Faith That Produces Action
Faith is being sure of what we hope for. It is being sure of what we do not see. That is what the people of long ago were praised for.
We have faith. So we understand that everything was made when God commanded it. That’s why we believe that what we see was not made out of what could be seen.
Abel had faith. So he brought to God a better offering than Cain did. Because of his faith Abel was praised as a godly man. God said good things about his offerings. Because of his faith Abel still speaks. He speaks even though he is dead.
Enoch had faith. So he was taken from this life. He didn’t die. “He couldn’t be found, because God had taken him away.” (Genesis 5:24) Before God took him, Enoch was praised as one who pleased God. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Those who come to God must believe that he exists. And they must believe that he rewards those who look to him.
Noah had faith. So he built an ark to save his family. He built it because of his great respect for God. God had warned him about things that could not yet be seen. Because of his faith Noah showed the world that it was guilty. Because of his faith he was considered right with God.
Abraham had faith. So he obeyed God. God called him to go to a place he would later receive as his own. So he went. He did it even though he didn’t know where he was going. Because of his faith he made his home in the land God had promised him. Abraham was like an outsider in a strange country. He lived there in tents. So did Isaac and Jacob. They received the same promise he did. Abraham was looking forward to the city that has foundations. He was waiting for the city that God planned and built. And Sarah had faith. So God made it possible for her to become a mother. She became a mother even though she was too old to have children. But Sarah believed that the God who made the promise was faithful. Abraham was past the time when he could have children. But many children came from that one man. They were as many as the stars in the sky. They were as many as the grains of sand on the seashore. No one could count them.
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They didn’t receive the things God had promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a long way off. They openly said that they were outsiders and strangers on earth. People who say things like that show that they are looking for a country of their own. What if they had been thinking of the country they had left? Then they could have returned to it. Instead, they longed for a better country. They wanted a heavenly one. So God is pleased when they call him their God. In fact, he has prepared a city for them.