The Path of Faith (Hebrews 11)

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by NetChaplain, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    In chapter 3 believers are addressed as partakers of the heavenly calling. In chapter 11 we learn that heaven has been secured to the believer, for Christ has entered heaven itself now to appear in the presence of the Father for us. In chapter 10 we learn that believers have been fitted by the work of Christ for heaven, so that, even now, while on earth, they can enter in spirit into heavenly fellowship within the veil.

    In chapter 11 we have set before us that path which the heavenly man is to tread as he passes through this world on his way to heaven. The teaching clearly shows that from the beginning to the end it is a path of faith. Remembering to whom the Epistle is written we can understand that a whole chapter should be devoted to the insistence of “faith” as the great principle by which the believer lives. “The just shall live by faith.” These Hebrew believers might have special difficulty in accepting the path of faith, seeing they have been brought up in a religious system that very definitely appealed to sight. The Jewish religion centered around a magnificent temple with its alters and material sacrifices offered by an official priesthood clad in beautiful robes, including ornate ceremonies according to a prescribed ritual.

    All this, however, had been set aside by Christianity into which they had been brought. These believers had to learn that in Christianity there in nothing for sight, but everything for faith. Moreover, the seen things of the Jewish religion were only the shadows of good things to come; whereas the unseen things of Christianity are the substance. They were called to go without the Jewish camp to reach Christ, who was in the outside place of reproach. Having come outside, the Apostle warns them not to “draw back.” The Apostle’s exhortations and warnings have solemn voice for us today, seeing that Christendom has to such a large extent drawn back, not perhaps in the full sense of the words used in chapter 10:38, 39, for that is actual apostasy.

    Christendom has drawn back in the way of imitation. It has copied the Jewish system once again in rearing magnificent temples, with visible altars, and appointed official priests to conduct elaborate ceremonies which appeal to sight and the natural man, while raising no question of conversion or the new birth. Thus Christendom, though not giving up the profession of Christianity to go back to Judaism, has attempted to link Judaism on to Christianity. The result is that Christendom is losing the vital truths of Christianity, into which the true believer can enter, while retaining the outward things of Judaism which the natural man can appreciate.

    In this great chapter we leave the shadows behind to enter the path of faith in which alone the real and vital things of God can be known and enjoyed. We learn, too, that in all dispensations faith has been the vital link with God. The great realities to which we have come in Christianity can neither be touched, nor heard, nor seen by the natural man; then can only be known by faith. This fact must have been especially testing for the Hebrew believers accustomed, as they were, to a religious system in which everything was designed to appeal to man in the flesh.

    Now they found themselves introduced to that which was entirely new, and which set aside all the things that appeal to sight. They had to learn that the things of Judaism were but shadows, and the unseen things of Christianity were the substance, the reality. Everything for sight is gone, and they, with ourselves, are brought into a wonderful circle of blessing which only faith can apprehend and appreciate.

    - Hamilton Smith
     
  2. BobRyan

    BobRyan
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    It is hard to accuse them of struggling with "faith" when they are held up before the NT saints in Heb 11 as the giants of faith. "The cloud of witnesses" that surrounds us that is to inspire us and to call us to follow their example.

    Indeed, Enoch and Elijah - taken to heaven without dying. Nothing like that had happened even to NT saints to that point in time!!

    The God-ordained Nation-Church doctrine of Israel - did not teach righteousness by works as some have assumed, nor even "another gospel" as some have cast it.

    "For the Gospel was preached to US just as it was to THEM also" Heb 4. "There is only ONE Gospel" Gal 1:6-11 "The Gospel was preached to Abraham" Gal 3.


    And it begins with the visible presence of God in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. Then it continues with the visible presence of God in the Most Holy Place - in the form of shekinah glory. Then it continued in the form of the Urim and Thumim on the breastplate of the High Priest. And eventually that visible form dies out as the Ark of the Covenant is hidden by Jeremiah and the nation goes into exile.

    At some point all they have left - (before the cross) - is a visible preisthood, synagogues and a down-size ark-less, Shekinah-less Temple.

    And once they rejected the Messiah - Christ in Matt 23 pronounced on the nation - the "curse of Solomon". That would come to fulfillment once the 490 years of Dan 7 had completely expired just 3.5 years after the death of Christ.

    And would see a striking termination in 70 AD at the once and for all final destruction of their temple who services had long since become meaningless by the once-for-all death of Christ as the antitype for all blood sacrifices and blood offerings.

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  3. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    Hi Bob - I appreciate your replies because they are always instructional and applicable, and here you've brought up a good point. My usually-posted material such as this is circa 1700's-1800's, and therefore it can often be difficult to assimilate certain intentions of the author's concepts, due to the usages of their language.

    I believe the central point of the article has to do with the two qualities of faith; seen and unseen faith, as exemplified by the Lord Jesus in John 20:29; which is the difference between God bestowing faith by sight (still resulting only in the comparatively few believing) during the OT dispensation, through to the cessation of the Apostolic dispensation.

    Following the end of these dispensations God gradually removed faith by sight in order that faith would reach its greatest point (seeing that this life is the only) before it becomes walking by sight again.

    For the sake of establishing faith, I believe God had to start with sight because they did not have the advantage we have of the "Spirit bearing witness with our spirit," more of God's Word, nor the encouraging examples (as you've mentioned) of those before us.

    I believe some of the material from the second to the last and last paragraph very possibly helps concur with this view:

    "This fact must have been especially testing for the Hebrew believers accustomed, as they were, to a religious system in which everything was designed to appeal to man in the flesh.

    "Now they found themselves introduced to that which was entirely new, and which set aside all the things that appeal to sight . . . they, with ourselves, are brought into a wonderful circle of blessing which only faith can apprehend and appreciate."

    "And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect (Heb 11:39, 40); "and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them" (1 Thess 4:16, 17).
     
  4. BobRyan

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    Paul says "Now we see through a glass darkly - but then face to face". 1 Cor 13:12. WE look foreward to that day - but as you point out ... the longer the sinful world continues the more the separation, the darker the mirror, the more faith is required for as Christ said "the god of this world comes and he has nothing in me". Adam and Eve start out with the most direct visible manifestation of the presence of God - and then it declines over the centuries.

    We live as strangers in Satan's world in which case as Paul said in 2Cor 4:4 "the god of this world has blinded their eyes".

    in Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    Yes, He is the "god" and "prince" of this world. The "world" refers to unbelievers, which consists of the majority of mankind. Though this world (planet) and everyone in it is the Lord's (Psa 24:1), it is not His kingdom (John 18:36). Though the entirety of mankind belongs to Him, most are not His, because He does not have possession of them, nor they of Him.
     
    #5 NetChaplain, Nov 17, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2013
  6. BobRyan

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    The saints are "aliens and strangers" in this world Heb 11.

    Satan even states to Christ the he owns this world (Matt 4).

    But of course above Satan - God owns all and after the cross Satan knows that his dominion on earth is limited "he has but a short time" Rev 12.

    Paul introduces the saints - the giants of faith in Heb 11 not as second class citizens - but as first class citizens and no wonder because in Heb 4 he stated that they had the "Gospel preached to them".
     
  7. NetChaplain

    NetChaplain
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    Hi Bob - Not out of refutation but to share with you, that I believe Satan's claim to have the capability to give the world to Christ was a pretense, which Satan himself knew, and was a test to see if Jesus would fall for it. He can only be allowed that which is in this world as use, and nothing to him is ownership. I believe Jesus knew of His ownership, esp. in His temptations of Satan.

    You make a good point concerning Heb 4 concerning the Gospel being presented in the OT dispensation. It was preached to them the in types, figures and shadows through the sacrifices, and it is preached to us in the substance.

    God's blessings to you Family Brother!
     
  8. BobRyan

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    Thanks. May God bless you.

    I agree that Satan is not the ultimate ruler of the world - because he only took what Adam had and Adam was not in the highest sense "God" he was simply a sinless human created by God. So while his dominion is given over to Satan -- it was always a limited dominion held under the domain of God Himself who is over all.

    Yet to the degree that there is a just and legal system in heaven - Satan had the title to this real estate. What is interesting is that even after the cross the NT writers refer to him as the "god of this World".

    in Christ,
    Bob
     

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