Hebrews 11 is called the Hall of faith. It is a list of the great works of faith of the heroes of the bible. Note that it is not works of the law but works of faith. Faith is trusting in Jesus that all your sins are forgiven and that God loves you. So they did these works trusting Jesus and knowing God makes them righteous.
Hebrews 11:1 Now our trust in God is the guarantee of what we hope for, the evidence of what we can't see.
Other bibles translate trust above as faith. This is a definition of faith. Faith is believing and receiving. You can't receive God's promises without first having faith. When you have faith you take possession of the blessings God is giving you through the work of Jesus.
Hebrews 11:2 2 People who lived long ago trusted God and this is what gained them God's approval.
When you have faith in Jesus, God approves of you. God's approval does NOT come when you try to do the works of the law to make yourself right with God. It comes when you believe the blood of Jesus has already made you right. Always remember, righteousness comes by faith, not by works.
Hebrews 11:3 3 Through our trust in God we understand that the whole universe was created by God's command, that what can be seen was made out of what cannot be seen.
The rest of Hebrews 11 are examples of works of faith.
Hebrews 11:4 4 By trusting him Abel offered God a better sacrifice than Cain, and as a result God identified him as someone who lived right. God showed this by accepting his offering. Even though Abel has been dead for a long time, he still speaks to us through what he did.
Abel was declared righteous because he offered a better sacrifice than Cain. Cain offered from the work of his hands (the fruit offering). But Abel gave an animal sacrifice that involved blood. This was a picture of Jesus sacrifice on the cross shedding His blood for the forgiveness of sins.
Hebrews 11:5 5 By trusting God Enoch was taken to heaven so he didn't experience death. He couldn't be found on earth because God took him to heaven. Before this happened he was known as someone God was pleased with.
Enoch lived by faith and his faith pleased God.
Hebrews 11:6 6 You can't expect God to be pleased with you if you don't trust him! Anyone who comes to God must believe that God exists, and that he rewards those who are searching for him.
Even Satan and his demons believe God exists. That is not enough to please God. You must believe God exists AND has good in store for you. How can you be sure God wants to bless you? You must first be sure that the blood of Jesus has removed all of your sin and made you righteous. Then, once righteous, you can be sure God will bless you. So have faith in Jesus and be blessed!
When you come into God's presence, the attitude that pleases God is one that expects God's blessings because of the blood of Jesus (not because of your own works).
Hebrews 11:7 7 Noah trusted God, and was warned by him about things that had never happened before. Because Noah paid serious attention to what God said, he constructed an ark to save his family. By trusting God, Noah showed that the world was wrong, and received the reward of being set right by God.
Noah's faith in God made him right with God. He was righteous by faith (not by works; not because he built a boat; but because he believed God was good).
Hebrews 11:8 8 Through trusting God Abraham obeyed when God called him to go to the land God was going to give him. He left, not knowing where he was going.
Abraham trusted God, and God did not disappoint. He became very rich in land and possessions and became the father of many nations.
Hebrews 11:9-10 9 Trusting in God he lived in the promised land---but as a foreigner, living in tents, together with Isaac and Jacob who shared with him in inheriting the same promise. 10 For Abraham was looking forward to a city built on foundations that last, with God as its builder and maker.
By faith in Jesus we also inherit God's promise as Abraham did.
Hebrews 11:11-12 11 By her trust in God even Sarah herself was given the ability to conceive a child though she was too old, because she trusted God who had made the promise. 12 That is why the descendants of Abraham, (who was as good as dead!), became as numerous as the stars of heaven, as countless as the sand of the sea-shore.
Sarah also received the promise through her faith.
Hebrews 11:13 13 They all died still trusting in God. Though they didn't receive the things God promised, they were still looking for them as it were from a distance and welcomed them, acknowledging that on this earth they were foreigners, people just passing through.
They died in their faith because Jesus had not come yet. But we live in the time after Jesus has redeemed us! So we live in the best time. We already have the result of the promise available, Jesus himself as our high priest. The forgiveness of sins. To be called the children of God.
Hebrews 11:14-16 14 People who say such things make it clear that they're looking for a country of their own. 15 For if they cared about the country they'd left behind, they could have returned. 16 But they're looking for a better country instead, a heavenly country. That is why God isn't disappointed with them, and is happy to be called their God, for he has built a city for them.
God is pleased with them because they believed God had something in store for them that is better what the world has to offer. They believed what they couldn't see was better than what they could see.
Hebrews 17-19 17 Abraham trusted God when he was tested and offered Isaac to God. Abraham, who had accepted God's promises, was still ready to offer to God his only son, 18 even though he'd been told, "It's through Isaac that your descendants will be counted." 19 Abraham had thought it through and decided that God could bring Isaac back to life from the dead. In a sense that's what did happen---Abraham received Isaac back from the dead.
Abraham offering Isaac is a picture of God offering Jesus as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins.
Hebrews 20-26 20 Trusting in God, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to what the future would bring. 21 Trusting in God, Jacob as he was dying blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped God, leaning on his staff. 22 Trusting in God, Joseph too, when his own death approached, spoke about the exodus of the Israelites, and gave instructions about what to do with his bones. 23 Trusting in God, Moses' parents hid him for three months after he was born. They recognized he was a special child. They weren't afraid to go against what the king had commanded. 24 Trusting in God, Moses, when he grew up, refused to be known as the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter. 25 Instead he chose to share in the sufferings of God's people rather than to enjoy the temporary pleasures of sin. 26 He counted the rejection he experienced from following Christ to be of far greater value than the wealth of Egypt---because he was focused on the reward to come.
Hebrews 27-32 27 Trusting in God, he left Egypt and wasn't scared of Pharaoh's anger---he kept going with his eyes fixed on the invisible God. 28 Trusting in God he observed the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroying angel would not touch the Israelites. 29 Trusting in God the Israelites crossed the Red Sea as if it were dry land. When the Egyptians attempted to do the same they were drowned. 30 Trusting in God, the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and the walls fell down. 31 Trusting in God, Rahab the prostitute didn't die with those who rejected God, because she had welcomed the Israelite spies in peace. 32 What other examples should I give? I don't have time to talk about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah; about David, Samuel, and the prophets.
The blood is a picture of the blood of Jesus.
Notice, all the good works were accomplished by faith!
Hebrews 33-34 33 Because of their trust in God they conquered kingdoms, did what was right, received God's promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 put out blazing fires, escaped being killed by the sword, were weak but made strong, did mighty deeds in war, and routed enemy armies.
Look at all the amazing things that faith accomplishes!
Hebrews 35-37 35 Women were given their dead family members back through resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to compromise and be pardoned, because they wanted to be part of a better resurrection. 36 Yet others suffered insults and whippings; they were put in chains and imprisoned. 37 Some were stoned, cut in pieces, tempted, killed by the sword. Some dressed in sheepskins and goatskins: destitute, oppressed, and mistreated.
I'm glad we don't have to go through these things! The only requirement for us is to have faith in Jesus!
Hebrews 38-40 38 The world was not worthy to have such people who wandered in the deserts and mountains, living in caves and holes in the ground. 39 All of these people, even though they had God's approval, didn't receive what God had promised. 40 God has given us something even better, so that they can't be complete without us.
We have something better; we live after the cross. We can enjoy all the blessings and benefits of Jesus as our high priest today. Not is some far off future. Today we can enjoy being redeemed children of God. We are not looking at a shadow or an image and hoping that sometime after we die we will be resurrected. We have the very One, Jesus the messiah and we can enjoy all the blessings today.
So now you see, it is only by faith that we can please God. All of the old testament heroes that pleased God, they did not earn his pleasure by doing works of the flesh under the law. They did not produce righteousness by working hard to do right. They had faith. And out of that faith come righteousness and a right relationship with God. And through the spirit, the good deeds were accomplished. It was God's power that accomplished the works, not man's. But they are all works of faith, not of the law.
(All verses from the Free Bible Version Bible)
Author: Lyall Jonathan Di Trapani 08 Feb 2015