Hebrews 11:6 explains a profound truth that sometimes eludes us in our thinking about our salvation. It says that “without faith, it is impossible to please God.” It’s interesting that throughout all time as demonstrated in the Old Testament, salvation was always dependent upon faith alone. The object of faith is always the same, God! We trust him to have our best interest foremost in mind regardless of our life situation. God is completely trustworthy. He never lies and never goes back on his promise. He keeps His Word! Throughout history the object of faith always remains the same, but the content of that faith varies. The writer of Hebrews made it clear that under the Old Economy of the Law, the content of one’s faith rested primarily in the sacrificial system that was provided to sinners who could never and would never fully obey the Law. They were to believe that the blood of bulls and goats and the rituals of the Priests would provide atonement for their sins. But in the Jesus Economy, the New Covenant, we have a far better “content” of our faith. We still believe God but his Word has now become flesh and dwelt among us bringing a far superior sacrifice for our sins and opening the way into God’s presence with full acceptance and making us well-pleasing to God!

Salvation by grace through faith alone is sometimes referred to as “easy believism” by those who give higher emphasis on moral, ethical, or cultural performance standards. I honestly don’t see anything “easy” about fully trusting in the full sufficiency of Jesus for my eternal destiny. I always want some tangible evidence that heaven awaits me. I can’t trust my feelings. I don’t always “feel” saved! I relate to the desperate man who entreated Jesus in Mark 9, pleading for the life of his sick son. Jesus told him to return home and he would find whatever he believed he would find. Then in Mark 9:24 we read, “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’” There is nothing “easy” about having complete confidence in the full sufficiency of Christ for my eternal destiny or for that of my loved ones. But that’s what the writer of Hebrews encourages us to have.

In Chapter 11 and verse 6 we find instructions on how God wishes us to think about Him. If we wish to “come to God” we need to believe that He exists. That’s the easy part. But we also must believe that he is a “rewarder.” Many commentators focus on the nature of what the “reward” might be in this verse but I don’t think that’s what the author wants. He wants us to view God as one who has our best interest in mind and will never forsake us or fail to keep His promises. The author doesn’t want us to focus on the reward but on the character of the one who rewards. We are to see him in a positive light with great appreciation of his mercy, forgiveness and graciousness. One commentary observes this in speaking about Abel, “Evidently Abel surpassed his brother in that his attitude toward God was one of confidence in God’s graciousness. Cain’s attitude, on the other hand, was one of competitiveness that thought this graciousness had to be bought by human effort or the sacrifice of a minimal offering after calculating God’s ‘price.’”[1] In the New Economy we trust Jesus to provide for us what we lack in ourselves. This is the only rest stop in life. Nothing else secures for me peace with God. Jesus is God’s demonstration of His character and attitude towards us. “For God so loved….”

[1] Louis H. Evans Jr and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, Hebrews, vol. 33, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1985), 195.