Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 30, 2018

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” – “he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”

Today’s devotion comes from Matthew 17:14-23.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+17&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill;  for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.  I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.”  And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you?  How long shall I put up with you?  Bring him here to Me.”  And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?”  And He *said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith;  for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move;  and nothing will be impossible to you.  [But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”]  Matthew 17:14-21.

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First, let us clear out what faith is not.  Faith is not faith in our faith.  Faith is not trying harder in our own abilities to, so to speak, drum up faith on our own.

In a nutshell, faith is faith in God and His promises in Scripture.  In the words of the Heidelberg Catechism, such faith in God and His promises is faith that “he is able to do it, being Almighty God, and willing, being a faithful Father“.  See Question and Answer 26.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  For by it the men of old gained approval.”  Hebrews 11:1-2.

“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.”  Hebrews 11:6.

In order to better understand faith, we will look at some of the examples of people who showed faith and gained approval in this Hebrews 11 chapter of the “Hall of Faith”.

“By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household …”  Hebrews 11:7.  When we are warned by God about something that we do not yet see, and yet believe and take action on that basis, that action shows our faith.

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance;  and he went out, not knowing where he was going.  By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;  for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”  Hebrews 11:8-10.  When we receive promise of good things that we do not yet see, and yet believe and take action on that basis, that “looking for good things” action shows our faith.

“By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.”  Hebrews 11:11.  When we consider God as faithful Who promised something, that faith in the faithfulness of God shows our faith.

“And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return.  But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God;  for He has prepared a city for them.”  Hebrews 11:15-16.  When we think about the good things that we can’t yet see in God’s promise, so to speak dwelling in God’s promise, rather than think about the bad things that we can only see, so to speak shrinking back and living in fear, that determined “dwelling in God’s promise” focus shows our faith.

“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;  it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac your descendants shall be called.”  He considered that God is able to raise people even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type.”  Hebrews 11:17-19.  When we consider God as Almighty and able to do anything, that belief in the almighty power of God shows our faith.

“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt;  for he was looking to the reward.”  Hebrews 11:24-26.  When we believe “in whom (Christ) are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  Colossians 2:3, that shows our faith.  See Hebrews 11:6 above generally about the element of faith that is a belief that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him.  When we look for such rewards in Christ, the “rewarder”, that shows our faith.

“By faith he (Moses) left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king;  for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.”  Hebrews 11:27.  When we do not fear the bad things that we can only see, but endure, that courage and endurance show our faith.


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