Faith – Substance and Evidence
My text today comes from Heb. 11:1. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I want to notice some things about this text verse today. Here we see that the writer of Hebrews informs us of two things: First, faith is the substance of things hoped for. Second, that faith is…the evidence of things not seen. In other words, “Faith” is the basis of our “Hope”; and, “Faith” is the basis of the “Evidence” that what we hope for is true.
My sermon today will concentrate on these two thoughts.
Faith is the Substance
Our text verse tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…”
The thought being conveyed here is that faith is the substance or realization or assurance of things hoped for. Faith is what we have in lieu of the tangible items that we will one day have. Without the actual items (persons, place, gifts, blessings, etc…), we have only “Faith” as the substance of these things.
Faith is the Substance of our Salvation.
We read in 2Cor. 5:6-8, “6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” The Apostle Paul understood that we live a mortal and physical life, while trusting in an immortal and spiritual salvation. He reminded the Corinthians that we walk by faith, not by sight. We walk in The Way. We cannot see The Way, except by Faith. We cannot know The Way, except by Faith. We cannot enter The Way, except by Faith.
So, in the realm of salvation, “Faith” is the beginning and the ending of the substance of things hoped for. In fact, our Faith is such, that we are willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. When we are absent from the body, and present from the Lord, then “Faith” will no longer be the substance of our salvation – we will see and behold Jesus Christ with our own eyes! It is at that time that our faith shall be sight.
In fact, to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord is actually what our Faith looks forward to. That is the end of our faith. We read in 1Pet. 1:7-9, “7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” We haven’t yet seen Jesus Christ with our eyes. And yet, we love Him. We haven’t yet seen Him with our eyes. And yet we believe, and we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. How can this be? Well, the simple answer is because of “Faith” that God has given unto us. But, even as Peter explains to his readers, at His appearing our faith shall be sight. In fact, faith as a substance will exist no more. We will receive our glorified bodies, and we will dwell with Him forever in the Fullness of Salvation - Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
Faith is the Substance of our Relationship with God.
So, “Faith” is the substance of our salvation. But, as we live out our salvation, I want you to notice that “Faith” is the substance of our relationship with God. We read in Jn. 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” Your relationship with God in Heaven, is not based on sight; but, rather, your relationship with God in Heaven is based on “Faith.” Faith is integral in our relationship with God. Faith is the substance of our relationship with God moving forward in our salvation.
Faith is the Substance of Hope.
We read also in Rom. 8:24, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?” This verse reminds us, again, that we cannot depend on physical sight, or on our own eyes. In fact, the “Hope” that we have – every bit of “Hope” that we have, is based on “Faith.” As the Father, through the Holy Spirit, blesses us with faith, we believe and trust in God. And, as we believe and trust in the power and might and love of God, we will, more and more, manifest a sincere and true “Hope” in the promises of God. But, without that “Faith” there would be no “Hope.” The hope in God that we have, is based on faith that we have from God. We believe in God, and therefore we hope for Him and to one day be with Him.
Faith is the Substance of Eternal Glory.
We read in Col. 1:27, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:” Those that are saved, live in an expectation of Eternal Glory in the presence of Jesus Christ. Now, we do not currently possess the fullness of that Eternal Glory – but we do live in anticipation of it. This is what “Faith” is. It is the substance of that which has not yet been fully realized. When God wanted us to know something of the riches of the glory, He reminds us of the presence of Christ in us – which is our hope of glory. We read in 2Tim. 2:10, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” We know and believe that we shall be glorified one day. We know and believe, though we cannot see it yet with our own eyes, that we shall enter Heaven based upon the Meritorious Person and Work of Jesus Christ our Saviour. And, through faith we believe and trust that we shall forever dwell with Him there.
Paul also told Timothy, “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (1Tim. 1:17.) Notice that our King is eternal, immortal, invisible. How can we love and trust and believe in Him without Faith? In actuality, Faith is all we have – and that faith comes from God. How can we know that all Glory is God’s, without faith? How can we know that Heaven exists, and our place there is certain, without faith? We cannot see God yet, but through Faith we have all of this confidence and certainty. “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2Tim. 4:18.)
Faith is the Evidence
Let’s return to our text verse, and think about the second of our two main thoughts: “Now faith is…the evidence of things not seen.” The thought being conveyed here is that faith is…the evidence or conviction or proof of things not seen. Faith is proof that these things that are not seen, must and do exist! This Conviction or Proof can be expressed both Inwardly and Outwardly. It can also be expressed by us, or by God Himself.
Faith is the Evidence of the Existence of God.
Let me show you that faith itself acknowledges God, and is an evidence of His very existence. We read in Heb. 11:6, “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.” The fact that some people demonstrate faith, the fact that you and I, in particular, demonstrate faith in God, is proof or evidence of the existence of God. Now, I know that we do not need to prove God’s existence. And, I know that God does not need us to champion His cause in order for His existence to be satisfactorily acknowledged. But, the fact that there is such faith in God, and the fact that men do acknowledge Him and His existence, lends evidence that God must exist, and He must be Who He says He is.
In reality, in order for “Faith” to truly exist, there must be a recipient or an object for that faith. There must be someone or something that we have faith in. The faith that we have – whether it is proof to others or not – is at least proof (evidence) to us that God does exist. Otherwise, why would we continue to believe and trust in Someone who is not real?
Faith is the Evidence of God’s Love towards Us.
Not only is “Faith” and evidence or proof that God exists; but, “Faith” – at least the faith that God gives His people, is evidence of His love towards us. We read in Eph. 2:8, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” Since we have faith to believe in God; and since this faith does come from God; this must mean that God loves those to whom He administers faith. In other words, out of all of the wicked members of mankind, if there are those that believe and trust in Him as their Saviour, this is evidence of the Love that God has towards those that are His.
Faith is the Evidence of Our Love towards God.
In addition to being an evidence of God’s love for us, “Faith” is evidence of our love for God. We read in 1Jn. 4:15-19, “15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us.” When we manifest faith towards God, we are manifesting that He has loved us and saved us from our sin. And, in response to that love that God has for us, we are bound to love Him and serve Him and be faithful to Him. The fact that we believe in Jesus Christ means that He must have loved us. The fact that we love Him in return, is proof that we believe Him and trust in His love and faithfulness towards us.
Based on what John said in the verses that we have just read, you could say that Faith is the evidence of our love for God in this way: He that has Faith, must also have Love.
Faith is the Evidence of the Obedient Child of God.
Finally, let me remind you of one more aspect of our lives in which “Faith” is an evidence, and that is in the area of our Obedience and Service unto God. We read again in Heb. 11:6, “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.” The Faith that God has given unto us; and the faithfulness in which we trust and serve Him, is an evidence of our desire to serve and please our God. In fact, if God does not first of all gift us with “Faith”, then we cannot please God. And, conversely, after we are saved by the Grace of God, if we do not demonstrate “Faith” or “Faithfulness” towards God, then we cannot please God. As the verse that we have just read reminds us, in order to be saved we must believe that he is; and, in order to serve Him – and as a motivation to love and serve Him even more, we must believe that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Faith is necessary in the realm of service unto God! Faith unto God, as we demonstrate that faith in our day to day lives, is evidence of the Obedient Child of God.
As James said, I believe that Faith will always lead to works. “17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:17-18.) Just as “Faith” is evidence of so many things in our lives; even so, we can see that Works are Evidence of Faith. Do we have the Faith that we have been discussing? If we do, then we will have the Works to show that Faith.