“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
For those who have read this scripture thousands of times, as I have, and still don’t fully get it; the question begs to be asked; “Why?” What is it about these 15 words that are so baffling to so many?
The first thing we need to understand is that faith is not a human virtue. Faith is part of God’s eternal Nature and Godhead, and it needs to be revealed to us. It involves mind renewal and discipline, and a willingness to replace our thoughts with God’s Word. Faith is not something we can just figure out in our head! It requires time spent reading and meditating in the Word of God.
Over the years, I’ve heard many preachers and Bible teachers place all the emphasis of this verse on Faith. But I believe this verse is telling us that Hope is where we need to start, because, without Hope, Faith has nothing to work with, nothing to give substance to! “Faith is the substance of things HOPED for.” So, we need to start with Hope!
Hope is like a thermostat. A thermostat alone is powerless until it is connected with a furnace or air conditioning unit. That’s what the world’s hope is like. It’s like a thermostat that’s not connected to any dependable source. Bible Hope, however, is connected with God’s Word as its source. Once a thermostat is set, it will begin to regulate the furnace or the air conditioner until it produces the right temperature. Once the temperature in the room reaches the setting on the thermostat, the power sources will cease and only re-engage as needed to maintain the temperature.
The furnace, or air conditioning unit can only supply what the thermostat calls for. In the same way, faith can only supply what our hope calls for. If our hope is set on a Promise from God’s Word, it will begin to create an inner vision that will activate the Spirit of Faith! And though that vision may not be obtained yet in the natural, or revealed to our senses yet, it is still true because it is connected to the Source of all sources, the Source that created all things, and that is the The Word of God, who was made flesh and dwelt among us!
Hope is what anchors us to all that God has promised us, and hope literally places the same kind of demand on our Covenant Promises that a thermostat places on its power source. That’s why David said, “But I will hope continually, And will praise thee yet more and more.” Ps. 71:14