Hebrews 11:3-7

Verses covered in this passage:

  • Hebrews 11:3
  • Hebrews 11:4
  • Hebrews 11:5
  • Hebrews 11:6
  • Hebrews 11:7

In chapter 10, Paul admonished his readers to draw near to God in light of Christ’s better and perfect sacrifice. He warns that there is judgment for Christians who turn away from the living God. Christians have the opportunity to respond to God in faith and live in obedience to God, believing that we have a greater reward in store. In this chapter, Paul gives many examples of believers who had faith in God and lived their lives in obedience to Him. This chapter is often referred to as the Hall of Faith since it lists so many believers who had amazing faith.  

The foundation of faith is to believe that God created the world by His word. Abel, Enoch, and Noah are early examples of faithful believers.

The world was created by the word of God, and this requires faith to believe. Everything around us that is created was made by invisible things. Even though we cannot see the building blocks of creation such as atomic particles, we believe they exist. Similarly, we believe that all things had a beginning. They were created by the word of God. Paul says that faith allows us to “understand.” All knowledge has a beginning, and all beginnings require faith. The foundation of our faith is a belief that God is the Creator of all things.

Paul continues on with the example of three characters from Genesis. Adam’s son Abel offered a better sacrifice than his brother Cain. Abel had faith and desired to please God, so he sought to bring God an excellent sacrifice and God was pleased. We are not told exactly what is was about Cain’s sacrifice that did not please God, but it is clear that Cain knew what was expected and refused to comply (Genesis 4: 6-7). Abel attained a good testimony from God and although Abel is dead, we still hear of his example of faith.

Enoch lived for 365 years and he walked with God the whole time. Genesis 5:24 says that Enoch “walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Enoch did not experience death because of his faithfulness to God.

Paul pauses here to explain how these believers pleased God. Pleasing God begins with having faith in Him and believing that He rewards those who seek Him. Without faith in God, it is impossible to please Him. Even if Cain had brought the best sacrifice to God, it would not have pleased God if Cain brought it without faith. Religious rituals are of no benefit without faith, they are only valuable if they help us in our walk of faith with Christ. We cannot draw near to God except through faith in the better sacrifice made by our better priest. If we remain faithful, we will be rewarded and inherit along with Jesus the inheritance as a son (Heb. 3:14, 10:35-36).

Noah had faith in God and things not seen. He believed that God was going to destroy the earth, and as a result, the people around him mocked him. Noah’s faith saved him and his household from God’s judgment on the world. We know from Genesis 6:9 that Noah was a righteous man prior to his obedience in building the ark. But this act of obedience allowed him to become an heir of righteousness. God rewards those who seek Him (verse 7) and Noah gained a reward through his obedience. Noah will be an heir with Christ because of his obedience, and we have the same opportunity (Heb. 6:12).

Biblical Text
3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. 4 By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks. 5 By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; and he was not found because God took him up; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

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