presume, got the diapers and the crib ready. It doesn’t say….. Saving faith changes the way we live. Our life takes on a dimension that can only be explained by “the assurance of things hoped for” because we know that with God all things are possible.
The life of faith enjoys some measure of God’s reward now but not most of it. Noah was saved with his family but he was still awaiting the full blessing of righteousness when he died. Abraham found the “promised land” and prospered immensely but he still lived in tents and only saw in the future the “city of God.” Sarah had a miracle baby but the countless seed mentioned in verse 12 are to be realized in the future after her death. Faith tastes the blessings of God’s goodness now in this age but not most of it. There is so much more to be cherished in God’s time.
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