Faith is Beyond Sight

“Faith is Beyond Sight”

Hebrews 11:1-7

Faith is worthless unless it is trusting in God for all things.

Faith is Trusting God’s Word

Faith is Acting on Belief


Faith is Trusting God’s Word

Hebrews 11:1-3, NKJV

1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.

3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.


            Faith is one word which the servants of God use as much as those who have no affiliation with the one, true God. Therefore, it is important that we first of all identify what God’s people are speaking about when they refer to faith so to keep from being confused with the idea of faith all people have in some measure.

            The writer of Hebrews begins this section with, “Now faith is…” The Greek word translated faith here is “pistis” meaning faith: firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality. The next word we need to be sure we grasp the meaning of is the Greek word translated substance. This word is “hupostasis” which means support that is essence or assurance, confidence, confident, substance. God is explaining to all who read His Word that faith is something solid that is evidenced by facts rather than imagination of people or their personal preferences. Faith that is based on anything other than truth is founded in a lie and hopes in things that will never come about since it is nothing that is true.

            Faith is more than some abstract idea or feeling; it is the very substance of what is hoped for which is not seen presently, but has been proven to be true. The writer of Hebrews points out that this is how the “elders obtained a good testimony”. The elders being spoken of here are all those who lived and worshiped the Lord before the coming of the Messiah. These people were faithful in spite of the lack of the availability of God’s Word at their fingertips and on demand as those in recent centuries have had available to them. These elders strictly took God at His verbal word that was passed down to them by those who came before.

            This in itself is difficult for the skeptical attitudes of our modern societies to accept, especially when the idea of absolute truth is called into question. How can there possibly be any evidence of anything if truth is some abstract concept which has no foundation to rest upon? Yet, truth is something mankind cannot escape. Truth exists and is true regardless of whether it is accepted or denied by people. Truth is independent of everything and is unavoidable no matter what is done to escape it. The people of the past who placed their faith in what was true placed their faith in the Word which God has spoken. They found that their faith was not misplaced because they prioritized their life and viewed everything as based upon what they believed.

            The writer of Hebrews explains this “good testimony” they obtained beginning with accepting, “…the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible” (Hebrews 11:3, NKJV). Genesis 1:1-3 says,

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. (NKJV)

And then in Genesis 2:1-7 explains,

1 Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

4 This is the history of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, 5 before any plant of the field was in the earth and before any herb of the field had grown. For the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was no man to till the ground; 6 but a mist went up from the earth and watered the whole face of the ground.

7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being. (NKJV)

            Prior to Moses being inspired to write these things down for future generations this information was passed down verbally through the generations. In the critical mindset of people today there is nothing that would be convincing to stand as fact or truth. A critical mind is not exclusive to the twenty-first century, but has been part of mankind from the beginning. The evidence of this is seen for us in how easily the devil deceived Adam and Eve into breaking the commandment of God not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Solomon centuries later confirmed this when he was inspired to write,

9 That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done,

And there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.

11 There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come by those who will come after. (Ecclesiastes 1:9-11, NKJV)

            The elders who heard and placed their faith in the God who they heard made all things out of nothing that was made visible to them did so because of the evidence they found. What evidence is there? Apostle Paul proclaimed, “19 …what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20, NKJV). The evidence of God as the Creator and not the fanciful ideas of people trying to figure out all the answers to life by their own wisdom and knowledge are all around people daily.

            The question has been asked of God’s people, “What about those people who were not born in America that never heard about Jesus?” Fact number one is Christianity did not begin with America; it began in the Middle East at Jerusalem by those who were first disciples of Christ and were later called Christians (Acts 2:1-5, 11:25-26). The question is also wrong because God has been revealing Himself from the very beginning of Creation; His fingerprints are everywhere.

            The order, symmetry, balance, and detail of the world are proof beyond a shadow of a doubt that all was created through intelligent design rather than chaotic, random chance. In fact, even what is seen as random can be measured and approximated through mathematical algorithms. This is only possible since there are established fixed things in creation that are consistent. The only reason why science, mathematics, and technology even exist and can make the discoveries and advancements it has made are due to the balance and order God has established in creation itself. The elders who had a good testimony simply recognized by trial and error that what they heard about God was true based on the factual evidence they discovered by submitting to and challenging what God had established in His creation.

            Science, mathematics, and physics are the greatest evidences of the existence of God and His character. It is the interpretation of mankind that has skewed the evidence to support the sinful desires of their hearts that desire to usurp the authority of God and deny His ownership of all things. The faith of those who turn to God is in no way blind, but supported by evidence that is impossible to deny and can be discovered to be true.

            Take for instance question of the origin of the chicken or any animal that is hatched from an egg: Which came first, the animal or the egg? If you would say the egg, then you have to ask where did the egg come from since there was no animal to lay it. If you would say the animal, then how does it exist if it did not come from an egg, or why did it change to coming from an egg if it did not develop that way from the beginning? This is really a puzzle which theory of evolution cannot answer adequately, but the Bible can answer specifically.

            Evolutionary theory says two non-chickens mated, laid an egg, but a mutation in the DNA produced the first chicken. The Bible says God created the animals. If evolutionary theory is to be believed why are no eggs continuing to be mutated into other species today? If God is to be believed, then there is no problem because the chickens are doing what they have been designed by Him to do: lay eggs and produce more chickens. It seems faith in God is far more consistent than faith in a theory, evolutionary or otherwise.

            Interestingly enough, the idea of mankind is always contrary to the truth which God makes plain in His Word and His revelation in creation. God says the animal came first; mankind says the egg came first goes through some extensive explanation and still ends up at a suggestion of the egg came first. The different conclusions in this question that has been debated for centuries is also clarified by God’s Word, “27 God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29, NKJV).

Faith is Acting on Belief

Hebrews 11:4-7, NKJV

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks.

5 By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.   

            Acting on the truth that God is sovereign over and Creator of all things is life transforming if a person truly believes that these facts are true. The writer of Hebrews refers to three elders who lived their life in full belief of the above fact. Abel, Enoch, and Noah were three men who acted on their faith in God in spite of the cost they paid for doing so.

            “By faith Abel offered…” is how the first elder is introduced. The sacrifice Abel offered was of the shedding of blood (Genesis 4:4-5). Abel acknowledged his sinfulness before God by shedding the blood of an innocent animal in order to bring his sacrifice before the Lord. This was how God had taught Adam and Eve about sacrifice immediately following their sin and made them durable clothing instead of the leaves they covered themselves in after their eyes were opened (Genesis 3:21).

            Abel was declared righteous because he followed the instruction of God that was given to him through his parents. Cain was certainly aware of the need for a blood sacrifice to make atonement for sin, but chose to offer God what he thought was good enough, after all it was from what he had harvested. God deserves obedience; He is unmoved by what people believe God ought to be satisfied with in their mind. Abel was righteous in the sight of God since he found atonement through the shed blood of the animal which died in Abel’s place. Abel’s recognition of his need for atonement meant there was nothing that was not worth the effort and sacrifice for God.

            This same attitude can be seen in the apostles as they ministered before the Lord in sharing the Gospel which eventually cost each of them their lives. There are no clear records of most of the apostles’ deaths, but it is reported that Peter and Paul were both martyred by Emperor Nero in 66 A.D.; Andrew is said to have been crucified in Greece; Thomas is claimed to have died after being thrust through with four soldier’s spears; Philip is suspected to have been cruelly put to death in Asia Minor after converting a Roman proconsul’s wife; Bartholomew possibly was martyred in Southern Arabia; Matthew is believed by many to have been stabbed to death in Ethiopia; James is reported to have been stoned and then clubbed to death; Simon the Zealot was murdered in Persia; Matthais is believed to have been burned to death in Syria; John is the only one who escaped being boiled to death in Rome and died a natural death.

            Abel was killed by his brother’s anger because he was faithful to be obedient to God. The Apostles died because they saw sacrificing their lives to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ a worthy price to pay for the privilege. If following Christ is not worth dying for, how much is it really worth? Do you believe that God will be satisfied with what you decide He is worth? Cain surely believed he brought a sacrifice worthy of God in his mind, but was rejected. Jesus has declared what God the Father views as a worthy sacrifice, “21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21, NKJV).

            Abel still spoke even though he was dead because he was the first person to enter into Paradise where Jesus would descend to and lead the captives free after His crucifixion and before His resurrection. God was faithful to Abel and watched over him because he was righteous in His eyes through the sacrifice Abel offered to Him.

            Next we go forward a few generations to the son of Jared who was Enoch. “Enoch…did not see death…because…he pleased God” (Hebrews 11:5, NKJV). Little that is known about Enoch is found in Hebrews 11:5 and Genesis 5:18, 21-24, “18 Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch…21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. 22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (NKJV).

            Enoch is listed in the genealogies found in 1 Chronicles 1:3 and Luke 3:37. The final mention of Enoch is in the letter of Jude 1:14-15 concerning this prophesy of Enoch,

14 Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, 15 to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. (NKJV)

            Enoch pleased God is the testimony which he was known for during his three hundred and sixty-five years upon this earth before God took him into Paradise. We know that no one, regardless of how righteous they were considered by God by their obedience and submission to His will, could enter into heaven until the resurrection of Christ from the grave. It is interesting that this prophesy of Enoch God inspired Jude to record in Scripture speaks of the coming judgment of God on all the ungodly ways of humanity.

            There is no record of specific things that Enoch did during his lifetime. The only thing about him proclaims that he pleased God. How is it possible to please God without performance of rituals and sacrifices? God answers this through the inspired writers of Scripture, “4 “Behold the proud, His soul is not upright in him; But the just shall live by his faith” (Habakkuk 2:4, NKJV); “16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17, NKJV).

            One question Jesus asked during His ministry on the earth should cause all those who call upon His name for salvation to pause and reflect, “8 …when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8, NKJV). Enoch understood long before Apostle Paul was inspired by God to pen the words that he had to walk in life by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). Enoch walked with God is a profound testimony to the lifestyle of Enoch. Why the Lord chose to have him and Elijah the prophet for that fact skip death we can only speculate. I personally believe that these are the two witnesses spoken of in Revelation 11:1-14. It is there that these two men of God will experience death. Scripture makes clear that it is appointed unto man to die once and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

            “By faith Noah…moved with godly fear…” is how we are introduced to the third elder who had a good testimony before God. The Lord warned Noah of the coming flood that would come upon the whole earth. It had never rained up to this point in all the history of the world since God watered the whole earth from the mist that rose up from the ground (Genesis 2:6).

            Noah had nothing in which he could refer to in order to comprehend what God was saying He was about to do, or fathom the size of the project God called him to undertake. The people taunted him for building a ship of enormous proportions when there was no water near which would be able to accommodate a ship of that size. Yet, Noah accepted that God could and would do all that He said He would do based solely on the Lord’s word to him.

            It is recorded that Noah was “moved by godly fear.” Noah trusted that God was telling the truth, but it was the fear of the reality of what was God was saying that motivated him to act with urgency to fulfill all God instructed him to build according to the specifications God provided for him. Imagine the amazement Noah would have been struck with upon hear God say,

13 And God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. 15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. 17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die. 18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. (Genesis 6:13-18, NKJV)

            God has revealed the same kinds of things to the Church, but are those who call themselves followers of Christ by faith moved with godly fear, have a testimony of walking by faith with God daily, and like Abel by faith sacrificing the best of what is possessed even to forfeiting physical life itself? Jesus has made it clear, “12 “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work” (Revelation 22:12, NKJV).

            Faith is trusting and acting upon things that cannot be seen with physical eyes and comprehended in mankind’s understanding; it is trusting in and depending upon God to do just exactly as He has promised He would in and through His people. If we are not living and walking by faith, the life we live is nothing more than a lie.

Leave a Reply