The first four ‘elders’ named in Hebrews chapter 11 have some simple lessons to teach us in relation to the nature of living by faith.
From Abel we can learn that faith enables the worship of God. Both he and Cain brought an offering. However, the superiority of Abel’s sacrifice is seen in that it met with the approval of God. How so? It is not so much that his sacrifice communicated righteousness to him, but rather that faith had enabled Abel to grasp something of the character and commands of God, and, in obedience, he worshipped appropriately. The expression of worship is obedience. This is underlined for us as the apostle states that the gospel is the message which is ‘made known to all nations for the obedience of faith’, Rom. 16. 26, and faith that brings salvation is faith that enables a life of obedience.
Enoch would teach us that faith enables walking with God. It is faith that unlocks the enjoyment of the time spent in fellowship with the Lord. While eternal life prompts the desire for such fellowship, faith is essential in the practice of it. Such was Enoch’s practice, that God would not even allow death to separate him from the enjoyment of walking with Him. Note, too, that this harmonious walking with God was something he was known for. His walk among others was completely governed by what pleased God. How do we walk?
In Noah’s experience, we see that faith enables working for God. It was through faith that Noah embraced the word of God and acted. God could have simply taken him and his family through the flood, as He would do with His people when He delivered them through the Red Sea, but in Noah’s case faith is seen in up to 120 years of hard work which, eventually, provided safety for his family, but also stood as a declaration of the nature and character of God to a rebellious world. Have we heard His call to ‘work’?/p>
Finally, Abraham demonstrates that faith enables waiting on God. Abraham, left all on the basis of a call. He travelled from Ur trusting the promise of God, with his hope centred and secured in God. He travelled every day expecting the promise to be fulfilled. How do we travel in this world? Are we ‘waiting’ confidently and expectantly on the fulfilment of His promises? ‘If I go … I will come again’, John 14. 3.
Once again, we express our appreciation to all those who have written for this issue of the magazine and pray that the exercise of their faith will help us build up on our ‘most holy faith’, Jude 20.