1 "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval. 3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain's. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and "he was not found, because God had taken him." For it was attested before he was taken away that "he had pleased God." 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith."
A Christ-Exalting Faith
by Annette von Jouanne, Ph.D.
Another Christmas season is upon us to enjoy our Lord Jesus Christ stepping out of eternity into time on a rescue mission. Our response is to love Him and receive His ultimate expression of love for us by faith, where "faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see" (Hebrews 11:1). Biblical faith is confidence in God, in Who He IS and what He has done for us. Faith is the foundation for "hope" - confident expectation of coming good - including unseen realities revealed in God's Word that can only be accessed by faith. Our longing for a brighter future positions us to exercise faith, "This is what the ancients were commended for" (v.2). Christ's righteousness was credited to their account, and to ours, causing us to be filled anew with an inexpressible and glorious joy in Christ, for He has achieved for us the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:8)!
Hebrews 11:3 states, "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command...", further illuminating how our Almighty God spoke the universe into existence for us to come to know Him and revealing that faith and understanding complement each other. The entire 11th chapter of Hebrews illustrates examples of faith in the character and promises of God. The people listed in this "Heroes Hall of Faith" are not included because they were great people; they are included because they had faith in our Great God. Another salient feature of faith is revealed in how Adam and Eve are not included, because they experienced God by sight not by faith. In the coming of our Father's Kingdom we will live by sight. What a privilege to be about the work of God's unstoppable Kingdom!
We conclude with how faith is essential to our lives as followers of Christ, "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him." (Hebrews 11:6) When we read the accounts of Christ's life in the New Testament, we find a Savior who gets most excited when people demonstrate faith and believe what He says. What a tremendous opportunity we have to bring God glory, while we are yet walking by faith, loving by faith, and continually asking ourselves, "What does faithfulness to God look like right now?" God's past faithfulness demands our present and future trust in Him, recognizing that the Lord answers our prayers by giving us what we would have asked for if we knew all that He knows. Faith is trusting God and giving thanks in advance, for what we realize will only make sense in the future. As we celebrate this Advent, let us honor the Lord with a Christ exalting faith demonstrating that He is our supreme Treasure. Indeed, Christ is worth everything to follow!
Learn More About Our Guest Writer
Annette von Jouanne, Ph.D.
Annette von Jouanne, Ph.D., is an Energy Systems professor in the School of Engineering and Computer Science. Dr. von Jouanne is also Director of the Baylor Energy and Renewable Systems Laboratory. Dr. von Jouanne specializes in energy systems, including power electronics and drives, and power systems. With a passion for renewables, she initiated the Wave Energy program at Oregon State University in 1998, developing it into an internationally recognized multidisciplinary program. She also co-directed the Wallace Energy Systems & Renewables Facility (WESRF), one of the highest power university-based energy systems labs in the nation.
Dr. von Jouanne has received national recognition for her research and teaching, and she is a registered professional engineer, as well as a National Academy of Engineering “Celebrated Woman Engineer”.