. . . they shall mount up with wings as eagles . . . Isaiah 40:31

Now Faith Is

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

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. The Greek word for faith is pistis (pis’-tis), which means, according to Strong’s Concordance, the conviction of the truth of anything, and especially concerning the relationship of man to God and man’s belief in divine things.

And so, we are talking about faith, man’s capacity to believe. The Bible says that by grace are you saved through faith. So, apparently there is a connection between faith and God’s grace, which is His unmerited favor, His mercy, His graciousness, and some have even said His divine enabling. God provides the grace and we provide the faith to obtain it.

As we look at the verse, Hebrews 11:1, we can spot several other mysterious terms and phrases inviting us to ponder, such as substance, evidence, hoped for, and not seen.

Faith is the substance. Faith is the hupostasis (hoop-os'-tas-is), which means the thing placed under, the foundation, the substructure, the thing on which something else rests. It is the foundation for things hoped for, or, that is, things that are waited for with joy and confidence.

What hope rests upon our faith? Well, obviously faith is the thing on which our hope of eternal salvation rests, the thing that we wait for joyfully and confidently. But that is not the only thing that rests on our faith. All of the promises of God given in His word are apprehended by faith. Everything that God has provided by His grace through His word must be taken by our faith, our belief in them.

The evidence of things not seen. Faith is the evidence, the proof, the conviction, that something exists that we do not yet see. Again, we do not yet see eternal salvation, or our future in the world to come, but we have proof that it exists. How? Through our faith that we obtained from the word of God. Are we fully convinced of it? Yes.

Faith is the foundation for the things we are confidently and joyfully expecting, and it is the evidence, the very proof, of the existence of those things, though they are not yet seen.

Hebrews 11:2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.

By faith the elders, our forefathers, those written about in the Bible, obtained an honorable testimony. By their faith, they were well-pleasing to God.

Hebrews 11:3 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.

It is by faith that we understand that the worlds were fit together and arranged and set in order by the word of God. And the things that we can see were not made of things that are manifest and evident.

Oh, how this gives us opportunity for meditation! The worlds were set in order by the word of God. The Bible says that the Word was with God in the beginning, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us, John says in John, chapter 1, and he says that we beheld His glory.

Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

The worlds were framed and set in order by the Word, who was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, the one whose name is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Created from Nothing

It is sometimes said that God created the universe from nothing. But the Bible doesn’t tell us that at all. It says that things which are seen were not made with things that do appear. So then, things that are seen must have been made from something, but that something is something we cannot see.

Now remember, we are meditating here. We may go outside the box a little bit, but that’s okay. That’s part of the fun.

Think about it. The notion that God created the universe from nothing comes from a presupposition that nothing existed before the universe was created. But again, as we think about it, God has been here long before the universe was set into motion. He exists from everlasting to everlasting, from infinity to infinity, and so He existed many eons before the natural universe that we live in was created.

Did God just float around in the vast nothingness of eternity? No, God has always lived exactly where He now lives, in a place called Heaven, a place that exists outside of this universe. He did not create the universe to have a place to live, because He doesn’t live in the natural universe, but in a place that is separate from the creation, and a place that is far more vast.

In fact, the Bible tells us in Genesis chapter 1 that the created universe had a beginning, yet God did not have a beginning. The universe is a finite thing created in the vastness of eternity. It had a definite beginning, and the Bible says that when God is finished with it, he will roll up the sky and the earth like a garment, and will put them away.

Hebrews 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
Hebrews 1:11 They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
Hebrews 1:12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.

God created the universe from resources He had within Himself. We cannot see heaven, and we cannot see the resources God has at His disposal. But by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things we see were made from things we cannot see.

And this is the joy of meditating in the word. We may go down some long side trails, but the adventure makes it all worthwhile.

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