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Hebrews 11 and the principles for spiritual growth and life in Jesus
Daniel can be described as one man who had immense faith in Goddespite the suffering that he went through under the hands of theBabylonians. It is evident from the book of Daniel that he extremelysuffered and was jailed by the Babylonians for failure to be cowed totheir ungodly ways of life. While in captivity, Daniel was taught allthe principles of the pagan ungodly life, but he remained faithfuland truthful to the God of Israel (Epp 175). God gave Daniel theopportunity to work in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon asone of the best and rising stars. However, this never made Daniel tochange his mind in regard to his faith in Christ. He was persecuted,humiliated and experienced immense anxiety and he never turnedagainst his God of Israel.
The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego is a common one sincenursery school times. This was a group of people who were jailedtogether with Daniel by the Babylonians. Although they were young menat the time, their faith was unshaken by the suffering and the deaththreats they receive from king Nebuchadnezzar. They were thrown intoa fierce fire for failing to bow down before an idol god (Lee 66).The three were not ready to disown their God of Israel. The biblestates clearly in the book of Daniel that they were threatened withdeath before they were thrown into the fire, but stood by their faithdespite the suffering.
In Genesis 22:2, Abraham’s faith was tested the limits. He wentthrough extreme anxiety and suffering when a voice from the lordcommanded him to sacrifice his only son to God. Abraham neededimmense faith in God that he would resurrect his son or else he wouldprovide a substitute animal to sacrifice. This was, however, not tohappen until the last minute when God provided a ram for theoffering. Abraham believed in God and obeyed his commands. It wouldhave been very easy for him to shun the faith to save his only son.However, his faith has been phenomena in encouraging today’sbelievers.
In Hebrews 11, the author of the chapter presents two forms of faiththat was exhibited by believers in the bible. There is the faithwhich is describe in Hebrews 11:1-34 and the other faith is describedin verses 35-38 of the same chapter. The initial form of faith wherethe believers received deliverance involved believers who saw theresults of their faith. For instance, when Sarah was promised by Godthat she would get a son despite her old age, she believed and shefinally received the son (Lee 110). In other words, people whomanifested this form of faith were delivered from their predicamentsby God. There is an end result to the suffering and predicament thatthe believer goes through. In this form of faith, God promises todeliver to the believer. Another perfect example is that of Noah whowas told by God to build the arc.
The second form of faith involve suffering because of one’sbelieves. More often than not, this form of faith involves suffering,where a person’s faith is tested to the limits. When Daniel,Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego were jailed and persecuted, they heldonto their faith and believed in only the God of Israel. These is aform of faith that requires the people to remain faithful despite thetribulations and suffering they might be going through. Another clearexample of Stephen who was stoned to death because of his faith inGod. Despite the beating and suffering, Stephen held onto his faithand he knew too well that there is a great reward in heaven for hissuffering.
The two forms of faith are similar in that they both require thebeliever to believe in God. They are both about having confidence andassurance something and someone we do not physically see (Hebrew11:1). In both forms of faith, believers are confident that theirgreatest reward for their faith is ending up in the kingdom of Godwhere they will sing and rejoice for eternity.
The implication of the verse in Habakkuk 2:4 that the righteous willlive by his faith is that for any believer in God to have unshakablefaith in God, they must be people of integrity and virtue. Theiractions must be moral and must depict their righteousness. People whokept holy faith such as Noah were described as being righteouspeople. Righteousness is a significant aspect for both believers whoreceive by faith and those who remain faithful in suffering.Righteousness enables these believers to believe in what they do notsee. When Abel brought back an offering to God that was better thanthat of Cain, God called him righteous due to his faith.
Righteousness requires the believers in faith to do only the rightand justifiable things through God in whom they believe.Righteousness was imperative in the cases of the people whomaintained their faith in suffering such as Daniel and Abraham. Thestrong stand to remain as servants of God of Israel required a boldstep of righteousness (Hazell 87). It would have been possible forthem to denounce God for the sake of their wellbeing. However, due tothe righteousness, they were able to withstand the suffering for thesake of their faith in God.
Believers who receive by faith are also required to haverighteousness and honesty within themselves. In other words, thesebelievers must believe that God will deliver on his promises. Thatzeal and impetus that enable believers to hold onto their faith inone God is righteousness. Believers must be honest with themselvesand must only do the things, which are deemed as right before theeyes of the Lord.
The teachings of Hebrews chapter 11 have an immense effect to thecontemporary Christianity. The church congregation in thecontemporary world can benefit immensely from this passage. To startwith, the congregation at the church can learn to believe and haveconfidence in what they do not see. It is also evident that thecongregation may sometimes go through suffering before the watchfuleyes of the Lord in a bid to strengthen their faith. The churchcongregation must learn to wait unto one God without losing hope. Inaddition, the church congregation must believe in the promises madein the bible. It has been evident that the Lord has fulfilled all thepromises he made to the believers who had strong faith.
In my person walk with the Lord, the passage has increasinglystrengthened my faith in God. The passage has rejuvenated my faith inGod. The passage has also been insightful since I have noted that thepromises of God never fail. Equally, the passage has taught me theneed of being righteous in my personal walk with the Lord. Lastly,the passage has taught me that there are rewards for the people whoremain faithful in the Lord.
The contents of this passage can be extremely helpful whileconvincing the lost in the community. It is imperative to inform thelost in the society of the good things that the Lord did to thepeople who believe in him in the Bible. Quoting people such as Danieland Abraham will be critical in convincing the lost in society toreturn to the Lord. There is need to inform the lost in society thatthere is no difference between the times in the bible and thecontemporary world and that the things that the Lord did to thebelievers in the bible can be done to them if they believe in God.
Epp, Theodore H. Faith in Action: Practical Lessons from BibleCharacters in Hebrews 11. Lincoln, Neb: Back to the BibleBroadcast, 2009. Print.
Hazell, Curl O. Real Faith in Action: The Demonstration of NinePrinciples That Characterize Authentic Faith. Eugene, or:Resource Publications, 2009. Print.
Holy Bible, New International Version. (Colorado Springs): Biblica,Inc., 2011. Print.
Lee, Frank T. Old Testament Heroes of the Faith: And Other OldTestament Character Studies. Boston, Mass: Stratford Co, 2007.Print.