The Consideration of Faith
November 8, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
This past Sunday, as we studied Abraham’s example of faith in Hebrews 11, I highlighted several distinguishing marks of faith. The first mark was faith makes a consideration. We see this in Hebrews 11:19, “[Abraham] considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead.” When Abraham faced the trial of sacrificing his only begotten son, faith led him to make a consideration: what will dictate his response, the circumstances of the trial or the promises of God? Hebrews 11:19 states that Abraham let God’s promises direct his response and actions.
This word “considered” is a mathematical term, which can be translated as reckoned, calculated, or accounted. This word is used in the Greek translation of Genesis 15:6, which Paul expounds in Romans 4. “Abraham believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” This is a mathematical, accounting term. Simply by his faith, God credited Abraham positive righteousness. This is the wonder of justification and our salvation.
Faith makes such an accounting action. Abraham accounted his situation. He drew up in his mind a ledger sheet with the profits and losses presented to him. The losses were significant… sacrifice of his only son, Isaac. The profits were even greater, though, the promises of God to provide offspring more numerable than the stars of heaven. Faith makes such an evaluation of the profits and losses.
In our ESV translation of Hebrews 11 the word “considered” is used two other times: verse 11, “since she considered him faithful who had promised,” and verse 26, “[Moses] considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth.” In these two verses, however, a different Greek word is used. This word literally can mean to lead, guide, think, or regard. The author of Hebrews uses this word as a noun in 13:7 (“remember your leaders”), 13:17 (“obey your leaders”), and 13:24 (“greet all your leaders”). This shapes our understanding of this “consideration” in verses 11 and 26. We can say this consideration is “to engage in an intellectual process” for the purpose of leading or seeking progress.
The two Greek words translated “considered” in Hebrews 11 are synonyms, but they carry unique nuances. These nuances help us understand better the nature of faith. Faith thinks, or makes a consideration. This consideration is both mathematical, computing value, and leadership, regarding progress. Faith esteems what is most valuable and what contributes to progression.
All that God has for us and promised to give us in Jesus Christ proves to be valuable and essential for progress. The examples of Abraham, Sarah, and Moses in Hebrews 11 demonstrate for us the apprehension of God and his promises by faith so that they could endure and overcome significant trials. This is what it looks like to live by faith.
Do you live by faith? Is consideration of God and his promises a part of your faith?