Posted November 20, 2012
6 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.
If you ask the average person on the street what faith is, you'll generally hear an answer that sounds something like "a belief that things will end up ok" or a "confidence in self". Often it's less about the object of one's faith and more about a hopeful disposition or posture one holds in the face of adversity. The Bible, however, teaches us that biblical faith is much different than this! One of the key chapters where we learn about faith is Hebrews 11, known as the "faith chapter". It teaches us about what faith is--a "persistent hope in the promises of God", namely those fulfilled in Jesus Christ through his life, death, & resurrection--, that it's essential for any person who wants to please God, and gives us examples of those who evidenced this faith throughout the Old Testament.
In Hebrews 11:2 we learn that, "by it [faith] the people of old received their commendation." This week's verse nearly mirrors verse 2 by stating the inverse: that without faith, we cannot please him. What sort of faith is this? A faith that believes 2 things:
1) That He exists (or is).
See verse 3 in chapter 11 for more on this. We learn that the universe was created by the word of God. We are not accidents, and we are not alive by chance! God existed before the world came into being and will exist after it. He is the Creator, we are the created. He is the Maker, we are the made. Do you believe that God is the "God who is there"? This does take faith, but biblical faith doesn't stop there. It also trusts in the next statement.
2) That He rewards those who seek him.
In the same way our forefathers came to God, so do we: by faith. While ultimately promises were made in the Old Testament that were fulfilled in the New Testament, faith is what unites us (see Romans 4). Were all these people listed in Hebrews 11 rewarded for seeking God? Yes, but perhaps not in the way we might imagine! We see from verses 32-38 some examples of people of faith as conquerors (conquered kingdoms, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, etc.) and others who seemed to be conquered (sawn in two, killed by the sword, mocked, etc.). If we saw the lives of those who were a part of the latter group, we'd say that they were not rewarded in their faithful pursuit of God, but rather even cursed. However, regardless of the outcome of faith in this life, we learn that for both conqueror & conquered (in the eyes of the world), the ultimate reward is found not in this life, but rather the life after this life (see verse 35)! This is our great reward of the faith: not necessarily that everything will go our way (though at times it does), or that the cancer will disappear (though at times it does), but that through faith in Christ, we get God Himself! What do you put your faith in? What's the object of your faith? A faith in self or a faith in Christ? The first will lead you to the grave, but Christ will lead you to God Himself (your greatest reward)! If you want to read more about why faith pleases God, check out this blog with a lengthy quote by John Piper (http://fighterverses.com/blog-post/why-faith-pleases-god/).
This week's artwork was created by Zach McNair, a Houstonian who's an incredibly talented creative director & photographer (http://work.zachmcnair.com/). We have 2 songs submissions for this week. One was written by Aaron Hale, a singer/songwriter & worship leader out of Houston, TX (http://aaronhale.bandcamp.com/). The second song is actually our very first instrumental song written by Zach McNair (mentioned above), Neil Sandoz and Logan Samperi.
You might wonder why we're posting an instrumental song. The Verses Project exists to "empower the memorization & meditation of Scripture". We believe this song is two things: 1) A musical representation or interpretation of the verse. 2) A meditational tool to assist in engaging with this verse. May this instrumental song be used by God to help you meditate on this verse! Here are a few of Zach McNair's thoughts as to how & why he wrote this song:
"When you guys approached me to do artwork, I really wanted to step into the challenge of writing music as well. I've never released anything at this scale and thought it'd get me out of my element. When I first read Heb 11:6, I immediately had this sense of death and life and dark to light. Without faith, it is impossible to please Christ. However, Christ richly rewards those that seek him and believe he exists.
I wrote the framework for this piece having both the verse and the visual artwork in mind. Once the three elements were in place, I gave the music to Neil Sandoz & Logan Samperi. These fellas really brought contrast and color to this piece in ways I simply could not have done without. Because of the stages in life we were in, the three of us had to write and record this song in three separate locations and combine our ideas via Dropbox. After everything was said and done, I mixed the track and sent it to you to enjoy."