By Patrick Hawthorne
Three very memorable, yet frustrating, verses of the Bible are found in Hebrews 11:1-3. They are what I refer to as ‘gotcha’ verses. By that I mean, we think we have a handle on them and then, “Wham!” We are hit with a bit of doubt causing us to question our faith in the very verses that tell us to have faith.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.
(Hebrews 11:1-3 NKJV)
One reason I believe that many of us have moments where we doubt our faith is because we have only a cursory knowledge of what having faith really means. Faith is the substance – the foundation – of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I really had a hard time with this until doing a little exploration of the word, “evidence.” The Greek word for evidence is elegchos (e’-len-khos) which means conviction. To have conviction is to be so thoroughly convinced about an issue that no one, no matter how persuasive their argument, will be able to sway your opinion. For instance, Jesus is Lord. Anyone who wants to argue that fact with me might as well save their breath because I will not budge.
Now, this is just my thought on the issue, but I believe that the other area where people come up short in the faith issue is with the understanding of verse three of Hebrews 11. “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
The word for “worlds,” is not referring to the cosmic world as expressed through many commentaries, but worlds as in time periods or ages. If we take this in light of verse two, we see that the elders obtained a good testimony – a good report – because they framed, through their faith in the promises of God, the age (the time period) in which they lived. To frame means to put in order; to mend or to complete. It is used several times in the Bible in reference to the mending of fishing nets.
We see this through the life of Abraham. He had such a conviction in the promise of God that nothing could sway him from that promise. Now, I’m not suggesting that he did everything perfect, but his faith was so strong that he has become known as the father of faith. Faith is not a sometimes here sometimes there issue, but is a lifetime issue in which we frame our very world by the Word and the promises of God.
In light of this information, let’s look at Hebrews 11:1-3 again. “Now faith is the substance – the foundation – of things hoped for, the evidence – the uncompromising conviction – of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony. By faith we understand that the worlds (the age in which they lived) were framed (set in order; constructed; mended) by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. (Hebrews 11:1-3 NKJV)
How you frame – construct – your world is entirely up to you. You can either frame it by following the negativity of the world, or you can frame it by standing on the promises of God. The choice is yours. I hope you choose to stand. Be blessed.