Faithfulness – Day 2

But the fruit of the Spirit is … faithfulness. (Gal.  5:22-23).

Sweet friends, I can’t help it.  I used my concordance again.  “Faithfulness” is 4102 “pistis” which is translated as, simply, faith in the King James version and defined in Strong’s as “persuasion, i.e. credence; mor. Conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher), espec. Reliance upon Christ for salvation; abstr. Constancy in such profession; by extens. The system of religious (Gospel) truth itself: – assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity.”

This exact same word is what the writer of Hebrews dives into defining, explaining and exhorting his readers about.  Below I have typed a large, but excerpted, portion of Hebrews 10:35-12:3.  It was really hard for me to asterisks-out numerous of the faith examples, but my poor fingers couldn’t take typing the entire passage – so please, grab your Bibles as well to read the passage in its entirety, too.

Here goes:

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.  You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.  For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay.  But my righteous one will live by faith.  And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.”
But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  This is what The ancients were commended for.   By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.
By faith Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain did.  By faith he was commended as a righteous man, when God spoke well of his offerings.  And by faith he still speaks, even though he is dead.
By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found because God had taken him away.  For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.  And without faith it is impossible to please god, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
All these people were still living by faith when the died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.  And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth.   People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.  If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return.  Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one.  Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.
And what more shall I say?  I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.  Women received back their dead, raised to life again.  Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection.  Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained a put in prison.  They were stones; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword.  They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated– the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.
These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.  God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinds and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.  (Hebrews 10:35-11:6, 11:13-16, 32-12:2).

1. In what ways does this passage define and describe faith?

2. What acts did the faith-filled (faithful) people mentioned in this passage conduct?

3. Did the faith-filled people in this passage (other than Jesus) receive the promises before they died?

4. What is hindering your faith now?  What sin easily entangles you?  If you have a trusted friend, confess these things to them.

5. How does this passage tell us we will be able to run with perseverance the race marked out for us?

Bonus question 😉 if you had time to read the entire passage, which Old Testament person stuck out to on this reading?  Why?

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