“Cutting to the Chase” Meditations 25: Faith or Trust
Heb 11:13a“All these people were still living by faith when they died.”
This is only the second time we’ve mentioned faith in this series but it is such an important element of who we are and who we are becoming that it will be at the heart of the remaining studies. We are in the Hebrew 11 ‘Gallery of Faith’ and the writer points out that all those he had written about held on to that faith until death.
Remember we are still pondering on who we are and what we can become, and the word ‘faith’ must surely be one of the most significant in working this out. As a starter, we might ask ourselves, is faith so important to us that we will keep checking that we are living by faith – hearing God and responding to Him – and determine that we will do that right up to the end? A worthy and wise goal.
Now we are going to focus on faith for the remainder of this series but before we do that, we should distinguish faith from its cousin, trust. Faith comes from hearing (Rom 10:17), i.e. it is our response to what God says, whether it be in His word, in preaching or prophecy, or generally through His Spirit. Trust is what we exercise when heaven seems silent, i.e. when we are not hearing from God. Trust is about holding on and remaining faithful in the silence, faith is about stepping out in response to a word from heaven.
Now I believe sometimes in the past at least there has been a certain awe in respect of ‘special’ people in the Christian community who ‘live by faith’, i.e. they trust God for their income. The Schaeffer family of ‘Labri’ fame, who lived in Switzerland in the middle of the last century, were good illustrations of this. They simply prayed for money and the Lord prompted some of His children to send them money, often at the most opportune moments. This, I believe, is very different from the so-called TV evangelists who seems to be constantly asking for money.
But the writer to the Hebrews says all these people in his hall of fame were living by faith, yet when you examine the records, it is rarely about money, it is about attitude and outlook in respect of God.
Now the apostle Paul reminds us of Habakkuk’s words when he declares, “the righteous will live by faith,” (Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11) and he goes on, “we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor 5:7). Now that applies to all of us, not just a special group who have been called to step out in some special way. Every time you pray, you are exercising faith because the Scriptures told you to and now you do it. Every time you read the Bible or worship or share your faith or pray over a friend or family member, you ARE exercising faith. So all these words we are meditating upon now apply to YOU, child of God, man or woman of God – faith person!