Bible Reading: Hebrews 11:1 - 12:2

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8)

We are called to live by faith in the footsteps of our many faithful forefathers listed in Hebrews 11. What exactly does it mean to walk by faith?

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Faith is to trust in God that God will fulfil His promises in the future, which we cannot yet see with our own eyes. To have faith has big implications for how we then respond and act in the present. Genuine faith will always result in works. As James 2: 21-23 illustrates: 

“Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works; and the Scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” - and he was called a friend of God.”

To have faith that God will fulfil His promises in the future means that we are willing to take action in response to that future promise now. Though there are plenty of examples in Hebrews 11, take Abraham as an example. 

God promised Abraham the promised land. Genesis 12:1-3 recounts, “Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonours you I will curse, and in you, all the families of the earth shall be blessed”.

Abraham had a comfortable and wealthy life in his hometown. He had all he ever would need for a pleasant life. Yet, God called him out of his home to venture into the wilderness of an unknown land. Abraham trusted in God and decided to follow God wherever God led, even though it would be hard and uncomfortable. 

However, Abraham did not only trust God in these matters. On a bigger scale, Abraham knew that God had a plan for the redemption of His people from sin. Abraham knew that God had a plan to bring a Saviour who would come to rescue humanity from sin and trample the devil underfoot. And God had said for Abraham to go and father this nation in the promised land. Abraham had faith in God’s plan of salvation, and so he took action to obey God. 

Abraham’s radical obedience can be further observed when God asks him to sacrifice Isaac. Abraham knew that God gave his son and that His son would father the nation God had promised. Abraham knew that from his lineage, there would be a Messiah to save the people.m Yet, God asked Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. There was no possibility of another son. If Isaac was killed, where would the Messiah come from? Was God still faithful? Yet Abraham trusted in God’s ways and decided to obey God even though sure calamity was approaching for Him and the whole world. 

To have faith is to trust in God and live like it in the present. When our sins overcome us and evil seems to prevail everywhere, we are called to have faith in Christ, who is the perfect high priest. He has paid our sins and is interceding for us in heaven. He has made us righteous, and He will vindicate us in the last days. We ought to trust in Him and live bold lives in holiness today because He has conquered the power of sin in our lives. 

The implications of faith are that we will obey God in whatever He calls us to do today. God’s way is hard. It is a narrow path of sanctification. It takes putting off the old self and putting on the new. It is full of discipline and hard learning. God’s way of holiness is not easy. Yet, we press on in faith because of what Christ has already done for us. 

Lord, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross. Because of what You have done, our faith is secure. Please help us trust in You and live by faith. Help us to obey You and follow You even though obedience is hard. Teach us to trust in You wherever You lead. In Jesus’ name, amen.