In comparing the generation of Moses with our generation, the author of Hebrews writes,

For good news was proclaimed to us, just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united BY FAITH with those who listened. For we who have BELIEVED enter that rest.   (4:2-3a)

It’s crucial to see we do NOT enter God’s Rest based on our merit, because of our good works.

In a world system of merit, of climbing the corporate ladder, of constantly (restlessly!) trying to prove yourself worthy at work, on Facebook, wherever . . . the Bible is really clear about this very counter-cultural idea, that we are saved NOT because of our works, but because of God’s grace, through faith in HIS work, His provision, His gift.

“By grace you have been saved through faith.  This is NOT your own doing; it is the gift of God, NOT a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  (Eph 2:8-9)

Since we are saved by Faith, since we enter God’s rest by Faith . . . it’s rather important to understand what exactly IS Faith?   And what is it NOT?

Biblically speaking, “faith” is NOT:

  • ‘Spiritual Intrigue’ (‘Miracle Chasers’ looking for images of Jesus on a tortilla, etc.)
  • Faith is not a ‘mystical gut feeling’, a subjective vibe:  “I’m totally a person of faith, very spiritual – I’m into crystals & meditation, you name it!”
  • Nor is Faith is merely objective precision of theology:   James writes “the demons believe God is one.” – they get their monotheism right, and might get 100% on a theology quiz – but they’re not going to enter God’s rest!  They don’t love God, they don’t worship Him.

Hebrews 11:1 describes what the biblical concept of Faith IS:   

“Faith is confidence in what we hope for, the conviction about what we do not see.”

The Greek word transated “conviction” means  “a proof/persuasion from evidence”. So, someone can be “convicted” of a crime due to evidence against them.  Or, positively, someone can “have convictions” due to reasons they think stand up to the evidence.

So faith being “conviction about what we do not see, does NOT mean faith is “blind”!  (faith is not the opposite of reason!).

Faith is confidence regarding a future which is indeed “unseen”,  however Faith has crystal clear 20/20 vision of the past:   God’s PROVEN Faithfulness

About to enter the Promised Land, but afraid of what’s ahead, God reminded Israel:

(Deut 7:17-19)   You’re saying to yourselves, “These nations are stronger than we are!”  But do not be afraid of them!  REMEMBER what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh and to all Egypt. You saw with your own eyes the great signs & wonders, the mighty hand with which the Lord brought you out.  Trust the Lord your God to do the same [as you enter].”

Biblical Faith is based on God’s proven Faithfulness!

So, God is the “object” of our faith!

  • Despite common thinking today, Faith is NOT just about “sincerity” (If a taipan snake just bit you – you can believe with the utmost sincerity that the medicine you’ve just taken will stop the lethal effects of the venom.  But if you were given cough medicine instead of proper anti-venom . . . you’re dead!

Biblically Faith must have the right object of faith.  And that’s not us – NOT “believing in myself”

Biblical Faith is based on God’s PROVEN Faithfulness!

And Hebrews 4 ends with PROOF Positive of God’s faithfulness: Jesus crucified for us!

In summary:

Grace = God Reaching Down with undeserved favour & forgiveness in Christ!

Faith = Us Grabbing Hold of Christ, in total reliance on Him alone to save us!

Hallelujah!  The Promise of Entering God’s Rest Still Stands!…Do you have saving faith?