PERPETUAL TARGET FOR LIVING ON EARTH
FAITH FROM THE BEGINNING
PROOF OF AN UNCHANGING GOD
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FAITH EXISTS WHERE THERE IS LAW
The Law of Faith is contrasted in the book of Romans with the Law of Works (identified as the Old Covenant's "Law and Prophets," Romans 3:21). "Where [is] boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith" (Romans 3:27).
FAITH IS THE UNCHANGING LAW
"But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).
The inspired writer defines faith in Hebrews 11:1 and states a dictum, an authoritative assertion, in verse 6. A man or woman cannot please God without faith. That faith must be that He exists and that He rewards the diligent seeker.
It is true that "the Faith", label for the NT doctrine, was to be revealed when the Seed came (Galatians 3:24, 25). The apostle Paul calls it "that faith" in verse 25. But the term is not limited to the system of beliefs of the New Testament as one can readily perceive in our text (Hebrews 11:6). Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Dictionaries says that the Greek word means "conviction."
Among the English dictionaries it is apparent that a favorite use of the word "faith", is a "firm belief in something for which there is no proof: complete trust." This is not the Bible definition. In the first verse of our text's chapter, "faith" is defined as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."
THIS FAITH WAS BEFORE THE FLOOD
Noah. " By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith" (Hebrews 11:7). Law exists when faith exists.
Abel. "By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh" (Hebrews 11:4). Law exists when faith exists.
Enoch. "By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5). Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:23,24) and he did it "by faith."
1. Noah "became" the heir of righteousness which is by faith. Noah was told what to do. Law. He did it. He did it by faith in God's command. No sin here.
2. Abel was righteous because he offered his sacrifice by faith. Was he not told then what sacrifice to offer? God testified (law's witness) by accepting his gifts. If he was told and he responded, then law. Abel did not sin. Now contrast this with his brother's two actions.
3. Enoch was told that he pleased God (Hebrews 11:5). He did it by faith. Was he (like Noah) told what to do? Consequently, his reward was great: he did not see death (compare with Psalm 19:11). Law exists when faith exists.
How is faith acquired? Today, we are told in Romans that it comes by hearing (instructed; “attending to”) the Word of God (Romans 10:17). The account of Noah demonstrates that it came to him by hearing the Word of God. Hence, law.
Can we not then conclude from faith before the flood that there was Law? Those that failed to please God, sinned, since "sin" is missing the target.
FAITH AFTER THE FLOOD AND AFTER SINAI
The "faith" chapter continues with a list beginning with Abraham, "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed" (Hebrews 11:8).
The following are listed as having approval by their faith: Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Israel under Moses. After the Law of Moses was given, those that receive approval do so by their faith: Israel and Rahab at Jericho, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthat, Samuel, and David. "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect" (11:39,40).
Just as Noah was justified by faith because he did what God told him to, so then did these others, (Abraham at the head of the list), obeyed God by faith. Noah was instructed to build an ark; Abraham was instructed to leave Ur and go to an appointed place; and others were told something else. They all had one thing in common: "pleasing faith." Followers of Jesus likewise are to contend earnestly for [our instructions in] "the Faith" (Jude 3; same words are in the Greek in Ephesians 2:8-11) that saves us by grace ("pleasing God").
Although the instructions for persons, nations, or the world may differ through time and place, the one unchanging thing is faith. Our unchanging God demands the unchanging law of faith as a common denominator for it all.
"THROW OUT THE LIFELINE"
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