Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall
have no pleasure in him.
39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
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We can touch heaven by faith.
1 - Evidence If you were called to be a witness in court, would you claim eye-witness evidence from a belief or a hope? The judge would not likely be impressed. Paul here says that, by faith (belief and trust), we may claim the promises of God as certainty. This claim assumes that we will be faithful in meeting any conditions in the promises which depend on our choice. See Paul's own witness 2ti0112.
2 - Elders obtained Did you notice that the heroes of faith do not begin with Abel? Who are these elders and why did the writer mention them here? nu1332.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of
God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.Comments
.4 ¶ By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts and through faith, though dead, he still speaks. (NASB)
.5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
.6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
7 By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
.8 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Jesus said He would return, but He hadn't.
4.. By faith Abel and Enoch are seen to be righteous and pleasing to God. leading to the statement in v6 that it is impossible to please God without faith.
4 - By faith Abel He trusted that God's way was best. ge0403.
4 - Obtained witness Literally, "was witnessed to."
6 - Without faith ... impossible How could faith be so important? Because it is a gift for which we are accountable. ro1203. The example of saving faith is in verse 5. Some believe that God will answer any prayer if the faith of the person asking is strong enough. But God decides. God's plan helps us remember that we do not control Him. What we request must be accorging to His will 1jo0514,15. Some claim the promises of a church including bowing to images as the heathen do ex2003,4.
.9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise:
.10 For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
.11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
12 Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitude, and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.
- Sojourned ge2304.
10 - [Abraham] looked for a city How good foundations would be for someone who lived in tents! He died in faith without having realized the promise. See he1036 and see on v39.
11 - Sarah Account beginning ge1715, ge1809, ge2101 (birth of Isaac). She was 90 when Isaac was born.
12 - Sprang ... good as dead "The strength of faith in this case was, that there was simple confidence in God in the fulfilment of a promise where all human probabilities were against it. This is, therefore, an illustration of the nature of faith. It does not depend on human reasoning, on analogy, on philosophical probabilities, on the foreseen operation of natural laws; but on the mere assurance of God--no matter what may be the difficulties to human view, or the improbabilities against it." (Albert Barnes' Complete NT Commentary)
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen
them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed
that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.
15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.
.16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.
- These all died in faith That is Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob, and Sarah.
13 - Not having received That is, they had not experienced what had been promised.
13 - Embraced Or "greeted" or "welcomed."
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had
received the promises offered up his only begotten son,
18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
19 Accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
.22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
|17 - Abraham This is the supreme time of faith in God's promises. His only heir was to die. ge22.|
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents,
because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the
.24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter;
25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.
.28 Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.
.31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.
- Moses ... choosing rather Moses' case is helpful for those
who give up wealth to follow Christ. For Moses' times of faith see v24-29,
25 - Pleasures of sin Would being king or prime minister have been sinful? Joseph apparently didn't have a problem accepting a high office in Egypt ge4141-43. The expectations for Moses were probably different. The Pharaoh (king) was also considered a god and Moses would be refusing the call of God. The choice to choose God's plan was before he killed the Egyptian.
26 - Reproach He identified himself with his Hebrew people who were a low class in Egypt, and then made slaves. We need to pray for discernment to understand true value. Compare wealth with salvation mt1626.
27 - Nor fearing ... king His faith choice was to fear God and to trust Him as protector.
28 - Passover ... blood See ex12.
¶ And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of
Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and
Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
.35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
- Time would fail me At the end of time, we will see heroes
of faith such as those characterized here. Compare mt2531ff.
35 - Women received dead Each Elijah and Elisha were used to restore life to a boy. See 2ki0434.
38 - jb3006.
And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect
- Obtained a good report They are like the two faithful spies
who learned about the Promised Land but could not enter it until 40 years
later because the others lacked faith. Their report was showing faith that
God would keep His promises.
40 - Without us not made perfect Many believe that good people go to heaven when they die. Here we can see that this is a mistake. Abraham died. Did he go to his reward? (receive the promise v39)? The verse says, No. What did heaven mean to him? The city with foundations v.16 Verse 40 here says that none of the heroes of this chapter will be made perfect "without us" (the living). Abraham is still waiting. Paul shows the same picture in 1st Thessalonians 1th0416. And he explained to the believers at Corinth that both dead and living at the coming of Christ must be changed to immortality and incorruption (made perfect) 1co1550., 1th0415.