Redemption - Made Whole [Faith]
Updated: Dec 9, 2019
[the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil]
...For what greatness is there in believing what is seen?
Augustine of Hippo. (1888)
Yet a little while, and the coming one will come and will not delay; 38 but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.
As Jesus went, the people pressed around him. 43 And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians, she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Introduction and Objectives
Verse 3, of Hebrews 11 is translated from the original Greek as;
Now faith is the realization of what is hoped for, and the proof of things not seen…
To get us to a reasonable point of grasping the reality of faith we first must acknowledge the unseen object our faith - Jesus. Jesus introduces us to our faith in Him through His plan of redemption for us. When we belief in Him, and have faith in all that He says about us and all that He promises to us, then we are being made whole [completed in Him] - the healing begins. That Jesus has been forgiving and redeeming us even while we were still toxic, hostile, and willfully rebellious is absolutely mind-blowing - but... IT... IS... REAL. His Redemption is real and it is our faith in Him makes us whole. Throughout the gospels Jesus continues to reveal this one eternal truth; by faith-believing in Him we are saved, we are healed, we are set free, we are redeemed - we are made whole. Those are all actual words Jesus said to people as He was forgiving, saving and healing their minds, bodies and spirits. So, He has secured this clear path for our redemption and all He says to us is... "Believe in Me and have Faith to follow Me where I lead you." Faith is walking down that path. Our journey of faith along that path makes us whole - this is redemption, and then the Advent.
At the time of the writing of the book of Hebrews [65-69 A.D.], the Jewish Christians had continued to celebrate Judaism's traditional practices as well as to observe temple worship and sacrificial ritual. Their presence in the temple and the synagogue had been tolerated by their unbelieving countrymen and the temple hierarchy; but by now they were in danger of being excommunicated. Even though they had believed in Jesus as the Messiah this was like being sentenced to death - to be cut off like that felt like being killed. Their reverence and respect for the laws of Moses and all that comes with it had not been diminished by their acknowledgment of the Messiah; for them, as well as for the rest of their race, a deep intensity rested on those ceremonies from which they were threatened with exclusion. They were being told they must recant their belief in Jesus as Messiah or be cut-off from their religious heritage. They were becoming weak in their faith and doubting their confession. So, it is under these circumstances that the writer of Hebrews dials up the most glorious names of Jewish history to re-affirm to them their belief and faith in Jesus Christ. It was not by offering sacrifices, nor by attending festivals, nor by the rituals and exactness with which they had celebrated any external worship and ceremonies, that their great forefathers had won their faith, but by their bold determination and steadfast trust in God.
Intervention: In order to back up his point, the writer of Hebrews (most likely Paul) links two passages of Scripture: Isaiah 26:20 and Habakkuk 2:3–4. Both passages are meant to illustrate how the Jews of the past also had to WAIT for God to intervene on their behalf, and to reassure all who were struggling in faith - weakening under the threat - beginning to believe that God's lack of action or intervention was a failure on His part to keep His promise to return [Advent]. Reminding them that waiting on God is an essential element of having faith in God. Remember... "faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
Faith: This passage in Hebrews is the only place in the Bible where there is a precise and decisive definition of faith. It is SO ironic that the one thing that becomes the jump-starter for all other Christian virtues and gifts—the title used to hold our place as Christians (people of faith)—the one inward Spiritual Gift that validates all our good works—the only path to Christ who alone leads to God the Father, is profoundly revealed to us all as... the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen? Not only ironic but SO consistent with who God is.
substance - no doubt, compete confidence
evidence - conviction, creed, certainty
The writer is saying to his readers, faith is grabbing on to the future in the midst of the present moment, believing in the unseen in the midst of only what can be seen. This is what marks us as people of faith - this is what tattoos our heart saying we walk by faith and not by sight. If the present world was good and not evil, there would be not be much to test or bring obstacles to this faith. Even though we cannot be separated from His God's love as people of faith and we find all that is good in Christ, the world, as humanity has made it, is by no means like the handiwork and creation of God - this is not what He made us for. We see all around us shameless and defiant contradictions to what we are told, that justice, and truth, and goodness are the most things of all things known to man. Yet where is the justice, truth, and goodness? Besides the endless evidence that good is not providing the world its moral compass, we are continually betrayed by similar contradictions within ourselves. In our moments temptation the terrible consequences of giving in seem far away. However much we may be convinced that in the end obedience is better than sin, we find it hard to remember our conviction and covenant in the moment it is wanted. But in the midst of all this, in spite of what our eyes perpetually tell us, and in spite of the strange forgetfulness which our inclinations perpetually cast over us, in spite of contradictions all around us and weakness within us, there is a voice from the depths of our own souls that never ceases to repeat that right is really stronger than wrong, and truth is better than falsehood, and justice is surer than injustice, believing is better than doubting. To believe this voice, and to allow it to guide our life with the conviction that it will guide us to our best outcome; to do this is faith. Trusting the Spirit's voice that speaks within us, even when it contradicts the voices that speak outside of us. To trust what is unseen above what is seen. To believe in what we hear from Him and not what we hear from them. That is the faith He leads us to. This faith is a real force, a power in both the great and small things of our life. Faith is the force and power to support the follower and the seeker by giving both of them access to all the strength of our Savior. The promise to those early believing Jews and to us here today is to give us faith for "the win over sin." Not just the sin out there - but the sin in here (within ourselves) the inward sin that keeps us from being healthy and whole. And this faith is final show of force and power to prove to us that God redeems us to Himself through our faith believing relationship with Jesus. Enough faith to be vulnerable (not soft and weak - but honest and open), to trust and wait on His promises, this is our substance of things hoped for, this is our evidence of things not seen, this is Christian faith. The victory that overcomes both worlds - within and without. Faith to decisively clarify that the hardest enemy for us to encounter is not after all the sight of this world’s cultural hatred, social injustice, and political corruption. It is when conscience, at the very moment of demanding our obedience, proclaims also our sinfulness. Faith for the win over sin - Faith to make us whole.
Conclusion: Faith, It’s Not What You Think
One - Faith is not belief on the evidence of the senses - we should never be navigated to or away from faith solely by what we feel, but by the truth we know.
Two - Faith is not credulity - being naive or lacking sound judgment. However, if we know the truth, it is correct to both rest and act in faith.
Three - Faith is not a mere assent of the understanding - it is a determination to trust God - completely. It happens in rare moments of intentional unity, in times of unquestionable need, in both expected and unexpected moments that are void of doubt and disbelief.
Four - Faith is not subject to being deconstructed by the wisdom of man. Faith must be actively experienced up close - not critically argued from a dissociating distance.
The woman had a menstrual cycle that had lasted 12 years. For her this meant she was publicly condemned as unclean, expelled from all temple worship, and removed from her family and home. She was literally forced to live outside village or town boundaries and had spent all her possible resources on physicians. Anemic, weak and broken she had lost all hope - until she heard about Jesus. What she heard was that He was a healer - he touched the sick and afflicted and they were miraculously made whole by believing in Him and having faith in His words and promises. She found out he was passing through the area where she was and she was suddenly knew that if she could get to him she would be healed - she had nothing to lose, she had already lost it all. Her plan was simple, she would disappear into the crowd and not bother him or even dare to ask him anything - she decided she would not even wait for him to touch her she needed to just get close. Her faith in Him had become so real and alive that she believed if she only could touch him she would be made whole.
She was. When Jesus felt her faith there was a manifestation of redemption - Jesus felt it. He asks... "who touched me"? And now she is seen by all - no longer diseased, cast out, and broken. And Jesus says, "Your faith has made you whole."
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