Summary: By faith Abraham and Sarah believed God
January 27, 2013
The context of the whole book focuses on Christ as the fulfillment of all the Old Testament types and shadows. Chapter ten reminds us that we have one High Priest who always intercedes for us, so we can draw near to God, and we hang on to this profession until the very end. The just shall live by faith (10:38-39), and then we come to chapter 11 which explains what that means.
In our time faith is often confused with a work, but we know that it’s authored by Christ and a fruit of the Spirit. We know that faith is something a believer receives from God. This “Hall of Faith” is really the “Hall of God’s Handiwork” because every person in it is saved by grace through faith; and that not of themselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any of them should boast. For they are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Eph. 2:8-10). This little account shows how Jewish heroes were dependent on Christ to please God.
We’ve already established that faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is the proof of the work of God; it is the fruit which grows when the branches are connected to the vine. And all the forefathers lived by faith and showed that God is faithful: Abel offered a better sacrifice than Cain because he was righteous; Enoch pleased God and showed that he had received the righteousness that’s only in Christ; Noah prepared an ark proving that he feared God and obeyed His commands.
And so we continue in Hebrews 11 with the lives of Abraham and Sarah. This section highlights four of the main points in their lives:
• By faith Abraham left home
• By faith he stayed in a strange country
• By faith Sarah received strength to deliver a child
• By faith Abraham offered that child as a sacrifice to God
Start in verse eight:
8By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
What did faith make him do? Faith made him obey.
I want to drive this point home again because faith is not a work of man: “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. 2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. 3Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. 5I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. 11These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full (Jn. 15:1-11).
Abraham was in the vine, and he bore much fruit. When God told him to leave his own spot of land and go to another Abraham packed up his stuff and left.
9By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: 10For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
What I love about this passage is that it simply tells us that by faith he stayed in the land of promise. It doesn’t speak of the times he left that place or the times that he was afraid and didn’t do what was right. I guess that’s very appropriate because we have the same testimony. Being in Christ we live by faith. Our sins are cast away; though they be as scarlet we shall be as white as wool.