What does it say?
Hebrews 11 highlights the importance of faith. Without faith one cannot please God. The author of Hebrews gives a classic list of Old Testament figures that represent the essence of what it means to have faith. These faithful believers who have gone before us should stimulate us to strip away any distractions and live in the same pattern of faith we see in them and in our Savior. Any suffering is not because God does not care, but rather that he cares enough to discipline us and bring us to full maturity. The way of a disciple of Jesus Christ is infinitely better than anything that has existed before (Heb 12). God is concerned for every aspect of our lives, and we should live in accordance with the grace that we have received and not by trying to please God by keeping the details of the Law. We please God by living by faith in every aspect of life to bring praise and glory to him (Heb 13).
What does it mean?
The author of Hebrews distills the essence of pleasing God to be faith, believing that God is, and that God rewards those that seek him. This is to be the focus of life, not a desperate, fanatical attempt to satisfy all the details of the Law. Fittingly enough, the examples put forth in Hebrews 11 are all well-known figures from the Old Testament. Though they lived in the days of the Law, they are known not for their efforts to observe all the many legal requirements of the Law, but because of their mature and deep faith in God.
The theme of pleasing God carries through the final two chapters of Hebrews. Just as the Old Testament examples mentioned pleased God by their faith, we are to follow in that same pathway. The Law is good because it reflects God’s nature and the requirements of his holiness. But those that have placed faith in Jesus Christ no longer live under the Law, but rather the spirit of the Law lives in us. Through faith we activate God’s power within. We now have the freedom to please God and to fulfill all that the Law pointed to because God’s Spirit is in us. Genuine biblical faith will affect every part of life in tangible and visible ways.
How will I respond?
How is my faith visible? If I were accused of being a follower of Jesus Christ, would there be enough tangible evidence to convict me? What is one practical step I can take today that will result in my faith being visible to others?