“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1
Let me just start by saying that I LOVE the book of Hebrews. I’m not quite sure if one should have a “favorite” book of the Bible, but if it’s allowed, Hebrews is mine. Maybe it’s due to the uncertainty of its human author that causes it to feel like an unsolved mystery to me. Or perhaps it’s because it is filled with strong warnings and pleas for God’s people to keep going, to press on and persevere through the trials they are facing because there is a divine payoff awaiting those who will. And maybe it’s because the supremacy of Jesus Christ above all else is showcased throughout its pages. Whatever the reason, I love this book. It’s one that is worn out in every one of my Bibles. The pages are fiercely underlined and repeatedly turned to. I love the book of Hebrews.
Chapter eleven in particular seems to hold a special place in my heart, as it highlights this topic of faith. Some even refer to it as “The Hall of Faith”, listing many faithful Old and New Testament characters and why they were noted for their faith. Oh to be listed among them someday! I can’t help but to be stirred with hope and conviction in just reading chapter eleven’s opening line. Let’s break it down together, shall we?
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Well, for starters, it’s assurance. It replaces doubt; in fact, it leaves no room for doubt. And the beauty of assurance is that it provides hope. Our assurance of faith offers the hope that we so desperately need as we await the promise of Christ’s return. To be assured of something offers confidence in the face of uncertainty, hope in the face of despair. Faith is an assurance.
It doesn’t stop there, though. Faith is conviction. We have not seen with our own eyes all that occurred throughout the pages of Scripture. Faith is, however, holding to the conviction that God’s Word is fully and completely true, and our eyewitness (or lack thereof) bears no authentication of its details. Furthermore, to be convicted of something culminates in changed behavior. Convictions dictate what we do, and why we do them. Faith is a conviction.
And this leads me to my point. If faith is both assurance and conviction, then the response to genuine, saving faith must be repentance. Repentance is a fancy, Bible word for coming to agreement with God on the matter of your sin, choosing to see your sin how God sees it. Repentance is choosing to turn from your sin because your sin breaks God’s heart. If we claim faith in Jesus Christ, a faith that boasts both assurance and conviction, how can our response be anything but repentance? This is a decision to stop living for self and to start dying to self. This is a choice to pick up your cross and follow hard after Jesus. This is a turning from anything and everything that steals your affections and focus from Jesus Christ. The response of faith? Repentance.