Friday, October 4, 2013

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. (Hebrews 11:1)

Faith is “the substance of things hoped for.” (Hebrews 11:1)

In other words, the things that we hope for are, at present, composed of and given to us as faith. Therefore, whenever we have faith we also have the things we hope for in the form of faith now.  That is why Jesus said “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mk. 11:24). He doesn’t ask them to believe that they will receive it in future but to believe that they have already received it in faith. In other words, if someone has faith in God for something, he already has that thing. I believe this is so because God is not conditioned by time but if something is “yes” in Him then it is eternally “yes” and the same in future, present, and past. Thus, it is not whether that thing will be real to us in the future but whether it is already real in the sight of God that is significant. We may have those things later on, but if God has already said a “yes”, then there is no doubting about their reality which we experience in the form of faith. Faith itself, thus, becomes the evidence, as we shall see later, of things yet unseen. But more than just being evidence, faith is the fact of our having what we are hoping for. It is in this spirit that we know that we are the children of God, that our citizenship is in heaven, and that the devil is a defeated foe. Obviously, all these facts will be physically manifest only at the last day but they are readily known as facts by us now without any doubt.
I believe this is so because God is not conditioned by time but if something is “yes” in Him then it is eternally “yes” and the same in future, present, and past. Thus, it is not whether that thing will be real to us in the future but whether it is already real in the sight of God that is significant.
That is faith: to know the future in the present as true. Therefore, a man of faith doesn’t live his life regretting about the past or worrying about his present but he is elated by faith to see the hopes of the distant future as a timeless reality and lives his life in accordance to the reality of those facts in the sight of God (Phil. 3:7-10). That is one reason why unbelief in God’s revelation is sin; because it attempts to falsify God (1Jn. 5:10). It attempts to deny what is true and undeniable in the sight of God. Therefore, the unbelievers cannot inherit the kingdom of God since they cannot see it and know it now. Weighing the ultimate value of spiritual faith, it has infinitely greater value than the temporary escapism of drug hallucinations, day-dream fantasies, and entertainment. These may provide temporary escape from the inescapable void of the future inherent in the blank realities of the present that the unbeliever experiences, but can’t liberate the soul in reality, engendering more vexation of spirit than peace. Life, as a result, becomes more banal, confused, and dissatisfying. But faith connects the life of the believer to the eternal realities of God and, therefore, his spiritual experiences possess the value of a far greater reality that the world can’t counterfeit.

Excerpted from EXPLORATIONS OF FAITH

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