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. Paul says that everything that is seen was not made out of things which are visible, so we must believe in the God who is invisible. Similarly, we believe that all things had a beginning. They were created by the word of God. Paul says that by faith we can “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 to God 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 that he was righteous from God and although he 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 was taken up and did not experience death because of his faithfulness to God.
Paul pauses here to explain how these believers pleased God. Being pleasing to 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 about things not yet seen. He believed that God was going to destroy the earth and in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household. As a result, the people around him mocked him. However, 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).
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.
Check out our other commentaries:
2 Timothy 1:1-2 meaningPaul writes to Timothy, his son in the faith, with many exhortations and warnings. He thanks God for Timothy and expresses how much he misses......
Deuteronomy 28:15-19 meaningMoses spells out the curses that will fall on the Israelites if they fail to obey their Suzerain (Ruler) God.......
Hebrews 9:1-7 meaningThe Old Covenant had regulations for worship and Paul explains some of them here. He will then proceed to show how these look forward to......
Daniel 4:14-16 meaningNebuchadnezzar continues recounting his dream, repeating what the angelic watcher told him.......
Daniel 9:15-19 meaningAfter confessing sin and praising God for His righteousness, Daniel asks the Lord to hear his prayer. Daniel hopes that God will spare the Jews......