Bible Studies For Life

Victorious Faith                        Session 4                     26 MAR 17

HEB 11:1-2 This is not the definition of faith. It sets the key characteristics of faith. The definition of the faith used in this chapter is (Acts 20:21 RSV) "testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance to God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ." The author parallels “substance….evidence” with “things hope for….things not seen.” Dr. Herschel H. Hobbs states “Faith sees the reality of the future not yet experienced.” The author states the future is based upon the facts of the present. The basic fact is Jesus lives as Lord and Savior. The ancestors of the readers saw that to the extent they could and found favor with God.

HEB 11:3-4 Here “word of God” addresses Gen 1. “God” obviously means the Trinity. So “by faith” Christians take what the Bible says as true. By faith: Abel came in faith; Cain did not. Gen. 4:3-5 does not state this was a sin offering so to make Abel's sacrifice more acceptable, though the fact is it involved firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. This might be significant (see Heb 12:24). However, Cain did not bring the first of his fruit offering. (Deu 26:2 RSV) "you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the LORD your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place which the LORD your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there."

HEB 11:5 Abel was the first mentioned of people of faith. (Gen 5:24 RSV)  "Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him." This is all faith can be. God transported Enoch to heaven without dying. Enoch came as close to (Mat 5:48 RSV) "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Eph 5:8 RSV) "for once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light"

HEB 11:6 Without SAVING FAITH it is impossible to please God. “Please” in the Greek is in the perfect tense. If one would make Heb 11:1 a definition of faith, then anyone could please God. But it is only through Jesus that any human can please God. These Old Testament people looked forward to Jesus as their source of salvation. Two major factors must happen for any person to please God: [See the full list.]

1.      “Believe that [God] is” - Note (Rom 1:19-20 RSV) "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. {20} Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse;" All humans are without excuse for knowing that there is a God who is a Divine Person and not as a super-element of nature.

2.      God “is a rewarder of them who diligently seek him” - The key word here is “diligently.” Jesus put it this way (Luke 14:25 RSV) "Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them," (Luke 14:33 RSV) "So therefore, whoever of you does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." You cannot separate Jesus as Lord from Jesus as Savior. A casual approach to God will not yield salvation.

HEB 11:13a The Old Testament faith people DID NOT RECEIVE THE REWARDS OF GOD! This means these “promises” were not of any physical land in Palestine! This includes Abraham and Sarah! All of them looked forward to the future. He saw these promises being completed “afar off.” Yet the popular views of Revelation all say Abraham got the promises and it includes Palestine. So the choice is clear: Do you believe the Bible or what people say about the Bible? The only choice is THE BIBLE! Abraham and all of them knew (2 Pet 3:9 RSV)  "The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance."

HEB 11:13b-16 The author knew this went against everything Jewish Christians had learned from their Jewish religion. So he expands the truth. They [the truth faith-people of God] knew “they were strangers and pilgrims on earth.” The only Land God ever promised Abram was New Earth. The real Jerusalem is (Heb 12:22 RSV) "But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…" Yet while they were living physically in Canaan as they knew they were strangers and pilgrims. They knew Palestine was a temporary place. Note (Heb 11:10 RSV) "For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." This is (Rev 21:2-3 RSV) "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; {3} and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling of God is with men. He will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them;" God will live on New Earth and we will not live in Heaven. This is the promises of God: Saved people will live with him forever on New Earth.

HEB 11:39-40 “And all these” includes all faith people of the Old Testament, named and unnamed. Again, even though they were faithful in their lifetime, THEY DID NOT LIVE TO SEE THE PROMISES OF GOD BE FULFILLED. Oh that we can have said of us that we have “obtained a good report through faith.”

            Here are two critical theological points:

1.      that they without us should not be made perfect.” “Perfect” in the Greek means here “to bring something to its intended goal.” The family of God is not complete without New Testament Christians. The Church is all saved of all time. We have it better than they, not because they were better people as such, but because Jesus died on the Cross and the Father raised him from death. And because of point two.

2.      God has “provided some better thing for us.’ - A better promise? No, we have the same promises. God made his promise to Abram and to “his descendants.” (Rom 9:6-8 RSV)  "But it is not as though the word of God had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, {7} and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but "Through Isaac shall your descendants be named." {8} This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants." So what better thing? (1 Cor 3:16-17 RSV)  "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? {17} If any one destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and that temple you are." We have the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (Isa 32:15 RSV)  "until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest. "They could call God “Father” but we call God “Abba Father.” (Rom 8:15 RSV) "For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, "Abba! Father!""

            Isaiah describes the nature of New Earth in (Isa 32:18 RSV) "My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places." That is because of (Isa 43:11 RSV) "I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior." Note that “the LORD” is the name of the Trinity which is for eternity. It is “YAHWEH!” (Exo 3:14-15 RSV) "God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And he said, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" {15} God also said to Moses, "Say this to the people of Israel, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you': this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations." Note how the English translations use three different words for one Hebrew word. For “Yahweh” they use “I AM WHO I AM”, then “I AM” and then “LORD.” This is disruptive and disrespectful to God’s word “thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.” The Trinity’s Name is no trivial matter. Notice how the sense of a sentence changes between “Thus says the LORD” versus “Thus says Yahweh.” “The” makes it not seem by a Name. We never say “The Charles said.” Instead we say “Charles said.” If we deem “LORD” to be a proper English translation of “Yahweh” then it should read “Thus says LORD.” We do with Daniel “Daniel said.”

            Isaiah also said of New Earth (Isa 66:22 RSV) ""For as the new heavens and the new earth which I will make shall remain before me, says the LORD; so shall your descendants and your name remain." Yahweh personally guarantees that New Earth is an Eternal Creation. As it remains so will all saved of all time. So we are favored because the Holy Spirit guarantees that we will be brought into the presence of Jesus at the Second Coming as saved “sheep” and not “goats.” (Eph 1:13-14 RSV) "In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, {14} which is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory." Then Yahweh guarantees we will live on New Earth for eternity.

            Dr. Hobbs ended his lesson helps by saying “In heaven new heroes of the faith are still being added.” Yes indeed. We can add Herschel H. Hobbs to the list in Heb 11!

            We must be honest and fair with the lost. Victorious Faith is more than saying right words! Matt 7:21.


Marvin Ganote, Hobbs Study Class, Adult Teacher. Home Page: