July 3: Future Faith

Read Hebrews 11:1-40

There are portions…even entire chapters…of the Bible that are known for the topic they address.  1 Corinthians 13 is the “love chapter” you often hear read at weddings.  1 Corinthians 15 is the “resurrection chapter” that is frequently referenced at Easter.  Today’s reading, Hebrews 11, is another one of those famous chapters, one known for its focus on faith.  By citing person after person who demonstrated faith in real life, the Spirit of God motivates us to not give up.

Mixed in with specific examples of faithful people are also some general statements like you find in verse 13.  Don’t you want these words to characterize your life?  “All these people were still living by faith when they died.”  (Heb. 12:13a)  Your obedient responses to the call and commands of God should not just be a few snapshot moments of your life.  No, faith ought to be the rule rather than the exception.  If God grants me further days, I want it to be as true when I am in my 80’s as it may have been the case in my 20’s.  As followers of Christ, when someone asks how we are doing, it should be said of us, “He/she is still living by faith.”

But the life of faith is not always lived with a carrot dangled out in front of our nose, from which we are permitted to take a bite now and then.  We may not experience all of the rewards of faith in this life.  The middle part of verse 13 indicates, “They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.”  Imagine that…Abraham lived in faithful anticipation of inheriting a land, of being the father of a nation, and of being a source of blessing to other nations (Gen. 12:1-3).  But those promises were far from realities as he took his last breath.  God was to bring that about in future generations.  In the end, Abraham was at peace with that because he was looking forward to a heavenly home.

All these people were still living by faith when they died.”  May that be the description of our lives up until the day we die.