Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Hebrews 11:1-12 (ESV)
11 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. 8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.
This chapter of Hebrews is one of the most famous teachings in the Bible about faith. It begins with an excellent definition of faith in verse 1: Faith is having the conviction of things unseen. When Christians have faith, they are living life as if things unseen (heaven, God, Jesus’ love for us, the Holy Spirit, God’s promises to make all things new) are more real and more precious than the things we see. After giving this definition, Hebrews gives us many examples of people in the Old Testament who lived by faith. As you read this, try to picture how each of these people was trusting their life to God. Focus especially on verse 6. Faith pleases God because it shows that we believe and trust God. Think of how hard it is to have a good relationship with somebody who doesn’t believe you or trust you. So it is with God. As Romans 14:23 says, “Whatever does not come from faith is sin”. What that means is that whenever we rely only on ourselves we are turning away from God.