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Faith and Personal Growth

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Having faith in God makes all the difference in our lives between life and death. Scripture tells us: "Without faith it is impossible to please God,..." (Hebrews 11:6a) And "we are made righteous by God because of our faith." Not because of our works! (Hab.2:4, Rom.1:17,Gal.3:11) Since it is all important to God that we have faith in Him, let's learn all that we can about what this faith is and how we can obtain it. Hebrews chapter 11 gives a definition of faith and then gives examples of many believers down through the ages who lived lives of faith. This eleventh chapter of Hebrews has sometimes been referred to as the "faith chapter".

The "faith chapter" starts right off with a definition of faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1) Faith as described here is to believe what we hope for (what has been promised in Scripture) and to have an expectation of future rewards. Faith relies on Gods' promises and "anyone who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He will reward those who earnestly seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6b)

Scholars write that the Greek word "substance" means "a standing under". The word was used to mean a "title deed". We are to have assurance in Gods' promises, (stand under them). And our faith is the "title deed" of things hoped for. Faith is counting on God to take care of us. We need to have faith in God, not faith in faith. Jesus said that all we need is the faith of a grain of mustard seed, (Luke 17:6) and a mustard seed is the smallest of seeds. So we don't put our faith in how large our faith is but in how large our God is.

One of the "champions of faith" mentioned in Hebrews 11 is Noah. Noah's obedience in building the ark far inland was physical evidence of his trust in God's Word. Other believers mentioned for their faith were Abel, Enoch, Abraham and Sarah. We read in verses 13-16 that although these champions of faith received only a partial fulfillment of what God had promised, they maintained their faith that God would do what He said. Also these faithful could not feel at home in earthly surroundings. They looked for something better, and because of their longings, God gladly acknowledged them as His own people.



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