Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. (Hebrews 11:1-3)
True Faith Is An Old Grace
Matthew Henry’s Commentary mentions in notes for Hebrews 11 that “true faith is an old grace, and has the best plea to antiquity: it is not a new invention, a modern fancy; it is a grace that has been planted in the soul of man ever since the covenant of grace was published in the world; and it has been practiced from the beginning of the revelation; the eldest and best men that ever were in the world were believers.” There is sage wisdom in seeing faith as the ancient foundation in the lives of those who trusted in God following His will because of their faith in His word. Truth is older than error and all men who have embraced the covenant of faith find their lives richer, truer and at peace. There are untold numbers of saints who through the ages have served the Lord faithfully. They believed in the substance of those things promised by God because of His promises. Through faith they saw what could not be seen holding true to the word of God. Men have always challenged the evidence of God believing the world formed itself without divine intervention. Faith was not enough for the skeptics. Reason and science dissuaded their philosophies to accept human wisdom without seeing the true God and accepting His power of creation. In the midst of generations of unbelievers were the elders of old who lived in faith to serve God faithfully because of their simple trusting faith in the word of God.
Faith for the people of God is the evidence or proof of what they believe. No one has seen God at any time and yet they believe there is a God. The confirmation of His existence is from the believing faith that sees the wonders of creation abounding with the thumbprint of a divine creator. In this evidence comes a heart that seeks to know the character of the divine being. God reveals Himself to seeking men who believe in their hearts that God loves them and cares for them. They embrace the knowledge of the unseen God because they see Him clearly through the eye of faith. Knowledge comes from the overpowering abundance of evidence through the invisible attributes left by the Lord to show all men His power and dominion. Faith is real. It fills the heart with the foundation of truth reassuring the spirit of man that he was made in the image of the heavenly Father. Trust comes from believing in one true God.
The elders of days past believed in God because they built their faith on His promises. They lived with hope because they had something to live for beyond this world. Their eyes saw what other men could not see because it was hidden from their darkened hearts. By faith they understood the worlds were framed by the hand of God and glorified God for His wondrous creation. Faith must have a growing power in the hearts of those who will seek the Lord God. It does not come by itself. Through the evidence of the world and the knowledge through His word, God reveals to man everything he needs to know to be saved. Without faith it is impossible to be pleasing to God. Unless faith is built to trust in the Lord there is danger in being drawn back to perdition. The elders bore witness of their faith in God by seeking to please Him.
Generations will come and go. It is important for each generation to leave a legacy of faith in God so their children will have the faith that is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of what is not seen. The testimonies of the elders of yesterday bear witness to the purpose of faith. It establishes the hearts of men to trust in God as the only Creator, Maker and Savior of the world. With courageous faith worship will be a deeper experience, obedience a natural response and with eternal hope the promises realized in the journeys of life. Faith will reassure the heart of man that there is a better, a heavenly country and God will not be ashamed to be called their God. Building faith is a daily walk trusting in all the promises of God. True faith is an old grace that is still relevant to all men who seek God now.