The Marks of Faith
November 22, 2018 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
Posted in: Pastoral Encouragement
As we have worked our way through Hebrews 11, the great “Hall of Faith,” the author has highlighted various characteristics of faith. Genuine faith is revealed by distinct qualities that emphasize the goodness of God.
In the example of Noah, we see that faith reverently fears God (v. 7). Through faith Noah acknowledged and respected the sovereignty of God to pass judgment on the world. He cast himself and his family on the mercy of God by building the ark.
In the example of Abraham, we see that faith endures under hardship and trial (v. 8, 17). Abraham’s life was marked by hardship after hardship: without land, without child, without security, and then, when he finally receives a son by miraculous birth, God calls him to sacrifice his son. Only by faith is Abraham able to look beyond the present hardship to the God who can do abundantly more (v. 10, 19).
And in the example of Moses, we see that faith is courageous (v. 23, 27). His parents risked their lives to preserve his life. Moses risked his life in confronting Pharaoh and leading the people out of Egypt. Such courage is rooted in the security of God that can never be shaken.
The author of Hebrews is seeking to encourage his small, battered congregation with the hope that comes through clinging to Christ by faith. If the saints of old endured by faith, and they “did not receive what was promised” (v. 39), we who have confidence because of Christ ought to endure through faith.
There is one more mark of faith that I would like to highlight. I believe the writer of Hebrews would not disagree with my additions. Genuine faith is marked by thankfulness. Let me follow the example of Hebrews’ author and draw your attention the thankfulness of faith (this story is found in Luke 17:11-19).
By faith, a leper was cleansed from his disease. Having been afflicted in his flesh and ostracized by the community, he joined other lepers crying out for mercy from Jesus. By faith he trusted the stories about this miracle worker. By faith he clung to the only hope he had. By faith he obeyed Jesus’ command to show himself to the priest. By faith, once he was cleansed, this leper set himself apart from the others and returned to Christ. By faith he praised God and expressed thanks to Jesus. By faith he was commended by God through Christ.
In this example we see three things that draw thankfulness from faith. First, the leper knew he had no hope in himself or anyone else, only Christ. He believed the stories and trusted that Christ could heal him. Second, he knew that he did not deserve the attention of Christ. The cry for mercy is a cry out of humble contrition. There is not presumptuous expectation. Third, he celebrated the blessing of the gift. He acknowledged the wonderful power to cleanse him from leprosy.
Do you have faith? Is your faith marked by thankfulness?