Hebrews chapter 11 is widely known as the great faith chapter because it gives us marvelous examples of how Old Testament people exercised their faith in God and were blessed tremendously for it. However, before it goes on to give us the “faith list,” God gives us an admonition by telling us that faith is such an important part of the Christian life that we cannot please Him without it.
Let’s examine a scripture which demonstrates plainly why faith is so important.
But 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 diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
Think about this for one moment, you can give not just the tithe, but all of your money to God and His work. You can devote your whole life to where every spare moment is spent serving Him in some capacity. You can devote many hours each day to prayer and Bible reading. Yet even if we did all of these things and did not have faith, it would not please God.
Faith is a substance that God has placed a significant deal of emphasis on all throughout His Word. On top of that, faith is what makes God become real in our lives. His divine presence is everywhere, so faith is what draws Him into our lives. It’s the element which enables us to fully embrace Him as whom He really is based on the account of His Word.
Our Deeds Must be Motivated by Faith.
With regard to receiving God’s unmerited acceptance and favor, we must go through His only begotten Son Christ Jesus. The same key principle also applies to faith in the sense that in order for our deeds to be acceptable and pleasing before God, they have to be done by faith. The Bible says in (Romans 14:23) that anything that’s not from faith is sin, thus displeasing to God.
This scripture truly reveals to us that anything that’s not done by faith is either done out of selfishness or ignorance or some combination of both. The point is that whatever we’re doing for God, our whole desires of our hearts have to be directed toward Him, so He must be preeminent in everything we do.
Besides, the focus must always be on Him in everything that we do by ensuring we act out of our trust in Him. We act out with a desire to please and glorify Him. Another key point is that faith and humility walk hand and hand. In other words, faith is the essence of humility. Faith is based on us acknowledging to God our inadequacy, inability, and our own unworthiness by seeking His favor. God wants us to exercise faith in Him in the context that it must always be all about Him, whom He is, His ability to provide, and so on instead of us.
Faith must be the element that our deeds have to be centered on because faith glorifies and pleases God. Most importantly, God is always seeking glory from us; therefore, He does great things for us and through us in order for Him to be glorified. On the other hand, we cannot honor Him while harboring unbelief toward Him and His Word in our hearts as well as acting out of a desire to please self.
When we exercise faith in God, that very act elevates Him to a much higher level in our lives. Our total trust in Him is nothing more than us depending on Him as the only One capable of meeting all of our needs. Our faith also stresses that He’s the only One worthy of being relied upon in a complete fashion. Lastly, our faith creates an environment in our lives that allows God to be whom He is.
This is a key distinction that completely sets Christianity apart from other religions. It also helps to explain why we say Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with the true God. Other religions place the emphasis on doing things to please their god of gods. This is why other religions are based on a works type salvation and teach what you have to do to obtain salvation. By contrast, the bible shows that salvation is all about what Christ has done for us by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Just think about that for a while, the most important aspect of salvation has to do with inheriting eternal life from God. If salvation was based on works, the question is how long would someone have to work in order for him/her to have been able to earn eternal life from an eternal God while we are just finite being? That’s impossible, isn’t it?
How Faith Really Works
Sadly, many Christians conduct their lives as if they need to follow a formula and exercise some type of ritual in order to obtain God’s favor. In the area of giving, it is done either out of a sense of obligation or a belief that if they don’t God will reach down from heaven and strike them. On the other hand, if they put a certain amount of money in, God will then help them to get that promotion at work they have been praying for. This is not faith.
On the contrary, when we step out on faith and put our tithe in the offering plate, knowing that to do so means some bill won’t get paid. We look up to God and say, “I don’t understand this, but I am going to obey you anyway because I love you and trust you to somehow make everything all right.” God wants us to offer to Him our offerings out of our sincere love for Him in response to His unconditional love extended to us along with His goodness, and faithfulness. That’s the main reason our whole heart must be engaged during the process.
By taking such leap of faith, you’re telling God that you won’t allow life’s issues to keep you from glorifying and pleasing Him by your willingness to exercise faith in Him even when things don’t look good. Real faith has to do with making sacrifices unto God that don’t even seem to make sense to us humanly speaking in response to our current situations. Additionally, faith always puts God to the test in the sense of relying upon Him by firmly believing that He’ll not stand by and watch things spiraling out of control into our lives.
When that happens, and we truly don’t know what the outcome of our obedience will be that is exercising faith, and God says that pleases Him. I don’t know about you, but that gives me a wonderful feeling to know that God is pleased with me. I know of some people who believe in God, yet are sadly mistaken and believe that their works can save them and get them into heaven. I have met scores of these types of people while out presenting the gospel door to door. Some of them would crawl on their knees through broken glass if they thought it would please God.
The tragedy is while these people are longing to receive the favor of a holy God, He makes it available for the simple act of acting out on faith and does not require works as a condition of His love. By our simple act of trusting and having faith in Him, He will look down on us and say “I am pleased.” Amen.