Faith is the Assurance of Things Hoped For
Today's lesson comes from the pen of Douglas Hoff, a friend and fellow gospel preacher. His excellent article has been copied below for your consideration.

Everyone has faith of one kind or another. Some people have faith in their own abilities, others place their trust in the government and some look to their family to see them through difficult times. There is, however, one faith which is vitally important in this life. That is faith in God. The Bible tells us - "But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him" (Heb. 11:6).

Since no one will be in God's heaven without faith, it is necessary to determine what kind of faith God wants us to have. The one verse which best describes this faith is Hebrews 11:1. One translation has - "Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen." Thus, faith gives us a firm confidence in things outside the normal experiences of man. Faith gives us hope for the future and keeps us going when life's problems sorely try our patience.

Paul wrote that Christians walk by faith, not by sight. By this, he meant that we can have a firm conviction in the things God tells us about. For example, none of us was present when the world was created yet we can confidently assert that God created everything (cf. Heb. 1:1,2). There are many other things which we cannot see with the physical eye but we can believe in them through faith in God's word. We "see" the reality of heaven, hell, the resurrection, and even God Himself through the eyes of faith.

How can we have the assurance or conviction about such things? It is based on the reliability of the evidence God has presented. The scriptures reveal to mankind the facts of the case. The Bible claims to be inspired and numerous articles have presented some of the abundant proofs of this claim [e.g., consider our feature lessons from 01/29/05, 02/05/05, and 02/12/05 - SRB]. Since it is from God, the Bible can be trusted to present error-free information.

Why then do so many people not believe in God or trust Him to help and save them? Some never bother to take the time and effort to investigate the Bible. A jury cannot reach a fair verdict without considering the evidence. Others may have read some or all of the Bible but choose to reject the evidence. They do not like the claims God makes on their lives and so they choose to reject the facts. When people realize they cannot refute an argument they often resort to attacking the witness or evidence presented. However, this approach has never altered the facts. It simply reveals a lack of integrity on the part of the one rejecting the truth. Still others do not believe in God because they think Bible claims are too incredible. Far too many have said things like "How could God create the world in just six days? That's impossible!" To man's limited mind and power this is a mighty big claim but we need to remember God is not a man. He created us by His great power.

Only by developing a faith in God through a knowledge of the scriptures can one ever have true confidence to face the future. When one's life is ordered by the word of God, it will please the heavenly Father. Through faith the Christian enjoys a calm assurance that heaven will be his reward after this life is done.