Volume. XXXIV, No. 49
Sunday, 07 June 2020


Faith in the Book of Hebrews (Part 2)


 B. The NT concept of faith

  1. The Greek word pistis is translated “faith” or “faithfulness.” It seems linked with a formal contract between partners. It stressed faithfulness to the agreement made or trustworthiness in keeping promises. God the Father has set Jesus Christ before us as the One to whom we must entrust ourselves for salvation. It is Jesus Christ who is the focus of Christian faith. In the context of our faith and in our relationship with Jesus, “believing” has come to mean (1) the happy trust that a person places in the person and work of Jesus Christ and (2) the allegiance to Him that grows out of that very personal commitment.
  2. Faith in the synoptic gospels: faith in Jesus does not come through an observation of miracles. Faith is born when we learn about Jesus, find out what He said, and put our trust in Him. WE then go on to deeper faith, an active reliance on the power and presence of God. Believing, we experience God at work in our lives.
  3. John’s use of “believe”
    1. Knowing and believing are linked. We respond to testimony about Jesus with our intellect as well as our heart. There is the testimony of Jesus’ miracles and the testimony of Jesus’ words. The testimony of His miracles invites observers to take Jesus seriously. But signs and wonders alone do not bring about saving faith. There are those of superficial faith who are quite impressed with Jesus’ miracles and decide to follow Him and yet depart from Him when they encounter obstacles against faith.
    2. John sees believing as an active, continuing trust in Jesus. The act of believing draws an individual across the dividing line between life and death. John describes it as receiving Jesus (Jn. 1:12), coming to Him (Jn. 6:35), and loving Him (1 Jn. 4:19). Saving faith is different from counterfeit faith in that it recognises Jesus as the Son of God and trusts completely in Him as He is unveiled in God’s Word.
    3. In making a faith commitment, we consider the evidence and accept God’s testimony about who Jesus is and what He has done. It is only by believing, as a total commitment of oneself to the Lord Jesus, that life can be found. How vital, then, that we consider the testimony of Scripture, accept it, and believe on the One who speaks words of promise there.
  4. Faith in Romans and Galatians
    1. In both books, Paul clearly explains the nature and role of faith in the Christian life. There the relationship between faith and salvation, faith and righteousness, and faith and fellowship with God is made clear.
    2. Through faith in His blood, those who believe are declared righteous. Salvation and righteousness come through faith in Jesus. The promise Abraham believed was the promise that he would father a son. The promise held out today in the gospel in which we are to believe is the promise that God, who has delivered Jesus up for our sins and raised Him to life for justification, will save us because of Jesus. We are confident that what God has promised in Jesus will come to pass. Throughout history, God has given promises to humanity. Throughout history, faith has been a trusting response, a confidence in the God who has promised. Consequently, Paul says, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
    3. Paul tells us in Galatians that our fellowship with the Lord is maintained by believing on Jesus, not by keeping the law. The life of faith is ours as we continue to count on God’s words to us. We hear them as a promise and believe that God will do in us all that He has spoken. As we live by faith, the righteousness of which the Bible speaks as being ours in God’s sight, gradually infuses our life and character, and we become righteous persons in fact and in deed.
  5. Faith in James
    James shows that one’s claim to have faith is justified (demonstrated valid) “by what he does.” True faith results in obedience. Faith is a dynamic, transforming force. It brings us into a living relationship with God. Infused by the Holy Spirit, our attitudes, values and conduct change to come more and more into harmony with the Lord.
  6. Faith in the other epistles
    1. At times, faith statements focus our attention on the gospel message itself: “the faith” is the totality of what Scripture affirms about God and His relationship to humanity (1 Cor. 16:13; Col. 2:7; 1 Tim. 2:7; 3:9; 4:1; 2 Tim. 3:8; Tit. 1:4; Heb. 4:14; 1 Pet. 5:9; Jude 3).
    2. At times, faith statements focus our attention on our relationship with God. Faith is seen as that initial and continuing act of trusting ourselves to God (2 Cor. 1:24; 10:15; Eph. 1:15; 2:8; Phil. 1:25; Col. 1:4, 23; 2:5; 1 Thess. 1:8; 3:2, 5-7, 10; 2 Thess. 1:3, 4; 1 Tim. 2:15; 6:11; 2 Tim. 1:5, 13; 2:18; 3:15; Phm. 5:6; Heb. 4:2; 10:38; 13:7)
    3. At times, faith statements focus our attention on the impact of believing: what it is that faith produces in the heart and life of the believer (2 Cor. 5:7; Eph. 3:12, 17; 4:13; Phil. 2:17; 3:9; Col. 2:12; 1 Thess. 1:3; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2 Tim. 2:3:15; Heb. 6:12; 10:22; 1 Pet. 1:5, 21; 1 Jn. 5:4).
  7. Faith in Hebrews 11

    KJV Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

    ESV Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

    NET Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.

    NAS Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

    NIV Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

    NLT Hebrews 11:1 Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

    BGT Hebrews 11:1 Ἔστιν δὲ πίστις ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις, πραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων.

    1. Faith here refers to one’s subjective confidence and conviction. It has the content which is referred to as “things hoped for” and “things not seen.” We can convert these two passive phrases as the active phrases “what we hope for” and “what we do not see.” We may take them as the promises of God. In this case, faith is forward-looking to the fulfillment of God’s promises. If we take them as God, His Word, His work, or His heaven, faith is the assurance of the person and work of God. Since the author of Hebrews contends for the supremacy, preeminence, and superiority of Jesus Christ over angelic beings, Moses, the Levitical priesthood, and the OT sacrificial system in the first 10 chapters, it is appropriate for us to take Jesus Christ as the object of what we hope for and what we do not see. Then, Christ becomes the object of faith. His person and work, though invisible, become the confident expectation of biblical faith that leads His people to persevere in fiery trials.
    2. One’s subjective confidence, conviction of Christ stands on the objective truths of who Christ is and what He has accomplished on the cross. It prevents one from defecting to obsolete rituals of Judaism. It strengthens one against trials and temptations. It endures them as the Father’s loving discipline. Fighting sin, it brings forth a character that conforms to Christlikeness. Believing Christ is hoping in Christ, that is, confidently anticipating Christ. Believing Christ is seeing Christ, that is, sure spiritual perception of Christ’s invisible person and work. Biblical faith rests on the certainty of the truths of Christ’s person and work. Trusting God is the heart and soul of the faith that centers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

 


More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

  • Starting next Lord’s Day, 14 Jun 2020, worshippers who are invited to attend Service personally & those who are on duty are to park their vehicles on the western side (grass) church parking area & to enter the church through the western gate (the one closest to the Sanctuary entrance). Any questions, please see any Session member.
  • All other Hopefuls are to continue joining Worship Service virtually.
  • Please continue to practise social/ physical distancing, take hygiene measures & to comply with SA rules when gathering.
  • For security reasons, please do not share Zoom meeting links without approval from hosts or group leaders.
  • Please continue to support & pray for all health care workers & people in essential services during the COVID-19 emergency.
  • Tithes & offerings - Bank details: 
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    Account No.: 2649 27547
    Please indicate if it is an offering, tithe or for a specific person or ministry.

 

Praise & Thanksgiving

  • God’s daily guidance, protection & providence.
  • Church virtual Sunday Worship Service & other virtual activities in the past week.
  • For the improving situation in Australia & God’s wisdom & guidance to the government in managing the crisis.

 

Prayer

  • Healing: Pastor Ki (post-procedure); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Pong Sen Yiew (S’pore); and others who are unwell.
  • COVID-19 virus – for God’s grace & mercy; for God’s continuing guidance & wisdom to the government in managing the crisis; for those affected physically, mentally & financially.
  • Missions – IBPFM missionaries; Rev & Mrs JG (India); Rev & Mrs Sun Sokha & family, Faith Krang Angkrang Church (PhnomPenh); Sis Ang Liang & family, Filadelfia B-P Church, orphanage, primary school & kindergarten (Batam); House of Hope (Cebu); Sis Esther Kim & orphanage (Bandung) affected by COVID-19 pandemic & lockdown.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063