The Letter to the Hebrews: a commentary & meditation 
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen"

Scripture: Hebrews 11:1-3
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old received divine approval. 3 By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.
Meditation: The author to the Hebrews uses two expressions to define what faith is.  He uses the word "assurance" and the word "conviction".  Faith is not something vague, uncertain, undefineable, or something which requires a leap of the imagination or worse, some kind of blind allegiance.  In fact, it is quite the opposite.  Faith is a response of trust and belief in what is reliable, truthful, certain, and real. To have faith is to believe and trust in someone or something.  We believe in the power of electricity even though we can't visibly see it with the naked eye.  We know we can tap into that power and use it to do things we could not do by our own human power.  Faith in God works in a similar way.  When God reveals himself to us he gives us the "assurance" and "conviction" that his power and presence and glory is just as real, and even more real, than our experience of the natural physical world around us.  Things around us change, but God never changes. He is constant, ever true to his word, and always faithful to his promises.  That is why we can have the greatest assurance of his unconditional love for us and why we can hope with utter conviction that he will give us everything he has promised.  Jesus is God's visible proof that his word is reliable and true; his love is unfailing and unconditional; and his power is immeasurably great and unlimited.

Faith and hope and closely linked together.  Hope is not mere wishful thinking: "I hope it doesn't rain today."  Hope is based on the certainty that God will do exactly what he said he would do and he will fulfill every promise he has made.  Human hope is imperfect because we have limitations and we often fail to do what we said we would do.  Supernatural hope, which the author to the Hebrews writes about, is a "hope beyond human hope" because it points to God who is utterly reliable and true to his word and who is all-powerful to fulfill all that he has promised.  Hope enables us to persevere when our faith is put to the test. We will experience trials, setbacks, difficulties, and failures in this life.  But God will triumph through it all and accomplish his purpose for us.  That is why God gives us the gift of hope which "the Holy Spirit pours into our heart" to strengthen our faith and endurance to persevere to the end without wavering (Romans 5:3-5). Ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen your faith and hope in the certainty of God's revelation.

"Lord Jesus, your word is utterly true and reliable. Give me understanding that I may grow in the certainty of the hope you have placed in my heart and serve you faithfully all the days of my life."


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(c) 2001 Don Schwager