“All of these died in faith without having received the promises, but from a distance they saw and greeted them. They confessed that they were strangers and foreigners on the earth.”
Hebrews 11:13 (NRS)
All the Faith Hall of Famers “died in faith” not having received the promises but having seen them afar were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth (Heb. 11:13). The word “promises” in this text from Hebrews speaks specifically to the promised Messiah and their future heavenly inheritance.
As “partakers of God’s glory”, we have begun to receive the promises of God on “this side” of eternity (2 Pet. 1.3-11) with the glorious assurance of eternal life on “the other side.” Informed with that knowledge of God (2 Cor. 4.6) and empowered by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8), we can move forward with that which God has set before us “being fully persuaded, that what He (God) had promised, He is able also to perform (Rom. 4:21).
Here are three (3) key principles we can adopt from the Faith Hall of Famers to develop persevering faith.
- We must believe that He who promises is faithful. This requires that we know Him “personally”. Our schedule should include daily communion and fellowship with Him to better understand His will and His ways (Col. 1:9; Rom. 8:27). Would you put your life in the hands of someone you don’t know personally? Our confidence comes from knowing Him (Deut. 33:12).
- We must understand His promises for our life. This is not only those promises we want for ourselves but those He has designated in His Word for us. Some scholars have cited 365 promises of God for His people—one for every day of the year. All the promises of God are “yes and amen” (2 Cor. 1:20).
- We must look past our experience here on earth. While we acknowledge our presence on “planet earth”, we must remind ourselves daily that we are “pilgrims” traveling through this temporary period called “time”. “Seeing afar of” requires visual acuity beyond our natural sight resulting in seeing beyond what we can see. (1 Cor. 2:14-16).
I close with these words from Oswald Chambers concerning faith that perseveres:
Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do—He reveals to you who He is. Believe God is always the God you know Him to be when you are nearest to Him. Then think how unnecessary and disrespectful worry is! Let the attitude of your life be a continual willingness to “go out” in dependence upon God, and your life will have a sacred and inexpressible charm about it that is very satisfying to Jesus. You must learn to “go out” through your convictions, creeds, or experiences until you come to the point in your faith where there is nothing between yourself and God.
SELAH: Meditate on Hebrews 11:13 and then ask the Holy Spirit to reveal what holds you to this earth and unable to “see afar off”.