“He (Moses) kept right on going because he kept his eyes on the one who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27b NLT)
What we think about comes about. What we choose as the subject of our focused attention, whether with our eyes, mind and/or heart, becomes, over time, the driving force of our lives. Problems arise when the focus of our lives becomes distorted, when we lose focus or discover we’re focusing on the wrong object. There are so many tempting targets designed to redirect our attention.
Faith in God is interesting on many levels but can become confusing when we begin to realize the Person who is to be the focus of our life, is invisible . . . or is He? That’s one of the primary reasons Jesus was born. The Apostle Paul in Colossians 2:8-9 wrote: “Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.” What does that mean?
Jesus was God in human form. He came to illustrate, give visibility to, and instruction regarding, not only who God is, but how His life should be lived out by those who profess to follow Him. What can we learn from the great examples of faith highlighted in Hebrews 11?
The writer begins in verse 1: “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Faith gives us sight/vision/insight into that for which we hope and assurance/conviction that what we’re hoping for will come to pass. What did the people esteemed for their faith in Hebrews 11 have confidence and assurance would happen?
Foundationally, that the God of their faith was the Master Designer, Creator, and Sustainer of all that is now visible, which, ironically, derived it’s form from nothingness. God spoke life into existence in all it’s glorious forms. That’s why Paul spoke in Romans 1:20: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature.”
In like manner, those who professed faith in this invisible God, gave evidence of His presence through the way they lived and the things they accomplished for Him. Over and over the verses of chapter 11 begin by saying: “It was by faith that…” But what was it that guided the hearts and minds of those who for centuries walked be faith? Their confidence was in the God who always keeps His promises. God’s kept promises gave visibility to and built confidence in His reliable character. They weren’t following an idea, they were following a Person.
Yet, verses 39-40 say: “All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.” Perfection here means completeness or fulfillment that came about in Jesus’ birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension. Jesus had a “round trip” ticket, from heaven to earth and back to heaven. That’s why He was able to say from the Cross: “It is finished!”
What He said literally means: “the debt was paid in full.” What debt? The sin debt that is impossible to be paid by man. Christ satisfied God’s justice by dying in our place to pay the penalty for the sins of everyone who will ever come to Him. What is essential for us to understand is Christ alone can offer forgiveness for the debt He paid on our behalf. Why is that? Because sins can only be punished once, either by a God-appointed Substitute (Jesus) or by ourselves. That’s what hell is – our eternal effort to pay the sin debt we owe, that can never in all eternity ever be paid in full by us. The only sin that can’t be forgiven is the one for which forgiveness is never asked.
That’s the promise of God that people across the centuries were holding out by faith would be fulfilled in Christ alone. That’s how much Jesus loves you. He gave His life for your sin and mine, so we’d never have to be separated from Him again. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Blessings, Ed 😊