The Meaning Of Faith
Now faith is the confidence that we shall receive the things for which
we hope, the proof of the reality of things we do not see. It was
because of their faith that the men of old were approved by God. Through
faith we know that the universe was made perfect by God's command and
that what is seen was made out of what is not seen.
Through faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain, and so
received the assurance that he was an upright man, for God approved of
his gifts. Though dead, yet because of his faith he still speaks.
Through faith Noah, having been told by God about things still unseen,
in reverent obedience built an ark to save his household; and in doing
so he condemned the world and became heir to the righteousness that
comes through faith.
Through faith Abraham obeyed, when he was called to go to the place
which he was to receive as an inheritance, and he set out, not knowing
where he was going. Through faith he made his home in the land that had
been promised to him as in a foreign country, living in tents with Isaac
and Jacob, who shared the same promise with him.
Through faith Abraham, when put to the test, sacrificed Isaac, yes, was
ready to sacrifice his only son, although he had received the divine
promises and had been told, "It is through Isaac that your family name
will be carried on," for he believed that God was able to raise men even
from the dead. In a sense, he did receive his son back from the dead.
Through faith, also, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even telling them of
things to come. Through faith Joseph, as he was dying, thought of the
time when the Israelites would go out of Egypt and gave orders about his
Through faith Moses was hidden by his parents for three months after
birth because they saw that the child was beautiful, and because they
did not fear the King's command.
Through faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son
of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to share ill treatment with God's
people than to enjoy for a short time the pleasures of sin.
Through faith he left Egypt, not because he feared the King's wrath, but
like one who saw the Unseen King he never faltered.
Through faith the Israelites crossed the Red Sea as through dry land,
and when the Egyptians tried to cross they were drowned.
What more shall I say? For time would fail me if I tried to tell of
Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the
prophets--they who through faith conquered kingdoms, did righteous acts,
received promises from God, closed the mouths of lions, quenched the
power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, in the hour of weakness
were made strong, who proved mighty in war and put to flight foreign
Women received back their dead restored to life. Others were tortured,
refusing release, that they might be raised to a better life. Others
stood the test of taunts and blows, yes, even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were burned, they were sawn in two, they were
killed by the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats,
lacking everything, persecuted, ill treated (men of whom the world was
unworthy), wandering in lonely places and among the hills, in caves and
in holes in the ground. Through faith they all won God's approval, but
they did not receive the promised blessing, for God had planned
something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made
Therefore, surrounded as we are by such a host of witnesses, let us also
lay aside every handicap and the sin which clings so closely to us, and
let us run with patience the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes
on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, who for the joy which lay
before him, patiently endured the cross, thinking nothing of the shame,
and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
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