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. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith. Hebrews 11:6-7
The person who takes God seriously must “believe that he exists” and also believe “that he rewards those who seek him.” What rewards? Forgiveness of sins, righteousness and the gift of eternal life.
The rewards are only for those “who seek” God.
Noah “in reverent fear” constructed the ark that saved his household. His genuine faith was shown in his obedience when God told him to build the ark. His “reverent fear” was shown in his obedience.
Then the word says: “By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”
The rest of the world didn’t follow Noah’s example of faith, and were condemned.
Those who have the kind of faith Noah had inherit the righteousness that comes by faith. Those who don’t will be condemned because of their unrighteousness, and there is not one righteous person without faith. Romans 3:10,23.
Saving faith and reverent fear go together.
Let’s examine another example – this time from the ministry of Jesus:
Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:44-50
“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” “And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”” “Your faith has saved you …”
This was no casual faith on the part of the prostitute. This was reverent fear. Deep respect. She loved Jesus.
Jesus could see into her heart, and saw she had the kind of faith that can be rewarded with divine forgiveness … that would inherit the righteousness that comes by faith.
God does not hand out forgiveness simply because of some casual, momentary, mental spasm that is often mistaken for real faith.
When the Philippian jailer asked what he must do to be saved, and Paul told him to believe on the Lord Jesus, the jailer needed to hear some of the gospel story about Jesus so that he had something solid to believe in.
Then they took him and baptized him the same hour of the night.
Noah hadn’t been baptized. The prostitute hadn’t been baptized. Why then was the jailer baptized?
Because after Jesus’ death and resurrection, baptism became the means whereby a sinner could in faith identify with that death and resurrection as the way to salvation. Before Jesus left the earth for heaven at the end of his ministry, he gave His requirements for salvation:
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16
To confirm that this was what Jesus meant, although Jesus himself hadn’t baptized the prostitute at that salvation episode, the gospel message was accompanied by signs and wonders throughout the first century. See Mark 16:17-20; Acts 2:1-43; 5:12; 8:4-13; 10:22-48; 11:15-18. Every conversion in the Book of Acts
included baptism, along with repentance and faith. It was a salvation package!
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3:27.
There can be no salvation without the baptism of a penitent believer.
But let’s back up a bit and ask why faith is so important? What’s the point of faith? Why want it? A few minutes of reflection will convince most of us that there’s more to reality than what we can see. Where did it all come
A New Testament Scripture assures us that what is seen was not made out of what is seen. Hebrews 11:3. The universe did not create itself. Something or someone unseen created what can be seen.
But because we can’t see the unseen creator, what gives us the conviction about the unseen? Faith does. Faith allows us to see the unseen because Jesus brought it all from His Father to produce faith in us.
At the other end of this we have the unseen future. We all hope for something better. But what we can see is all we’ve got, isn’t it? Without faith, yes! But the unseen creator has prepared a future for which we hope – a future that will never end. But is believing this credible? An excellent question!
Faith becomes convincing when we realize that Jesus came into our world from that unseen world to tell us all about it. Faith is not built on wishful thinking and maybes. Everything that depends on faith can be believed because Jesus was in a position to know the facts and produce faith in us.
· I believe in God because of Jesus.
· I believe in the hope of heaven because of Jesus.
· I believe in salvation, forgiveness and eternal life with God because of Jesus.
· Jesus brought the unseen to earth, proved it was real,
and made it believable. John 5:19; 6:62-69; 8:24-28; 10:10,24-30; 12:44-50; 14:1-12; 16:27-28
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.” 5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. 11 Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else believe on account of the works themselves.” John 14:1-11
So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father's name bear witness about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”
31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.” 34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I said, you are gods’? 35 If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” John 10:24-38
But what if I don’t want any of this or am just not interested or I’m not smart enough to work it all out? The problem is that there is an unseen eternal reality that we will all face one day, whether or not we are interested.
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. John 3:18
Jesus said, “ … unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” John 8:24
For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honour the Son, just as they honour the Father. Whoever does not honour the Son does not honour the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. John 5:21-29
No one’s forcing anyone to have faith in Jesus, but the consequences of rejecting Him, if true, are eternally horrendous, and why risk such a calamitous end to your life when evidence undergirding faith and the unseen is so convincing. Study John 19:30-20:-31 closely to see what we mean. What Jesus did is historically verifiable.