Belief is the first step into having Faith in Jesus Christ. If we don’t believe he is who he says he is, or that he even exists, then how can we obey him? While this chapter’s content may be familiar to most Christians, I’m not so sure we actually understand what it means. We say we believe one thing, but we do another. We know God can’t lie, but our actions suggest that he can’t be trusted. This chapter serves as a reminder to us about the faithful God we serve.
Everyone knows Hebrews 11:1-3:
1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 2 For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
This passage gives a description of what Faith does. “It is the substance [sub stand] of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” When we have Faith we “make our stand” on things not yet seen. Example: You put your faith in God for a house he promised you. You can’t see it, but he promised it. As you believed it, you received it; therefore the evidence (or proof) of your Faith was the house. Faith believes things that are not in existence yet and then they come into existence because of our Faith. Another point is: If we can’t understand something God says (like the world was created by God’s own words) – if we simply believe it, we can understand it, as verse 3 of Hebrews chapter 11 brings out, too.
As we continue to read Hebrews 11, we can learn a lot about what it means to believe God from the faithful followers of old:
- Noah moved and built an ark even though he didn’t know what rain was. (v.7)
- Abraham left on a journey, not knowing where he was going, but he trusted God and went anyway. (v.8)
- Isaac, Jacob and Joseph, all blessed their sons and worshiped God until death. They were certain about God’s promises even though they’d never seen freedom in their lifetimes. Joseph actually gave instructions on where he wanted his bones buried when they got to the promise land. (v.20-22)
- Moses’ parents hid him as a child and didn’t fear the Pharaoh. (v.23)
- Moses refused to live in luxury but chose instead to suffer affliction with God’s people, looking toward a heavenly reward he had not seen. (v.24-26)
- Moses didn’t fear the Pharaoh he could see, but the God he couldn’t see. (v.27)
Faith in Jesus means: we believe everything he says about everything, despite the fact that we haven’t seen or touched either him or the things he speaks about. Like Moses and his parents, Faith in Jesus doesn’t fear what others may think or do to us for what we believe.
Believing Jesus is not about waiting to see evidence of the things he promises, but rather preparing to receive, being convinced and assured, because we know they are already on their way. When we think and act this way, we show Jesus that we have Faith in him. Let’s look at what the Bible says about Jesus; and what it means if we believe it.
Who Jesus Is
Jesus is 100% God:
In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made (John 1:1-3).
This means that Jesus is all knowing, all powerful, all present. He is the perfect friend to have. What perfect protection; perfect advice from a person who knows everything and made everything.
Jesus is 100% man:
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).
This means that Jesus has been in our shoes; he knows what it feels like to be human. He was tempted to be:
- arrogant and proud
- selfish, inconsiderate and disrespectful
- to be deceptive and tell lies
- to manipulate his followers
- to boast about who he was and what he could do
- to have sex with any of the many female disciples who followed him
- homosexuality crossed his mind too
- pedophilia too, bestiality too
- to be lazy, to be a coward
- to be a drunkard
- to fall into gluttony
- to verbally and physically assault someone
- to be depressed
- to commit murder and suicide
- to envy, covet and steal
- to hate and be a racist
- to gossip
He was tempted in all areas, and yet he didn’t sin. When temptation comes to us, we can know that Jesus understands our position but is there to help us overcome and abstain from sin (Titus 2:11-12 NIV). No more excuses for why we can’t do something; we can because Jesus did.
Jesus is our advocate:
My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 1:2).
It’s good to know that we have someone that understands, pleads and argues in our favor when we sin. And even more, he calms down the wrath of God and the penalty of sin through his sacrifice. Jesus is our lawyer and the Father is the judge. Some say that OJ Simpson was indeed guilty of the allegations (only God knows the truth), but because he had a great defense attorney (Johnny Cochran), he was acquitted.
The example is true for us. The only difference is: we are — without a doubt — guilty. The devil is the prosecutor who accuses us (Rev 12:10 CEV) before God but Jesus Christ defends us. He holds back the wrath of God. When God is fed up and will take no more of our sin and it’s time for us to die, Jesus stops the Father and says, “Wait! Just give them a little more time.” You have no idea how many times your time was up when the Lord Jesus negotiated an extension. Thank God for Christ, our advocate.
What Jesus Does
Jesus heals and restores
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases … (Psalm 103:2-3). He took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses (Matt 8:17 ). By his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:4-5; 1 Peter 2:24).
Jesus’ death was not only for our sins but for our physical sicknesses as well. Jesus is willing and capable of healing and restoring our physical ailments today if we believe his will. Contrary to what is being taught in churches today, all we really need is Jesus; not drugs, medicines, the practice of human doctors, but the Doctor, Jesus Christ.
In America, with drug stores at every major intersection and hospitals nearby, we usually don’t ask Jesus to heal us, unless it’s terminal and the doctors can’t treat us. But why don’t we go to Jesus when we initially get sick? When you hear reports of miraculous healings in Africa and China, it’s evident that they believe in Jesus’ power. In defense to us, other countries are forced to have Faith because of the lack of resources; but health care is changing in America too. Times are coming when we’ll have to rely on Jesus instead of our government; will you believe in his power?
Jesus casts out demons
Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” And He said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:17-19).
Jesus defeated Satan and his demons (Col 2:15) and we’ve been given the authority to stomp demons as well. The mischievous mental assaults of the devil can now be stopped and the demon oppressed and possessed can be set free in the name of Jesus.
Jesus performs miracles and great works
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father (John 14:12).
Jesus walked on water, healed the sick, raised the dead, fed five thousand people with only two fish and five loaves of bread; and we can do the same and even greater works if we believe in Jesus.
Why Don’t We Believe?
So if we believe in him, then why don’t we act like it? It’s best to understand some of the reasons why in order to begin to believe again:
Many of us don’t know what the word of God says concerning many everyday things that affect our lives, so we have nothing to believe in. We haven’t studied the Bible for ourselves, and our teachers haven’t taught it in a way that will help us gain an understanding. We need real teachers of the word. And we must dig into the word for ourselves to discover what Jesus is capable and willing to do for us today. We need to continually hear more testimony from those who have Faith and have seen the results.
Hearing a false message
“Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). Because Faith results in hearing the word of God and acting on that word, we must continually remind ourselves of the promises of God in order for them to really sink in. But what if you hear another message? For example, a false message about a Jesus that “used to heal back then, but not today.” Because of false messages, there’s no wonder why many Christians don’t have Faith in the area of healing; they trust in the imperfect hands of a doctor rather than Jesus Christ. We must take every message we hear and allow the Holy Spirit to confirm whether it is true or false.
Eyes wide open
We get caught up in what our circumstances look like instead of believing God. We listen to negative people (including ourselves) and the voices of demons who contradict God’s promises. If we continue to listen to what we can’t do, what God won’t fulfill in our lives, and how we’ll never be any good – we won’t be able to believe in Jesus. We need to rebuke these enemies of Faith, get them out of our presence and start closing our eyes and reciting the word of God. We need to align ourselves with encouraging, faithful believers so that we can stand on his word and have Faith in what Jesus says.