By: Tim Sader
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Last week we learned how to put our hope in Jesus our Lord and how doing so builds us up spirit, soul and body. When we hope in Him we are setting ourselves in a position to receive blessings. Putting our hope in anything else has absolutely no benefit to man’s relationship with a loving God who does all things when we hope in Christ. As believers we have a living hope in Christ’s resurrection because He made a way for us to reconnect with God on a personal level. We should not look to the world we live in or our circumstances for answers, our hope should be in the Lord.
While learning about hope I was reminded that hope is part of an even greater spiritual truth. In today’s scripture we find out faith is first and for most the substance of things hoped for. When we hope it produces something in the spiritual realm. We cannot see it with natural eyes but as we also learned last week in 2 Corinthians 4:18 it says, “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” When we hope on what is unseen we create a substance in the spirit called faith. Faith is a substance of what we can’t see it is evidence of what we will receive from the Lord when we hope and trust in Him. Hebrews 11:3 goes on to say, “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.” Here we see that God created the world at his command and that everything that is seen was created by things, which are not seen. So if faith is the substance of what is unseen then the world was created by faith. Our faith can be like that to. In Matthew 17:20 Jesus says, “Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” Faith gives us the evidence of what we hope in so here Jesus tells us if we have just a tiny speck of faith we can move a mountain. With faith the impossible can be created if we will place or hope in Him. Romans 4:17 tells us to call those things which are not as though they were.
Galatians 5:5 says, “But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.” This tells us by faith we wait through the Spirit. We cannot see the Spirit but by faith we have the evidence of the righteousness we had hoped for. Then in 1 Peter 1:21 we read, “Who by him (Jesus) do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” Jesus came to earth to die and set us free from the bondage of sin and death. While here He did many great works through the power of God. This tells us to believe in God because of Him and what he did for man. Christ wants us to take the evidence faith provides and fully put our hope in the Lord because of the price He paid on the cross. Christ justified our sinful ways and restored our relationship with the Father. Galatians 2:20 says, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” We cannot see Christ with our physical eyes but if we truly believe in Him then we have hope in Him and faith proves it. Hebrews 12:2 says that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith by enduring the cross he is now seated at the right hand of God to fulfill our hopes and desires through faith in him. Romans 1:17 referring to the gospel of Christ says, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” The message of Christ reveals the righteousness of God when we have faith in Him. We are justified by faith in the good news of Christ’s sacrifice. In Romans 5:1,2 it says, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” With faith in Christ we are given access to God and the hope of His glory. Finally Romans 3:28 says, “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
In James 2:17,18 we read, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” So here it says faith without works is dead so if we have faith we should have works as well. Basically its saying faith and works go hand in hand works are useless without faith just as faith is useless without works. Then James 2:22 goes on to say, “Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” So when our faith in God produces works our faith is made perfect. Faith is the substance of things hoped for so works must be the final result of our faith. One way our faith can produce works is by the prayer of faith. James 5:5 says, “The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” The prayer of faith can be used to bring about all kinds of results but in regards to the sick it tells us the Lord will raise him up and forgive his sins. And James 1:6 says, “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.” Faith is also a fruit of the spirit we can see in Galatians 5:22 and as believers we are told to bear fruit. Another way faith can be used is to protect us from the attacks of the enemy. Ephesians 6:16 says, “Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
Jesus of course had great faith in God since He is the son and produced many great works throughout His ministry. People also having great faith received from him freely by believing they had what they desired before it actually happened. There are many examples in the gospels but I want to look at Matthew 9:21-22, Mark 10:52 and Luke 17:19. In these Jesus heals the woman with the issue of blood, a blind man and someone who was lame. In all three instances he told them, “Thy faith hath made thee whole.” The woman with the issue of blood only had to touch the bottom of his robe and she was healed she knew that she would be healed if she did. She had her healing before she had the improved condition but the proof was on the inside of her and that’s all it took to convince her. In Mark 11:21 Peter noticed the fig tree Jesus had cursed had indeed withered away and wondered how this happened. Then in verse 22 and Jesus answered him by simply saying, “Have faith in God.” Faith does not always come easy but James 1:3 says, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” So how much faith do we each have depends on how dedicated we are to learning the truth. Romans 12:3 tells us, “God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” We can however gain as much faith as we can hope for because Romans 10:17 says, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” So the more of His word we put into our hearts the more faith we will gain.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” When we study the word of God we are gaining faith. We start understanding that when we hope for something faith is the substance of what God is doing in the future. It is proof where we can see no proof. When we believe in God and our faith grows it pleases the Lord and He rewards us for our diligence. In Romans 14:23 it actually tells us, “Everything that does not come from faith is sin.” When we grow in faith it pleases God but when we are not doing things by faith it does not really please him and were giving in to our sinful ways.
Faith does not always make sense to men because we only want to believe in what we see. As believers we should not be concerned over what we see it is temporary and was actually created by what is not seen. Our hope and trust should be in the Lord and we should then seek his word to gain faith because in his word is the evidence of what we cannot see. Christ’s death and resurrection is really the only truth we need to look to when we do so what men think will not matter to us anymore. 1 Corinthians 2:5 tells us, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” Hope leads us to faith because faith is the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of what we can’t see. These two truths are so important in building our relationships with the Lord and fulfilling the call on our lives. However there is a third truth even greater then these but also related to the others many times in scripture. This truth is so powerful Christ said in it you can fulfill the commandments of God. This spiritual truth is Love and next week we will learn all about it. Until then we should keep 1 Thessalonians 5:8 in mind, it says, “Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.”