What does it mean to have faith? Is it to simply hold to a statement of beliefs? Or does it just describe sincere devotion to an idea? Is it to be willing to take a blind leap into the unknown without evidence or proof? These are all ideas that can surround the concept of faith. But in Hebrews 11 the author gives us a better picture of what real faith looks like.
Hebrews 11:1 states that faith is the assurance of things hoped for. The author wants us to understand that faith is more than a mental assent to a doctrinal statement. And it is more than a blind leap with no proof. Faith is possessing a rock-solid confidence in the promises of God revealed in His Word. This belief results in a life that banks everything on these truths and promises. As a result we experience the presence of God in a real and objective way in this life which is a taste of what we will gain in eternity.
So, how do we grow in our faith? Initially this comes through the Word of God (Romans 10:17). We come to faith through hearing the gospel message. But then our faith is continually nourished through more and more exposure to God’s Word. But it is not just about reading and mentally knowing Scripture. We must then put these truths and promises into practice. God’s Word is not meant to simply be studied, it is meant to be obeyed. As we obey what we read and take God at His Word our faith deepens and grows.
But let us not make the mistake of thinking we need a greater quantity of faith. In Luke 17 the disciples ask Jesus to increase their faith. Jesus responds by saying even the smallest amount of faith can accomplish miraculous things. In other words, Jesus is reminding us that the amount of our faith is not what we need to be concerned about. It is the object of our faith that is important.
Thomas Schreiner says this about Luke 17. It isn’t because of the quantity of our faith but the object of our faith. If our faith is in the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, then it has a great effect. Our faith makes a difference not because it is so great but because God is so great, because he is the sovereign one who rules over all things. Our faith doesn’t thrive when we think about how much faith we have; it springs up when we behold our God—when we see Jesus as the One crucified and risen for us.
And so, how strong is your faith? Let Hebrews 11 be an encouragement to deepen your faith by meditating, reading, and immersing yourself in the precious truths contained in God’s Word. And then, ask yourself what is God calling me to do in light of these truths and promises? How is He calling me to step out in obedience in my life?