Faith for Today

As we conclude our study on the faith life we are given a list of more examples of people who have lived the life of faith. The author of Hebrews did not have the time nor the space to record all of the acts of faith seen in the lives of the Old Testament saints. We have learned many great truths regarding the faith life and we have followed the examples of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac & Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and Rahab. In these final verse of Hebrews chapter eleven we see the names of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets. I would encourage you to do a character study on these individuals to learn more nuggets of truth that will enable you to live the life of faith. All of these people listed in Hebrews chapter eleven had one thing in common and that is, they their faith was a reality for them based on the hope or confident expectation that they had in the Word of God. It is because of this true faith that they had the evidence of the things that had yet seen, namely, the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
As we conclude this short study on the faith life, I’d like to turn our attention to verse forty. “God having provided some better things for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” This verse shows us how blessed we are to live in the day in which we live. The Old Testament saints were looking forward to the promise, though they never saw it come about. They died without being made complete until that time when Jesus came and gave His life on the cross. I am amazed at the unwavering faith of the Old Testament saints when they had very little to work with. Think about it. They did not have the Bible. They lived before Jesus came. There was no church. I guess, you could say the odds were against them, yet they had faith. It was because of their faith in the coming messiah, faith in what they could not see, faith in the promise of the future; that they are in heaven at this very moment. The phrase ‘God having provided some better things for us’ is very interesting. When you think about it, we have been very blessed and God has certainly provided a better way for us today. The sad thing is that though we have been given much, our faith is so weak in comparison to those Old Testament saints. There are three things that we have today that the Old Testament saints did not have. We should thank God for what we have.
First of all, we have the complete Word of God. Some of the Old Testament saints that we have studied had the law, others did not even have that. Today, we have the complete Word of God. My friend, you and I are without excuse. There is no reason for us to lack in faith because we have the book right here in front of us. We do not have to wonder what the rest of the story is. We have no reason to doubt. It is written for us in black and white. There are three things that I want to point out here concerning God’s Word. 1. God’s Word is Inspired. Look at 2 Timothy 3:16. The word ‘inspiration’ means ‘God-breathed’. The word of God, the Bible comes from the very breathe of God. It is the same breath that breathed into Adam and he became a living soul. God’s Word is alive and it brings life to all who read it and receive it. 2. God preserves His Word. Because God’s Word is so powerful, no man can change it. The scripture teaches us that God’s Word will last forever. God has supernaturally and miraculously preserved His Word down through the years. Even with all the various translations of scripture, God’s Word is still the same, it never changes. Think about what we have today. We have the complete Word of God in our language and it is the same Word that was written hundreds of years ago. May I also add, that God has never stopped preserving His Word. This is the major problem I have with those who hold that only one particular translation is God’s Word. First of all, may it be known that a ‘translation’ itself is not God’s Word. God’s Word is God’s Word and God’s Word has been preserved by God through all the various translations of scripture into many different languages. To say that there is only one true translation of scripture today, is to deny the preservation of scripture. This is the beauty of it all. Look at what we have been given! We have the inspired preserved Word of the living God in our hands. Here in America, we have stores full of Bibles and with the internet you can order any Bible you choose. Praise God! The Old Testament saints would have given anything to have what we have today. 3. God’s Word never changes. With the supernatural preservation of scripture, the Word of God never changes. Even in all the revisions and translations, that Word of God is still the same. What God says in His Word is what He means and we need to pay attention to it. This Word has been the same even before it was written on the first scroll. It was in the mind of God even before the creation of the world. It was revealed to the Old Testament saints through various means, and it is given to us in written form, called the Bible. We live in an amazing time! Child of God, we have no excuse, we have the complete Word of God.
Secondly, we have the indwelling Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit was active during Old Testament times and He worked and moved and orchestrated things and drew people to God. However, the Old Testament saints did not have the Holy Spirit the way we have Him today. We have the Holy Spirit living within us. He is right here. He is here to teach us God’s Word. He is here to give us direction in life. He is here is convict us of sin. He is here to comfort us in times of need. The moment you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit indwelled your life. He is not just out there on the outside influencing and directing, He is actually on the inside of us, with us every moment of every day and night. He is even praying to God the Father on our behalf. Wow! My father used to say, ‘If that don’t crank your tractor, your battery is dead!’ That’s enough to make the most staunch Baptist shout! Praise God for the indwelling Spirit of God that gives us faith for today.
A final ‘better thing’ that we have today to help us live the faith life is the institution of the church. In Old Testament times there was no church. Yes, the children of Israel had a common belief in God and they worship Him together, but there was no church as we know of today. The church began in Acts chapter two and continues even to today. The church is the body of Christ, the family of God, where both Jew and Greek who place their faith in Jesus belong. As family, we have each other to be encouraged in this faith journey. We have the local church, which it’s work and structure is outlined for us in scripture. Granted, we live in a day where the numbers of strong Bible-preaching churches are dwindling, but they’re still all around. In most all places in America you live within at least an hour’s drive to a Bible-preaching church. Not only that, but different local churches have different styles and ways of doing things that fits the personality of its people. There is absolutely no reason for a believer to not live the faith life when you look at all that we have today. We should praise God everyday for what we have.
In conclusion, I’d to refer to the verse that says, “to whom much is given, much is required.” The Old Testament saints did not have a lot to work with, yet their faith was strong. Their faith, I’m afraid, surpasses the faith of the most faithful of our day. Child of God, we have been given so much. We have absolutely no excuse. There is no reason for us to not live the faith life. To be honest with you, we have it made. God is good! May we all pattern our lives after these great people of faith. May we take into account all that we have been given today and use what God has given us to live a life of faith.

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