1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
In the previous lesson we studied verse 1 and learned that true faith is something solid – something that is reliable.
2. For by it the elders obtained a good report.
This “good report” was a commendation from God. Those who choose to please God by living for him will not find much commendation from this sinful world.
3. 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.
“Framed” = perfectly put together. God spoke the world into existence. Faith in God’s word brings understanding that those who do not trust God’s word cannot have. Jesus spoke of this as follows:
At that time Jesus answered and said,
I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent,
and hast revealed them unto babes.
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.
Most of us have heard the story of Cain and Abel (in Genesis chapter 4). Both men were sons of Adam and Eve. Both brought offerings unto God. Cain was a farmer who brought “the fruit of the ground”. Abel was a shepherd and brought “the firstlings of his flock”. God respected Abel and his offering but did not respect Cain and his offering. On the surface, this might appear to be unfair, but God judged according to their hearts. The offerings that they brought simply reflected what was in their hearts. Abel’s sacrifice included innocent lambs whose blood was shed. This spoke of the Saviour to come who would give himself as a substitute and sacrifice for Abel’s sin. Cain’s offering was not representative of the Saviour at all and spoke of a lack of faith.
How does Abel yet speak? He is speaking to us through his testimony right now in this study and he speaks to us of Jesus Christ himself.
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.
The Greek word for “translated” in this verse is rendered “carried over” in the book of Acts. Enoch never died - he was simply “carried over” (alive) into the next life. By the way, this is the principle that the translators of the King James Version used – they faithfully carried over God’s living words from the ancient languages into the English language because they loved God and his very words. Those who created the new “bible” versions were not translators in the true sense of the word. They didn’t love or honor God or his words so they changed them to suit their own personal biases. In order to publish a new book it must be at least 7% different from a previously published book. This is another reason that the new “bible” versions are quite different from each other. There is much financial gain to be had by changing God’s word.
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.
Am I a God at hand, saith the LORD, and not a God afar off?
Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD.
Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.
Ask, and it shall be given you;
seek, and ye shall find;
knock, and it shall be opened unto you: