HEBREWS CHAPTER 11
The purpose of the observation stage is to maintain focus on the text at hand within the normative rules of language, context and logic which limits the observer to the content offered by the book of Hebrews. This will serve to avoid going on unnecessary tangents elsewhere; and more importantly, it will provide the framework for a proper and objective comparison with passages located elsewhere in Scripture.
Remember that something elsewhere may be true, but in the text at hand it may not be in view.
1) [Heb 11:1-13]:
a) [Heb 11:1]:
(v. 1) "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
i) FAITH IS A CERTAIN HOPE OR EXPECTATION THAT GOD WILL DELIVER WHAT HE HAS PROMISED
"what we hope for" = "elpizomenon" =
The Greek word "elpizomenon" refers to a sure hope or expectation
Notice that faith = a certain hope, (corroborated by the word "certain" in the next phrase), in what an individual accepts as true: the promise that God will deliver one unto eternal life or from temporal difficulties as the context indicates.
ii) FAITH IS A CERTAIN ACCEPTANCE AS TRUE THAT GOD WILL DELIVER WHAT HE HAS PROMISED
"certain of what we do not see" =
Notice that faith is also described as a certain acceptance as true that God will deliver what He has promised. The deliverance we do not see until it has occurred, namely the deliverance unto eternal life or from present difficulties, depending upon the context.
b) [Heb 11:2-3]:
(v. 2) "This is what the ancients were commended for.
(v. 3) By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible."
i) FAITH IS PORTRAYED HERE AS AN ACCEPTANCE OF AN OUTCOME THAT GOD TESTIFIED TO IN SCRIPTURE AS TRUE WHICH CANNOT BE SEEN, NAMELY THE INVISIBLE COMMAND/POWER OF GOD WHICH CREATED THE UNIVERSE
"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible =
Faith is portrayed as an acceptance of an outcome that God testified to in Scripture as true in Scripture which cannot be seen, namely the invisibile command/power of God which created the universe.
c) [Heb 11:4]:
(v. 4) "By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did. By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead."
i) ABEL'S SACRIFICE POINTED TO HIS FAITH IN GOD'S PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE RESULTING IN HIS BEING DECLARED RIGHTEOUS AND RECEIVING ETERNAL LIFE
Abel offered the proper sacrifice, i.e., an animal sacrifice, (Gen 4:2-4), symbolizing his faith, i.e., an acceptance as true, that God would provide eternal life through a blood sacrifice of His one and only Son, (Gen 4:2-4), as a once for all time sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. This enabled God to declare Abel a righteous man and provide him with eternal life so that he still speaks even after physical death because he lives eternally]
d) [Heb 11:5]:
(v. 5) By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.
i) ENOCH WAS TAKEN FROM HIS MORTAL LIFE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE AS AN EXAMPLE OF HIS FAITH IN GOD TO PROVIDE THAT
[Because of his faith alone, a man named Enoch was taken from this life such that he did not experience death, implying a reception of eternal life. This is provided here as an example of faith - having a sure hope of eternal life - an acceptance as true that God would provide him with eternal life, being certain of its reception, unseen before his eyes, trusting in God to deliver it. Enoch was commended as one who pleased God with a view to his faith alone, (his actions are not in view, hence are excluded). This is supported in the phrase which follows, "And without faith it is impossible to please God"]:
e) [Heb 11:6]:
(v. 6) And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
i) PLEASING GOD IS A MATTER OF FAITH ALONE - BELIEVING THAT HE EXISTS AND THAT HE REWARDS THOSE WHO EARNESTLY SEEK HIM
[Notice that pleasing God is a matter of faith alone:
1) Believing - accepting as true - that God exists.
2) Believing - accepting as true - that He rewards those that earnestly seek Him
f) [Heb 11:7]:
(v. 7) By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.
i) NOAH BELIEVED IN GOD TO DELIVER HIM AND HIS FAMILY FROM THE AS YET UNSEEN: THE FLOOD AND UNTO ETERNAL LIFE
[Notice that it is implied that Noah had a certain hope - an acceptance as true - that God would deliver him and his family from a coming flood and unto eternal life, which faith alone was credited to him as righteousness, a righteousness which provided him with the as yet unseen future result of eternal life]
g) [Heb 11:8-10]:
(v. 8) By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.
(v. 9) By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.
(v. 10) For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God, [i.e., eternal life]
i) TRUSTING IN GOD TO PROVIDE ETERNAL LIFE TO ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB IS IMPLIED
[Notice that in verses 8-10 eternal life is implied: trusting alone in God for it, a certain hope, an acceptance as true, that God would deliver Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to an eternal dwelling in the promised land - a city Whose Architect is God, an eternal city whose inhabitants have eternal life by faith alone]
h) [Heb 11:11-12]:
(v. 11) By faith Abraham, even though he was past age--and Sarah herself was barren--was enabled to become a father because He [God] considered him faithful Who had made the promise.
(v. 12) And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.
i) ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD WOULD PROVIDE A SON THROUGH SARAH WHICH SON WOULD BE THROUGH WHOM ABRAHAM WOULD HAVE ETERNAL LIFE
[Notice that because Abraham accepted as true, i.e., exercised faith that God would provide a son through natural childbirth with his wife Sarah, God fulfilled that promise and the promise of eternal life to Abraham that was attached to it: Through Abraham's seed would come a Savior Who would provide eternal life such that Abraham would live forever and be able to contemplate his countless descendents in eternity]
i) [Heb 11:13]:
(v. 13) All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth."
i) A SURE HOPE, A CERTAIN ACCEPTANCE AS TRUE THAT GOD WILL DELIVER ONE UNTO ETERNAL LIFE OR FROM TEMPORAL DIFFICULTIES IS IN VIEW
[Notice that we have in view a sure hope, i.e., a certain acceptance as true of the unseen results which God promised:
A deliverance unto eternal life or from temporal difficulties, (depending upon context).
Does that sound like one is doing something - contributing something? Or does it sound like one is relying on God to do it all for one? Saving faith according to Scripture, then, is simply a sure and certain hope - an acceptance as true that God will save one unto eternal life through His provision via Abraham's Seed, God's one and only Son.
k) Heb 11:17-19
HEB 11:17 NIV
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son,
18 even though God had said to him, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."
19 Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death.