Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1
Historians say the Atomic Age began on July 16, 1945, when the first nuclear weapon was detonated in a remote desert of New Mexico. But Greek philosopher Democritus (c. 460–370 bc) was exploring the existence and power of the atom long before the invention of anything that could even see these tiny building blocks of the universe. Democritus comprehended more than he could see and atomic theory was the result.
The Scriptures tell us that the essence of faith is embracing what can’t be seen. Hebrews 11:1 affirms, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” This assurance isn’t the result of wishful or positive thinking. It’s confidence in the God we can’t see but whose existence is the truest reality in the universe. His reality is displayed in His creative works (Psalm 19:1) and made visible by revealing His invisible character and ways in His Son, Jesus, who came to show the Father’s love to us (John 1:18).
This is the God in whom “we live and move and have our being,” as the apostle Paul put it (Acts 17:28). As such, “we live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Yet we don’t walk alone. The unseen God walks with us every step of the way.
In a world where seeing is believing, in what ways do you struggle to live by faith in God? What has strengthened your faith, and in what areas do you need to rest in Him more fully?
Father, sometimes it’s a struggle to believe what I can’t see. Nevertheless, You’ve promised Your faithful love and that You’ll never leave me or forsake me. Help me to rest in that promise.
After a call to perseverance in the faith in Hebrews 10:23–25, the author begins chapter 11 with a definition—typical of a discourse on a particular subject—defining faith as “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (v. 1). Both Greek words used to define faith—confidence (Greek hypostasis, “a giving of substance to”) and assurance (Greek elenchos, “a proving of”)—emphasize faith as an active way of life in response to what we know to be true. Though much of the future that faith hopes and longs for remains unfulfilled and unseen, people of faith move forward in response to God’s leading and their experience of His faithfulness. Hebrews 11 traces through Jewish history heroes who exemplify this lifestyle of active faith, culminating with Jesus, the ultimate Hero of faith (12:2–3).