Hebrews 11

Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Faith is the assurance or substantiating of things hoped for (Darby). Faith doesn’t make things real that weren’t real to begin with, but faith makes them real to you. See entry for Faith.

Hebrews 11:3

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

(a) By faith. If you have faith, you will consider the created world as evidence of a Creator God.

Everything we see once existed in the creative heart of God. This is a key to understanding how faith works. Faith is the means by which we “see” things that are not yet seen. When we see what God sees, that which is unseen becomes seen or real to us. By faith, Abraham went out not knowing (or seeing) where he was going (Heb. 11:8).

(b) The worlds. The original word is aion from which we get our English word eon. It means ages, but in a material sense. Space and time. The earthly world, the celestial world, the animal world, and every other world were prepared or created by the Word of God.

(c) The word of God. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh through whom all things were created (John 1:14, Col. 1:16). It’s the good news of Jesus. See entry for Acts 4:31.

(d) What is seen. The things that we can see point to a Creator God who cannot be seen (Col. 1:15-16).

Hebrews 11:6

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.

(a) Without faith. Faith is being persuaded or convinced that God loves you and longs to be good to you. When you agree with God that’s faith, and agreeing with God pleases God.

(b) He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. What is the reward of the seeker but to find that which is sought? If you are searching for God you will find him and he will be your very great reward (see Gen 15:1).

Hebrews 11:7

By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

(a) An heir of the righteousness. Before the cross, no one could be made righteous. The gift of righteousness had not been given and the “one act of righteousness” had not be done (Rom. 5:18). This is why Old Testament saints such as Abraham were credited with righteousness on account of their faith in God (see entry for Rom. 4:3), and why Noah was called an heir and preacher of righteousness (2 Pet. 2:5). In the old days, righteousness was credited to those who believed; now righteousness is created in the believer. Back then, righteousness was imputed; now it is imparted.

(b) The righteousness which is according to faith. In contrast with the righteousness that is based on the law, the gospel reveals another kind of righteousness which comes from God and is received by faith (see entry for Php. 3:9). This divine righteousness is sometimes referred to as “the righteousness of faith” or faith righteousness. See entry for Righteousness.

Hebrews 11:10

for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

The city of God is a Biblical metaphor for describing the corporate body of Christ (Heb. 12:22, 13:14, Rev. 3:12, 21:2). See entry for 2 Cor. 6:16.

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