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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

FAITH IS...

Hebrews 11:1-3 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things, which are seen, were not made of things, which do appear.

With our eyes we see everything that surrounds us, our ears hear their sounds, we can feel objects that we hold in our hands and feel the touch of others, we smell the odors near us, both the good and the bad, and we taste the foods and drinks that we put into our mouths. Some even contend that there is a sixth sense of perception and intuition. These are the senses by which we comprehend the environment in which we live. In order to appreciate the ability to use these senses, we need only to observe others that are less fortunate - the blind, the deaf, and the paralytic, etc.

Although the use of these god-given senses is, indeed, wonderful, if that is all there is to life, they reveal a very narrow comprehension of the creation of mankind, both in the world we live in, and the world to come. Faith expands the ability of men and women to look into and see, with the mind's "eye," things not seen - or things we are unable to see with the physical eye. Our knowledge of all of the past history of mankind, from the beginning of time to the present day, relies totally on faith. It is faith that opens the door into a complete understanding of the worlds (that) were framed by the word of God. What is this thing called faith? The answer is found in the inspired word of God. In the lesson text we find the best definition of faith that can be found. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. The Greek word translated "substance,"as used in the lesson text, carries the meaning of "confidence and assurance." Faith, then, is a confident and assured foundation on which all hopes are built, in the world in which we live, but more importantly, in the hope of eternal salvation in the world to come.

Consider the substance, or the foundation, in this teaching of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He tells us He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16). Eternal life depends on believing faith, but it also depends on a faith that results in obedient action on the part of the believer. The action, that believing faith requires, is baptism for the remission of sins. If it were not so, Jesus would have never said that it was required for salvation. Paul wrote that it was by faith we see the things which are not seen, for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). Faith that is tried and endures to the end is much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls (1 Pet. 1:7-9). Indeed, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

The creation of the world in which we live, and the universe in which it exists, is one of the things that we understand, or see, through faith. Only through the word of God do we have knowledge of creation. It is by faith we believe that, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1), And God saw every thing that He had made, and, behold, it was very good (Gen. 1:31). By faith we also believe the inspired writing of the apostle, John, when he wrote, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:1-3). Historical records do not testify to the creation of the world; it can only be understood and believed by faith in the inspired word of God. Paul indicates that it is by faith that the creation of the world can be clearly seen (Rom. 1:20).

Although the remainder of this chapter of Hebrews gives many examples of individual faith, the lesson text, which begins the chapter, assures us that only by faith do we understand the creation of the universe and our existence within it. It is necessary to establish our faith in God in order to accept and believe His plan of eternal salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. Why God created you and me, and the universe in which we live, we cannot physically conprehend. We accept it by faith as did the apostle John when he made this confession to God: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created (Rev. 4:11). Faith is coming out of the world, and accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior; without faith the world knew Him not (John 1:10).