Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dead Faith Speaks (Hebrews 11:1-4) 060809

It has been quite awhile that I have blogged my refection devotion on Hebrews. For past one month, I have been very busy with some family matters and coping with changes in my life. One of the changes is that I will again become a father. Today, I will begin the series on Hebrews 11, meditating upon some of the characters and events mentioned in it.

When I was a young Christian, I read a book by Dr. John White which explains that faith is our response to God’s love. This definition deeply ingrained in my subconscious, after all that book was probably the first Christian book I read. But as I grow in the Lord, I also understand that faith is actually the person, Jesus Christ. And Hebrews 11 gives the biblical definition as the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (v1).

Sometimes, to understand faith can be very confusing. I was from a charismatic church whereby I was taught that if I have enough faith, I will be able to move mountains and do the impossible; my knee pain will be gone. But I always have this tinkling question within me: how do we measure faith? How much of faith is enough?

When I read verse 4 of Hebrews 11, I see my name – Abel! I chose this name as my baptism name because it starts with the letter ‘A’, and God had regard for Abel and for his offering (Gen. 4:4). I had no idea what Abel really means or what is the offering that made God had regard. Abel actually means vapor or short breath or meaningless! What a good name! But Abel offered a better sacrifice than Cain (v4), simply by faith.

I am facing some ministry decision to be made lately which will affect me and my family drastically. I am not sure whether I have the ability to do it, but I say yes to God and by faith I step forward. I think, by faith is not simply doing what is right, but doing with a right attitude. I may not be successful in my new ministry, but it is alright. At least, I am right with God in regard to my obedience to Him. Anyway, Abel died. He is dead after he offered his offerings; killed by Cain. But Hebrews says that Abel still speaks.

Dead faith speaks. The faith of a dead person speaks. The faith of a dead person speaks of his faithfulness and righteousness with God. The faith of a parent who had failed in bringing up his child in the way of the Lord speaks of his earnest prayers for his child night after night. The faith of a student who fails his O or A level speaks of his willingness to love and help others out of his comfort zone. The faith of a retrenched manager speaks of his generosity and good leadership of the past.

No wonder Leon Morris, a commentator on the book of Hebrews says that “Faith is a present and continuing reality. It is not simply a virtue sometimes practiced in antiquity. It is a living thing, a way of life the writer wishes to see continued in the practice of his readers.”


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