Monday in the Thirtieth Week of Ordinary Time

Hebrews 11:4-7

By Faith…

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  It has always been this way.  Chapter eleven has often been called the “Role Call of Faith” as it lists Old Testament saints from more than a thousand years before.  You will sometimes hear some say that people in Old Testament days were saved by obeying the law.  That is NOT true.  No one was ever saved by performing works of the law but condemned. The Preacher reminds us of this here as he lists the old saints and nowhere says, “By works….”  It is always by faith that one received his commendation from God—in this case by looking forward to the promise God made them.  Granted, they showed forth many good works which this chapter plainly illustrates, but those works were born of faith.

And what promise was it to which these looked forward?  In a word: Christ.  Oh, he was prophesied in different ways, but always promised.  Did Abel know of the promise to his mother concerning the seed who would conquer the serpent: “He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15)?  I think he did.  And why would Noah build an ark had he not faith that God would one day bless the world and even leave a rainbow as a sign (Genesis 9:1-17)?  And why the promise to Abraham that all the nations would be blessed in him, that is, through his seed (Genesis 12:3)?  These Old Testament saints knew of the coming Messiah.  Granted, their knowledge of Christ was dark compared to ours as we live on this side of the cross, but it was real, and they proved it by works that far outshine ours.

So now we have the examples.  First is Abel whose sacrifice was accepted while his brother’s was not.  And why was his accepted?  God answered Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted” (Genesis 4:7)?  In other words, Abel pleased God and Cain did not, else his sacrifice would have been accepted.  Then we have Enoch about whom we would love to hear more specifics.  But all we are told is that “he walked with God” (Genesis 5:24), and we must assume that he did so in intimate fellowship that God should up and bring him home.  And then we are reminded of Noah who obeyed what no doubt seemed a foolish command given that nothing of the kind had ever happened before then. 

But these pleased God and did so the only way God will be pleased: By believing that He is, that His word is true, and by obeying that word; that is, by faith.  And if we shall be saved, we shall be saved the same way: Through faith in Christ.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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