The theme of Hebrews chapter 10 seemed to be faith and waiting. Believers can “rest” in God’s finished work while they wait for deliverance from the trials and struggles of this life.  It’s often referred to as “patient endurance.” It might be seen as resting or abiding in the promises of God trusting that they will come true even when things in life don’t seem to support that idea. I’ve often argued that faith isn’t just believing that God exists but it’s believing that He is positively disposed towards you and that he has your best interest foremost in mind regardless of the circumstances in which you find yourself.  It’s about accepting God’s unconditional love for us as he demonstrated on the cross of Calvary. Hebrews 11:6 will say that clearly. But the writer opens up Hebrews 11 with a description of faith in general terms. He writes, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”

The Handbook for translators says, “A suggested translation would be ‘Those who trust God are sure that he will give them what they hope for; they are certain that things they do not yet see are real.’”[1] Guzik says, “Just as our physical eyesight is the sense that gives us evidence of the material world, faith is the ‘sense’ that gives us evidence of the invisible, spiritual world.” He then goes on to argue that the “sense” of faith can be trusted even more than our sense of sight. He quotes Morris and Bruce to conclude his comments. “Faith has its reasons. The Bible doesn’t recommend a ‘blind leap’ of faith. But the reasons can’t be measured in a laboratory; they have to be understood spiritually. ‘Faith extends beyond what we learn from our senses, and the author is saying that it has its reasons. Its tests are not those of the senses, which yield uncertainty.’” (Morris) ‘Physical eyesight produces a conviction or evidence of visible things; faith is the organ which enables people to see the invisible order.’” (Bruce)[2]

Pfeiffer explains, “The guiding principle of the Christian life is faith. This is not simply a psychological factor, however. To some people faith means believing that you can do a job better than you have done it in the past, or believing that a loved one will rise from his bed of sickness. There may be real value in such ‘positive thinking,’ but this is not the meaning of faith. True Biblical faith has God as its object. We believe God and trust His Word. That Word does not tell us that we have any reason to expect to be the richest merchant on Main Street. It tells us, on the contrary, that we will have tribulations and that as Jesus’ disciples we will have crosses to bear. It assures us, however, of grace to bear them. Faith has a backward look. It declares that God has done mighty acts in days gone by. Faith also has a forward look. It declares that He can be trusted for the future.”[3] We believe that God speaks to us now through his Son as the author asserted in the first verse of the first chapter of Hebrews. God speaks through Jesus and tells us that he loves us and has our best interest foremost in mind regardless of our circumstances. Faith trusts that to be true! Jesus, as God’s revelation to mankind, is the object of our faith.

[1] Paul Ellingworth and Eugene Albert Nida, A Handbook on the Letter to the Hebrews, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), 251.

[2] David Guzik, Hebrews, David Guzik’s Commentaries on the Bible (Santa Barbara, CA: David Guzik, 2013), Heb 11:1.

[3] Charles F. Pfeiffer, The Epistle to the Hebrews, Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1962), 90–91.