July 2nd devotion

Legacies of Faith
Allistair Begg

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. Hebrews 11:1-2

What does faith look like? In chapter 11 of his letter, the author of Hebrews tackles this question by presenting us with a portrait gallery, as it were, of the saints of old—men and women who were commended on account of their faith. This biblical record of commendation is not meant to elevate these individuals to some superhuman status. Instead, we are to view Noah, Moses, and the rest as ordinary people from whom we can derive strength and encouragement as we reflect on how God helped them and honored their faith.

If we want to follow their example of a living, lived-out faith, we need first to see what the faith of these individuals was not. It was not a warm, fuzzy feeling deriving from emotion or circumstances, nor was it a vague notion that everything would just work out in the end. No, for these men and women, faith in practice meant believing what God had said, taking Him at His word, and then regulating their lives accordingly. In other words, as these verses tell us, their faith was an assured conviction that what God had promised would indeed come to fruition.

Furthermore, these saints of old regarded their future reality as if it were present and that which was invisible as if it were actually visible. Even if they didn’t see God’s promises fulfilled in their lifetime, they trusted His faithfulness to His word in light of eternity. Their faith was a deep-seated trust not in their circumstances in the present but in the one who had made promises about their future.

By living out their faith in such a visible way, these saints made a radical impact on their day—and so can we in ours. Whenever an individual, a couple, a family, or a church is prepared to take God at His word and do what He says, lives will be transformed. If we do so, we will better understand who God is and what He has done, and we will be better placed to make a difference in this world and for eternity.

Of all that was true of the saints presented in Hebrews 11, the one unifying characteristic which brought them to this portrait gallery was their faith in the living God—an assurance that God’s promises were able to bear the weight of their hopes and a steady conviction that what God had said was as real as what they could see. Is that your faith? Meditate on all the promises that are yours from God in Christ. Reflect on all the promises God has already kept through history and supremely in the death and resurrection of His Son. Then you will be able, with joy and determination, to set your priorities and make your decisions based on His promises, not on your circumstances.
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