What is Faith? (Hebrews 11 Series, Part 1 of 4)

Read: Hebrews 11 then re-read verses 1 and 6

From the end of the kitchen I hear her little voice, “One, two, three, go!” Scampering feet as she runs to the family room, straight at me, and leaps into my arms. I hold her close and we tumble together into a pile a pillows. “Again, again”, she giggles, pushing herself back to her feet.

“Tackling” Mommy is a favorite game lately. It came to mind as I was thinking about this chapter and the meaning of faith.

Hebrews 11 begins with this statement: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” I love this translation (NASB) with the words “assurance” and “conviction”.

There is a certainty and confidence to our faith in God.

Think about this… when my daughter runs and jumps into my arms she fully believes I’m going to catch her. Why? She knows (although I’m sure she doesn’t think of it in this way) my character. She knows that Mommy loves her and will be there to take care of her and protect her. She also knows that I’ve caught her every time before. I have a trustworthy track record.

I think of faith in that way.

As Christians we know God’s character. We know His track record. We have His Word and can see the promises that have already been fulfilled. We know Him to be trustworthy, so when it comes to the things we can’t see, can’t yet know, or can’t fully understand, we can still believe in who He is and that He will care for us.

Faith is not irrational. It is assurance and conviction. Faith is rooted in truth and is a gift given to us by God (Romans 12:3).

The chapter continues by giving us an incredible look at the history of God’s people,  capturing the faith-filled actions of men and women throughout the Old Testament.

Notice that they are actions. It brings to mind the words of James 2:18, “But someone may well say, ‘You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.'”

If we claim to have faith our actions should match. Our faith can be visibly expressed through our actions.

On the other hand, works without faith means nothing and cannot ultimately please God as seen in verse 6, “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

So what is faith? Faith is a deeply rooted assurance that shows itself in our actions. It is a gift from God that gives us confidence that what we see isn’t all there is. It is fundamental to our relationship with Him and necessary to live a life pleasing to Him.

Reflect: Is there an area in your life where you claim faith but lack action? Pray over it this week. Remember God’s character and know that He is trustworthy. Ask Him for the courage and confidence to put your faith into action.


Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

There is so much in this chapter and I know I’m only scratching the surface, but I hope you’ll join me again as we revisit Hebrews 11 over the next few weeks.




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