There is a certain kind of tired that comes after a big emotional outlay—the letdown after a celebration, that sense of tiredness while looking at the dishevelment, remains of a luscious meal, detritus scattered about as reminders of the joyful (or sorrowful) occasion, the guests, the laughter and music, the symphonic tinkling of forks on plates and ice cubes in glasses. Now, all is quiet, the guests have gone home, the dust has settled.

There is another tiredness that comes from coping with illness, or drawn-out dilemmas—headaches with work issues, relationship issues, domestic issues. Sometimes, you and I find we have been left holding the bag, so to speak, an unwanted mess or responsibility, or even trauma that has been dumped upon us.

Other times we find ourselves profoundly tired because of grief or heartache, a sort of bone-weariness that makes even opening our eyes in the morning an heroic act, requiring steel-clad will.

Somewhere from deep, deep inside, a small curl of melancholy develops, or maybe a tendril of fear, or a root of bitterness, or a little flame of anger.

“Why me?”

What does it mean to persevere, to be patient in affliction, to have joy and contentment in every circumstance?

What is faith and how do we live by it?


Explanation and Definition of Faith

The Jewish believers who received this letter were getting weary and discouraged. They not only wanted to give up, some of them were giving up. 

But the writer encouraged them to keep moving forward in their life of faith.

The Bible talks about faith all throughout the Hebrew and Christian testaments, but offers only one definition, and it is found right here:

Now faith is

the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things we hope for,

being the proof of things we do not see

and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].

Hebrews 11:1 (Amplified Bible)

Faith is to a believer what a foundation is to a house: it provides stability, strength, and confidence.  There is certainty of the spiritual reality that cannot necessarily be physically sensed or measured, but which is nonetheless powerful and true

Faith is a believer’s response to the record of what God has said. 

Faith is a way of life, believing God’s promises about the future, “being sure of what we hope for.” 

Faith is believing God, believing God’s account as written down in Scripture by eyewitnesses, and acting on it. 

You and I believe that the earth is round. (Yes, I do know there is a strong, vocal minority of people who, in fact, do not believe the earth is round, despite the overwhelming body of evidence to the contrary. Let us shelve that for this conversation.)

We have never been in space and seen it with our own eyes, but we are willing to take a world cruise because we have faith we will not fall off the edge of the world. That is the product of a faith based upon knowledge. It is not what people call “blind faith,” which is believing in something without any evidence or reason.

Our faith in believing the world is round, and acting upon that faith, is based upon the solid evidence of those who actually have been able to prove the truth of it through math, experimentation, and even going into orbit around the earth to document on film the reality of its roundness. 

Faith in God is the same kind of “seeing faith,” where our eyes have actually been opened from their previously blind state. We have reviewed the preponderance of evidence provided for us in the scriptures, and in the lives of believers over the centuries, and we have come away convinced.

Saving faith is seeing faith put into action.

It is not simply an intellectual exercise, an acknowledgment that what the scriptures say about sin, about Jesus, and about redemption is all true. Saving faith goes beyond just believing in God to the action of

  • Putting our trust in God.
  • Receiving God’s forgiveness and cleansing of sin.
  • Being filled with God’s living presence.
  • Beginning to live for God, not against God.  

Faith does not take present circumstances at face value. 

Faith discerns the activity of invisible God. And even without seeing the results of God’s activity in the present, faith knows God is at work, making us able to patiently, joyfully, endure in whatever present situation you and I find ourselves in. 

Content of Saving Faith

This is the faith the ancients were commended for.

Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.

Hebrews 11:2 (NRSV)

Faith in anything begins with something: a set of facts, data or tenets. Belief is always in something. In the case of saving faith, the data presented concerns the message of what we now call the gospel, and which the author presented in the first seven verses of Hebrews, Chapter Eleven.

Through the examples of faith handed down from generation to generation, the writer introduced five foundational facts that every Christian knows:

Five Foundational Facts

(1) God is Creator 

The writer drew upon remarkable scientific wisdom, as we now know that before there was matter, there was energy.

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

Hebrews 11:3 (NRSV)

(2) God is Holy

In Genesis, Cain’s offering to God was described as ordinary, not special. But Abel’s offering was described as a choice, generous offering. Motivation and heart attitude are all-important with God: Faith is certain God is holy and deserving of worship.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. 

Hebrews 11:4 (NRSV)
Cain and Abel | By Andrey Mironov – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39925886

3) Life after death

True faith takes God at God’s word regarding life after death. We continue to exist for all eternity, though passage through death alters us, and the time of judgment decides what our experience of eternity will be.

By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and “he was not found, because God had taken him.”

Hebrews 11:5 (NRSV)

4) The Lord is a personal God

Though Enoch’s family line was godly, Enoch “walked with God” in a way that was marked by God’s pleasure, they had a personal relationship. That is at the heart of the Gospel, that God offers a personal, intimate relationship through God the Son, Jesus Christ

For it was attested before he was taken away that “he had pleased God.” And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Hebrews 11:5-6 (NRSV)
V0034206 Enoch in the clouds above a group of people at a festival. E Credit: Wellcome Library, London. Wellcome Images images@wellcome.ac.uk http://wellcomeimages.org Enoch in the clouds above a group of people at a festival. Etching. Published: – Copyrighted work available under Creative Commons Attribution only licence CC BY 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

5) God is Judge

Noah lived a long way off from water, but God told him to build a boat, and in holy fear he obeyed in order to save his family from God’s judgement of the world. Noah lived in a land-locked dry region which perhaps had rarely seen rain. Certainly, this area would never produce enough water to launch the ark! But Noah took God at God’s word.

He was laughed at for a hundred years. But God’s word was true, Noah’s faith was vindicated, and the world’s unbelief was judged.

John Martin – The Covenant – 1961.884 – Art Institute of Chicago | By anonymous – https://www.artic.edu/artworks/87054, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77748996

By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.

Hebrews 11:7 (NRSV)

Fervent, sincere faith is not saving faith unless it is founded upon the truth and it is acted upon.


6 thoughts on “Hebrews: Definition of Faith

  1. Reblogged this on Zero Lift-Off and commented:
    Sincere greetings to you Sister/Professor Joanne!

    A corrupted global economic and political system sent up by the earthly powers that be; have pushed a narrative of a worldwide epidemic of some virus that is so dangerous or deadly that all humans MUST be vaccinated. This absurdity I do believe is happening because simultaneously there is a REAL “epidemic of faithlessness” even though many people may even be giving lip service to the One True God in the name of “Jesus Christ” but they are fakers! A prime example is the current pope; but there are so many doing this in many churches, all the way down to just the individual persons who claim they believe but if put on the spot to choose Jesus or a death vax, they clearly take the jab! Where is the faith in that I ask? Faking in this case comes in many levels or loss of faith in degrees, but overall the human race is more concerned with men leading the way to safety and a better life, than in any belief that God is real and will save them from death. If put on the spot I think most would choose to get just what they need to live on earth awhile, than lay down their life for Jesus; as He did for all humans. How can what I say not be the case when we have seen almost entire societies do what men, many of them the most corrupt on the planet, told them they must do to live, in order to be able to get back their lives as they were before the fraud pandemic of Covid!

    The Norwegian Institute of Public Health has just determined that this Covid virus is no more dangerous than ordinary annual flu or colds and even much less so as compared to certain flu strains. So the government there has decided to treat it no differently than any other respiratory illness!

    “Omicron cases have been detected in all federal states of Germany:
    • 186 unvaccinated cases (26.5% of population is unvaxxed)
    • 2,883 double vaccinated cases
    • 1,137 triple vaccinated cases
    • 4,020 fully vaccinated cases (70.53% of Germany is vaxxed)
    In Germany, 70.53% are fully vaxxed, 2.97% are partially vaxxed and 26.5% unvaxxed.

    “This means that the average German is down to the last 12.3% of his or her immune system for fighting certain classes of viruses and certain cancers etc.,” the UK Daily Expose revealed.”
    Basically the vaccine is being used to set the human race up for a massive culling or depopulating of the planet and the truth has to come out sometime, which it apparently is in dribs and drabs or piecemeal!

    This was what I was saying back in March/April of 2020 and all along I could see how easily people were buying into this falsehood; so to me this is an evidence of severe lack of faith in Jesus Christ by the majority of people, and that to me is an Apostasy or Falling Away as was foretold would be the case just before the End Time or Final Judgment could come. The only other event that would have to take place before this End Time arrives would be that the Man of Lawlessness the Antichrist would reveal himself and take his place in the Holy Temple claiming he is God!

    Luke 9:24–25 — (NLT) “24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?”

    So my grave concern is, if it’s really possible that what I’m saying is true or accurate enough by these signs of rampant trouble throughout, and the many sins multiplying on earth exponentially, while coupling that with a true “Falling Away” (Rebellion) by this; what does appear to be “faithlessness throughout the world” like no other time in history since the time of our Lord and Savior’s crucifixion!

    I hope I’m wrong or missing something that will show there is more Genuine Faithfulness than not! But like I said I don’t see these humans today being willing to lay down their lives for Jesus!

    God bless you!
    Brother in Christ Jesus,
    Lawrence Morra III

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    1. Shalom Brother on Christ, Lawrence! You have included quite a few thoughts here! I tend not to talk about social or political issues, but rather stick to teaching the scriptures as best as I can, since that is where my studies lie.

      Sounds of the last days will include famine, drought, pestilence (which COVID could certainly be considered), wars and conflicts, plagues of all kinds.

      Every age experiences all these to a certain degree, but at the end of time it will be a dramatic increase no one can miss.

      Vaccinations are not necessarily a show of lack of faith, though I know people heatedly disagree, especially when it comes to COVID.

      What I hope to do is extend grace to each believer who is sincerely trying to do right by God and by others. That is the some total of the law, that is truly what living by faith means, to keep in step with God’s Spirit as best we can.

      Grace and peace, Joanne

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi again Sister Joanne!
        Here you say, “Vaccinations are not necessarily a show of lack of faith.” The trouble I have digesting this is how it’s a global event like no other in history ever and still building to a crescendo with many countries forcing or coercing many new actions and passports’ which would be useless because there is no one silver bullet that ends the need for vaccination and it was all over a 99.98 survival rate so to me this is clearly evidence of a loss of trust in Jesus and more concern over living the way people live to continue while trusting the so called science which is really only trusting the authorities or government and we know from history where that rabbit hole meads!

        Back in March of 2020 I was very upset with what I saw happening so quickly and now I’m just as upset with the lack of massive movement in the right direction, and a perhaps, a Religious Revival Globally! People just don’t care about that it seems they just want things coasting along as they had before the Covid got in their way! And let’s not forget what this event has done as far as church closures and loss of interest in attending. Canada has pursued Pastors who opened their churches and locked them up like common criminals! Is there a massive push back and revival in the making; that would be a good thing and the right sign?

        Thank you for this immediate response too! Amen.
        Brother in Christ Jesus.
        Lawrence
        Shalom

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      2. Shalom Brother in Christ Lawrence,

        You are noting some serious issues, and they are worthy of notice. Vaccines have saved many, many lives, and the science behind vaccines–and medicine over all–is a gift from God, and blessed by God. Remember the medical mission the apostle Paul had with Luke on the island of Malta, toward the end of Acts. The first healing was miraculous, but the Greek word therapeo tells us the rest of the healing came from Luke’s ministry as a doctor. This was a true medical mission, where people received doctoring and the gospel together.

        What has happened with COVID and vaccines, very, very sadly, is the politicization of the medical approach.

        COVID is a real global pandemic, that has stirred up panic, and many mistakes have been made, tragic ones, in the attempt to protect the weak and vulnerable.

        Churches has had to become creative in our approach to gathering together, just as schools have had to do, and many other public forums. It has been an enormous economic burden for governments and businesses alike, as well as individuals.

        The question to ask is what is God doing in all this? If we believe God is sovereign, and God has a plan, then let us ask what that is, and move with God, even of that movement is uncomfortable.

        In this case, many churches have encouraged people to create local gatherings that act as both community for help in this hard season, and also a place for worship and prayer. This is a very healthy movement, and the Spirit is in it. This is also preparation to strengthen the Body of Christ spiritually and in character, to be creative and flexible the closer we get to truly hard times.

        Many will be willing to gather with a small group of believers in a home or park, when they might feel alienated by a traditional church setting. This is God at work, making room for Jesus’ sheep “of another flock.”

        My question, in every situation, is not “what are the people doing, and do I agree or not?” But rather, “what is God doing, and how I can I join God in it?”

        Grace and peace, Joanne

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  2. Shalom Sister Joanne.
    I wasn’t aiming to stray from the standard teaching practice employed by you or anyone; but there comes a time I believe when inserting oneself into the genuine dynamics at work in our complex system of human behavior and governance especially when it pertains to religion or as I prefer to put it what Jesus Christ taught this sick fallen world! There is no escaping the fact that no matter how this human race on earth were to try it will never escape the detriment placed upon it or actually the curse it carries from Satan; all damned to hell no matter what we think we can accomplish it is futile because it is obvious to me that Jesus came just for that reason, and His message was not about saving anything in this place other than souls that belong to Him! The Devil is having a field day with this modern day system construct that humans have devised and now the heat is being turned up to bring it to a full boil so all hell can and will break loose!
    Vaccines have done some good they are not a cure all and Big Pharma is the modern day sorcery, it is a big lie so I’m not impressed at all by this big entity that is as corrupted as any criminal enterprise on earth! This so called vaccine is not a true tried, tested and proven one at all; it wasn’t put through standard trials of testing over many years for True Efficacy or Safety at all, and if that weren’t enough it’s a genetic altering device which invades a person’s genes changing them at the root; it is a weapon in this case and it’s been deployed with harrowing and utterly disastrous results the likes of which this planet has never seen, this while the full consequences of same are yet to be reaped! So I’m very troubled as a man who wants to serve God by what I see this human race coming to and who and what is behind this terrible development that will not go away or stop until it has its way; and that is all playing right into the clutches of the antichrist; which is Biblical! So this is if there ever was a time to be extremely alarmed and ready to stand up and be counted especially as to what each human soul will accept or will or will not be a part of. I for one see that I cannot be a part of a beast system or at least not swallow what’s going on or coming just down the road, hook line and sinker, that which is being fed to the global population and is only going to get much worse.
    Everything is political, this is the major problem today in the world, and why it is so, is because this feeds into the political beast system; a “global organized crime cabal!” The church is political now, medicine is too, the military is political, education is severely political now from grade school to the highest centers of education on the planet where this beast system agenda is being promoted and facilitated! The beast has its tentacles into everything and there is no escaping it, not anywhere on planet earth where humans are living as part of civilization! I know of former political persons who on a local level ran up that ladder for many years only to leap off that as soon as possible, but, only to now be on the national level; and just like many others in that arena have their spouses over in China working out business deals or let’s say backdoor deals; to rake in millions; all evil greed purposes nothing else! The modern world is a fully politicized entity of corruption and manipulative control which is all the work of the Devil and a prerequisite for the establishing of a One World System which the antichrist will rule as god. Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Mass Media and Big Government all facilitate this beast system by which “Massive Lies and Deception of the Masses” are being deployed; a thorough and utterly complete manipulation of people like so many herd animals is being promulgated upon the human race.
    All of which has created a massive problem for religion and the “Faith” as it too is being manipulated or slowly watered down and eventually to be banished. I hear so many people say they are spiritual or they were a Catholic or Born Again, but, now they are just spiritual, not believing in Jesus or God Almighty let alone any supreme being; unless it’s an amalgamation of many philosophies and pagan belief systems or all out atheism. All this while occult or even Satanism are increasing and in the government as well education systems; so Faith is being distorted and manipulated too; just like people are, from the inside out and outside in, as well.
    So I must add in accordance to what I quote here; “the science behind vaccines–and medicine over all–is a gift from God, and blessed by God;” yes this is true but they can become a curse or be allowed to become a curse and used by the most nefarious as they are now, just like everything else is being used with one aim in mind, which is to defeat mankind and destroy it! Perhaps the old adage is now going to become a reality and hold true “that nothing is sacred anymore,” I see so much that has been defiled, corrupted, polluted and violated that I must honestly ask where can there be sanctity ever found again in a dying human race, fallen ruined world that once appealed to the “True and Ever Living God Almighty” with a fervent and deeply genuine passion from the heart like the Saints and Martyrs; not from minds or manmade systems or agendas that these fallen humans now concoct continuously; lies on top of lies!
    I’m so sorry I can’t paint a beautiful portrait of what actually is happening to our race and I was holding back on publishing something as bleak just before New Year’s Eve, which I still have on the shelf, but, though I did hold back a bit there is no way I will remain cognizant of these things and not speak from my own heart to anyone in this “God Forsaken World” that has become a cauldron of evil; where the Unborn are butchered on an industrial scale, and now toxic experimental killer jabs being injected into little children is killing or preparing them for an early departure. Everyone is either against each other or looking to use each other; as a way of life now!
    I know this is so sad and negative but I’ve seen and experienced too much of this harsh truth to not be aware of the facts as they come out in the wash as it were; and especially to not say so or call it out for what it really is; now that I can see so clearly this pure evil a work, in some cases cleverly entwined with Good!
    May God Almighty in the Holy Name of Jesus Christ send miracles along with His heavenly hosts the army of angels led by Saint Michael the Archangel; upon this earth sooner rather than later I do solemnly ask and Pray Oh Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer! Amen.
    Shalom.
    Brother in Christ Jesus,
    Lawrence Morra III
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yQNHK7danRc/VAlIDgB5iQI/AAAAAAAAB-A/dS7MwQhMPgM/s1600/christ-with-angelic-host.jpg
    https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-0XFm_MB5ti4/WtnPZlEX-vI/AAAAAAAAso4/EKl6pICqVpQEb_Y6xsbG1BS_RWJq6dSWQCLcBGAs/s1600/angels.jpg
    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/87/8e/11/878e115a48ef687ea4c783ec5400aeae.jpg

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