Sunday, August 14, 2011

PT4 THE GREAT ADVENTURE i.e. Practical Faith (Pt7 Living Life To Its Fullest)
"Ave Christus, morituri te salutamus!"

    One final look at the Greek words for substance and evidence shows us some interesting things about faith.  For substance the Greek word is hupostasis and for evidence the Greek word is elegchos.
*Substance - Hupostasis hoop-os-tasis; a setting under (figuratively support), concretely essence, or abstractly assurance (objectively or subjectively): - confidence, confident person, substance.
Evidence - Elegchos (el-eng-khos) is defined as; proof, conviction: - evidence, reproof, and is taken from a root word elegcho (el-eng-kho) meaning to confute, admonish: - convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove.
It is interesting to note that hupostasis is only translated into substance in Hebrews 11:1.  Otherwise it is translated as;
  • confident or confidence (2 Cor 9:4, 11:17, Heb 3:14/NKJV)
  • person or nature (Heb 1:3/NKJV & NASB respectively)
   Hupostasis not only means assurance or confidence, but also implies support and when used in a concrete way it means essence, so when Hebrews 11:1 says; " is the substance of things hoped for..." (NKJV) the Greek word shows that faith is assurance/confidence "of things hoped for" and that the "things hoped for" are supported by faith. i.e. faith gives substance/essence (not in a literal sense) to our hopes (as long as they are aligned with God's will).  So our definition;
"Now an intimate and personal trust in the truthfulness of God and the reliability of His word is the essential nature of things hoped for, the proof of things not seen."  needs to be modified;
"Now an intimate and personal trust in the truthfulness of God and the reliability of His word is the confidence or assurance we have of things hoped for, the proof or conviction of things not seen.
    However, faith does not stop there as true faith goes beyond mere confession.  When Hebrews 11:1 states; " is...the evidence of things not seen." (NKJV)
   It is saying faith is the conviction that the "things not seen" will become reality, so in essence faith becomes an "outward sign of things not seen".  This is supported by the rest of Hebrews 11 as it gives examples of faith in action;
"By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith." (Hebrews 11:7/NKJV see also Genesis 6:1 - 8:22)

"By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going." (Hebrews 11:8/NKJV see also Genesis 12:1-9)

"By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace." (Hebrews 11:30, 31/NKJV see also Joshua 2:1ff & 6:1ff)

   Looking at the first example we see Noah shows faith by building and preparing the ark. Additionally, not only did Noah work on the ark himself but also involved his family.  This was no small task considering the ark was a huge vessel which took them 120 years to make.  So, for Noah (and his family) the "outward sign of things hoped for" was a three story boat roughly 450 feet/135 meters long, 75 feet/ 22.5 meters wide and 45 feet/13.5 meters high which took 120 years to build.  Furthermore, not only did Noah and his family build the ark, but they had to gather and prepare all the materials to build it as well as gather all the provisions needed for themselves and the animals while they were in the ark.  In essence there was no way Noah could hide his faith in God.
   So the ark was definitely an "outward sign of things not seen";
  • Noah could not see God.
  • Noah could not see all the animals much less collect or get to all of them.
  • Noah could not see any rain on the horizon (remember it took 120 years to build the ark)
    In addition, many believe that up until Noah's time there had never been rain on the earth, if this was the case then the idea of water falling from the sky would seem ludicrous at best and insane at worst.  So, true faith produces action.  This is very important to note as this demonstrates the difference between true faith and belief.  Scripture plainly shows that faith is not just belief,  James hits the nail on the head;
"But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works." (James 2:18/NASB)
   Furthermore, James also states;
"You believe that God is one You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder." (James 2:19/NASB)
   The fact is that demons know there is a God, being fallen angels means they have had the opportunity to experience God in a way we as humans will not until after we pass on from this earthly plain.  Yet demons do not exercise any faith in God other then the certainty that they will be judged and condemned.  Obviously it is one thing to say I believe in God and quite another to have and manifest faith in God. True faith is not someone simply stating, "I believe in God."

*NOTE: all definitions are from Strong's Greek Dictionary of the New Testament

"Simul iustus et peccator"*
*Martin Luther

cowboy image source;
Visualphotos; Cowboy Riding Horse through Plains
fallen angel image source;
CanvasReplicas; Paradise Lost

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